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Countdown to college: A senior's fall to-do list

Lee Shulman Bierer, Tribune News Service on

Published in Education News

The to-do list for high school seniors seems to be growing longer each day. When they’re not doing homework, participating in their extracurricular activities, hanging with friends, sleeping, eating or texting, here’s what they’re thinking about: their college list, testing, upcoming campus visits, college applications, the Common Application essay, supplemental essays, transcripts, an activity list, letters of recommendation and scholarships.

Are you tired or stressed? Think about how they must feel.

Let’s try to de-stress the situation by creating a fall timeline and breaking each of these bigger tasks into more manageable pieces.

Check them off as you complete them:

— Finalize the college list by making sure it's a balanced list with reach/target/safety schools.

— Include an in-state safety school for financial reasons.


— Review the standardized testing calendar and register for the SAT in October, November or December, or the ACT in October or December.

— Find out if any of the colleges on your list have separate “scholarship deadlines” – they're earlier than the traditional deadlines, and you forfeit your opportunity for scholarship opportunities if you don’t apply by that deadline.

— Check your school’s calendar and take advantage of any teacher work days and schedule campus visits.

— See if any of the colleges you’re considering offer open house dates or discovery days for seniors


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