Road Map for April: Juniors

As the Class of 2025 application cycle approaches, I’m hearing from students wanting to know how they can get a head start. Although getting the best grades you can in your classes should be the top priority, you might want to get started filling out the basic information in the Common Application. Working on the Profile, Family and Education sections does not involve a lot of deep thought, and at this point you may have ACT, SAT or AP scores from previous years to enter into the Testing section. You can also get started on the activities section, although it’s fine to just put in placeholders for now and hold off on the detailed descriptions. And I don’t recommend working on essays until the school year is over.

Keep in mind that the Common App is still in the Class of ‘24 cycle right now, but information from the “Common App tab” will roll over to the new application cycle this summer. You can learn more about account rollover here.  You can also register now for my summer application and essay workshops.

It’s also time to plan for letters of recommendation. Have you had a meeting with your college counselor at school? This person generally writes a recommendation, and you can help to make it a great letter. First, make sure you understand your school’s policies, processes and timelines. You may have to complete a brag sheet or questionnaire, or have a one-on-one meeting with your counselor to discuss your academic interests, goals and qualifications. If this is not something your school does for every student, ask your counselor if you can schedule a meeting. The goal is for him or her to know you well and be able to write a strong, detailed recommendation.

In addition to the counselor letter, many schools require letters from teachers, or offer the option for you to send them. I advise students to ask two teachers of academic subjects, preferably from 11th grade, and to ask BEFORE summer break starts.  For more guidance on this topic, click here.