College-Bound Student’s Top Advice: Start Your College Prep Early
It may seem early, but the college admissions process for rising high school seniors has already begun! We caught up with one of our students to get her advice for students planning to apply to college this fall – and for those who are just now thinking about their college prep.
The summer is the prime time for college-bound seniors to begin working on their college applications – most notably their Common Application essay. Not only does getting an early start on your college applications in the summer help you should you want to apply early decision or early action to your top-choice school, it also helps students to get the bulk of their essay-writing out of the way before the school year starts. This will leave students with plenty of time to focus on their courses, extracurricular activities, and more without the added pressure of a multitude of essays left to write.
Getting started on your college applications – or even starting to formulate a college prep plan if you’re younger – during the summer can be intimidating. IvyWise student Celine knows the pressures students are facing, and has some insight into the college admissions process, as well as some advice for rising high school seniors. Read her Q&A below to learn more about Celine and get her take on getting started with the college admissions process!
Tell us a little about your background, interests, and your college and career goals.
Hello! My name is Celine and I’ve lived most of my life in South Korea, but I recently moved to Houston, Texas, which is where I’m currently attending school. My interests lie mainly in the fields of linguistics, anthropology, and sociology. I’m in the process of developing a balanced college list with my Ivywise Counselor right now, and I am unsure about what career I want to pursue. I hope to be accepted to a college that will make all the hard work and effort I put in to school for four years seem worth it.
What have you enjoyed the most about applying to college?
I’ve enjoyed getting to learn about myself during the process, and getting to know which subjects I enjoyed the most and what activities I wanted to pursue past high school and into college.
What have you found most challenging about applying to college?
Neither of my parents are fluent in English and I am also the oldest child in the family, which means that I have pretty much had to navigate this whole process alone. I found the college admissions process very difficult at times, especially at first, when I had no idea what standardized tests like the SAT and ACT were, and when I had so many questions but no one to answer them.
How have you grown/changed since you started planning for college?
I’ve realized where my interests lie and what my goals in life are. During the first two years of high school, I had absolutely no idea what I even liked, and I was very lost and confused about college. The beginning of my junior year was when I started to really get involved in all aspects of this process, and by trying out many classes and extracurriculars, I was able to learn which ones I truly loved.
What advice has been most valuable so far?
My counselor has taught me to prioritize some activities over others. There were definitely some extracurriculars that I was in that I was not exactly passionate about, and she helped me realize that sometimes it is better to cut those time commitments out so that I could spend my time in better ways.
What advice would you give to students preparing for college?
Many people give this advice, but I believe that it is given for a reason––start early! I definitely started this process later than many people, since I started to think about college towards the middle of junior year. As a result, I was given the task of preparing for standardized testing, doing well in my classes, and participating actively in all my extracurriculars all at once, and this was very hard for me to do. Had I known that I would be this busy, I would have utilized the time that I had during the first two years of high school much better, since those were the times when I had the most time on my hands.
Preparing for college – whether you’re a rising senior or just starting high school in the fall – doesn’t have to be daunting. The key is to start as soon as possible and create a strategic plan that can carry you through the rest of your high school career. Our new College Planning Checklist breaks down what you need to be doing each year of high school to stay on track for the college application process come senior year – as well as what you need to do senior year to get all your applications in on time! Fill out the form below to download!