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July Checklist for Rising High School Seniors

Class of 2021: Here's what you need to do in July.

Shawna Newman

June 29, 2020

Get Ahead: Eleven, college-bound tasks for high school seniors to consider this July.
July Checklist for Rising High School Seniors
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 applications process. Trust us, before you know it, you'll be a graduating high school senior. Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here.

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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
  2. 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.
  3. Test Prep
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    Final test prep – your last call for testing if you want to apply early action/early decision is sometimes between September (if taking the ACT) or October (if taking the SAT). Study now so that you can finish up and have as many admissions options as possible available. Coronavirus has shifted the standardized testing world. According to a Forbes article well-known universities like Columbia University and Cornell announced test-optional polices for the 2020-2021 application season. The moral is, check on the types of testing and dates available this year—there have been changes! You may also want to reconsider how many times you take these tests, if the schools you’re applying to are going the test-optional route.

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    The ACT site highlights via a YouTube video, beginning September 2020 students can take their ACT test online and may retest on specific ACT sections. Discuss the best testing options with your high school guidance counselor and be aware of the latest ACT and SAT testing dates.
  5. Build Your Student Resume
  6. Finalize your college resume of activities including all of your participation, volunteer work, employment, clubs and extracurricular activities.
  7. Letters of Recommendation Decisions
  8. 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.
  9. Letters of Recommendation Requests
  10. 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 college in the fall (2021) you’d like to attend 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.
  11. Build Your Experiences
  12. High school students should strive to stay active all summer, building your student resume with volunteer work, activities, job experience internships, etc.
  13. Job Shadowing
  14. 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.
  15. Work on Your College Search
  16. 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. Consider adding 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!
  17. Show Interest
  18. Join mailing lists of your target colleges – it shows you are interested in the school, which looks great for potential admissions. Sign up for admissions information from each school and create a folder with sections you can dedicate to your college prospects. Get an idea of the universities require for test scores, what 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.
  19. Social Media
  20. 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!
  21. Apply for Scholarships
  22. 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 2021 is a great place to start.

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