Road Map for September: Seniors

Now that you’re getting back in your routine, it’s time to get your ducks in a row this fall for college applications.  There are a lot of tasks and deadlines to keep track of, so getting organized can help keep stress at a manageable level.  Consider creating a timeline, spreadsheet, calendar, or whatever method will work best for you, and start using it.

One thing to do sooner rather than later is touch base with your recommenders, including teachers, your school counselor and anyone else you’ve asked or are planning to ask to write letters for you.  You should also finalize plans soon for any remaining standardized tests.  It’s still possible to register for the SAT and ACT exams in October.  And many of you are hard at work on your personal statements and school-specific essays.  If you need guidance on any of these application pieces, contact me for an appointment.

If you’re still working on your college list, it’s not too late to visit campuses, and in fact many schools hold open houses in the fall.  Check out this list of upcoming events at schools in the mid-Atlantic region.  You might also want to save the date for the DC national college fair on November 5, and artists might be interested in the DC Performing and Visual Arts fair on October 1. (Check here for fairs in other cities.)

Something parents can do now is gather financial documents and prepare to complete financial aid forms, which open on October 1.  On that subject, I’d like to add a word about the weather. I encourage families to consider completing the FAFSA even if they do not expect to be offered need-based aid. Some schools require the form in order to award merit aid, but there’s another reason to do it as well.  If something unexpected happens to change your financial situation, like a hurricane (or a job loss or any other financial shock), it’s a lot easier to have your documents in place and explain a change in circumstances than it is to gather and assemble the information in the midst of a crisis.