While it seems like school just started — with Back to School night last week — our HS calendar points out a couple of college-related dates for juniors and seniors.
1. Have you started thinking about it at all? Next week our school’s Counseling Department will offer College Planning Night for parents, with break-out sessions depending on the student’s class year. There’s really only time for general information, but if a family is just getting started in the process it’s a good place to begin. Each family / student will need to determine for themselves how deeply they want to dig into the details.
2. Will you take the PSAT? Next month Mod Squad Julie (11th grade) and all other juniors and sophomores at her school will take the PSAT. Sophomores take it for practice, to get a sense of what the SAT is like, and to get an idea of which areas of the test they may need to work on. Juniors take it for prep for the SAT too, but for them it is also the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarships — this could be truly significant for their access to selective colleges as well as merit funding.
3. Will you take the SAT this fall? Seniors are likely to be taking the SAT in early October — if you need to do that and you haven’t registered for it yet, run to CollegeBoard’s site for late registration — so final scores can be reported for Early Acceptance or Early Decision deadlines. Tests taken on October 6th will report scores beginning October 25th.
4. Have you drafted any essays? This is probably one of the stickiest pieces of the college application process. Well, essays and the short answer Common App question and dealing with the Common App user interface and, yes, deciding which colleges to apply to — they’re all sticky. But the one that seems to take the longest for many seniors is to write well and eloquently about one’s self for the personal essay. If you — or your student — haven’t started essay drafts yet, now would be the time to do that. Today.
And just think, this time next year, you could have this all behind you, living the college life, tweeting something like: