How to Prep for College
It’s the summer before your college applications, as in the summer before your senior year. You know you should be kind of thinking about stuff…right?
But what exactly should you be doing to plan? Allow me to step in: I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate and having been running my Ivy League college admissions consulting firm for the last 10+ years. In other words, I have some great tips + advice for you, so read on!
- Research schools: Use the summer to make a list of your top schools. I usually recommend that you break down the list into three categories = highly competitive reach schools, moderate schools, and low tier or safety schools (as everybody needs at least ONE safety). Make the list your top 15 choices and you can narrow it down from there. Most people apply to 8-10 colleges total when all is said and done!
- Summer internships, summer programs, jobs, or travel: Use your summer time wisely as this is stuff great college admissions essays and Common App essays are made of! Just make sure you’re doing SOMETHING and the more interesting the better. You’re going to be asked one way or the other whether in your applications or your college admissions interview what you did over your summer(s).
- Start brainstorming ideas for your Common App essay: September will be upon you sooner than you think, and you will have more free time now to ponder ideas. So, think about your Common App. I suggest keeping a brainstorming list on your computer where you can just add ideas as they come, then when the time does come to actually choose a topic to write about, you will have spent the whole summer coming up with a great list of potential ideas to choose from.
- READ as in books: A lot of the application essays, especially if you’re applying to an Ivy League college, will ask you to list your favorite books, or what you read this summer. Scrolling through social media doesn’t count, so if you want to go to an intellectually focused school show them you actually have intellectual focused interests.
- Attend cultural events: As with the above, the schools will be looking at what you do in your free time. Have you been to any art museums? Seen any serious plays? Attended the symphony, the opera, or some kind of cultural or religious performance? All these things show you are culturally engaged, again on an intellectual level, so you might want to think about expanding your usual horizons.
- Take the SAT or ACT: I know in these post-pandemic days it’s become more and more optional, but if you think you can score well you should take it, because the schools DO still look and you will beat out the students who didn’t want to bother. Especially at the Ivy League level, the tests do still have a lot of value,
- Volunteer: Use your summer to benefit others, even if it’s only for a few days or weeks here and there at a time. The schools like to see people who can think beyond themselves and do something for somebody else.
- RELAX! because your senior year is going to stressful and you want to go into it and your college applications as solid and strong as possible. Start early and you’ll do great!
Want extra help this year? I’m a former Harvard admissions interviewer and a Harvard graduate, and have been running my Ivy League college admissions consulting firm for the last 10+ years OUT OF NYC. Contact me today for a free consultation, and GET INTO THE IVY LEAGUE!