July College Checklist For New and Graduated Seniors

July checklist for college WooHoo! School is out for the summer, and it’s time to get some sun!  With all this free time, there is lots that you can be doing for college admissions.
Here are the highlights:

New Seniors:
This is it–the big summer of applications!  You can do it.  Head in the game.
My number one piece of advice for you is: Write ALL of your essays during this summer, to be done before school starts. This is the #1 thing Seniors tell me to tell you guys every year because they really see what a difference it makes when they have their essays done in the summer (decreased suffering). To do this, create a master list of writing prompts by checking each application (many apps do not come out until August, so be sure you are not working on last year’s prompts!).  Recycle and tweak essays *wherever* you can—don’t work harder, work smarter—but always be sure to change college names and facts!!
This is your most important summer for a “brainy” activity.  Try to do something in your area of potential interest this summer.  You can: attend a summer camp, take a class, INTERN, job shadow, *independent research*, or do career interviews of people doing the job you think you’d like to do. Be sure that you are continuing to do compassionate volunteering. Do any final test prep if you need it. The last call for tests is Sept. (ACT) and Oct. (SAT) so that you can apply Early Action or Early Decision, which greatly increases your chances of admission, so I strongly suggest it.  If your testing is already squared away and done by now, all the better!  (Tell your younger sibs to try to wrap up testing in Junior year).
Finalize your activities resume, to use as you fill out each application and as you interview with colleges (do this NOW because you won’t have time later and you need it). Complete the recommendation letter questionnaires for your teachers this summer; ask the teachers please if you can have these questionnaires (if they require one) before school ends. You want to do a great job on this so that they do a great job on your rec letter, so do it during the summer and also give them a copy of your super spiffy resume.
Join the mailing lists of all target colleges, this demonstrates an interest in the school, which is a huge plus. Schedule any and all possible college interviews and campus visits—interview when you are on campus so you do not have to go back. Interviews and campus visits DO increase your admissions chances if you handle them well.
And athletes, keep contacting those coaches!!  PLEASE consider playing your sport in college because you have no way to know if you will love it or not.  I see kids all the time swear they will play four years and then get there and hate it and stop.  And I see kids all the time who are reluctant to play, get there and love it and play all four years.  You never know which kind you will be, so contact those coaches because your sport can help you get into a better school than you can get into on your own, and there is a level of play for *everyone*!!
Graduated Seniors (aka New College Freshmen!!):
There is an awesome handout in the Resources section on CollegeMapper about making a smooth transition to college. My students text me every year and tell me to tell the younger students this or that, so I keep a master list of all the things you need to remember (but could easily forget). It covers everything from roommate rules to laundry to frat party punch. If you read it and have anything to add, or if you would like me to film a vlog about this, please leave a comment on this post!
Good luck and yay, college!


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