For students starting to think about (or in the midst of!) the college application process, it’s helpful to be aware of all the possible components of a strong college application, as well as how to best leverage the high school years towards your candidacy.
By familiarizing yourself with the timeline and the possible elements of an appealing college admissions portfolio, you can plan for the college admissions process early, better position yourself, and significantly reduce the stress come senior fall.
If you are a sophomore, you’re right on time to start standardized test preparation. For students in 11th grade, it’s never too late to improve your academic record, sit for some additional tests such as an SAT subject test or AP, or strengthen your extracurricular portfolio.
Take a look at our college application timeline and recommendations to get oriented:
- Begin standardized test preparation for the PSAT.
- Implement a reading plan to build vocabulary (select a magazine or newspaper to read on a weekly, if not daily, basis). Create vocabulary lists.
- What you do over the summer matters. Think ahead to the summer months. Prepare to take advantage of an academic, volunteer or professional opportunity.
- Sit for 1 SAT Subject Test (US History, Literature, Biology).
- Build your Applicant Profile. Plan to pursue 2 or more extracurricular activities and pursue courses that will challenge and differentiate you.
- Begin standardized test preparation for the SAT.
- Select a test date and register for the SAT.
- Continue your SAT test preparation.
- Take 1 or 2 SAT Subject Tests (Chemistry, Language, Writing, Physics).
- Sign up for 2-4 Advanced Placement Courses/Tests in the subjects that you are most comfortable with.
- Implement a reading plan to build vocabulary (select 1 fiction novel to read each month outside of assigned school readings).
- Sit for the SAT and other SAT Subject Tests.
- Connect with College Counselor
- Draft an initial list of Colleges.
- Set up College Visits (optional).
The summer before your senior year, you should think about finalizing your list of colleges and creating a mini-timeline for the upcoming fall. Some things to consider: college interviews, you personal statement, any outstanding standardized tests or re-dos.
- Early Fall
- Create schedule of ED, EA, RD applications
- Prepare the common application.
- Recruit recommenders.
- Implement a reading plan to build vocabulary (select 1 non-fiction book to read per month outside of assigned school readings).
- Write essay supplements for college applications.
- Sit for SAT or Subject Tests (October) as needed.