Back to School and College Applications: Get Prepared


  • College Applications – August first is the day most college applications can be started and sent electronically.
  • Send ACT and SAT scores through the ACT and College Board websites directly to the colleges to which you are applying. It can take up to 3 weeks for colleges to receive scores. Sign up for September and October tests to improve your score before the college deadlines.
  • Send high school transcripts to all colleges to which you are applying. Each high school has local procedures and forms that must be followed exactly.
  • Update the Student Resume. This document is the foundation for filling in college applications.
  • Time Management  If you have not already done so, this is the time to polish your high school resume. This is the main document you use to complete your college applications.

More about time management: Requesting teacher recommendations

Seek permission first. Don’t submit a teacher’s email address to a college and then run to ask permission. Even if you are a track star, you cannot run faster than technology can deliver the request.

Ask early. Teachers/counselors/youth ministers/scout masters who know you well and like you can write compelling recommendations if given enough time to do so. If you procrastinate, you give them little time to write a good letter.

Please do not assume that Naviance (or any program your school uses) can take the place of the good manners you display by making a personal visit to ask for that letter.

Unlike good wine, time does not make it easier to ask for this letter. Ask NOW.

You are a Person, a unique individual

You are not a number: you are not grades, not SAT scores, not GPA, not a score on an assignment. Those things are part of the whole picture of you. What does define you far more importantly is your character, and there is no quantitative measure for that.


  • This academic year counts as the last year calculated to form the GPA and Class rank for the purpose of applying to college. Do your best! Always work hard and the results, then, will be the best you, your parents, and your teachers can hope for.
  • When your confidence goes up, the grades go up. When confidence goes down, the grades go down! That might be Newton’s Fourth Law!
  • Visit College Campuses.

Freshmen and Sophomores:

  • Get organized and prioritize your school work above all other activities in your life. Join clubs, meet new friends, but keep up with your homework and study for exams.
  • During student holidays like Columbus Day, visit college campuses and listen to an admissions information session too.

Advice for Students Entering College:

  • College is the most exciting chapter so far in your life. And, while you are having the time of your life with inspirational classes and instructors and new friends, your parents are looking at your empty room. Be thoughtful. Write/email/call mom and dad frequently. They will feel your absence more than you know.
  • This may seem silly, but when you pack for college, take with you the acceptance letter from the college you are attending—as well as acceptance letters from any other colleges. Everyone—EVERYONE—will hit a brick wall sometime in college. When you do, you will have those letters. Post them on the wall, on your desk, or on the mirror. These letters say to you, “This college had confidence in my ability. I, too, need to have confidence that I can do it.”
  • Once you get settled into your dorm, find a good spot on campus to study. That great spot is probably not going to be your dorm. The dorm is almost always for sleeping and socializing. Suggested great spots are the engineering or law libraries.
  • Never eat alone, even if it’s eating peanut butter or the ever-popular Ramen Noodles!
  • Talk to your professors; introduce yourself. You will be surprised how your interest (genuine interest) in the class and in instruction can become an asset. Professors are not obligated to grade as high school teachers are. They have considerable latitude. Given your interest, if your final grade is on the cusp of the next higher grade, you might find yourself the recipient of their generosity.