August Feature: What You Should Be Doing This Month for Your Admissions Plan


Wait, where did the summer go? It's already August! Before you know it, you will be back at school. Here are some items to check off your list this month to make sure you get a head start on your college admissions plan for the upcoming academic year.

Rising Ninth Graders and Sophomores

- Double check your planned coursework for the year to make sure you are taking classes required for college admissions.

- Think about the extracurricular activities you might want to participate in during high school. Consider talking to older students who can give advice about which activities they enjoyed to explore ideas of clubs, sports, arts activities and the time commitment involved in each of them.

Rising Juniors

- Hopefully, you have spent some time this summer exploring careers and possible college majors. If not, it isn't too late to spend some time doing that in August.

- If you have not registered for the SAT or ACT, register by the deadlines.

- Make a study plan to prepare for standardized tests over the next few months and start studying before school begins to get a jump start on test prep.

Rising Seniors

- August is a very important month because this is when the Common Application is ready for applicants, according to Sharon Genicoff, school counselor at Bergen County Technical High School in Paramus, N.J., and co-founder of Next Generation Consulting. After Aug. 1, students have the ability to add colleges to their lists and view each institution's requirements. Applicants can determine if the school has supplemental essays, which are essays specific to each college.

- "Use August to proactively show demonstrated interest, whether it be visiting a campus, scheduling an on-campus interview or emailing your regional admissions representative to ask about their fall travel plans to ensure they are visiting your area," advises Genicoff.

- If you haven't started on your college essay drafts, you should consider doing so before school begins in the fall. It will be less stressful to finish one or more essays later.

- Finalize your list of colleges, especially if you plan to apply Early Action or Early Decision.

- Some public college and universities have already released their applications in August, and the Common App opened this week. “So, if you plan to apply, then do so in August -- there is no reason to put it off until September," advises Genicoff.

- If you have visited schools, write down your thoughts about which colleges you liked and did not like to jog your memory down the road.

- If you did not ask teachers for recommendation letters last year, make a list of teachers you want to approach as soon as school begins. Also, write down some notes about what you plan to study in college and what courses you took with that teacher, along with examples of what you learned in their classes — providing them with this information will make it easier for them to write those rec letters.

Recent High School Graduates

- Make a list of items you need to buy for college and shop this month when the back-to-school sales happen in your area.

- Check with campus housing about your roommate assignment and get in touch with your roommate about what things each of you will contribute to your dorm room, if you are living on campus.

- Make sure all health forms are submitted to the college.

- If you are playing sports in college, contact coaches to obtain any last-minute items and confirm practice schedules.

- Confirm the date you should arrive on campus for orientation.

All Students

Try to get a head start on whatever you can do on your college admission checklist this month so when school starts, you will have a jump start on keeping your college admission tasks on schedule.