High school juniors everywhere are closing the books on what can often be the most challenging year of high school. Our best piece of advice for these now rising seniors? We highly recommend completing your college applications this summer, before you go back to school in August or September.
If you’re groaning in protest, stop and picture your future self rolling into senior year more relaxed, less stressed and more present because you took care of the heavy lifting on your college applications over the summer.
Specific reasons we recommend doing this include:
- It gives you time to make your applications the best they can be. Completing your Common Application or Coalition Application and supplemental essays carefully and thoughtfully will strengthen them and allow you to best showcase your experiences and personal qualities–thus improving your chances of admission at your colleges. There are no shortcuts to completing your applications thoughtfully–it simply takes TIME! Time is a precious commodity for most busy high school students, so take advantage of the extra time you might have in the summer to fill out your applications with care.
- You will want to focus on things other than college applications in the fall. Speaking of time… your senior fall semester is likely to be very busy. You will probably be embarking on new leadership roles in your activities and taking more challenging classes than before. On top of that, you may have social obligations like Homecoming dances or events to welcome new 9th graders to your school–it is your senior year, after all! One thing you won’t want to add to the mix is a mountain of college essays. Having completed them in the summer means you will have more time and energy to focus on making your senior fall meaningful and devoting yourself to your classes and activities.
- Applying early might improve your chances of admission. Some colleges have admissions policies and deadlines that advantage applicants who submit their materials early. For example, colleges may have rolling admissions policies for certain programs, like business or nursing, that fill up quickly as qualified applicants apply. Therefore, even strong applicants could be denied admission to these competitive programs if they don’t submit applications until winter. If you complete your applications this summer, you will be ready to submit them early, if that is to your advantage.
- It helps keep your options open. As you may know, colleges typically release their supplemental essays and requirements to the Common App in the late spring or over the summer. If you have completed the Common App and personal statement, you will be free to focus your efforts on supplements, once those become available. This is a good strategy for managing your time and keeping yourself from getting overwhelmed. In addition, you may want to make changes to your college list based on late summer or early fall college visits. Having done the bulk of the applications leaves you more time for last-minute pivots.
Trust us: Take our advice, and your future self will be grateful. We’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I had waited longer to start my college applications!”