Application season is HERE! If you’re a senior, talk of college lists, deadlines, application fees, and essays may be consuming your conversations with family and friends. This might be where the panic kicks in – how are you supposed to begin your senior year, stay involved in all of your activities, and apply for colleges? The pressure is heavy and it may seem impossible, but to that I would ask, what’s your game plan? 

Just like you can’t run onto the field without reviewing your playbook, or into your finals without a study system, you can’t tackle your application season without a game plan. Well, you can try, but it might not turn out so well… 

As a Student Services Consultant, I coach each of my students through their pre-app season by making a game plan. Each is personalized with their academic profile, college dreams, and goals, but if you don’t have one and aren’t sure where to begin, here are some key components to get you started:

Finalize Your College List: I could talk about the importance of landing on a solid college list for days, but to get straight to the point, you need to know where you’re applying before you can make a plan! To learn more about this, check out my previous post here: College Lists: What’s the Point? 

Get the Details: Once you know where you’re applying, figure out what you need to know to complete their application. When are their deadlines? Do they have any early action or priority scholarship deadlines? How much do their applications cost? And how do you apply? What’s their test score policy and has it changed this year due to COVID-19? What other materials are you required to submit? (Here’s a hint – your transcript is definitely one of them). I know it’s a lot of questions to ask, but trust me, knowing the answers for each will be crucial to submitting successful apps. 

Create a Strategy: Here’s where you have to start making some decisions to figure out your plays. Which colleges will you apply early action vs. regular decision? Which applications will you work on first? How will you keep track of your deadlines? Maybe with a calendar or a spreadsheet? Here’s a pro-tip: don’t stop at tracking your application deadlines. Create your own to break it up into more manageable steps and stay on pace throughout the process. 

Part of creating a strategy also includes evaluating your test scores. Even though many schools are test optional this year, some do still have test requirements and even those that don’t will still look favorably on a strong score. Check out each of your college’s test policies, average test scores, and admit rates. Is your score competitive or could you increase it with another test? Are you able to register for another test and receive your scores before your deadlines? Or would it be better to send other accepted materials? 

As you’re making your game plan, it can get overwhelming real quick, I know. But I promise it will help you move through the application process more smoothly and with less stress. If you’re really feeling the pressure, our Student Services team here at College Dream Builder would love to help you make the perfect strategy to crush your college applications! And we don’t stop there – we’ll be there to help you follow through every step of the way! 

Until Next Time, 

Megan Bugarin

College Admissions Consultant 

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