Senior year is the year of lasts, such as your last year of summer work and your last prom. However, there is a first; applying and preparing for college. This is especially stressful for the Class of 2021, as the Coronavirus has changed the way schools measure academic eligibility. Most universities have made the decision to go test optional for 2021, which means that seniors do not have to submit their SAT and ACT test scores to their schools, and it will not be held against them, as COVID-19 has closed test centers and limited learning opportunities.
The first step is to make a plan. Being able to check steps off of your to-do list can help alleviate some stress, as well as help you to keep track of what needs to be done. Part one of your checklist should include your resume and your recommendation letters. Underclassmen, make sure that you make a good impression on your junior year teachers, as they will be writing your college recommendation letters. You should also take this time to research and get in touch with colleges that you are interested in. This will help you to know and to plan ahead if you need to register with any other portals besides Commonapp.
Your college essay is also a major part of your applications. Brainstorming some ideas and writing rough drafts can help you to discover which topic is the best for you. Your essay will reveal who you are as a person, rather than your grades or your test scores. Once you have your rough draft, share it with your English teacher so that they can review and revise it. Depending on which college you apply to, they may require more than one essay, so make sure that you take it into consideration.
“Everyone is on their own journey, do not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. It is not too late if you have not applied or even started yet. Be mindful of deadlines – applications, financial aid, first quarter and mid-year grades. Make sure to read everything, as counselors have posted lots of detailed information on their Google Classrooms” said Mrs. Young, a guidance counselor at Masuk. “Take advantage of College Representative visits even if they are virtual, as you will get lots of information on the school and this is often the person reading your application”.
Applying for the FAFSA and CSS is also important, as college can be very expensive. Make sure that your parents or guardians complete them as soon as they can in order to be prepared for sending out applications. Applying for scholarships can also help lesson the financial strain, so be sure to research which scholarships you are eligible for. Some require essays or other supplementary questions as well. Naviance offers lists and information on scholarships, as well as a scholarship match where it will automatically match the minimum GPA required for the scholarship with your GPA to find which ones you may be eligible for.
Although daunting, the college application process is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. Millions of students have been through it and millions of students are in the same boat as you are right now. Keep track of your tasks, keep organized, and complete them in a timely manner and you will have a successful and less stressful college application process.