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College Bound: Getting ready for college applications

Christine Hall of CMH College Consulting offers some tips for rising seniors who are looking forward to college applications in the fall.

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Christine Hall

As the rising senior class gets ready to enjoy their much earned summer vacation, there are several things they can do now to insure that their senior year is as stress free as possible.

With college applications due in the fall and early winter, making use of the summer can relieve quite a bit of stress and pressure. Although it’s important to relax and rejuvenate, sitting at the beach/pool or hanging with your friends all summer won’t impress the college admissions team.

Assuming your course work is on track and standardized testing and college visits are complete, those rising seniors can make use of the summer to both enhance and take control of the application process.

With applications being submitted as early as October, this summer is the last chance for you to enrich your personal experiences and strengthen your application. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to get involved in a summer activity. Look to explore enrichment courses, volunteer opportunities or creative outlets. Whether the activity is ongoing throughout the summer or requires two to three full weeks of your time, take this time to get involved in something that you either enjoy or have always wanted to explore.

Although the Common Application won’t be available till August and many other applications won’t be available until the end of summer, you can still take this time to make a tentative plan. If you haven’t already done so, put together a resume. Make sure you list all the activities, honors and accolades you received since high school. This is the first thing you put on your application; having this information already written out saves hours of time.

Also, decide which teachers you will request recommendations from and familiarize yourself with your school’s requirements for obtaining them. If possible, speak to the teacher this summer and ask them if they will provide you with a recommendation.

Finally, take some time to really begin narrowing down your list of schools. If necessary, take another trip to a campus that you are not sure of. Make sure that you have schools on your list where you are a strong candidate academically and whose acceptance rate makes it likely that you will be accepted. Remember, there is no reason to apply to a school you are not willing to attend. It wastes both your time and may take a seat from someone who truly wants it.

Christine M. Hall, Ed.D., is owner of CMH College Consulting in Cary. She'll offer advice on the college application and decision process here on Go Ask Mom from time to time. Learn more about Hall's services on the CMH College Consulting website.

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