As I am wrapping up my work with seniors, things are getting busier than ever with juniors. If you are in the Class of 2022, you will soon be starting your journey into the realm of college admissions. Planning ahead will save you a lot of headache later in the game, so take my advice and start now. Better yet, let me give you a few pointers. Consider these as your “action items” that I love assigning my students at the end of every meeting!
- Register for the SAT or ACT: Be prepared to take the SAT or ACT at least once during your junior year and again early in your senior year (if needed). Early registration will help you take the test at your preferred location and on your choice of date.For an update on the state of standardized testing, you can read my previous blog post here.
Note that the below SAT and ACT links have been updated to accommodate the test cancellations and schedule changes due to COVID-19!
- Prepare for the SAT or ACT: How you want to study for a standardized test depends on your personal preference. Whether you want to hire a private tutor, attend a class with other students, or self-study using test prep books or online resources such as Khan Academy, preparing for this type of tests is a must.
- Check out test-optional colleges: Keep in mind that many colleges have announced that they will extend their test-optional policies for the Class of 2022, so do not be too broken if your test is canceled due to COVID-19. Here is a list of the test-optional colleges compiled and updated by FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing.
- Focus on your academic studies to maintain a good GPA: Try to find the right balance between academics and extracurriculars. Try your best, but do not overstress and burn out!
- Do virtual college visits: If you have not seen the campus of interest before, you will most probably not have a chance to make an in-person visit due to COVID-19. However, this should not stop you from exploring colleges! You can watch a college tour on the college’s website or on YouTube, which is the easiest way to see a college virtually. You can also watch virtual college tours on websites such as YouVisit, CampusReel, and eCampusTours. Some of these virtual college tours are so informative that you will think you have seen the campus for real! Sign up for live information sessions on each college’s website. These sessions are organized by admissions officers and offer very insightful information about academics, campus life, and financial aid, so remember to take detailed notes and ask questions.
- Register for AP exams: If you are currently enrolled in AP classes, plan to take the AP exams in May. Due to the pandemic, there will be a mix of in-school and at-home online testing options this year. Here is the latest announcement by College Board regarding the updates to the administration of AP exams for the Class of 2022. You can register for AP exams through your high school. Talk to your school’s AP coordinator for any questions you might have about the registration and/or administration process.
- Make an appointment with your high school counselor: Use this meeting as an opportunity to discuss your college list, go over standardized test scores (if any), and ask about his/her consent to write a recommendation – AKA counselor evaluation – for you at the beginning of senior year.
- Plan your senior schedule: Talk to your high school counselor and confirm the date for finalizing your course selections for senior year. Aim to challenge yourself, but do not take on too much load that you will not be able to carry.
- Decide on your recommenders: Think of two core subject teachers who know you very well academically and intellectually. Be prepared to ask them at the end of junior year if they would be willing to write recommendation letters for you at the beginning of senior year. Counselors and teachers are very busy people and are asked to write hundreds of recommendation letters for their students every year. If you wait until the last minute to ask, you might not get a letter from them because they will be booked already.
Here at EdMission Possible, we guide our students throughout every aspect of the college admissions process. Our Student-Centered College CounselingTM model is geared towards the holistic approach employed in college admission decisions. We know what colleges are looking for, but we also know your individual needs. Call us today to find out how we can help you stand out in your applications by also helping you stay true to your identity.
Happy college planning!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Independent Educational Consultant, Founder, and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She has completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for over 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc.
Burcak is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a Voting Member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC). She currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.