Updated: Summer 2016
If your student is a rising senior (i.e., will be in the final year of “high school” in the fall) and plans to apply to university for Fall 2017, this summer needs to involve more than hitting the beach or even volunteering at an orphanage in Ghana. Once school starts, it is very challenging to find time to focus on university applications.
What are the four most important things students should work on this summer to be on track?
- Complete extended essay or other school assignments because academic performance in a rigorous curriculum is the most important factor universities consider. Do additional work – possibly with a tutor or an online class – in subjects needing improvement.
- Research and solidify a balanced list of colleges and universities where they plan to apply. It takes digging to find those “likely” schools that a student can both be sure of getting into and would be happy to attend. Students need to have at least two likely schools on their list.
- Start writing personal statements and/or college essays. The UCAS personal statement is generally adaptable to non-UK universities as well. In the US, the main CommonApp essay prompts, or questions, are not changing for the 2016-2017 application season, so that is one place to start. Do not underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete all of the supplemental essays when applying to the US.
- Prepare for future SAT, SAT Subject Test, ACT tests, IELTS or TOEFL exams. Any rising senior who has not taken required exams or is not happy with their scores should practice test questions from old tests and read!
- There are also numerous options for online test prep. Contact me for specific suggestions.
- IvyEd from the US offers a group course at Haut Lac International School in late August.
- Catalyse Learning Centre in Clarens offers one-on-one test prep tutoring.
- TOEFL is offering a free MOOC called TOEFL Test Preparation.
Questions? Feel free to leave comments or contact me if your student needs help with this process. I particularly enjoy working with students to develop their university lists. We then brainstorm ideas for their personal statements and college essays, and I guide them through completion of this important writing process.