My answer: a lot! This is the time to get all of the hard leg work out of the way so that essays are easier to write, information is easier to input, and stress levels are down for the Fall when you juggle school work, sports, extra-curriculars AND the application process.
The first big project that you can work on is the resume process – peruse some of the resumes you find online for both content and visual appeal. Then take a hard look at your high school career AND your accomplishments throughout your life time. A lot of your current involvements in school might have started from much earlier than high school. For example, you may have been playing soccer since the age of 5, and now you’re the co-captain of your high school team. This extra piece of information gives the resume reader a better picture of the type of dedication you have to the sport or activity. Also, be sure to include activities that you intend on completing during your last year of high school.
The resume process is ongoing as it’s a working document. So, have a few trusted friends and adults help you think about any holes you might be missing and how to best word your activities, leadership experience and awards. But, do not finalize and leave it there untouched as you continue with the rest of your application. Conversations with friends, family, and teachers might spark memories of an important project or competition you may want to showcase. Continue to revisit it periodically until you are ready to submit it to the colleges.
The resume is a great place to start for the application process as it has obvious practical purposes as well as a good reason to start thinking about your own history and accomplishments. This will segue into the next few projects that you can work on as a junior in high school to help prep for the application process: brainstorming pieces of your life that you’d like to make sure are highlighted in your final application, mock interviews, and approaching teachers about recommendations.
Look out for more blog updates on preparation for the college applications!