The college admission process is a marathon, not a sprint. For many of you it won’t conclude until May 1, the National Candidates’ Reply Date by which seniors officially confirm their attendance at a school of choice. Students who really enjoy the journey and feel successful at the end are students who engage with the associated work early and often for short spans of time. Regular and incremental attention is the way to go. Those students also tend to see the journey as a wonderful opportunity for personal exploration, instead of a list of To Do items. After all, deciding which schools you will apply to requires knowing why those schools fit, how they will help you achieve your goals, and what you might contribute to those communities should you be admitted. The college admission journey is an exciting chance to really get to know yourself in ways you may not have considered before. Managing your time effectively and incorporating the process into your normal life will become increasingly important as you approach the start of your final year at Norfolk Academy and juggle the many competing priorities of fall as a senior.
We encourage you and your parents to discuss where you are in the process and, or action items that need attention, two to three times a week. This will allow you to plan ahead, chip away at the associated tasks, give thoughtful consideration to questions for which you may be exploring answers, and strengthen your partnership. Students, remember that your parents are your biggest cheerleaders (we are a close second), and they are eager to help you. They are not, however, applying to college. Take the lead to schedule opportunities for conversation. This will give you and your parents a chance to share input about college search priorities, action items, and end goals. It will also strengthen your parents’ confidence that you are taking ownership of the process and have things under control. As with many parts of the college admission journey, demonstrating ownership of this most important and exciting time in your life, will help as you grow and transition to adulthood.
If you are letting large amounts of time slip by between discussions (weekend warrior mode, if you will) come see us; we will help you get on track. We encourage you to maintain a journal of your college research, a list of important contacts, and a calendar of anticipated responsibilities for the summer and fall. These should include recognition of family, extracurricular and school-related commitments, as well as anticipated deadlines and dates related to college admission. The last of these should include College Counseling events, standardized test dates, and application, financial aid and merit scholarship deadlines (as appropriate). Creating personal deadlines of at least one week prior to an actual deadline will help ease the stress caused by completing important work last minute.
As always, the College Counseling team is here to provide guidance, support and information. Think of us as the water stations found over the course of a marathon. Stop in regularly to refuel, to rest and get motivated. Whether you are at mile two or mile eleven, we are so proud of all you are accomplishing, and look forward to helping you cross the finish line.
Mrs. Jennifer Scott, Director of College Counseling