College Planning Checklist (December)

december

What Students Need to Do This December to Stay on Track During the College Admissions Season

The end of the fall semester and the fast-approaching Regular Decision deadlines, coupled with the release of early decisions, makes December an especially busy, and crucial, month. Students need to prepare for finals and standardized tests, while also juggling extracurricular commitments and, for seniors, the added stress of finishing college applications.

With all that’s going on, some things may get lost in the December shuffle. Here’s what students, from freshmen to seniors, need to accomplish this month in order to stay on track for a successful end to the fall semester and college application season.

Freshmen

  • Continue to expand your outside reading list, including books, blogs, newspapers, and magazines.
  • Start thinking about the classes you want to take next year. You want to take the most challenging course load that you are eligible for, but not one that is too overwhelming.
  • Colleges look at grades from all four years of high school, so get your first semester grades off to a good start by focusing on your schoolwork, especially heading into finals.
  • Schedule a spring meeting with your college counselor to discuss your plans for summer and what you need to be doing next semester to prepare.

Sophomores

  • Start thinking about the classes you want to take next year. You need to plan a challenging course load.
  • Take a look at your social media presence. Are you being smart online? If not, clean up your profiles and start implementing smart social media practices.
  • Update your resume with the activities you have done this fall.
  • Make an appointment with your college counselor to discuss how you will spend your summer. Many program applications are due in the spring, so get started early.

Juniors

  • If you’re taking the SAT Dec. 7, be sure to have your ticket printed and all materials you need for the test ready to go.
  • Schedule a spring meeting with your college counselor to go over your balanced college list and begin making a plan of action for college applications next fall.
  • Start thinking about the classes you want to take next year.
  • Continue planning spring college visits during breaks or time off from school.
  • Read as much as possible! Continue to expand your outside reading list.
  • If you haven’t already, start a filing system to keep track of college admission materials and schoolwork.

Seniors

  • If you haven’t already, set up a meeting with your college counselor to discuss your options before early decisions are released. This is especially helpful in case of a deferral or rejection.
  • Continue working on your Regular Decision applications. Try to get all of your applications done early as to avoid submission issues on the Common App.
  • Make sure all applications materials are ready to go, including recommendation letters, test scores, and any additional materials you will be submitting with your applications.
  • Continue working hard in class and keep your grades up. Even if you’ve been accepted early, schools can rescind decisions if your grades drop toward the end of senior year.

What else are you doing this month to wrap up the school year and stay on track for a successful semester and college admissions process? Tell us in the comments below!

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