The end of junior year was a more stressful one than usual for rising seniors in the Class of 2021. Here are some ways you can get ahead now as you head into a potentially hectic and uncertain fall:
- Take some time for you. Normally, summers include time spent at camp or on trips enjoying yourself. If you’re stuck at home due to COVID-19, you may feel extra pressure to use that time to be productive. Make sure you’re spending at least some of your time on relaxation and activities you enjoy. If you can get away from your phone and laptop for a bit, even better!
- Don’t stress about school in the fall. At this point, it’s unclear in many districts whether students will be headed back to remote learning, in person, or something in between. Remember to focus on controlling the controllables—you can’t do anything about the format your school or district chooses, but you can show up and bring your best to whatever that format is.
- Follow up with teachers who have agreed to provide recommendations. Teacher recommendations are going to matter more than ever this year, especially for those students whose schools moved to P/F for a quarter or for the rest of the year. If you haven’t yet asked your teachers, now is the time! Make sure to take time to provide thoughtful answers to any prompts they may give you to help them write their letters.
- Stay connected with your school’s college counselor. If you haven’t finished a brag sheet or another assignment from your school counselor, be sure to do so. If you plan to apply rolling admission anywhere and want to send an application before school starts again, make sure to let your counselor know in advance.
- Keep preparing for standardized tests, if you’re not done with testing. The SAT will next be offered in August. The ACT is coming up in mid-September. Both have added test dates to give you the most chances possible to test before application deadlines. While many colleges and universities have announced they will be test optional this fall, relieving stress for some students, there are still quite a few schools that have not yet announced any policy changes, and we want our students to have the most options possible come fall.
- Continue to keep track of how you spend your time. Colleges know that your typical summer plans may have been canceled, but will provide space to explain what you did do, via the new COVID-19 question on the Common App and other spaces.
- Keep attending the virtual tours and info sessions for colleges you would have visited. We know that nothing can fully replace the experience of being on a campus, but colleges are continuing to roll out online opportunities for prospective students, from virtual info sessions to opportunities to chat with current students. It’s important to engage with these where you can—especially at schools that track demonstrated interest! See our blog for more about college visits from home.
- Start working on your college essays. The Common Application questions are out now, and many schools are starting to release their supplemental essay questions as well. All schools will update their college-specific sections on the Common App after August 1. Give yourself a head start and start to tackle these essays—your future self will thank you. For tips as you start writing, check out our college essay resource center.
And if you need support with any of the above, from figuring out the right test prep plan to writing your college essays, we can help!