Top 10 Pieces of College App Advice: From Seniors to Juniors

We asked seniors who went through our program last year what they would say to juniors currently in the process. Here’s what they said:

  1. Start early!
  • “Get a lot of work done over summer before your senior year begins!” – Matt, San Marcos High
  • “Submit all your applications early so you don’t have to worry about it during Thanksgiving break. The fact that I had it all done while my friends were working on it all week almost non-stop was really nice.” – Malia, Westview High
  • “I learned that the application process can be quite time consuming, so make sure to allot enough time for each deadline. I also learned that it’s not as scary as it seems! I got lucky and all my schools used the common app so I only entered my information one time. Just get it out of the way and you won’t have to worry about it again!” – Hannah, Poway High
  1. Don’t give up!
  • “PUSH THROUGH!! Don’t lose motivation because if you lose motivation now, pushing through senior year is going to be really hard.” – Emily, Torrey Pines High“
  • If I could do it all over again, I would probably have pushed myself a little more to keep up with the deadlines given by my college planning counselor, because after a month or two of staying on track, I began to fall a little behind on my deadlines with school work piling up…I would tell myself to start the whole college app process as early as possible to give myself a lot of time to think things over, review my essays, and turn in my apps early. Getting them out of the way relieved a really big burden that had been weighing me down, which felt really nice.” – Grace, Westview High
  1. Visit Schools
  • “Look into a variety of schools: big/small, public/private, etc. once you visit some colleges, you will have a better idea of what you are looking for and can really zone into the specifics. Even if you don’t want to stay local, I recommend visiting local schools just to have something to compare other colleges to.” – Hannah, Poway High
  • “Visit as many campuses as you can; it helps you learn what you want!” – Matt, San Marcos High
  • “If I could do it over again, I would’ve visited more colleges that were at my level so I could make a better college list.” – Kenzo, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “I should have visited more colleges in the summer. I think that I would have applied to a few more schools I wouldn’t have expected to like because I only saw them from a computer screen, but when I actually got there I liked it a lot.” – Malia, Westview High
  1. Build Your Profile
  • “ Study. Study. Take a break. Study. Study. Study. Study. Take a break. Study. Study. Study. Also push yourself to find ways that makes you stand out from the bunch.” – Kenzo, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “All of the hard work during high school really pays off during the college app process. Participating in a lot of different clubs, extracurricular activities, and challenging yourself academically might see like a big burden and a huge hassle at the time, but I am so glad I took part in many activities, because it showed that I was a well-rounded person to the college admissions counselors” – Grace, Westview High
  1. Stay Organized
  • “KNOW YOUR DEADLINES: Some colleges have different deadlines! Make sure to know when the deadlines are for each college! I missed out on an opportunity because I assumed that the deadlines were the same for all.” – Justine, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “Keep all of your school awards: I lost a lot of awards that I could’ve used as supplementary documents to increase my chances of getting accepted.” – Justine, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “Keep your username and passwords all in one place for every college you apply to. Sometimes I had to reset my password or didn’t know my username because it’s hard to keep track of it all.” – Malia, Westview High
  1. Get Moving on Your Essays!
  • “When you are given deadlines to send stuff in, don’t just be like ‘oh I’ll just slap something together to meet the deadline and I can fix it later’ because that never ends well… then you end up having too much stuff that piles up. Try to set a certain time each week aside to just work on college apps.” – Emily, Torrey Pines High
  • “Essays are going to take up a lot of time and effort. Don’t worry about writing it perfectly the first time. Just get your ideas down, brainstorm, then revise and edit as you go.I wish that I wrote more drafts and edited them. I pushed it off because I thought that I had enough time and it wouldn’t be so hard to write 350 words or less, but I struggled.” – Justine, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “I thought that planning my UC essays over the summer was a great idea, in that you’re pretty much ahead of a lot of people applying for schools and peer re-editing and revising does help polish up the essay.” – Kenzo, Rancho Bernardo High
  1. Ask Early
  • “Ask teachers as early as possible for letter of recs!” – Matt, San Marcos High
  1. Don’t Stress Over Your Major
  • “Don’t worry about your major so much: You have so much time to think about what you want to do in life. You have the rest of high school and can even change majors in college. Go out, try things, and you’ll eventually know what you want to do.” – Justine, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “It’s ok to not know where you want to go, what you want to major in, or what you want to do after college. You don’t have to stick with what you chose because new majors are always worth exploring! Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what you want to do. YOU HAVE TIME!” – Hannah, Poway High
  1. Be Honest
  • “Be honest: The administrators may not know if you did or didn’t do something, but by having real life experiences, you explain yourself better in the essays and have an easier time filling out the app.” – Justine, Rancho Bernardo High
  1. Keep up the good work!
  • “You have accomplished more than you think: It’s hard to think of what you’ve done these past couple years on the spot. All I could’ve thought of was sleeping, eating, and sports practice. It’s difficult to try to dig up the past as you’re so focused on the present and future. Just know that you’re not alone and you have done more in your life than meets the eye. Take time to relax and reminisce for a couple minutes. You’ll think of something.” – Justine, Rancho Bernardo High
  • “College is supposed to be a fun, new chapter of your life! Don’t stress about it, enjoy it because the time goes by quicker than you think!” — Hannah, Poway High

~~~~From Your friends at College Planning Source!

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