A few weeks ago, I wrote about how careful you should be when planning out your summer vacation.

This is especially true of rising seniors, who should factor in some time for the college application process.

“Why do I already need to start thinking about this,” you might ask. “I’m on vacation. I have all fall to be working on my essays and applications.”

This is true, but remember that senior year is BUSY. Senior year is exciting! Senior year should be a time for enjoying your many “lasts,” not a time for being bogged down with things that you could be getting out of the way ahead of time.

The summer before senior year is when things really start to ramp up for our seniors here at PES. We’re diving in with essay brainstorming, creating applications, and finalizing college lists. We’re taking advantage of those school-free months to slowly begin working our way through the college application process, not having to worry yet about deadlines (many of which fall from mid-October to late December—another reason not to delay).

The benefit of starting early is that you can take your time. You don’t have to rush to complete an essay that ends up being sub-par because you waited until the last minute to start. You can be assured that your application is perfect and polished because you aren’t rapidly filling it out the night before it’s due and increasing your chances of making a mistake.

“But I’m still touring campuses and deciding what I want my final list to look like.”

Great! THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL YOUR VISITS ARE DONE UNTIL YOU START APPLYING. Say it louder for the people in the back! So often I have students request that we wait to start the application process until they’ve toured every school and have finalized their list. But there is so much that can be done while you’re simultaneously solidifying your list, like essay brainstorming or creating your application accounts if you know of at least one or two schools that you are certain about. 

In fact, while the summers can be a great time for college visits, it can actually be beneficial to tour a campus while school is in session so that you can see what the students are like, sit in on a class, and so forth. You may want to think about scheduling some of those last minute visits this fall so you can get the most accurate picture of what the school is like. That said, if you’re waiting until the fall to continue your college road trip, don’t let that delay the start of your work on the applications! 

If you’re a rising senior, do yourself a favor and carve out some time this summer to begin working on the application process. You’ll be glad you did!

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