Applying to college is no joke. There’s a lot to do, and the process can be confusing and overwhelming. But don’t panic! I’ve made this fancy-schmancy checklist that breaks down the process into manageable tasks, allowing you to work smarter, not harder. Just follow the monthly schedule, and check off each item as you complete it. You’ll be swimming in acceptance letters before you know it. You got this!
Fall: Ace your classes. Show those colleges you mean business.
Fall: Bolster your resume. Look for leadership opportunities doing things you love. Tip: It's not too late to start a passion project - a club, Youtube channel, blog, fundraising campaign, etc. for a cause you believe in.
Winter: Have the "money talk" with your family now, so you understand how much you can afford to pay in tuition. There's nothing worse than setting your heart on a school, only to realize it's financially out of reach.
Winter: Research potential schools. Find the ones that make your heart skip a beat.
Spring: Take the SAT or ACT. Let them know you're a superstar.
Summer Before Senior Year:
June: Hire a professional application/essay coach. Tip: Many will raise their prices in the fall, so lock it in now.
June: Write your Common App personal statement. Let your personality dazzle those admission officers.
June: Polish that resume like a pro. Highlight your achievements and activities.
August: Visit as many schools on your list as you can. Take tours, talk to current students, and get your questions answered.
August: Request glowing letters of recommendation. Tip: Create and share a “Brag Sheet” with specifics about your amazing accomplishments and attributes, so your teachers and mentors can easily sing your praises.
Fall of Senior Year:
September: Finalize your college list. Only choose the schools that deserve your unique brand of incredible.
September: Write your school-specific supplemental essays. Impress them with your commitment by doing your research on each school. Tip: Name-dropping is essential! Which professors, classes, clubs/organizations, and research projects get you pumped?
October: Fill out those applications. Pay attention to every detail. Avoid typos like the plague.
October: Don’t forget to submit any early action or early decision applications (usually due November 1st)!
November: Start applying for scholarships. Show them your awesomeness, so they’ll show you the money.
December: Take a deep breath and submit those applications. Hit that "send" button and celebrate your major step forward.
Winter/Spring of Senior Year:
January: Stay organized and meet those deadlines. No excuses.
February: Keep an eye on your email. Interview invites and acceptance letters might be waiting. Tip: Interview when possible. It demonstrates interest and spotlights your personality. Besides, who could say no to that face?
March: Compare financial aid offers. Negotiate like a boss, and get the best deal.
April: Make your final decision. Choose the college you'll call home for the next four years.
Summer Before College:
May: Celebrate your accomplishments! Treat yourself and enjoy some well-deserved downtime.
June: Attend orientation and shop for your dorm room. Tip: Contact your new roommate(s) ahead of time. Start getting to know each other and coordinate who's bringing larger items, like mini-fridges, etc.
July: Complete any necessary paperwork. Dot those i's and cross those t's. Take care of business.
August: Pack your bags, say goodbye to high school, and embrace your new stage in life. College is waiting for your arrival. Tip: Call your mom. Every week. Seriously, just do it.
There you have it, friend! Follow this month-by-month breakdown, and you'll conquer the college application process like the rockstar you are. Above all, don’t forget to dream big, believe in yourself, and enjoy the journey.
Here’s to living your wildest dreams, Erin