It’s never to early to start planning for college

Published 12:07 am Thursday, June 22, 2023

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By Claire Reinthaler

For the Clemmons Courier

As we get into summer, for the class of 2024, it’s time to start thinking about applying to college. 

This can be a daunting task; trust me, I know. But there are a few things that I’ve already started to do to hopefully make the entire process a little more manageable when the time comes. 

As someone who tries to hold myself to very high standards academically, here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful for things you can start to do over the summer (if you haven’t already) to prepare for when applications open in August.

Take SAT/ACT prep classes

With most colleges and universities remaining test optional through the 2023-24 application period, this step may not seem like a big deal. However, getting a really good score on one or both of these standardized tests can be a big resume booster when sending in your applications. 

If it is financially and logistically feasible for you and your family, I highly recommend picking whichever test you feel you have a better grasp of conceptually to start and seeking out some classes that can help you to prepare. The SAT and ACT, I’ve found, are more testing your ability to test-take rather than your actual well of knowledge, so having these classes can help you learn strategies to be able to really ace whichever test you take. I just got my SAT results back, and I can honestly say that I would not have done as well as I did without these classes. Even just purchasing the book of practice tests, either first or secondhand, can help familiarize you with the format and material and lower your stress levels on test day.

Set up your CommonApp account early

I was playing around on CommonApp the other day because I’m super excited to start the college application process (even if it scares me a little). Still, I spent around twenty minutes simply setting up my account, and I’m not even done with the set-up part yet. 

Since CommonApp is your gateway to most, if not all, of your college applications, having all that identifying information into your account is super important. As someone who knows that they’re applying to over 10 schools early action, having all that put in and set up with the colleges you want to apply to in advance has been helpful for me. I’ve gotten to explore the site a little and get familiar with how everything is laid out, so it’s not as difficult when the time comes to start my applications.

Start asking for recommendations

This step is the most important if you plan on applying for scholarships or just applying to schools early action or early decision since most deadlines are around Oct. 15. 

You can email the teachers you want to ask to write your recommendations over the summer just to put it in their heads for the start of the school year so that they’ll have plenty of time to complete the letter by the date you need it. At the very least, start thinking about which teachers you want to ask for recommendations so that you can ask them at the beginning of the school year.

Of course, there’s no one right way to do all of this. These tips are simply ones that have benefitted me so far in the early stages of preparing for my college applications. Remember, CommonApp opens for incoming fall 2024 students in August — best of luck to all.