Rising Seniors College Admissions Checklist: 5 Focus Areas to Start Working on Now

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Saturday, August 10, 2019

     

    After three grueling years of academics, senior year has finally arrived!  Of course, there's important work still to be done.  Now is time for rising seniors to roll up their sleeves and lay the foundation for a successful college application season.  In this post, we’ll run through a checklist of five college admissions priorities for rising seniors to work on starting now.  Specifically, we’ll discuss how to:

    1. Finalize your college list—the single most important factor upon which nearly all of your other decisions over the next four months will depend

    2. Identify and achieve your target SAT/ACT score before application deadlines

    3. Begin essays and applications

    4. Identify financial aid and scholarships

    5. Determine whether you need to take SAT Subject Tests

     

    The checklist includes links to many of our other resources, including our College Essay Planning Formula, which many of our students have used as the basis for highly successful college application essays.  Let’s get to work!

     

     

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    Topics: Financial Aid & Scholarships, ACT, SAT, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, 12th Grade - Seniors, College Admissions: Apply Right, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage

    Rising Juniors College Admissions Checklist: 5 Focus Areas to Start Working on Now

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Friday, August 09, 2019

     

    Of everything you do in high school, the activities you undertake during your junior year will have the among most significant impact on your competitiveness for college admissions and scholarships.  As a rising junior, how can you set yourself up for success?  In this post, we’ll walk through a checklist for rising juniors to review before school starts.  Specifically, we’ll show you how to tackle each of the following five priorities with free tools and resources developed specifically for Alaska students:

     

    1. Determine whether you should prepare for the PSAT—something you should do before or during August)

    2. Craft your SAT/ACT strategy to maximize your scores and efficiency

    3. Get serious about your GPA: Depending on when you submit applications, the next two semesters will comprise the final grades colleges see.

    4. Start developing your college list—the single most important factor upon which nearly all of your other decisions over the next 12-18 months will depend

    5. Determine whether and when you will need to take SAT Subject Tests

     

    Let’s get to work!
     

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    Topics: SAT Subject Tests, College Admissions, ACT, SAT, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically, 11th Grade - Juniors, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage

    Building Your College List: A Five-Step Process, Plus Tips from a Successful Dimond High School Grad

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

     

     

    Developing a working college list no later than junior year, and finalizing it before senior year begins, is what sets the most competitive applicants apart.  If there's one thing about college admissions that high school students should learn upfront, it's that all roads in high school lead from where you intend to apply to college.  The colleges on your list will determine the minimum GPA you should aim for, which standardized tests you need take (and the scores required to make you a competitive candidate), how many essays you will need to write, what kind of scholarship opportunities may be available, which other application deliverables you may need to prepare, application/testing/scholarship deadlines, and much more.

     

    Whether you're a sophomore or a senior, it's never too early to start thinking about where you aspire to attend college, and how you can start building your application assets to be a competitive candidate by the time you apply. In this post, I'll explain our five-step process to identifying your colleges of interest.  I'll also describe how I work with my college admissions consulting students to professionally guide them in developing their preliminary and final college lists.

     

    Step 1: Start Early

    Step 2: Consider Your Assets and Preferences

    Step 3: Research Colleges

    Step 4: Develop Your Preliminary College List

    Step 5: Finalize Your College List

     

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    Topics: College Admissions: Explore Early, 9th Grade - Freshmen, College Admissions: Excel Academically, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, 12th Grade - Seniors, College Admissions: Apply Right, College Admissions: Test Well

    How I Did It: 97th Percentile SAT Score, Middlebury Admission, a $46,000 Scholarship to MSU - Interview with a Dimond High School Grad

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

     

     

    "What I really liked about working with you the most was the essay refining part because it kept me on track. And I like to say that I would have been able to stay on track, but I definitely would not have because there were times when I would sit down on the weekend and be like, 'Okay, I'm meeting with Kimberly on Monday. I have to write this essay or I'm not going to have anything to show her.' So that in the moment kind of sucked. But looking back it was really good for me. Otherwise it would have not been good. I was also really happy about this feedback that you were able to give me with my essay and how I was able to make it as good as it could be."

    -Anja L., graduate of Dimond High School

     


     

    Anja L. is a Dimond High School graduate.  During spring of her junior year, Anja began working with us in a college admissions consulting program.  We began working together to build her college list, enabling her to visit colleges during the summer.  In addition to college research and list building, I also assisted Anja planning and developing of some of her college essays (including her main Common Application essay) and optimizing her SAT testing plans. Anja concurrently completed a 12-hour SAT Individual Prep program and received one-on-one academic tutoring in her precalculus class. Over the course of her SAT prep program, Anja increased her SAT superscore to 1450 (97th percentile).  Anja was accepted Middlebury College, Colorado College, University of Vermont, and Montana State University, where she was awarded a $46,000 scholarship, for which eligibility criteria generally include 95th+ percentile SAT/ACT scores, 3.8+ GPA, track record of leadership/honors/high-impact extracurriculars, and essay application.

     

    In this post, I share excerpts from an interview with Anja, during which we discussed the college list-building process (including some of the tools she used), essay development, and her SAT preparation experience at Frontier Tutoring.  Responses have been edited for length and clarity.  Use the links below to jump to the questions you're curious about.

     

    -Kimberly Hewitt, Business Unit Manager - College Admissions Consulting

     

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    Topics: College Admissions, ACT, SAT, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, College Admissions: Apply Right, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage, Interviews

    Interview with a West HS Student & Parent: Starting College Admissions Consulting During 11th Grade

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Sunday, March 03, 2019

     

     

    "It's nice to have a third party saying, 'What are your goals? Okay, then this is what you have to do to get there.' So it's not just parents going, 'You need to get good grades, you need to do this, you need to do that.' You’re helping the [students] figure out what they want to do and how to get there."

    -Bhree R., parent of Emma F., 11th grader at West Anchorage High School

     


     

    Emma F., a junior at West Anchorage High School, is one of my current college admissions consulting (CAC) students at Frontier Tutoring.  In this post, I share excerpts from an interview with Emma and her mom, Bhree, about why they chose to start college admissions consulting during Emma's junior year, rather than waiting until senior year.  Responses have been edited for length and clarity.  Use the links below to jump to the questions you're curious about.

     

    -Kimberly Hewitt, Business Unit Manager - College Admissions Consulting

     

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    Topics: College Admissions, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, College Admissions: Apply Right, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage

    Six Reasons You Should Start College Admissions Consulting During Junior Year

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Sunday, March 03, 2019

     

     

     

    "Starting DURING junior year allows you to improve your COMPETITIVENESS.  Starting AFTER junior year limits you to improving your NARRATIVE."

    -Kimberly Hewitt, Business Unit Manager - College Admissions Consulting

     

    Many high school students and families I meet with wait until fall of senior year to think critically about their college list or applications—but for best results, students should begin planning for college admissions during junior year—the earlier, the better.  Why?  If you start planning for college admissions during 11th grade, you will have time to improve your profile and competitiveness (for example, by adjusting your coursework selection, improving your grades and test scores, initiating or enhancing your involvement in specific extracurriculars, identifying and deepening relationships with potential recommendation writers, etc.).  On the other hand, if you wait until after junior year to begin thinking about college admissions in earnest, you will be limited to expressing the most compelling narrative about the profile you already have.  To be clear, optimizing the way you tell your story and express your goals on college applications is critical—but you'll be even better positioned if your profile is more competitive to begin with.  In this post, I'll walk you through six specific, high-leverage areas I work with on students when they start a college admissions consulting (CAC) program during their junior year.

     

     

    "It's nice to have a third party saying, 'What are your goals? What are your objectives? Okay, then this is what you have to do to get there.'

    Also, I like the structure and the timing [of your CAC program].  For example, are we on time, or are we behind, and do I need to be stressing? I like not having to worry about that piece in particular."

    -Bhree R., parent of 11th grader at West Anchorage High School

     

    READ MORE: Interview with a West HS Student & Parent: Starting College Admissions Consulting During 11th Grade

     

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    Topics: College Admissions, AP® Exams, ACT, SAT, College Admissions: Explore Early, College Admissions: Excel Academically, College Admissions: Build Your Application Assets, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, College Admissions: Apply Right, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage

    Four Facts About Your High School GPA for College Admissions (Plus an All-New GPA Calculators Kit)

    Posted by Chelsea Vining on Thursday, March 16, 2017

     

    Of all the things college admissions officers evaluate in your application, your high school grades by far carry the most weight.  (As you'll see in the graph below, the next most important factors are, on average, the rigor of your coursework, your SAT/ACT scores, essay, and recommendations.)  As a high school student, what do you need to do today to ensure your GPA is competitive with the norms for the colleges and scholarships you're interested in before it's time to apply?

     

     

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    Topics: 9th Grade - Freshmen, Downloads & Printables, College Admissions: Excel Academically, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, 12th Grade - Seniors, Anchorage

    Numbers Game: Competitive GPA & SAT/ACT Scores at the 49 Most Popular Colleges for Alaska Students

    Posted by Kimberly Hewitt on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

     

     

     

    When it comes to college admissions, numbers aren’t everything—but how much do they count?  In this post, we’ll discuss the holistic college admissions evaluation process and the relative weights of various parts of your application.  We’ll also give you access to our latest publication, The Frontier 49, which features average GPAs and SAT/ACT scores, along with admission rates, for the 49 most popular colleges where Alaska students apply.

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    Topics: College Admissions: Explore Early, 9th Grade - Freshmen, College Admissions: Excel Academically, 11th Grade - Juniors, 10th Grade - Sophomores, 12th Grade - Seniors, College Admissions: Test Well, Anchorage