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To-do lists

Ignoring Email and Lost College Opportunity

If I could cause a change in teen behavior this year, it would be to get them to start paying attention to their college email. I understand their reluctance, they are spammed by colleges and college related organizations starting in sophomore and junior year. Some of the emails, thought to be spam, are actually genuine offers of waived application fees to selected colleges, the offer of abbreviated no-essay applications to others as well as scholarship offers if they apply by a specified date.

The problem with not opening email regularly is that the offers almost always have an expiration date.

It's not what you write your essay about but how

This is essay season for students who want to have the most competitive college applications this fall. The days between now and Labor Day are best used working on the signature essay college applicants should prepare. Time spent on essay prep now means that this critical piece of college admission work won't interfere with senior year homework.

When a prospective college student writes an admission essay, he should be the star, even if indirectly. Describing what happened on a mission trip is great but unless the essay provides tidbits about the character or personality of the writer the reader won't gain much if any knowledge about the writer.

Making the most of summer vacation

Teens need a rest after the school year ends to re-charge their batteries. However, after a two-week break, students should be ready for a summer of activity that will enhance what they learned in school. Teens can expand their knowledge and skill over the summer with a combination of a few of the following experiences:

  • summer jobs
  • forming a teen book club and reading for pleasure
  • reading literature likely to be assigned during the next school year
  • a summer credit or non-credit class 
  • a standardized test prep program

Seniors...your work is not done yet

Seniors who have been accepted at one or more colleges and whose parents have filed required documents may feel that they have nothing more to do. Unfortunately,
that is not true. Today's seniors should be carefully monitoring their emails from colleges and complying with requests and filing scholarship applications every month into the summer and beyond.

Getting accepted into a college is not an end to activity but rather the beginning of a continued activity to manage decisions and tasks in a timely manner so that the student can take advantage of everything colleges have to offer. The goal of students is to graduate with as little debt as possible and manage their time in college in such a way that they end up with great employment in their field at graduation.

Ready for December 1 College Deadlines?

Thanksgiving weekend is the deadline to send in priority college admission applications at some colleges. A priority deadline is the deadline for your admission application to also automatically be considered for scholarships. If you have a December 1 deadline to meet, keep in mind that The Common Application has been experiencing technical challenges. Try not to wait until the last day to file. Good luck!