There is no reason seniors can’t be a good 80% or so finished with college applications before the senior year even begins.
Step One: Create Your Resume
Many college applications allow students’ to upload a full resume to highlight their accomplishments. This is great because most applications, including The Common App, are somewhat limited in how many activities (ten) and honors (five) can be listed. Even if you don’t have a long list of accomplishments, students are further limited on only 150 characters to describe their activity or accomplishment; this insanely short character count includes spaces!
Having already listed the highlights of you in a resume will also help you jump start what you’ll list in your application and how to craft your wording within the character limits.
As a former teacher and writer of countless teacher recommendation letters to colleges, I can confidently say that students who gave me a brag sheet such as a resume got a better letter from me. Why? Because I was able to work in pieces of them from outside my classroom that I would not otherwise have known.
LEAP offers small group resume workshops and individual assistance with resumes or reviews.
Step Two: Start Writing Your Personal Statement
THE. MOST. TIME. CONSUMING. The crafting of your essay or personal statement for application is taxing at best, even for the best writers. This is the single opportunity for the student to have a voice, outside of data (think GPA and ACT/SAT scores) or others’ opinions (teachers, coaches, counselors), in their application.
For those using The Common App or Coalition App, the essay prompts were announced over the winter allowing students to jump-start their writing before applications go LIVE in late summer. Once applications are open for the new year, it’s a simple case of copy and paste.
The flavor of this essay greatly differs from any the student has written before. Because of this, and that fact that it takes a lot of focused attention, some students consider working with an essay coach. If you already know you need one, register for assistance as early as possible. LEAP offers group workshops, individual coaching via email and phone or reviews/revisions for those who have a solid start.
Step Three: Open Your Application Account Early
While you can’t apply to college until after August 1st or later, both the Coalition App which serves 140 schools and the Common App which covers over 800 schools are available NOW to set-up your account. Due to application rollover, which LEAP describes here, students are able to start their account on the current platform for the previous year’s graduating class. Once the application shuts down and reopens for the current senior class, the student’s account will still be there.
Enjoy Senior Year
While the process of applying to college takes a lot of time, starting early will make it less stressful by spreading the demands over a longer period of time.