What to do over the summer as a rising senior in high school

college admissions

Happy summer, rising seniors! I hope you are taking some time to enjoy yourselves. I'm here to tell you that you do not need to work on your college applications each day to have a successful college process. This is a great time to continue the slow and steady work you have already begun, but it is also important that you find time to rest and recharge over the summer before your senior year begins.

Continue to work toward a thoughtful and purposeful college process by tackling some of these items this summer:

1. Read a book! (Or 8!)

You will likely be asked in an upcoming college admissions interview to talk about things you have read and enjoyed (not for school). Some schools even ask about non-school reading in a supplemental essay. Start this summer by finding some great books. Wondering where to begin? How about this list? Or this one?

2. Consider your admissibility: Likely, Target, Reach, Unlikely

Now is a good time to start to consider your admissibility at the schools on your list. Admissibility is the likelihood that you will be admitted to the college. There are several ways to think about this. Here are a few that might help:

  • Using the scattergram in Naviance/SCOIR for students from your high school, where do your GPA and SAT/ACT scores fall in relation to other admitted students? Are you well above these? (Likely); Close but above these? (Target); Just under? (Reach); Well below? (Unlikely). Keep in mind that highly selective schools reject many students with perfect testing who are at the top of their graduating classes. Unlikely for you often means unlikely for everyone.


  • No scattergrams? Google “average GPA and SAT/ACT for admitted student to ----”


  • Do you have a compelling factor that might tip your admission to a particular school (legacy, athletic recruitment)? Move the school one category up (from reach to target, etc.).

3. Update your spreadsheet

Go back to the Google spreadsheet that you made last month. Now, add two columns to your spreadsheet and fill them in for each school:

  • Likely/Target/Reach/Unlikely for each college

 

  • How you determined the categorization

4. Narrow your list

Using your spreadsheet, try to create a new tab with a narrowed college application list. You should strive for a balance of an equal number of schools in each of the three main categories: Likely, Target, Reach. If you apply to an unlikely school, try to limit it to just one or two. Here are some good rules of thumb:

  • Remember that your categories are your own and will not match anyone else’s. they are due to the personal and individual features that make up your application (and only your application)

  • Your final list should be no longer than 15 (and maybe should be closer to 12)


  • Don’t delete! Copy and paste your list schools into a new tab on the same Google Sheet. Your mind might change; don’t eliminate the hard work you have already done. Just move or color code so it is easier to read.

5. Get started on your short answer statements

Have you switched high schools or taken any time away from school (for any reason)? Take the time NOW to write the education explanation statements for the Common Application, 250 words to address the question: “Provide details about the change in progression through secondary/high school that you indicated above," OR, “Provide details about why you left each of the above secondary/high schools.” Edit this statement and make sure it is ready to be pasted into your eventual Common Application.

Don’t be discouraged! You’ve got this! If you would like additional support, please reach out to us at info@cambridgecoaching.com.

Elise holds a BA in Political Philosophy from Williams College and an MEd in Administration & Social Policy from Harvard. She has spent the past twenty years working in top-tier independent schools.

Comments

topicTopics
academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT college admissions expository writing English strategy MD/PhD admissions writing LSAT GMAT physics GRE chemistry biology math graduate admissions academic advice law school admissions ACT interview prep test anxiety language learning career advice premed MBA admissions personal statements homework help AP exams creative writing MD test prep study schedules computer science Common Application mathematics summer activities history philosophy secondary applications organic chemistry economics supplements research grammar 1L PSAT admissions coaching law psychology statistics & probability dental admissions legal studies ESL CARS PhD admissions SSAT covid-19 logic games reading comprehension calculus engineering USMLE mentorship Spanish parents Latin biochemistry case coaching verbal reasoning AMCAS DAT English literature STEM admissions advice excel medical school political science skills French Linguistics MBA coursework Tutoring Approaches academic integrity astrophysics chinese gap year genetics letters of recommendation mechanical engineering Anki DO Social Advocacy algebra art history artificial intelligence business careers cell biology classics data science dental school diversity statement geometry kinematics linear algebra mental health presentations quantitative reasoning study abroad tech industry technical interviews time management work and activities 2L DMD IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs Sentence Correction adjusting to college algorithms amino acids analysis essay athletics business skills cold emails finance first generation student functions graphing information sessions international students internships logic networking poetry proofs resume revising science social sciences software engineering trigonometry units writer's block 3L AAMC Academic Interest EMT FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Health Professional Shortage Area Italian JD/MBA admissions Lagrange multipliers London MD vs PhD MMI Montessori National Health Service Corps Pythagorean Theorem Python Shakespeare Step 2 TMDSAS Taylor Series Truss Analysis Zoom acids and bases active learning architecture argumentative writing art art and design schools art portfolios bacteriology bibliographies biomedicine brain teaser campus visits cantonese capacitors capital markets central limit theorem centrifugal force chemical engineering chess chromatography class participation climate change clinical experience community service constitutional law consulting cover letters curriculum dementia demonstrated interest dimensional analysis distance learning econometrics electric engineering electricity and magnetism escape velocity evolution executive function fellowships freewriting genomics harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science hybrid vehicles hydrophobic effect ideal gas law immunology induction infinite institutional actions integrated reasoning intermolecular forces intern investing investment banking lab reports letter of continued interest linear maps mandarin chinese matrices mba medical physics meiosis microeconomics mitosis mnemonics music music theory nervous system