By Peter Jennings, director of college counseling at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass, for the Counselors Calendar/The Choice column for the New York Times.
Define Your Motivation for Going to College
Students often apply to college without honestly and deeply confronting the question: “Why college?”
After all, the critical difference between high school and college is the difference between the questions of “What am I being asked to do?” and “What is possible?”
Are career concerns motivating you? How do you feel about stepping outside your comfort zone? Does delving deeply into a specific subject fascinate you? Are you eager for college because this may be the last time you surround yourself almost exclusively with others your age (at least before entering a retirement home)?
Seniors with a clearer sense of why they are going to college develop a stronger slate of investigative questions, establish priorities and simply craft better admissions applications. Furthermore, they are happier when they arrive on campus because they are ready to sort through and capitalize on the myriad opportunities available.
Make Time to Think and Narrow Your List
Scheduling time to tackle tasks on the college admissions checklist is vital. One weeknight evening? Friday afternoon? Saturday morning?
Reclaim a productive segment of the week and schedule specific time to simply visualize yourself enrolled in college. Maybe there’s value in a weekly walk committed to considering the vibe of the individual colleges you have chosen and how can you demonstrate your best self to these colleges. Will the highlight of your undergraduate years be a reading from the poet laureate, a trip to an N.C.A.A. final, or both?
This thinking will help you narrow your list of colleges, which typically should number between six to eight intuitions of varying selectivity.
Complete Early Applications, if Applicable
If you are considering early decision, early action or rolling applications, this is the month to focus on completing those.
READ MORE: Click belowthe original article from The New York Times, written by Peter Jennings