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


Can you believe it's already November and the holidays are around the corner? Your school year is in full swing, and if you are applying to college this fall, you're probably juggling quite a few deadlines. If you're wondering what your college admissions checklist should include, we've got the scoop.

To stay on track in your college planning process, don't forget to take these steps this month, courtesy of Erika Dietz, founder of Guru Academic Advising, in Flower Mound, Texas.

Ninth and Tenth Graders:

- Start a resume or list of activities in which you are involved. Write down details about what you do, how often you meet and how many hours you spend on average each week for that club or activity. You'll need it when college admissions time comes around.

- Assess your organizational system and study habits. What's working? What isn't? Get feedback from your teachers on your performance by requesting meetings to learn where you can improve and what you can focus on for the rest of the semester. Do a critical evaluation of your organizational tools. Are you using a planner? Should you be? How do you keep track of your calendar and appointments? Make smart changes to help yourself stay on track or get back into the groove.

- Consider an exploratory college visit to a local college (no need to tour the country just yet). Start learning, using the colleges closest to you, about the range of colleges out there so you're ready when admissions time comes around. Approach these visits with an open mind, letting yourself fully consider every option before deciding which is best for you.

Eleventh Graders:

- Use the information you get back from the PSAT as a planning tool to help you prepare for your SAT or ACT later in the year.

- Develop strong relationships with your teachers. Be thinking about who you are connecting with that might become a letter of recommendation writer for you at the end of the year. Be the type of person in your classes you want to show up in the letter of recommendation they write.

- Continue interacting with admissions officers. Join the mailing lists for colleges you are interested in, and read the emails they send to continue learning about the schools. Take notes on what you like and don't like about each college as you learn more about them (keep a note sheet for every college on your list, and add to it regularly). These notes will come in handy when you write essays for your application about why you are applying to that college.

- Consider ways you can make a real impact in your extracurricular activities. Set goals for the things you want to accomplish through each extracurricular you join.

Twelfth Graders:

- Check the status portals regularly for the colleges to which you've already applied. Make sure you have sent your test scores and transcripts, and monitor the portals for important communication from your colleges.

- Keep working on essays for your colleges with deadlines in December and January. Solicit feedback on your essays from only one or two trusted people who know you well and also understand a bit of what colleges are looking for in their admissions essays.

- Begin working on outside scholarship applications.

- Apply to honors programs at your colleges, if applicable.

- Say thank you to your recommenders once they finish your letters of recommendation. As you earn acceptances, remember to celebrate your successes with all the people who have helped you along the way.

Want more information on what you should be doing each month? Check out our college admissions infographics.