Home Russ Ingersoll: Get started early on college planning

Russ Ingersoll: Get started early on college planning


In my last blog I outlined a number of things for you to do during June and July in order to make the most of college planning and selection. The most important themes of that blog are:

1. Have a strong sense of who you are before you venture out on the college visit circuit and decide on the colleges to where you will apply. Having a clear understanding of your GPA, SAT/ACT results, strongest extra-curricular interests, and possible college majors, will clue you in to the colleges where you have the best chances of admission.

2. Begin the process early so that you will not be overwhelmed with all the college application tasks in the fall just when you are adjusting to the demands of your fall academic schedule.

What to do:  August-September

· Continue visiting colleges.  Always take the official admission tours.  When you take the official tours, you will get a much better sense of college life and the college’s personality. You have your own personality and each college has its own personality.  Your job is to find the right fit.  Additionally, on the official tours, you will learn about special programs and proposed new facilities.

· If you are applying to any Common Application colleges, as of August 1, you can get started on that application.  If nothing else, look ahead to the essay question topics and brain storm ideas for a compelling essay.  Begin your rough draft.  Look to see if any of the colleges to which are applying have Common Application Supplements.  If they do, you may find more essay assignments!

· If you did not establish your on-line application accounts in July, get that done now! Set a goal for yourself to complete the applications by early September.

· See your school counselor by September 7 to discuss the colleges to which you are applying.  Your counselor may have other suggestions for you to consider.  Make sure you know your high school’s deadlines for getting specific items to your counselor, such as Secondary School Reports and requests for recommendations.

· If you are applying to any college under the early decision or early action plan, go over those deadlines with your counselor.

· Register for the ACT and/or SAT.  Missing those deadlines is costly!

· If your ACT and/or SAT scores could use some boosting, seek preparation assistance through on-line sources or in-class courses near where you live.  Don’t expect positive changes in your scores if you do nothing between tests.  Just how motivated and dedicated to improve are you?  If you are motivated and dedicated, preparation usually improves scores.

· Aim high in you academic work.  First semester senior grades are important considerations for most college admissions committees.

Now that you are implementing the suggestions from both the June-July and August-September blogs, you are positioning yourself for a successful senior year and receiving positive college admissions decisions. Enjoy!

Russ Ingersoll is Waynesboro-based a college and career counselor. More online at www.HarborCounselingServices.com.



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