Expert Advice: 3 Things College Bound Seniors Should Do in October

I know, I know. It’s not even Halloween yet! But if you (or someone in your house) is a high school senior, you have to be thinking about next fall, now.

Early applications are due in November! Dr. Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of IvyWise and LinkedIn Higher Ed Expert, suggests the three things high school seniors should do in October.

Dr. Katherine Cohen1. Narrow down your college list

Students should end up with a list of 12 to 15 good-fit schools, a balanced list of likely, target and reach schools, all of which are a fit academically, socially and financially.  LinkedIn is a great place to start your research, as it provides both aspiring students and young professionals with the opportunity to make educated decisions on which universities, majors and skills will help them achieve future personal and professional success. LinkedIn University pages, a recent addition to the networking site, allows students to learn what’s happening on campus, ask questions of faculty, staff, students and alumni, check out notable alumni and explore the professional paths of graduates.

2. Create a college application checklist

Most students find senior year of high school to be extremely overwhelming.  It’s typically the most rigorous academic year, and the complexity of the college application process is an additional pressure.  Creating a college application checklist and calendar with key dates now is a great way to stay organized and on task, so that you don’t miss any important deadlines.  Including due dates is crucial; for early and regular applications at each school to which you’re applying, standardized test dates, deadlines to apply for scholarships and financial aid, as well as deadlines for school projects, mid-terms and final exams.

3. Approach teachers for letters of recommendation

One to three recommendation letters are required by most selective colleges and universities, usually from a guidance counselor and at least one teacher. If you haven’t done so already, identify two 11th grade teachers who know you well and ask them to write a letter of recommendation immediately.  Another tip? Don’t just ask the ones who gave you that easy “A.” Teachers receive many requests and are not required to write these letters, and often teachers limit the number of letters they write, so students need to ask early.  Make sure to provide a copy of your resume, examples of your completed assignments and information about the colleges to which you are applying, so the letter is personalized. Also, don’t forget to write your own letter to thank your teachers for their time!

What are your high school seniors doing this month to prepare for college?
 
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