Your admission journey begins here, part 1

Posted on January 6th, 2020 to College Admission

Well it’s here. The time for you 11th graders out there (and your families) to kick your college search into high gear. I know this may feel like it’s too early, but I promise you it isn’t. Realistically speaking this process has started well before now, and we’ll get to that in a bit. Starting now gives you 10 months from early application deadlines and 12 months from regular decision deadlines to research schools, prepare your applications, and submit them. In short, starting now gives you the freedom of time.

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to celebrate what you’ve already done. That’s right, you have already done quite a bit to get you started on your college admission journey. Almost everything you have done throughout high school up to this point has in some way prepared you for applying to college. There is a common misconception that “colleges only look at Junior year.” In actuality, colleges are looking at the totality of your high school career, starting with 9th grade. That’s why they require your whole high school transcript, not just your 11th grade report card; that’s why they ask you to list all of your activities and leadership positions starting with 9th grade, not just 11th grade. Think of your 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years like a roller-coaster car slowly being drawn up to the top of the first drop. Now, as a spring semester 11th grader you are at the drop! 

Your journey will likely bring into perspective decisions you have made on class selection, your performance, your extracurricular activities, and leadership roles. In my experience it’s common for students and families to worry that they haven’t done enough. More often than not, that’s not the case. You just need a school counselor or independent counselor to help put it into perspective. Even if there are some gaps (again this is usually the exception not the rule), starting your journey now gives you time to bridge those gaps.

This journey will also force you to answer some difficult and personal questions. One of the first questions I ask students is “why do you want to go to college?” Understanding your “why” will serve as your compass point north; your North Star; your foundation. It will be the valuable reminder about why your hard work is important and meaningful. It will be the helpful reminder of your purpose; of your life’s mission. This is not to say you need to have your entire life mapped out. Quite the opposite in fact. It requires you to reflect on your life, values, and aspirations from a wider angle. The proverbial “64,000 foot view”. The big picture…your big picture. One of the most important steps you can take is to fully answer why you want to go to college.

If you are ready and know this is the path for you, then let’s get you set you up for success. Let’s equip you with the knowledge you need to be ready for what’s next. Broadly speaking there are three main things you will do on this adventure into your future: search for schools, choose the ones you want to apply to, and then apply to them. In this 4 part series I will delve deeper into researching colleges, preparing to apply, and some tips for family members.

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