Preparing for US college applications before your final year of school gives you a head start on the application process.
Students who consider early where they want to apply will avoid becoming overwhelmed when the time comes to start sending out applications in just a few months.
So what can you do now to start preparing to apply to college in the US?
Take the Time to Think
Figuring out what you want from a school is the first step, and it’s also something you can do long before you fill out your first application.
- What are you looking for in the way of college academics?
- How important are the size of your college classes, the college curriculum, and the academic resources?
- Would you prefer a co-ed school or a single sex school?
- Are factors like college sports and the location of the college important?
These are all questions to ask yourself as you are preparing to fill out US college applications. Taking the time in the summer before your final year of school to consider these questions will allow you plenty of time to figure out where you would like to apply.
Narrow Down Where to Apply
Once you’ve figured out the answers to some of these basic questions, it will be easier to decide how many colleges you should apply to. Most students send anywhere from six to ten applications – sometimes more, sometimes less.
If you find that you are still having trouble narrowing down your list by the end of the summer, you can speak to a school guidance counselor in the fall. Coming in with a list of schools you are interested in will help your guidance counselor advise you as you are preparing for college applications.
Start Visiting Schools
If you already have a list of schools you are considering, summer vacation is an ideal time visit college campuses. So if you can, take the summer to plan some trips to those US colleges and universities that most interest you.
After all, a campus visit is one of the best ways to determine if a school is a good fit for you. You can explore a school’s campus and location, meet current students, and even talk to admission counselors.
If you do visit a school you are interested in and it turns out that you don’t like it at all, don’t get discouraged or think that the visit was a waste of time. Part of preparing for the college application process involves figuring out what you like and what you don’t like. And with thousands of colleges in the US to choose from, you have plenty of options!
Prepare for Admissions Testing
The summer before your final year of school before college is also a great time to start scheduling tests you will need to take as you are preparing for US college applications. Deciding whether you will be taking the SAT or ACT test or both and when you will take the test is the first step.
Find out what tests the schools you are thinking of applying to require. You can even start to prepare for the SAT over the summer.
You may also want to take an SAT subject test, which allows you to show your expertise in a specific field, like world history or a language. Some college programs may even require applicants to take a certain SAT subject test.
International students should also remember that taking the TOEFL or equivalent English language test will likely be a requirement to attend a US college.
Preparing for College Applications
Preparing for the US college application process doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. If you start preparing for college applications during the summer, you will have not only an edge on all of the other applicants, but also a more relaxing final year of school.