December to-do list for college bound students

It’s December already. By now, your college bound high school senior should have already met with a high school guidance counselor, obtained certified copies of transcripts and other required documents, written their admissions essay and, registered for the ACT ® and/or SAT®.

Here are a few more tasks they should complete in December in order to remain on track with the college admissions application process.

Obtain letters of recommendation

Many colleges (and scholarship committees) require that applicants submit one to three letters of recommendation as part of their application process. Be sure to request these recommendations from people who can vouch for your character and ability to do well in college. Do try to get recommendations from a local community leader, teacher, religious authority or mentor. Try to stay away from recommendations from political figures (because you don’t know the political leanings of your admissions officer). Also, be sure the person who’s recommending you has had recent dealings with you. As sweet as it may be, a recommendation from your former kindergarten teacher just won’t carry much weight; she hasn’t taught you in 12 years!

Always ask the person recommending you to submit several copies of the same letter. That way, you can submit the recommendation to more than one college or scholarship committee.

Visit colleges

Ask the admissions officers at the colleges you are interested in if they can offer you a tour during the holiday break. If you are able to get the tour, you’ll likely have more face time with the admissions officer than during peak tour seasons which will allow you the opportunity to learn more about the college and even more importantly, will allow them to learn more about you.

Schedule classes

Schedule Advanced Placement (AP) classes at your high school for the spring semester. Also, most community or junior colleges allow high school seniors to take one or two courses. If you schedule allows it, enroll. You’ll get an early feel for college life and college work and save some money as tuition at these colleges tends to be cheaper than at four year institutions.

Register for ACT® and/or SAT®

If you haven’t taken your ACT® or SAT® yet, you are running out of time. The next test date for the SAT ® is January 28, 2012. The registration deadline is December 30, 2012 .

The next test date for the ACT® is February 11, 2012 and the registration deadline is January 13, 2012.

(This article first appeared in the December 2, 2011 edition of Extra Bilingual Newspaper).

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