Student News

July College Checklist for Rising Seniors in High School

Discover 11 college-bound tasks for high school seniors to consider this July.

Shawna Newman

June 29, 2022

July College Checklist for Rising Seniors in High School
Class of 2023: Here's what you need to do in July.
The summer before your senior year of high school is an imperative time to accomplish tasks so that you’re prepared for the busy school year ahead. In fact, it’s a great time to gain a head start so that once the school year comes, you won’t be overwhelmed with the college admissions process. Trust us, before you know it, you'll be a graduating high school senior. In order to ensure you’re on the right track, here’s a list of what you should be focused on during the month of July:
  1. College Essays

    Begin working on all of your college essays now so that once senior year rolls around, they’ll no longer be on your to-do list. Get an idea of what you’ll be asked on college applications by checking out the Common App or admissions requirements for schools that you’re interested in.
    In some cases, you may be able to use an essay that you submitted for a class in high school. Otherwise, you’ll be asked to craft something new, but these essays can be so generic that you can reuse – or adjust as necessary to fit a particular college or essay topic.
  2. Test Prep

    If you want to catch the earliest test dates for the ACT and SAT, it’s time to start studying. This is especially necessary if you plan to apply early action/early decision. However, before you start your test prep, make sure the colleges you’re interested in are taking, or requiring, SAT and ACT test scores. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, many colleges went test optional; and while some colleges are once more requiring test scores, others are still making them optional.
    Discuss the best testing options with your high school guidance counselor and be aware of the latest ACT and SAT testing dates.
  3. Build Your Student Resume

    Finalize your college resume of activities including all of your participation, volunteer work, employment, clubs, and extracurricular activities. It’s also a good time go look for any gaps in your student resume. Are you missing volunteer experience? Taking note of it now will help you look for and commit to opportunities during the school year.
  4. Letters of Recommendation Decisions

    Decide whom you will ask for letters of recommendation. Consider your teachers, coaches, and counselors. Ensure you also give them a copy of your student activities resume so that they’re aware of your activities and are able to reference them if necessary.
  5. Letters of Recommendation Requests

    Fill out and submit letter of recommendation questionnaires if required by your school district, teachers, coaches, or counselors, in order for them to consider writing a letter of recommendation for you. Be sure they know details, like the colleges in the fall that you’re considering applying to, and any extracurricular activities you’re involved in. Also, now would be a great time to pick up thank you stationary. Sending out hand-written thank you notes to those that write you letters of recommendation is a one-of-a-kind gesture.
  6. Build Your Experiences

    High school students should strive to stay active all summer, building your student resume with volunteer work, activities, job experience, internships, etc. There are still a few weeks of summer left, which is plenty of time for any of the above.
  7. Job Shadowing

    Contact professionals who you would like to job shadow – it may help you decide on potential career options. Also, this could help you narrow down your list of potential colleges later in the year. You can put your job shadowing experience on your student resume or discuss your experience in a college essay. Job shadowing now will show ambition, commitment, and gumption.
  8. Work on Your College Search

    High school graduation will happen sooner than you think; keep working on your college search by researching colleges to add to your potential colleges list. Get creative. Find fun ways to stay organized in your college search. Many students keep their information in one place that’s easy to get to, such as a folder or binder. You could also begin looking into Greek life at the colleges you’re interested in. Add notes about this aspect to your search notes. Do you know a college student that goes to a state university or college you’re searching? Consider reaching out to ask them about their experience as a student!
  9. Show Interest

    Join mailing lists of your target colleges – it shows you are interested in the school, which looks great for potential admissions. Sign up for college admissions information from each school and create a folder with sections you can dedicate to your college prospects. Get an idea of what the universities require for test scores, types of extracurricular activities they offer, and how their admissions offices work. Helpful Tip: Add a few blank pages for notes before each university section/sleeve. Include a few sleeves for each college. As you receive admissions pieces, place them in their dedicated sleeve, and add simple notes on what you like or don't like. Doing this can help you target what aspects are most important to you in a college.
  10. Social Media

    Plans to attend the university of your choice could come to a halt if you’re not reflecting your best self on your social media accounts. Clean up your accounts and profiles – you never know when college admissions officers may look at them!
  11. Apply for Scholarships

    It’s important to remain diligent in your scholarship search. Continue the practice of applying for as many scholarships as you qualify for. Start by applying for one scholarship a week this year! This list of Scholarships for the Class of 2023 is a great place to start.

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