As we get ready for summer and another season of college application, here are some tips for the Class of 2022 that are both proven and learned from the Class of 2021.
Apply Early Action and Early Decision!
We’ve helped students boost their admissions chances by strategically picking best-fit reach schools and applying early action or early decision. As mentioned in previous blog posts (check it out if you haven’t already yet), applying early decision is a great strategy to improve odds because of yield rate and commitment. People often say that colleges don’t worry about protecting their yield rate, but the truth is they matter, and early decision applicants, generally speaking, do enjoy increased admissions odds. Feel free to reach with ED1 and ED2!
Utilize Summer and Fall!
Another thing I remind students of is to utilize summer. Four summers is essentially an extra year, effectively 25% more time. Make sure that you have plans for summer, even if you aren’t attending a college program or volunteering, find something meaningful to do and possibly reflect upon in your college essays. A rule of thumb is if you probably can’t tell the story of it in a college app, it’s probably not meaningful enough. At the same time, keep expectations realistic. You aren’t required to cure cancer. You just need to be productive enough this summer! Also, don’t forget to maximize your usage of fall, meaning squeezing in more standardized tests and continuing to visit colleges virtually from now on.
Include a Wider Range of Schools on Your College List!
What we’ve all learned and heard from the Class of 2021 is that all colleges were substantially more difficult to get into this year. We have no reason to believe the same for the Class of 2022 because, after all, we’re still in pandemic mode: distance learning and limited opportunities off-campus. This also means that we need to be more open-minded to a wider range of schools on our college lists, in both directions – up and down!
Decide on SAT, ACT, or neither!
Are you going to take a test? Which one? Have you taken one already? Will it be your first time? How are you doing on your practice tests? Should you take an official test at all? Would your time be better spent on something that has more value or return? These are all questions with different answers for each student’s situation. Several of my students did not report a test score and still enjoyed wonderful results because they spent that time focusing on interesting activities that set them apart from the pack more than a higher standardized score could ever do. Keep that in mind!
What else did we learn? We need time! We need the time to research schools, to explore majors, to visit colleges, to brainstorm and draft essays, to consider early or regular deadlines, to think about standardized tests, to request and obtain official documents and letters of recommendation, and to keep up with academics. Most of all, we need time to enjoy the last year of high school! Start now. No one has ever regretted starting early.