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The End of a Cycle -- or a Beginning

By its nature a circle has no beginning or end, and so it is with college applications. Just as the seniors are stepping off the merry-go-round, juniors are stepping on. It's important to get both those endings and beginnings right.

April 1st used to be a general notification date, but many schools now jump the gun, hoping to get your attention before more selective schools notify their applicants. Ivy decisions came out yesterday, and students found, once again, that those colleges are reach schools for everybody.

Given the competitive state of college admissions, most applicants to selective colleges are facing some disappointments today. But seniors who had a well-balanced list undoubtedly have some successes to celebrate as well. Such students would expect to be admitted to most of their likelies, at least half of their targets, and maybe even one of their reach schools. If you considered financial realities in making the list, you should even have several options that you can afford!

As seniors approach the end-game, though, juniors are just starting the nitty-gritty process of applying to college. In many high school timelines, 11th graders begin focused work with their counselor this spring. I always recommend students take full advantage of whatever their high school offers in the way of guidance. This may surprise you, coming from an independent consultant. But high school counselors wield a fair amount of power over each student's prospects, and the wise applicant will be sure to keep him or her in the loop. The counselor understands the realities of scheduling courses, the details about application processing at your school, and the nuances of your school's relationships with particular colleges. He or she must sign Early Decision agreements, send transcripts, and follow up with second-semester grades. Most importantly, the school-based counselor writes a letter of recommendation for each applicant. The more positive interactions and anecdotes he or she can relate about you, the better. You also want your counselor in your corner if you are deferred or wait listed, as he or she is the best person to place a call to the college's regional representative on your behalf. Now is the time for juniors to step up their engagement with their high school counselor.

If things didn't go so well this acceptance season, give me a call and we can assess your options. For younger students hoping to take steps toward a happier senior spring, click the button at the bottom of the page for a free consultation.

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