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How do I get a head start on applying to college?

QUESTION: It’s the end of my junior year and I know that next year I’m supposed to really hit it hard with college admissions. Is there anything I can do this summer to get a head start?
–Anxious about Senior Year

Dear Anxious about Senior Year: It may not be the most fun option considering you have the beach, mall, and movie theater as alternatives, but you can prepare for college over the summer. You’ll appreciate your advance work in the fall when you’re steps ahead of everyone else. Spend some time figuring out what kind of college you want to attend and what you might like to study. Then, research colleges to find some that match your needs. Look at the colleges’ brochures and websites, read books with college profiles, and ask friends and family members. Try to visit some college campuses. To really get a head start, request applications from colleges and start to think about your answers. Brainstorm some ideas for essay topics. If you plan to take the SAT or ACT again, review materials for the tests. And, squeeze in some time for the beach and the mall. After all, it is summer!

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.