College Admissions Process by Year
A challenging senior curriculum and strong senior grades are crucial to your successfully gaining admission to a selective college. Students whose performance is on an upward trajectory throughout high school impress college admissions officers who are looking for students who are hitting their scholarly stride just as they enter college. On the other hand, these same college admissions officers are dismissive of students whose academic performance is in decline. Therefore, it is essential that you resist the temptation to slack off during your senior year.
Update your “colleges I’m applying to” list in Naviance. This list must include only those colleges to which you have definitely decided to apply.
If you have not done so already, request your teacher recommendation as soon as possible and let Mr. Wright know which teacher has agreed to write a recommendation for you.
Read the application instructions for each of the colleges to which you have decided to apply. These are found on their websites.Note in particular:
The admission programs the college offers (e.g., early decision, early action, regular decision, etc.)
The type of application(s) the college accepts (e.g., Common Application, Coalition Application, etc.
If you are going to use the Common Application, open a Common Application account at www.commonapp.org and link this account to your Naviance account. Mr. Wright will show you how to do this.
Work with Mr. Wright on your college applications and essays—each must be complete, accurate, and letter-perfect. Submit your applications to Mr. Wright for review well in advance of all deadlines.
If you are submitting college entrance examination scores (e.g., SAT, ACT, TOFEL scores) to any of the colleges to which you are applying, have them sent directly from the testing agency to the colleges. To do this, you must contact the relevant testing agency to request that your scores be sent.
If you want to take the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL again, be sure to register in time to meet your colleges’ application deadlines.
As soon as possible after October 1, parents should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be accessed at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
If any of the schools to which you are applying require it (not many do), file the CSS/Financial Aid Profile form. For information about this, see http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile.
Approximately two weeks after you have submitted a college application, check the status of your application on the college’s website. Inform Mr. Wright immediately if any irregularities or missing documents are reported.
Inform Mr. Wright immediately if you are notified by any of your colleges that any part of your college application package is missing or incomplete.
Inform Mr. Wright immediately when you receive college admission decisions, financial aid grants, merit awards, or scholarships.
You should receive all your college admission decision letters by April 1. You will usually be required to submit a deposit to the college you have chosen to attend by May 1st.
After you have decided which college you will attend and have submitted your deposit, notify any other colleges that have offered you admission to thank them and to decline their offers.
Keep your grades up. Remember, no offer of admission is final until the college receives and approves your final transcript after you graduate. Colleges can and do withdraw offers of admission when they see a significant decline in the performance of an applicant over the course of the school year.
Your junior year is crucial:
It is the last academic year most students complete before applying to college; therefore, college admission officers focus special attention on the rigor of courses chosen and the quality of grades earned in this critical year. Junior year courses and grades speak volumes about your readiness for college, so if ever there was a time to throw the full force of your intellect and energy into your academic work, your junior year is it!
Your junior year is also the time to step-up your engagement in extra-curricular activities. It is the time to demonstrate leadership and initiative in campus activities by running for student government, starting or leading a club, captaining a team, or distinguishing yourself in scouting, the arts, work experience, community or religious service, etc.
It is also a time for you to expand on your hobbies and intellectual interests, especially those that may lead to college majors and careers. Look for opportunities to demonstrate your curiosity, resourcefulness, ability, and enthusiasm. If possible, enter competitions related to the subjects and activities that interest you.
You will be automatically registered to take the PSAT/NMSQT at Calverton on October 13. The National Merit Scholarship competition is based on the results of this examination, so be sure to do your best work!
You should take either or both the SAT and ACT at least once during your junior year. Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, you should take these exams in December, after you have received your PSAT scores and have had time to review them. After you have taken the SAT or ACT and have received your score report, meet with Mr. Wright to review your scores and discuss future test preparation and testing. You can register online for the SAT at www.collegeboard.org and for the ACT at www.act.org.
Research colleges with Naviance and/or Big Future to find institutions that best match your ambitions and preferences. Meet with college representatives that visit Calverton. Consult Mr. Wright for help and advice.
List the colleges that most interest you on your "colleges I'm thinking about" page in Naviance. Mr. Wright will be adding colleges to this list as well.
Meet with college admissions representatives visiting The Calverton School, attend college fairs, and schedule visits and/or attend open houses at the institutions that interest you. The Association of Independent Maryland Schools College Fair and the IB Mid-Atlantic College Fair, both of which occur in the spring, are excellent opportunities to learn about different colleges and meet their admissions representatives.
If you are planning to participate in NCAA sports in college, notify Mr. Weiner, and ask your coaches for advice about contacting college coaches and how to effectively promote yourself to them. If you aspire to play on a NCAA Division I or Division II team, you must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/.
Whether with a summer job, volunteer work, academic enrichment, internships, sports, or opportunities in the arts, make your summers purposeful and productive.
Stay in contact with Mr. Wright over the summer; he is available to you for help and guidance year-round.
Additional To-Do List for International Students in the Junior Year
If English is not your native language, take the TOEFL and meet with Mr. Wright as soon as you receive your scores.
Please carefully review the information for international students on the websites of the colleges and universities that interest you. Pay attention to their specific instructions and directions. Most colleges and universities have an international admissions officer specifically assigned to assist you with any questions you may have.
If you have attended any schools other than Calverton in the ninth grade or after, acquire a copy of your official transcript(s), translated into English, and give it to Mr. Wright to be scanned and submitted along with your Calverton transcripts.
Be prepared to provide a financial statement from a bank or other financial institution that demonstrates that your family has sufficient funds for your college expenses. Some colleges require specific forms for banks or other financial institutions to complete, so check the specific requirements of each of the institutions you have decided to apply to.
Be aware that most college admissions officers focus special attention on the courses you take and the grades you earn during your sophomore and junior years. The academic track record you create during this time is critical to your competitiveness for selective college admissions, so select challenging courses and do your best work.
You will be automatically registered to take the PSAT on Wednesday, October 13. You will take the exam here on campus during regular school hours.
Stay involved with your extra-curricular activities and choose at least one to become your “mission.” Colleges respect the student who makes a deep commitment to one or two activities more highly than those who make superficial commitments to many activities.
Think seriously about whether you will want to play NCAA sanctioned sports in college. If you decide to do so, talk to your coach and Mr. Weiner about how to prepare yourself and how to promote yourself to college coaches.
During the winter, consult with your teachers and Ms. Dice to plan your junior year course work. It is during this time that you must decide if you are going to become an IB Diploma Candidate.
Put your summer to good use. Read, work, volunteer, or enroll in an academic enrichment program or a SAT or ACT prep class.
- Begin the year in the knowledge that, so far as college admission is concerned, the competition starts now. College admission decisions are based on your performance from this point on; few if any of your past accomplishments will be considered, but most of those that follow will. Therefore, starting with day one of Upper School strive to be at your best academically, athletically, artistically, and socially every day. Remember: your freshman year grades count!
- Get involved with extra-curricular activities. Student government, athletics, community service, performing arts, clubs, etc., offer fantastic ways to exercise and enjoy your talents. Your freshman year is just the time to sample different activities and decide upon the ones to which you will want to make a commitment (and potentially develop into a “hook”).
- Keep your ears open about colleges. You may be surprised to find that you are surrounded by college information emanating from all kinds of sources. Friends, family, neighbors, Calverton teachers and alumni; books, newspapers, magazines; radio, television, and the internet are all great sources of college information. But maintain a healthy skepticism; there are a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding college admissions, so be discerning.
- Get to know your College Counselor. Mr. Wright is here for you; you are always welcome to drop by and chat about any aspect of college and the admission process.
- Put your summer to good use. Read, work, volunteer for community service, or perhaps enroll in an academic enrichment program or PSAT/SAT prep class.
- Take the PSAT 8/9 at Calverton. (You will be automatically registered.)