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When Is the Best Time to Begin Your Applications?


Okay, okay, this won’t be a one-word blog post. But that is the takeaway: if you’re a rising senior, we strongly recommend getting your applications done before your senior year starts, which means getting to work on That’s especially true this year, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You might be sick of hearing that you should get to work on your college applications -- we get it, nobody likes being nagged. But we promise that there are good reasons to get your applications done now! Doing so will leave you happier, healthier, and better prepared for your senior year.

Why? Well, read on…

Last semester’s grades are a mess

No, we’re not critiquing your performance last semester! We’re talking globally here. Every high school has reacted differently to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving admissions officers staring at some wildly different transcripts. Some will be Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit, while others will be traditional letter or number grades. But even those number or letter grades will hold less weight, given the circumstances around them -- distance learning, disrupted classes, and general chaos.

What that means is it’s going to be very, very difficult for colleges to judge last semester’s grades. This is, overall, a good thing for many students! You can consider it an equalizer -- you’re not going to be judged as heavily by your grades from second semester junior year, which is the most difficult semester of high school for many students. Instead, colleges are going to have to review applications more holistically.

More emphasis on senior year grades

Since colleges can’t judge your junior year grades as effectively, though, that means that they’re going to put more emphasis on grades from your first semester of senior year. And that’s going to present a bit of a challenge for many students.

In a typical admissions cycle, colleges don’t care as much about your senior year grades -- your applications will already be submitted by the time even your first semester grades are released. That’s part of why we always advise students to take the most rigorous classes available in their senior years -- and to show that you’re always challenging yourself, of course.

But since it’s going to be difficult (if not impossible!) for admissions officers to judge candidates based on their grades from junior year, we expect those senior year grades to be a significantly larger factor this year. And that, combined with our still-relevant advice to take the most challenging course-load available to you, is going to result in a lot of work for you next semester.

Save yourself the stress!

One way you can be kind to your future senior self? Get those applications done now! If you get your applications done by the end of the summer -- a totally achievable goal -- then you won’t be overwhelmed trying to get them done while working to ace your senior year classes.

Finishing your applications in the summer, before school starts, is always our advice to rising seniors. But we want to emphasize that to you more than ever this year. You don’t have time to waste! If you procrastinate, your fall semester will be absolutely grueling. But if you get those applications done now, you can still have a successful, smooth, and even -- dare we say it? -- fun senior year!

Does getting your applications done before school starts sound overly ambitious? We promise it’s not! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we can help you stay organized and on schedule. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about the college admissions packages we offer!


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