College Process Advice for Juniors
by Kalie Sommerfeld
As the first semester slowly came to a halt and the second semester crept upon us, the juniors got ready to begin a new journey known as the college process. With our last Wellness class completed, we prepared ourselves for junior forum. The college process is new and exciting, but also very nerve raking. Therefore, I asked a few seniors to give us their best advice on starting the college process.
- Never say no to retaking a standardized test, but if you like one more than the other (ACT vs. SAT) don’t waste time on the test you’re least comfortable with.
- Work on your essay over the summer and come in for conferences with Parsons. The easiest way to not feel behind on that is to fall into a routine with writing and editing.
- Don’t be afraid to trash an entire essay and start again.
- If things aren’t working, take a break!
- Don’t make things more stressful than they have to be; college is a lot to think about already, take it step by step and trust your counselors.
- Remember that everyone has their own process: don’t compare yourself to classmates during application season and remember that everyone has something special to bring to the table.
1) Try to get your testing done early because if makes senior year much easier.
2) Keep things in perspective. While it is all important, remember that you have worked hard over the past couple years and you will get into a college you will be happy at (even if its not your first choice).
3) The college process is a marathon, not a sprint. Try as hard as you can not to procrastinate and finish essays and applications at reasonable intervals.
1) Start your essays in the summer, the more material you have going into the fall, the easier it will be to complete all of your applications on time and quickly.
2) Make a list of your priorities in a college and use these to help guide your college search. It will be easier to determine which schools you want on your list if you have a set list of criteria that are the most important to you.
3) Talk to as many alumni/current students of schools as you can, getting their feedback was one of the most beneficial components of the college process for me.
4) Make a timeline for yourself to ensure that you are making steady process on all of your applications and aren’t procrastinating until the last minute.
5) Go on visits- they really are very helpful in determining what types of schools you could see yourself at!
6) Save your personal essays from junior year and work with them to craft answers to supplement essays, it is helpful to have a lot of material.
Though this process seems really daunting, never doubt that you will reach success. We are so fortunate here at HB to have so many resources available to us that most students don’t have. We have amazing counselors, recommenders, Mr. Parsons, Mrs. Fisher, and an amazing, organized system. Never forget this! My biggest tips are..
- Be proactive! Schedule meetings with your counselor on a weekly/biweekly basis. Always try to have something prepared for your counselor to look at: supplements, an updated list, new thoughts, etc.
- Be positive! It is easy to fall into a system of complaining/feeling negative about the process. However, if you stay positive it will really make an impact on your peers and will help the process go more easily.
- Do your research! Even if you visit a college and go to an information session, you still need to do additional research. Spend time on the colleges’ website, student feedback websites and use the Fiske’s guide. This research will also help when you have to do supplements that as “Why (blank school)?”. Your knowledge/research about the school will really shine through if you are able to mention specific details/programs.
- Have a notebook and a designated folder on your computer to organize everything. You will have so many documents/thoughts/ideas that it will be imperative to stay organized! When you are working on your supplements/college essay, save it on google drive because you would hate to loose it all!
- Be yourself during interviews. By just being a student at HB, you will really impress your interviewer through your conversation. Don’t try to be someone you are not during the interview. As long as you are respectful and courteous during the interview, they will write you a great recommendation.
- Take notes at information sessions/tours! After you go to visit many schools, they all start to blend together. Take specific notes, and even put down random things you notice because they will help to give you a better sense of the school.
- Be respectful to your classmates. Some of your likely/middle schools may be someone else’s reach school. Also, celebrate everyone’s accomplishments. Even if you get deferred or rejected, still celebrate for your friends! The process is so random and everyone is equally worthy of an acceptance! Don’t let this process drive you and your friends apart!
- Never forget that you are really smart and a wonderful person! Don’t let this process define you! Stay positive and don’t let stress overpower your life! Go hang out with your friends, get ice cream, and be nice to your parents (because this process is stressful for them too!). You will be happy where you end up! Good luck!
- Start your essays in the summer.
- Understand that everyone is going through the process and your teachers, friends, family, and college counselors are all there to support you!
- Do as many college visits as possible this summer because by fall it will feel rushed.
I know it’s super crazy to think that in just a few years we will be in college, but with some advice and a lot of hard work, I know that our class will do great things. You can also take a look at our new Junior Forum Haiku page for some more extended advice on the college process. I am confident that together, our class will get through the college process, and also enjoy the rest of our amazing time here at HB 🙂