If you applied early (Early Action (EA), Early Decision (ED), or Single Choice Early Action (SCEA)) to one or more of the colleges on your list, you no doubt feel relieved that the November deadline has passed. And, you should! Finishing an early application is a huge accomplishment, so congratulations on all of your hard work. But, this doesn’t mean that you should just sit back, relax, and wait for December 15th. There are many things that you can and should be doing now that you’ve submitted those early apps.
Get Started on Regular Decision Applications
If you are deferred or rejected from your early school(s), you will need to submit your Regular Decision (RD) applications. Even if you are accepted EA or SCEA, you may still want to submit applications to other schools, as doing so will give you a greater range of options come decision time. While RD apps aren’t due until December 31st at the earliest, you should get started on these right away; don’t wait until December 15th!
Don’t Lose Steam!
Although your applications are in and you may be tempted to cruise through the remainder of senior year, now is the time to focus on your grades. Make sure you either improve them or keep them as high as they were when you submitted your applications. Regardless of whether you are admitted early, colleges continue to look at your senior year grades even after they have accepted you, and if your grades slip, colleges can rescind your acceptance.
Continue Making an Impact
All college acceptance letters clearly state that the offer of admission is contingent on your maintaining the same level of personal excellence that made you such a strong applicant in the first place. This goes for grades, as well as for activities outside the classroom. Colleges want to see the same consistency and commitment that you have demonstrated throughout your time in high school; don’t give them any reason to change their minds.
Protect Your Online Identity
In a recent survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, it was revealed that 24 percent of college admissions officers have used Facebook or other social media or networking sites to research a college applicant. Evaluate your profile and your online presence. Start by un-tagging yourself from any questionable photos. Then, talk to the person (or people) who posted the photo(s) and ask them to take them down or crop/remove you from the photo(s). Even photos of you that are not tagged can be sent to an admissions office! Of course, it’s always best not to engage in any behavior that may result in a questionable photo in the first place. Apply this same discretion to your participation on Twitter, blogs, live journals, and other online outlets.
Study for AP (or IB) Exams
You’re not quite done with testing yet! Your participation in Advanced Placement (AP) (or International Baccalaureate (IB)) classes was another indication to the schools on your college list that you are a student who likes to be challenged and is capable of mastering rigorous coursework. Be sure to wow them with your AP and IB scores! Once your applications are completed, use the extra time to study for your AP (or IB) exams. Arrange time with a tutor, or buy a practice test book for each subject area in which you plan to take an exam and work through the practice tests little by little from now until May. Scoring well on these exams can even result in college credit.