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College Bound: Rising seniors should get head start on college applications now

Posted June 14, 2011 8:04 p.m. EDT

As this year’s newest high school graduates cross the stage, another group of rising seniors waits in the wings.

Having survived elementary and middle school, as well as their first three years of high school, the junior class eagerly awaits their moment in the sun as the newest rising senior class. In a time honored tradition of being the leaders of the class, and anticipating what historically has been the best year of school, these rising seniors have much to do before they can sit back and relax.

While rising seniors have far more obligations and requirements on their plate then their parents did, careful planning and preparation can greatly increase the amount of time they spend enjoying this special year. For those students that are college bound, getting a head start on the whole application process will greatly reduce the stress and anxiety of submitting their college applications.

With the entire summer before them, now is the time for rising seniors to evaluate just how far they are in the whole college search and application process. To begin, take a look at your course requirements to ensure that you have taken everything necessary to apply to the college of your choice. Remember, if you are applying to private or out of state schools, there may be requirements that aren’t necessary for schools in the North Carolina system. If you find your transcript lacking or weak, consider taking an enrichment course or community college class this summer.

If you’ve taken your standardized tests already, evaluate the strength of the scores and determine whether or not you need to retake them. Summer is a good time to take a test prep class to prepare for the September and October ACT and SAT exams. If you haven’t taken a test yet, get registered now! If you are not a strong test taker, investing in a summer enrichment class or test prep class will greatly improve your scores.

Finally, if you haven’t begun your college visits, make plans to do so this summer. Many colleges are looking to see that you have shown an interest in their school and not just by attending a football game! Make sure you schedule a visit with the admissions office and tour those schools you are considering applying to.

Choosing a school based on marketing and web sites is NEVER a good idea – make an effort to experience the campus first hand before you apply.

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. And see the tips she offered on Go Ask Mom last year and last month in the box above.