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Planning Your Senior Year of High School

There’s a lot going on during everyone’s senior year of high school, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. While you have some free time this summer, take a minute to plan out your college admissions calendar, paying attention to the application deadlines at the colleges on your list. Here is a basic outline of the primary tasks you should be starting each season, starting with the summer before your senior year:

SUMMER:
• Narrow down your list of colleges, and take campus tours if possible. You will learn a lot more about the campus environment in person than you would from a website or pamphlet in the mail.
• Consider your application options; do you want to apply early to any colleges? Do your colleges have an early action or early decision policy? This distinction will affect your timing for standardized tests.
• Familiarize yourself with the standardized test dates in the fall and determine which are the last dates for you to take a test and get it sent to colleges in time for admissions deadlines. Register for any tests you still need to take.
• Think of teachers or mentors who would write strong recommendation letters on your behalf. Consider people who could attest to your leadership, hard work, and potential as an applicant. Some colleges have guidelines for letters from those who teach certain subject area, so keep this in mind.
• Brainstorm essay ideas. Most college applications, including the Common Application, should be available online by the end of the summer, and your writing will benefit from an organized, thoughtful piece of work, not a last-minute submission of a first draft.

FALL:
• Ask your teachers and mentors to write your letters of recommendations. Meet with them in person so they know why you want to attend the schools you chose and answer any of their questions. Remember, they will probably have a number of other letters to write, so it is critical that you give them enough time before your application deadlines. Write a thank you note to show your appreciation after the application has been submitted and update them on your results.
• Write your essays, leaving enough time for several rounds of review. Ask trusted individuals who can give candid feedback to look over your writing before you submit.
• Apply early to the appropriate colleges if you decide that is the best strategy for you
• Take any remaining standardized tests
• Familiarize yourself with financial aid deadlines, and fill out any necessary paperwork

WINTER:
• Submit any regular decision applications if you did not apply early or were not accepted to another college through an early decision application
• Continue to search for scholarships and financial aid opportunities

SPRING
• Don’t fall victim to senioritis! Keep your grades up to finish out your high school career on a high note. Remember, colleges can rescind their acceptance offer if they notice a significant academic dive in your coursework
• Confirm that your high school sends your senior fall transcript to any of your colleges that require it
• Continue to meet any financial aid deadlines and search for scholarships
• Attend preview weekends for accepted students for the colleges that granted you acceptance as you make your final enrollment decision
• Enroll! Congrats, you are going to college!

Top Test Prep is a leader in the college admissions industry. For more advice on how you can make the most of your college admissions process and gain entrance to the school of your dreams, contact Top Test Prep today by visiting TopTestPrep.com or calling (800) 501-7737.

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