Can you believe it’s already September? And that Labor Day just happened?
As much as I don’t want to admit that the carefree days of sunny beach weather are coming to an end (for those of us here in the Northeast, at least), they are. Today as I write this, I’m wearing jeans and long sleeves! And even if you’re a lucky Floridian or West Coaster who gets beach weather all year round...we have to have a quick snap back to reality. (Don’t hate me!)
See, as much as we ALL needed a break this past summer, and as much as you needed to do your summer programs and go to camp and try out an internship and take a class for college credit—good for you!—that break is over. Done. Finito.
And this is your friendly reminder that denial of that fact does not pay! I wish I were still on the beach right now, too, but sadly, the test dates are the test dates. (Insert sad trombone music here.) And if you’re anything like my students? You might need this reminder:
It’s time to start taking your SAT or ACT test prep seriously again.
So here’s your quick reboot to help you get OUT of the summer daze and BACK into productive, focused mode—you know, that way of being that will GET YOU INTO COLLEGE! So here’s what to ask yourself and think about, depending on what grade you’re in:
College planning for high school SENIORS
Seniors, I don’t want to freak you out, but you have LOTS to do!
First of all, you need to make sure you know which colleges you’re applying to.
Do you have the SAT or ACT scores you need to get into those schools? Do any of your schools require SAT II Subject Tests? If you still have standardized testing to do, that’s your number one priority! There are still ACT test dates on September 14th, October 26th, and December 14th of 2019. December might be too late for some of your college applications, so you’d need to check this out. If you need to retake the SAT I or pivot to take/retake SAT II Subject Tests, you have the October 6th and December 1st test dates left. (If you’re cramming for Math 1 or Math 2, my ebooks will help!)
If you have your test scores complete, you need to write your college application essays and complete your application package! Early deadlines tend to be November 1st or 15th—less than two months away! For help with this, here’s my complete guide to the 2019-2020 Common App (it’s full of links to even more helpful resources!).
College planning for high school JUNIORS
You see how stressed out your senior friends are right now? Don’t put yourself in that position, waiting until the last minute to get everything done. Here’s what YOU can do right now so you won’t be cramming this time next year:
Determine if you’re taking the ACT or the SAT. (Need help with this? Sign up for an Ace the Test: Game Plan and I’ll do it for you!)
Start prepping for your test of choice. Aim to take your first test either in December or in February/March. You might need to take the test a few times before getting the score you need, so it’s best to not put it off too long. And news flash: you have less than three months before the December test sittings, so you actually DO need to start prepping NOW.
Make sure you give your all to your classes. The grades you earn THIS YEAR matter the most on your transcript when it’s application time!
College planning for high school SOPHOMORES
You don’t have to be as stressed out as your upperclassmen friends, but you should still wake up from your summer daze. Here’s why:
Classes will be harder this year than they were last year. You will need to push yourself a little harder than you did before to keep up, or else you might fall into the Sophomore Slump. Don’t let yourself (and your grades!) succumb to this, because it’s hard for you (and your cumulative GPA!) to recover from it.
Get excited! You get to figure out which passions and interests make your heart sing and explore them! You get to reassess which clubs and sports and activities you enjoyed and which left you feeling “meh”—and actively seek out new ones.
College planning for high school FRESHMEN
Sad to say, but you’re probably feeling a little stressed out about starting up at a whole new school, or at least starting high school (if your high school is in the same school as the lower grades). So I doubt you’re still in a summer haze. That said, here’s what you can focus on to move you forward:
Finding your crowd. It can be hard at first to find “your” people in high school, and you might not find them all this year. But you can still try! If you’re not resonating with the people in your regular classes, try exploring some clubs or extracurriculars to meet students who aren’t in your classes but still share the same interests as you.
In fact, finding your “thing” is important in general! Not just to make friends, but to find your passions and perhaps even your purpose. (…which later on, will become the organizing principle of your college applications.)
Make sure you start out on the right academic foot. Do your homework. Study for tests. Participate in class. Take notes. The things you learn now (especially math and English!) are the foundation for your classes next year and the year after...and the foundation you need to build on to ace the SAT and/or the ACT when it’s YOUR turn to take them!
So I hope this friendly reminder got you out of your bathing suit and flip flops...and into study mode for the academic year that’s now beginning.
If you can get yourself to commit to your tasks above, you will be perfectly on track to having a fantastic school year—and getting into the college of your dreams!