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3 Key Steps to College Application Success: A Summer Guide for Rising Seniors and Parents

Hello, rising seniors and parents!

Here at College Bound Coaching, I'm here to help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming college application process. The summer before your senior year is a critical time to get started, so let's dive into the three key steps you should take before the end of the summer.

Step 1: Create a Common App account.

The Common Application, or "Common App" for short, is a platform that allows you to apply to multiple colleges and universities with one application. By creating an account before the end of the summer, you'll have more time to fill out the application and ensure that it's complete and error-free. Trust me; the app is easy but very time-consuming.

According to the Common App, over 1 million students use the platform to apply to college each year. That's a lot of competition! By starting early, you'll have a better chance of standing out to admissions officers.

Step 2: Determine your top two recommenders and respectfully ask for the recommendations to be written before summer break starts.

Recommendations from teachers, counselors, or other adults who know you well are a valuable addition to your college application. By asking for these recommendations before summer break starts, you'll give your recommenders more time to write thoughtful, detailed letters that showcase your strengths and potential.

Choosing recommenders who can speak to different aspects of your personality and abilities is essential. For example, you might ask a science teacher to write about your academic achievements in that subject and a coach or club advisor to write about your leadership skills and teamwork. If you can, get three recommenders. An employer is another excellent option.

According to a survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 83% of colleges consider recommendations to be "important" or "very important" in the admissions process. So don't underestimate the power of a good recommendation!

Step 3: Create your first draft of your Common App essay.

Your Common App essay is your chance to showcase your personality, values, and interests to admissions officers. By starting your first draft before the end of the summer, you'll have more time to brainstorm, revise, and get feedback from teachers or counselors.

According to the Common App, the essay is the most essential part of your application after your grades and course rigor. In fact, many admission counselors say the essay has become more vital than SAT/ACT scores. A strong essay can help you stand out from other applicants and show admissions officers why you're a good fit for their college or university.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: "But Rebecca, I want to enjoy my summer! Why do I have to start working on college applications now?" Well, here's the good news: by following these three steps, you'll actually be setting yourself up for a more relaxed and stress-free senior year. You'll have more time to focus on your coursework, extracurricular activities, and (yes) even some fun summer activities.

So don't procrastinate, rising seniors! Instead, take these three steps before the end of the summer and give yourself the best chance of success in the college application process. Good luck!


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