Winter break is an essential time for juniors to work on their college search process. Believe it or not, the college application process will begin in August, just 8 months away. There are definitely things you can do now to help prepare yourself.
1. Standardized Testing Plan. We have have mentioned created a standardized testing plan many times on this blog and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. Sit down over winter break and plan out when you will take the ACTs, SATs and the SAT Subject tests. Put the test dates, and the registration deadline on your calendar. Also, be sure to discuss with your parents how you will prepare for your standardized tests.
2. Start planning Spring and Summer visits. Hopefully you have a good list of colleges that you are interested in. Discuss with your parents which colleges you visit and when. Begin looking at their websites to see if there are any special programs that you would like to attend.
3. Plan for Summer. Begin thinking about what you would like to do this summer. Do you want to get a job or volunteer? Start exploring options now so you know how your plans will affect your college visits.
4. Network. Similar to the advice I gave sophomores and freshmen yesterday, the holidays are a great time to start networking. Be prepared to ask about career paths and college experiences. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your own college search. You will be asked where are you are applying and what you want to major in. It can be a lot of pressure. It is perfectly find to say, “I am not sure yet. I am still researching my options.”
5. Get Organized. The college application process can be overwhelming. Start familiarizing yourself with the requirements for each school. How are you going to keep track of deadlines? What are the requirements for each application? Which teachers are going to write your letters of recommendation? Are you going to interview at the schools you are applying to?