Updated: May 29, 2021
The Most Important Season Of A Student's Life
Very frequently we've discussed how there are certain key moments in a student's high school career which can change their lives dramatically. The spring of their Junior year is one of those moments. During this time, a student has lots of planning, thinking and setting up to do if they want their senior year to be a successful one.
During this time, here are some key benchmarks every students needs to make sure they hit.
#1) They need have taken the SAT at least twice
We mentioned this in our last past covering the importance of the winter of a student's junior year, but the reason why we always recommend that a student take the SAT test at least twice is because it gives a fantastic opportunity for them to improve their total SAT score significantly through something called a "superscore." We recommend that every single student take the SAT at least twice in order to capitalize on this policy allowed by colleges and universities.
#2) They need to have taken at least two SAT subject tests
We've touched on this briefly in previous posts, but a critical component a college looks at for a student's application is how well they do on college level exams and standardized tests. The SAT, Ap Tests, and ACT are indicators for a college as to how academically gifted a student is and whether or not they'll be able to handle the rigor at that specific college or university. By taking this test and doing well on it, a student shows the college that not only can they handle their academic rigor, but they'll excel when given the chance.
#3) They need to have a list of teachers who can write them glowing recommendation letters for the upcoming fall of their senior year.
During the fall, many teachers are flooded with requests for recommendation letters and college help and often times, this leads to stress and annoyance on their end as in addition to their work of teaching, they are writing tens or hundreds of recommendation letters in a very tight window for students who didn't think to think ahead.
A student can avoid this by asking for their recommendation letter from a teacher in the spring of their junior year so that they have time during the summer to think over the student's best qualities and writing a stunning letter for them. This will save the student time as the unnecessary stress of wondering whether or not the recommendation letter will be written before the deadline will be eliminated, and will leave their teachers feeling incredible and grateful as the student at hand will appear much more considerate of them and their time.
We suggest compiling a list of at least 4 teachers no more than 7 from which a student can ask for recommendation letter at the end of your junior year. This will give them a wide range of options to choose from, while giving the colleges they wish to attend many different accounts of how incredible they are.
#4) They need to take the Dream School Quiz
In the spring of their Junior Year, every student needs to take the Dream School Quiz as it will help show them their exact odds of getting into the type of school they are applying to.
This will show them exactly where they stand and the final things they need to do to increase their odds of making it into their dream school.
#5) They need to start finishing up a rough draft of their common application essay and start rough drafts for the supplemental essays of the schools they wish to apply to in the fall.
By finishing a rough draft of their common application essay and starting the supplemental essays, they will be able to polish and perfect their essays by the time the summer rolls around and ultimately complete their application with little to no stress weeks to months before the deadline.
When Everything Goes Wrong
Here's a short story based on a real life example of where everything went wrong on this student's application solely because they didn't prepare their junior year.
Names have been changed in order to keep the students at hand anonymous.
Jonathan and Maria were two different students from two different schools who were both exceptional students.
Jonathan was a Professional Polymath. He was the salutatorian of his school, the class vice-president, the captain of the football, basketball, and track and field teams. On top of that, he was a national merit-scholar finalist and president of his school's chess and history bowl teams. He was an all around superstar student.
Maria was a Sharp Social Scientist. She was the leader of her school's History Bowl Team, the class Historian, and captain of her school's swimming and soccer teams. On top of this, she was the first young woman in her schools history to qualify for nationals for DECA and the was also the first female valedictorian of her in her school's history. Like Jonathan, she was a superstar as well.
While both students were superstars, they made the critical mistake of saving their college applications for the fall before their senior year. The figured that since they were exceptional students they didn't need to take the same care and effort in their application as they did with the rest of their lives.
Fast forward to the fall of their senior years two weeks before the early action deadlines and they finally got around to starting the application process.
Jonathan applied to only 3 schools: Stanford, Princeton, and Harvard; while Maria applied to 5: Cornell, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford.
With 13 days left before the deadline, Jonathan and Maria tore through the applications. Writing supplemental essay after supplemental essay then finishing it off with the cherry on top, an excellent common application essay. They finished with 1 day left to spare and submitted their applications, patting themselves on the back when they did so.
Two months later, they received their results...
Princeton - Denied, Stanford - Denied, Harvard - Denied, Yale - Denied, Cornell - Denied.
Every single school they applied to, they were rejected from.
The started panicking. The next deadline for most schools was in two weeks and they needed to start applying again. Jonathan quickly made a list of 5 schools, Maria made another list of 10 and they applied to all of them.
This time, on one of their school's application pages they noticed a small question which explained why they had been rejected from the schools they had applied to the first time: "Have you released your transcript and letters of recommendation?"
This very simple question took them back to the fall when they remembered that they were supposed to release their transcripts and letters of recommendations in order for the colleges to have them in time, and that this was probably why they got denied from their dream schools even though they both were exceptional students.
At the moment, Jonathan and Maria are at good schools, but not the best they could have done. Imagine if instead of waiting for the fall of their senior year they had started in the spring of their junior year. This tragedy would have been avoided and one if not both of them could be attending the school of their dreams.
This is importance of planning early and why we strongly recommend that students start this process in their junior year. It helps them avoid calamities like this and puts them in the position to put their best selves forward so they can get into the college of their dreams.
Next Post: Junior Summer ->
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