Unless there has been some terrible disaster, all the secondary-level schools are back in session. In just a few months we will be into summer and staring another fall semester in the face. All of the high school juniors should be keenly aware that the time has come to begin working on their application files.
The first thing I suggest you do is schedule your ACT and/or SAT exam. If it has already been scheduled, get busy studying. Next on my priority list is to put together an updated resume. It will make a great substitute for the brag sheet your counselors will ask for in the fall. Creating or updating the resume now will also allow you to supply any teachers supporting material when you ask them to write your letters of recommendation over the summer. Another very good thing to do is identify any required application essays and produce a rough draft. This is typically the most time-consuming part of the application and getting it out of the way early will allow you to review them months later and polish them to a brilliant shine before submitting your applications.
And then, there is the application itself. Most students will complete one, two or all three of the most-used applications (ApplyTexas, Common App or Coalition) depending on the choice of colleges. The Common App can be accessed as soon as there is a spare moment at the end of the junior year. The Apply Texas application goes live on July 1st of every year. The Coalition application profile can be created freshman year of high school and information can be added to all the way through submission to the colleges.
Understand that the applications are not just a fill-in-the-blank document. Most will require an essay but there may also be short answer responses as well as a section to list your extracurricular activities, awards or recognitions, and community service activities. There will be questions about your parents, siblings and anyone else living in your house. Colleges want to get an idea about the world you come from before inviting you onto their campus. Be prepared to paint them a vivid picture of your world.
If you have a year or two before becoming a junior in high school, get ready. You have time to create the kind of application you want colleges to see. Get busy impressing your parents, teachers and peers and the college admissions committees will be impressed as well.