With the school year ending in the next few weeks, juniors will need a break. Many of them have taken the SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, AP exams, and final exams, all within a few months. It is exhausting, and I encourage my students to take a little time to relax in June and not think about anything related to college admission.
But just a little time. Because your college application process will be much less stressful if you get started during the summer. You’ll be able to work on essays without trying to juggle homework and extracurricular activities at the same time. Essays take shape in the rewriting, so having time to do several drafts is important.
In recent years, ambitious students have gotten an early start on the Common Application, which would go live on July 1, enabling some students to complete their college applications before the start of the school year. But the 2010 version of the Common Application won’t be available until August 1.
Not to worry. There’s plenty you can do in the meantime. The Common App and UC essay questions won’t be changing, so there’s no need to wait until August to start working on essays. Some colleges will also make their supplemental essay questions available on their website before the Common App is online.
It really helps to get organized and make an application plan, with deadlines for each essay draft. You’ll be able to get the work done without the panic that accompanies last minute applications. Your work will also be better when you’re not rushed. And you can still find time to enjoy some fun this summer.