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Fall Timeline for High School Seniors: November

This post is the third in a month-by-month timeline for keeping your high school senior on target with minimal stress.


Keep on top of the spreadsheet you started in September. Your student may have completed some early or rolling applications, but most likely there are additional applications left to complete with later deadlines. If these applications require supplemental essays, your senior may actually have quite a bit of work remaining. Keeping track and checking off tasks will lower the stress.

Hopefully your student has completed the main part of the Common Application. Before your student presses “submit,” insist that each application be printed out; review it with your student to make sure everything is correct. Admissions people typically print out the electronic apps and review hard copy, so if you like the way it looks, the admissions people will too. If your teen has already submitted the Common App to a prospective college, and would like to change any element of the main application or Personal Statement, the CA4 permits change even to the basic Common App for applying to future schools.

If you have not already done so, clarify with your high school’s guidance counselor how school forms are sent to colleges from your high school. Most high schools now manage the entire process centrally online through the Naviance system; others still ask families to provide stamped, self-addressed envelopes. Contact College or to have test results sent to each prospective college, on a rush basis if required.

Today, colleges have electronic systems for keeping track of each application, which items have been received or are missing. Your student will have access to these lists through a username-password system. Encourage your student to keep track of all passwords! Your teen needs to check to make sure his or her application is considered complete by the deadline. If not, it is your teen’s responsibility to contact the high school guidance department and rectify the problem. Yes, I have known students who were denied admission because something was missing in their application and they did not check until it was too late.

If your student is planning on re-taking standardized tests during November or December. spring for a one-to-one tutor if affordable, because senior year fall is the last chance to swing for the bleachers. If tutoring is not in the budget, do a small group session with Chyten, Kaplan, or Princeton Review. Cost-effective online tutoring is also available through ePREP, if your teen is sufficiently self-motivated or you can stay on top of the kid to do a little bit every night. Free online resources include Khan Academy and Standardized testing is really the only element of your student’s candidacy that can be measurably improved in the short time remaining. On the GPA front, just avoid grade disasters during this first marking period.

Heads-up: Your student can take either the SAT I or the ACT with Writing, and it will make no difference to the college. However, which test your student chooses may affect whether or not he or she needs to take SAT II’s. Many colleges will allow applicants to waive SAT II’s only if they have taken the ACT with Writing. For a complete list of SAT II Subject Test requirements, refer to Compass Education Group.

Related posts: Tricks and Treats of the Common Application, Part I; Tricks and Treats of the Common Application, Part II; Why You Should Apply to College Early Decision; Senior Parent? Learn to PaintHigh School Testing Strategy and TimelineParents, Teens…and the Dance of College ApplicationsThe College Waiting Game.