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  • Tasha Chang

The Whys and Hows to Start the College Admission Process Senior Year

Anticipating Senior year can be  both apprehensive and exhilarating.  It’s the last year of memories had and memories formed, and  the cloud of college applications overhead.  Akin to most everything, starting early helps ease the stress and sets you on a pathway to a successful application process. Here is a simple checklist to hopefully guide you through the summer before:

College list: Write down a list of all the colleges you are even remotely interested in. Can be ones that you only know the name of, you heard from your friend’s cousin,  or just because you like the city. Don’t limit yourself at first.  Research all of them and see what aligns with your likes, your major, and your location. Then taper down and choose 10-15 schools and separate into safety, target, and reach schools.

Tours: If time and finance allows, take a trip to visit the school. Sign up for a tour and explore the area. Ask questions of the guide and students as well, and observe your surroundings. If you don’t end up liking the campus and school, note why. You can compare to other schools that have similarities. If you are unable to travel, search online and take a virtual tour. Research clubs, majors, professors, and anything else that might interest you. Take time to see what the school offers to make your best decision.

Activities: Look at what you have accomplished so far and decide if you want to be more competitive. Universities now look at passion projects and how you have contributed to the community. It is not too late to start creating something and participating in helping your community. There are also a slew of online courses you can take to boost your skills; learning a different language, leadership training,  earning a new tech skill or how to make French desserts. Enjoy what you’re doing to ensure passion and aptitude. 

Essays: The most important part! You can start your personal statement in the summer and finish before senior year even starts! This is the essay that is sent to every school (except UCs) on top of the supplemental ones. Take your time to polish it as this is all about you. Around 650 precise and remarkable words all deliberately chosen to describe you. This should highlight your values and present what is not in the rest of your application.

Scholarships: Start local and sharpen your writing skills. Attending college is expensive and any amount can help. In the beginning, many scholarships may not seem like a lot, but they can add up. If you start writing a few essays to apply, eventually you can reuse them and adjust to fit the specific prompt. A few hundred dollars or even a thousand dollars start to add up and can significantly help in reducing tuition costs.  Try your local city organizations, banks, and small businesses who offer scholarships. Chances are not many students apply and your entry can be a winner. 

Summer is a time to spend with friends, family, travel, and sleep in.  You definitely need to take advantage of all these amenities the summer offers. Starting the application process in the summer allows you to work hard and still have time to enjoy your life before your last year of high school begins.


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