It’s that time of the year when Grade 12 students are getting ready to move forward. College decisions are trickling in or are yet to arrive. In the meantime, it is time to make sure that everything needed for applications is in place. If you are in Grade 11, then there is a lot to look forward to, but it all takes planning.
So Grade 12 students. You may or may not have heard from a few schools you applied to. If your ED school accepted you, Congratulations! You’re done! If it’s an Early Action school(s) then you have some decisions to make: Do you take one of those schools or wait out for the rest? It is an important decision; certainly, if you were accepted by one of your top schools, then you need to weigh the balance of waiting. As a reminder, college applications shouldn’t be a collection process, but a choice of what is right for you. When thinking about your future, it is definitely about making sure the school you choose is the best fit – the one where you can develop the skills necessary for the future; the one that will prepare you on all levels – academically, personally, and socially. These are not mutually exclusive.
As you think about your future, it is important to weigh all the essential factors you made when choosing schools. At this stage in the process, remember that you have changed – from the process of applying, getting a bit more mature, focusing more specifically on things coming to an end (high school). There is a crack in the door letting you peek at your future. Take notice!
For the rest of your Grade 12, you’re in the waiting process. Make sure you check the status of your applications to ensure all of your needed documents are on file and nothing is missing. At this stage, the only document due is the Mid Year Report – grades from your mid-year exams. Otherwise, you are just in a holding pattern while you wait for the decisions to start rolling in – good, bad, or wait some more.
Now on to Grade 11 students. This is when everything starts. Now is when you should be planning on tasks, goals and setting a schedule. Here are a few things you must get done soon:
1. Testing – SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS (if English is not your first language). Please note that some schools may state that “if you have attended an English school…” etc.. not every school has the same requirement or require a TOEFL or IELTS. It is always a good idea to have the testing in place than wish you had it.
2. Research schools – not just cursory schools that everyone applies to but schools that may actually suit you. Applying to university is not a popularity contest, though certainly, one might think that given the media’s attention to ranking and admission.
3. Talk to your College Counselor – they should be a great source of information. Remember they may have a greater knowledge of schools, and if they know you well, they might be able to recommend some schools that might actually make sense.
4. Think about summer. This has been said before, but staying home studying SAT and TOEFL is NOT a good use of your summer. Your peers, the students you are competing with, are taking courses, doing amazing community service projects, research projects, adventures in the wild and more. You lose the race by focusing on testing when testing is a small portion of the application process. Do something really meaningful, and plan something that is going to push you.
5. Don’t wait. Nothing good comes at the last minute. Students who plan and prepare are far better off than those who don’t
Move forward, clear the path. Make sure you are in a good place, whether you are a Senior or a Junior. Do what is right in front of you but also plan for the future.