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College Talk Blog

It's all in the timing

Got activity?

One of the things that it is too late to fix at college application time is having a good high school and community activity track record. Colleges like to see students who have a track record of involvement in their high school and in their community. Involvement outside the high school classroom is an indication that a student is well-rounded in that the student:

  • forms social relationships
  • has interests outside the classroom
  • contributes to his school and community
  • accepts positions or responsibility and leadership

9th Graders and College

Most teens start talking about college in 11th grade. But a better time to begin to seriously consider college is 9th grade. The beginning of 9th grade. 

In ninth grade, senior year and college seem light years away. In reality, at the beginning of ninth grade a student has 36 months to get ready for college. 

For students who will apply to college during early admission, the beginning of ninth grade is six semesters away from the end of the transcript that colleges will use to decide college admission. Ninth graders who are aware of that and what courses and GPA they need to get in to college, will have extra motivation to take the most challenging courses and do their best.

Taking a year off from college can be risky

I admit to not being a fan of the "gap" year. Gap year refers to the idea of high school grads taking a year off before starting college. The concept sounds like a good idea to exhausted high school seniors and maybe parents worried about paying college tuition. But students who take a gap year are cutting themselves out of some scholarships.

There is an even larger risk involved. Research shows that students who take time off during college have a 26% chance of not going back.

Reasons not to wait

Most college application deadlines occur between October and February. Students often wait until close to published deadlines to begin college applications probably thinking "how long could it take?" The answer is that it is likely to take several hours depending upon the application. Some students spend days on one application because they don't have all the answers at hand.
Answers to some questions on college applications involve information only parents have and they often have to look up those answers.

Haunted by College Deadlines?

Parents and students, haunted by college admission deadlines, ask wonderful questions about what deadlines actually mean. For example, does November 1 mean that the application needs to be at the college by Oct 31? The answer is that students can actually hit the "send" button on their computer to send applications to a college with a November 1 deadline on November 1. However, it is best to try to send applications the day before or early on the day that they are due in case of unexpected things like power outages and website issues.