By Chris Teare, the director of college counseling at Antilles School in St. Thomas, V.I., as well as an instructor of the course “Finding a College That Fits” in August at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua,
Do the Summer Reading
Over 30 years, the students I’ve seen get the best results out of the college process are the ones who take care of business one day, one class, one assignment at a time. They’re not flashy; they’re steady. When I coached lacrosse, I said, “Pick up the next groundball.” Little things add up. Stop texting, log off Facebook, turn off your cellphone — and read. Not the SparkNotes. The book.
Pick the Right Courses
Selective colleges often start their review with your transcript, and strength of program is the first criterion of selection. Make sure your final transcript will include four years of the “five basic food groups”: English, math, history, science and foreign language. If you substitute from elsewhere on the curricular menu, select a course of equal or greater rigor in an area that better suits your abilities and interests. Make sure senior year is at least as challenging as junior year.
Keep Testing Under Control
By now, I hope you know whether you like the SAT or ACT better. Focus on the exam that works for you; if you prepare well enough, you’ll be likely to receive your highest score on the first or second attempt. Take your SAT II Subject Tests, if you must, whenever you’ll know as much as you can. Then forget bubble tests. Your scores are what they are. Stressing won’t raise them. Say the Serenity Prayer. Go test-optional. Focus your energy on classes, activities, and applications.
Keep Extra-Curricular Activities in Perspective
Remember that the hyphenate is extra-curricular. Even if you are being recruited for a talent in athletics or the arts, you must find a good deal of time to hone that skill set. You are no good to anyone if you run yourself into the ground by trying to do too much. Breathe. Eat. Sleep. Chill now and then.
READ MORE: Click belowthe original article from The New York Times , written by Chris Teare