The balance of application-writing and coursework make fall and winter terms busy for you – but it is an exciting time for everyone. You begin to hone in on schools of interest, while individual, family, and group meetings provide guidance through the process. The team of college counselors hosts “work parties” during fall term which are specifically geared toward application construction and the essay-writing process. During the early fall, you should also take advantage of the college rep visits on our campus – we have college admissions officers on campus most days. One of the most difficult parts of senior year is actually not the busy fall and winter, but the months of February and March, when you are waiting to hear from schools. And – though most seniors don’t believe us when we say this in August before their senior year
– the most intense period of the whole year for many students is late April, when they have received decisions from all colleges – and in turn need to make the final decision!
Register for the October SAT or ACT. Students need to register online for these tests. The registration deadline is in early September but the sooner your register the more likely you are to obtain your first choice testing site.
Meet with your college counselor. This late-August/early September meeting is vital to review your progress over the summer and plan for the coming months. There is not a right or wrong place to be at this point. A good general rule is to have identified a solid nucleus of colleges. They should each be appealing to you, and hold some realistic chance for admission. It is likely that your list will still change during the fall. Over the summer, many students revise their general criteria enough after looking that they might be eager for some new suggestions.
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER:
Attend sessions with college admission representatives on our campus. Be very meticulous about following the calendar of college admission officers who visit Eastside Prep. EPS College Counseling Calendar Schedule sessions as an opportunity to meet with counselors, see students and gain some appreciation of the school as a whole. The actual meetings vary in content and style. Some students may be just beginning to look at the institution and eager for general information while others will be following up on an extensive previous visit to the campus. In either scenario, it is extremely important that you attend these sessions for the schools in which you have interest. Colleges keep records on how students have made contact with them. These meetings are both informative and indicative of each student’s organization and interest. The visiting representatives are the ones most likely to first evaluate your application. Again, please give you’re your teachers as much advance notice as possible if you plan to attend sessions during scheduled classes.
Attend EPS “Work Parties”. The counseling team schedules 3-4 evening work events for seniors: one centered on completing the Common Application, at least one centered on essay writing, and a general essay / interview / miscellaneous needs. These work parties are valuable and fun – a time to accomplish some important work, to meet with college counselors, eat some pizza, and benefit from the support of your classmates!
Plan the schedule for the remainder of your standardized testing. Solicit the help of your counselor in this matter; each student will have different needs and schedule.
Ask two teachers to write recommendations. It is important to look at the requirements of each prospective college or program. Some may specify from whom they require a letter of reference. Generally speaking, you should ask teachers for letters if they have taught you during junior and / or senior years, and know you well as a student. First, you need to ask teachers in person. Next you’ll email them a request via Naviance, which will contain a link for them to upload their letters to your file. Requests should be made of teachers by October.
OCTOBER – NOVEMBER:
Begin to organize each application. Read closely all of your applications, and then distribute the necessary parts to our office and your teachers. Please note that while this is largely done on-line through Naviance, some colleges require forms that must be submitted in paper. Take care to follow our in-house deadlines for the receipt of these materials—this “paperwork” process seems pesky, but following it to the letter is important.
Send an official report of your SAT or ACT scores to each college to which you will apply. EPS will not report any standardized testing results (SAT, ACT, AP etc.). Most colleges require an official report from the testing agency. (Note that you are entitled to four free reports each time a test is taken.)
Attend the SAIS College Fair. Each fall, EPS along with six other member schools (Bush, Lakeside, Northwest, Overlake, Seattle Academy and University Prep) sponsor a college fair. 150 colleges and universities nationwide send admission officers to this event. In the senior year, the fair is a good resource to ask application questions and to display further interest.
Submit any Early Action / Early Decision applications. Most “early” deadlines are during or near the first two weeks of November. If you are interested in applying early to any school(s) please speak with your counselor at least one month in advance. Early Action applications are non-binding, while Early Decision applications are a binding commitment to attend that college or university.
DECEMBER — FEBRUARY:
Finish and submit all applications. Work well ahead of deadlines to ensure your best product. Ideally, you will have finished all of your applications BEFORE the December break. Remember that we need to know your schools and deadlines well in advance (keep Naviance up to date!)
Perform to the best of your ability in second trimester classes and exams. These grades will be forwarded to each college to which you will apply. It is often the last piece of information on you each college will receive, and thus your final chance to impact the decision positively.
If accepted under a binding early decision plan, withdraw all other submitted applications. This is an important step to remember, as your binding early decision agreement requires you to do so and it will afford the colleges the chance to offer a spot to students interested in attending those schools.
FEBRUARY – JUNE:
Finish in a strong fashion academically, all the way through the end of the year. “Senior Slump” is no laughing matter. Colleges frown seriously on students who let their grades drop precipitously in the spring of senior year, and reserve the right to rescind a student’s acceptance if the drop is severe enough and without legitimate extenuating circumstances.
Consult with your counselor throughout the waiting and decision period. Although the choice of where to attend is always owned by the student, everyone is happy to listen and offer thoughts when they are desired. Also, your counselor can offer proactive advice for students who are placed on a waitlist.
Notify everyone who has helped with application of each admission decision. Although the school sometimes receives notification of decisions, it cannot be assumed. Also, teachers who took the time to write your recommendations are sincerely interested in your outcomes. It is an important courtesy to inform them of your results and to thank them for their efforts on your behalf.
Write each of the colleges at which you were accepted but will not attend. Obviously, the school you choose to attend must receive confirmation of your decision—the national Candidate Reply Date is May 1. It also is extremely important that you inform the other schools that you will not be attending. Colleges cannot act upon wait-lists until they know of the plans of the students they initially accept. In addition, this is a courtesy owed them after their offer to you.