Road Map for February: Juniors

This time of year my priorities for juniors usually include doing well in your classes, prepping for standardized tests, college visits and summer plans. Doing well in your classes is still at the top, and this year I’m prioritizing college research. Right now this consists largely of online tours since most colleges are not offering in-person opportunities. Take advantage of whatever there is, including any on-demand and live information sessions, student panels, Q & A sessions on specific majors or programs, etc.  Several upcoming virtual fairs are good opportunities as well. To make the most of your interactive sessions, do some research ahead of time; first review the websites  of the colleges you’re interested in, especially the academics, student life and admissions sections.  Then come to your live events ready with questions.

With respect to testing, I am recommending that students plan to test; however, with so many colleges continuing their test-optional policies, the stakes are not quite as high as they’ve been in the past. On summer planning, I’m encouraging students to think carefully about their options, and I’m optimistic that there will be options, unlike last year. Flexibility will be key here, however, as the public health situation evolves.

One can-do item students might consider is to create a profile on the Common Application and start filling in information. This is not time sensitive and can be done in the summer, but for students who feel a need to be proactive, it can be satisfying to complete some of the sections and see your application start to take shape. This can also help you assess what aspects of your high school career you might want to highlight and where you might want to focus some additional time and attention over the next few months.

Although I don’t recommend starting college essays until the summer, the Common App did release the prompts for the upcoming application cycle last week. Most have not changed, but one of the less popular ones was dropped and replaced with a new one on gratitude. You can review all of the prompts here.

As you get more focused on your college search and approach the application process, I’d love to help! To learn about individual advising, please contact me to talk about how I can provide support and guidance at this exciting time.