The Showcase Magazine - Articles

By: Erik Slagle

The road to college admissions, Part Two: make the most of the summer and fall!

If you’re the parent, grandparent, friend or anyone close to a soon-to-be high school graduate, congratulations! It’s of course the beginning of an exciting next chapter no matter where a student finds themselves heading next.

On the other hand, if your child is wrapping up their junior year you might be looking ahead to this summer with less enthusiasm. As the college application process has gotten more competitive, less predictable, and more stressful (looking at you, FAFSA!), it’s more important than ever to have a plan. Not an “I need to be accepted to every Ivy League School plus 10 backups” plan, but an “I know what’s coming, and I’m prepared with a timeline” plan. Something to take the edge off and keep you and your kids in total control of the process.

I’m a big believer that everyone lands exactly where they’re meant to in this process and that less stress and a more enjoyable summer is a perfectly good way to approach college application season. With that in mind, here are some key markers that students in the Class of 2025 can look towards if they want to finish the school year armed with manageable college admissions expectations. In the last issue we looked at March through June, and now it’s time to move beyond the end of the school year:

July 13th ACT: This date falls close enough to the end of the academic year that some of the math and science will still be fresh for test-takers. But rising seniors might be better served using the summer to practice and then testing in September. It’s also a longer, faster-paced, and in many ways tougher test than the SAT – not necessarily something every student needs to try.

July and August: Set weekly goals for yourself in terms of Personal Statement writing (the Common App essay all colleges will see) and supplemental essays (the shorter, school-focused statements that go to each college. The Common App officially opens on August 1st, but with planning you can have all your writing components done and ready to submit by the end of summer!

August 24th SAT: If you’re able to commit 6-8 weeks to practice after the Fourth of July (and we’re not talking about all-day, every-day prep – just consistent, focused review) it can be beneficial to do it in August rather than October when college application deadlines are looming. HOWEVER – these spots tend to fill quickly so If you’re thinking about taking this date, register as soon as possible so you can take it at a site close to home.

September 14th ACT and October 5th SAT: Check and to get the exact dates of this year’s fall tests; they weren’t available at the time of this article’s writing. These late dates are better options for juniors than seniors, but if you have a senior who needs one more ACT or SAT before applying, these will be them.

Please see my ad in this issue on page 14 to get your customized timeline and plan for the schools you’re targeting on a schedule that works best for you and your family. I’d love to help!