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College Preparation Timeline and Tips for Juniors

Quick Tips College Preparation Timeline and Tips for Juniors
by Tom Bottorf

Quick College Preparation Timeline and Tips for Juniors

Are you preparing to go to college after you graduate from High School?

Can You Avoid the Most Common College Prep Mistake?

Are you assuming you can put off your college preparation until your Senior Year is upon you?

Well, you might want to think twice about that because if you are a Junior in High School now is the ideal time to work on 2 things:

1.    Constructing your final college list

2.    Beginning on applications and essays

We’re going to give you some timeline ideas for both of these things.

Goal 1: Complete your college list by the last day of your Junior Year

Every college you apply to will have different requirements you need to understand before you will be able to complete your applications. This means that finalizing your college list will allow you to know exactly what types of essays you will need ahead of time so you can begin your preparatory work.<

Tips For Compiling Your College:

1.    The key is to compile a realistic College List.

2.    For most families, affordability is very important as a determining factor.

3.    A good number of colleges to aim for on your list is between 8 and 10, 12 at the outset.

4.    You must take into account a good academic fit.

5.    The college should have political and spiritual bents similar to your own, if that matters to you.

6.    Consider what you want in college size and location.

7.    Determine your learning style and look for colleges that align to it.

8.    Be open-minded – there are a lot of Colleges out there that you may not have heard of that are awesome fits for you.

As you are preparing your initial college list and you’re thinking about affordability, unless money is not a factor you have to worry about at all, then you need to understand your family’s EFC, (Expected Family Contribution). This will determine how much need-based financial aid (if any) you are eligible for.

It’s calculated by submitting the FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

This is the form used to get federal student aid, including student loans, grants, and work-studies. Eligibility for these various funds varies dramatically from family to family.

Goal 2: Complete your application and essay 1st-drafts by Labor Day of your Senior Year

One of the most common mistakes Juniors make is waiting to the 1st-semester senior year to begin this all important task.
By completing your College List by the end of your Junior year you will be able to begin your applications and essays in the summer time frame leading into your senior year. This provides students plenty of time to do the best job possible. The application / essay ideal timeline will be to complete all of the 1st drafts by Labor Day of the Senior Year. The first semester can then be used to “polish” them.

College Essay Tips:

1.    Be yourself and never write anything that is not true.

2.    Mention “big things” about yourself, then pair those with real-life examples to personalize and make your point.

3.    Don’t be boring by simply putting a list of your accomplishments; an interesting essay makes you interesting to colleges.

4.    Double and triple check your grammar, punctuation and spelling!

5.    If the essay instructions ask you to answer specific questions, make sure you do.

6.    Write your essay drafts early enough to have time to put them aside; then come back to them later with a fresh eye.

Want the best chance of getting into a college that is perfect for you? With a little College Preparation Planning you can develop a great college list and then prepare the most solid college applications possible.

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