It’s the last summer of your high school careers. Sure, there will be friends missed, and none of you really knows where you’ll be next year. It’s frightening and exciting and wonderful and bittersweet all at the same time. We remember. It wasn’t all that long ago for us either.
But there’s other stuff you need to focus on. It’s veritably your last opportunity to boost your applicant profile. And there’s plenty you can do really.
1) Browse through our piece For 11th Graders.
Scan it to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered on those fronts. If not, address them first.
Take your SAT, brush up on your IB material. You ought to have concluded, or nearly concluded choosing your major and shortlisting colleges at this point.
2) The SATs:
Now it’s time to move on to step 2 of your SATs – The SAT subject tests. Only the most selective schools require three subject tests. Most require two or none.
However, almost all schools will consider your subject test scores if you send them in via College Board. They’re definitely going to.
It is therefore recommended that you do take SAT subject tests, particularly if you’re aiming for the higher schools. Try to take as many subject tests (upto 3) as you can. Never mind if it isn’t pertinent to your major. The objective is to show that you’re a conscientious and ambitious student, and are willing to test yourself to prove it.
Try to get your subject tests over with by September and early October. The months of October, November and December should be dedicated entirely to completing your college applications.
3) The IB:
This is the last opportunity you’ll have to boost your predicted IB scores. Work on your subjects, brush up on material from the previous year, and see if you can move ahead of the school with your IB syllabus.
Since a large chunk of the academic year us spent focusing on the college applications and the application process itself, it will inevitably take a toll on your academics. Allow yourself room for that by studying that little bit extra now.
Test yourself on older material. Learn new topics and ensure you are tested on those as well, regularly, periodically and comprehensively .
Start thinking about which teachers you would like to approach for to write your college recommendations. You will likely need two teachers to write you recommendations.
Since you will never really get to read your Letters of Recommendation yourself, it’s imperative that you choose the teachers very wisely. At least one teacher should be teaching you a subject that is pertinent to the major to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying to be a Math Major, if would help if your Math teacher wrote your high school recommendations, rather than your English or French one.
5) Create a Resume
You will need a resume, sooner rather than later. For a variety of reasons:
i) For recommendations:
When you approach a teacher for a letter of recommendation, it will help if you have a compiled and formulated list of academic and extra-curricular achievements for her to refer to when she starts writing the letter. A resume is a great thing to have. It is meant to provide a teacher with a reminder of your achievements – to make sure she doesn’t accidentally miss something out.
Don’t be afraid to hand her a resume! She will probably welcome it for the time and effort it saves her.
ii) For College Applications:
Many college applications require for you to submit a resume. Since this is a tedious and time-consuming process, it helps to get it over with during the summer break.
Be sure to update it from time to time!
iii) To apply to internships:
Internships are a great boost to a college applicant’s profile. They show that you’re ambitious, that you love trying your hand at new learning experiences and that you’re not afraid to test yourself in a real working environment.
An internship in the field of your potential major also goes a long way to convince the admissions office that you’re serious about learning, and will avail of every opportunity that you possibly can.
Scout for internship openings. Ask teachers, contact professors at universities in your city, speak to your parents and see if they can give you a hand finding an opening. An internship will also likely give you experiences that you can later write about in your college application essays! It’s pretty much a win-win.
Note for Parents, Students, Counsellors: The information above was to the best of our knowledge at the time that this article was published. With every application cycle, or sometimes even during it, Colleges and Universities may change dates, policies, available majors and other relevant information. These updates will be reflected on the College and University websites themselves.
Please refer to the official college websites in addition to reading these articles. These articles are written only to provide general guidelines to students, not as a substitute for individual college websites.