You’re Almost to the Finish Line…
It’s December and all around you everybody is caroling and decking the halls and eggnogging and generally getting into the holiday spirit. But not you. You have a high school senior and that can mean only one thing: Your house is filled with the loud, desperate angst of a teenager going through the final agonizing throes of finishing up their college applications.
They are writing the last of their “why this school” essays and wracking their brains to explain how, at the tender age of 18, they could possibly know definitively why they want to major in “Digital Mapping.” All you want to do is wrap a few gifts, sit by the fire, maybe mull some wine, and throw some tinsel on the tree, but one look at their sorry little face tells you, you cannot do that. Not without them lying on a couch, years later, telling some expensive therapist all about your failings as a parent.
With a thumping heart and a face filled with apprehension, your high school senior has turned to you, and with their finger poised above the “submit” button, hope oozing from their pores, they have asked you, “Is. It. Ready?” And all you can think of, in that singular, defining moment is… I probably shouldn’t have had that third cup of wassail. But you are a loving, supportive parent and you know that this college stuff is grueling, and you also know that your kid has worked very hard, so you dig deep, you take a big sobering breath (which you blow away from them, but not towards the fire) and you tell them you’re here to help. And that’s where we come in.
What to do and what to review before you hit that “submit” button:
Here are some basic tips on what to go over before your kid hits that “submit” button. So, grab a cup of Joe, turn the volume down on Dean Martin, and spend some time going over these reminders — you and your high school senior will be glad you did. Then hit “submit” and enjoy your holidays.
— Proofread everything. Have the student and another person (at least one other person – a parent, a friendly teacher) proofread everything that’s being submitted. Read it out loud for content and then read it for grammar/punctuation.
— Re-read all instructions and check for extra materials requested. Are you sending in everything that’s required (supplemental essays, portfolio submissions, etc.) and do your answers match the prompts/directions you were given?
— Double-check all essays. Check your word count. Do not write more than the word count. Make sure, again, that you answered the prompts. And make sure the right school name is mentioned in the right essay answer.
— Send test scores (if applicable) – standardized tests and/or AP scores.
— Make sure you took advantage of explaining your extracurricular activities and your role/participation in each. Take the time to be thorough in describing your role in the activity and what the group/club does. It’s a great way to stand out on your application.
— Check for inconsistencies/omissions/wrong information. If you included a hyperlink, does it work? Are there blank spaces where there shouldn’t be? Did you list the right phone number and email address? You get the idea. And, oh, by the way, if you have an email address that your friends all think is a riot but could be considered “provocative,” now’s the time to change it. Unsure if it’s provocative? If it starts with “Yomamma”… change it.
— Check the individual school’s application checklist. Make sure you haven’t missed any changes or updates.
— Print a copy of all your applications for your records.
— Sign, include payment information (if application requires a fee) and only submit once!
Like the elves, we work during the holidays. If you have questions or concerns about the college application process or would like a free mentor to help you and your high school student navigate the college application journey, contact us at mentors4college.org.