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    Each spring, the graduating seniors complete a survey on Naviance where they not only provide college application/admission information but where they also provide feedback to rising seniors.
     
    Here is a sampling of responses to the question: "What advice would you have for rising seniors regarding how to prepare for the college application process?"
    • Make sure to truly explore all of your options and learn about colleges that actually interest you
    • Solidify your list of schools as much as possible and as soon as possible. This doesn't mean you can't apply to more or less schools in the fall, but if you have a clear, complete list of schools prepared (that you'd be happy attending), a lot of potential stress can be bypassed. Try not to search for schools while also starting college applications
    • Start thinking about your strengths and accomplishments. WORK ON THEM IN THE SUMMER!!!!
    • Start as early as possible on your college applications and apply for as many scholarships as possible
    • Don't get attached to the outcome
    • Limit the amount of conversation you have with your friends about college stuff
    • Try not to compare your application process with those around you as each person is going to have a different experience and yours is the only one that matters
    • Keep your parents in the loop! They are even more scared about this than you might be and even though their input can be annoying, they are just trying to help
    • Don't put so much pressure on yourself, but stay focused and be super organized. Apply to as many early action (non-binding) schools as you can just to get it out of the way. Your college applications are not the end all be all, just be yourself and try to make that come across in your application.
    • Make sure to keep your grades up for both semesters of senior year and don't let senioritis hit you. Also, don't let anyone judge you for your decision.
    • Schools tend to sound the same on paper so it's important to go visit the campuses in order to see the students and the surrounding area. After each visit, remember to write down the pros and cons of the school and what stood out (in either a good or bad way) because all of the tours can blend together.
    • Stick to your own values and what you want. It's hard not to get caught up in what your friends want and what they think is the right decision (i.e., liberal arts college, ivy league, etc.) but that's not always the best choice for you. Remember, you're the one who's going to be attending that college, so make the best choice for you!
    • Try to do bits and pieces of the essay supplements over time. Pressuring yourself to do a large essay will feel like schoolwork and you won't enjoy the process of applying. Supplements are supposed to reflect who you are so try not to take advice on what people think you should write about. You know yourself best. Dedicate a certain portion of your after-school time (or even Tutorial) to work on the supplements.
    • Don't be afraid to ask someone for help, including admission officers. People want to help you.
    • Never stop trying.
    • CHECK YOUR EMAIL
    • Due dates are important and websites slow down on the day things are due
    • Don't get stuck on one single school.
    • Don't take things personally as the whole thing is a bit of a crap shoot. Be an active participant in your process and do what makes sense to you.
    • Don't overestimate liberal arts schools as they have so much to offer and can sometimes offer a better education than the big name universities (and can offer a lot of grants and scholarships)
    • Try and map out when you want to get things done so that you can stick to an easy to follow schedule that won't stress you out
    • Look outside your initial list of schools and try to learn about some places you haven't heard of.
    • Don't stress and over-apply to schools; it's too expensive and not worth it.
    • Create a Google doc that has everything about your college information (i.e., passwords, usernames, student ID's, etc.)
    • Apply for Financial Aid as soon as the applications become available and know which applications your colleges require.
    • Always stay on top of deadlines and apply to a good spread of colleges with different levels of prestige.
    • Apply to a couple of schools that are financially feasible. Be aware of your financial needs sooner than later.
    • Use any and all opportunities available (i.e., scholarships, writing workshops, etc.).
    • Tour every place you've been accepted to and go to admitted students days. Talk to folks who have gone there.
    • Don't go to a school based on how amazing and well-known it's supposed to be. Just because you've never heard of a school doesn't mean it can't be a good fit for your major or your personality.
    • Try to attend the chat at the start of second semester with current Drake graduates as they offer great advice and can really help you through the process
    • Before you begin your journey on the higher education path, make sure to prioritize your present stability before your lucrative future. Your well being is more important than your work ethic, something many students forget.
    • Keep all of your college information in one easily accessible place.
    • Leave yourself enough time to get everything done and have fun with it! This is an opportunity to get to know yourself!
    • Don't apply to schools you don't want to attend. If you don't get in anywhere, go to a community college for thwo years.
    • Apply to enough safetey schools as the UCs are getting more and more competitive
    • Make sure to look up whether your school requires subject tests.
    • You don't have to go to college, there are other options
    • Figure out if there are any schools you want to apply Early Action or Early Decision as those deadlines are in November.
    • Know how to manage your time with college applications, school work, and outside activities
    • If you apply Early Decision, research other options and start other applications before you hear from your ED school.
    • Take it easy, start early and relax. The best details about yourself will come out naturally while you're at ease. If the college is a good fit for you, they will see that, and if they don't, someone else will.
    • Try to enjoy senior year as much as possible and remember that the college acceptance process is not always fair! Life goes on.

    Here's some advice for seniors AFTER you submit your college applications:

    • Don't post your college application decisions on Facebook. If you get into a school, that is great! No need to blast it all over social media because as you get in, many of your classmates will not. Keep your results off social media and you'll be inadvertently helping those around you. Once you select a school to attend, by all means post about it. But in the crazy ED/EA season, it goes a long way to show some humility.