As my students near graduation, I ask them what advice they are giving younger siblings and friends who are currently juniors and sophomores. The Class of 2017 agreed that the most important advice they are giving the classes of 2018 and 2019 is to START THE COLLEGE PROCESS EARLIER!
Most members of the Class of 2017 encountered surprises. The most common surprise they reported was how competitive college admission has gotten. Many of them thought a 3.75 GPA and a 1250 SAT score would be enough to get them admitted wherever they wanted except the ivies.
The second most surprising thing to the Class of 2017 about college admission was just how important extracurricular participation and accomplishments are. Some belatedly wished they had accepted invitations to honor societies and opportunities to have leadership positions.
A third surprise was how much work and money is required to launch an effective college admissions effort. Crafting a stellar essay takes time as does visiting colleges, deciding where to apply and completing applications. At an average of $50, college application fees add up. College Board and ACT score report sending fees also add to the high cost of applying. And speaking of costs, students complained that it was hard to find time to apply for scholarships while applying to colleges, earning high grades and being active in school activities.
So, Classes of 2018 and 2019, it is time to set aside quality time to get ready for your college process. Don't waste this summer and put away part of what you earn from part time jobs to cover your application costs!