26 Weeks to College: Week 24

A Few Final Things to Do Before You Break for the Holiday
December 14, 2020

Most of you are getting close the time you will break for a winter holiday. And when you have a holiday, so do your school counselor and your teachers.


There are a few things you’ll want to do before everyone has some much-needed rest and relaxation.


And, of course, I haven’t forgotten that it’s almost time to hear from the colleges where you applied early. Next week’s post will be all about how to handle the news – whatever it is.


For this week, stick to the plan to get the things done that you need to do before the holiday. You’ll thank me next week, when you can be singularly focused on the big news. Promise.


WEEK 24 TO-DOS



THIS WEEK

  • Check in with your school counselor and your teachers to get anything you need from them before the holiday.



  • Continue doing what it takes to finish the term with great grades. Get some study tips in Week 22’s post.



  • Hold one more week on submitting your finished applications if you have early applications pending and your regular applications aren’t due yet. See why in Week 21’s post.


  • Get all your financial aid forms as close to finished as possible. Delay any that aren’t due before your holiday break so that you can stay focused on schoolwork.


  • Respond to any invitations for interviews and interview. See Week 18’s post for tips.


THIS WEEK AND EVERY WEEK

  • Check your email, voicemail, texts, and snail mail for any communications that relate to applying to college. Read them and take whatever action is necessary. See Week 19’s post for tips on how to handle being contacted by colleges.


  • Update your parents about what you’re doing. This regular communication will work wonders in your relationship with your parents during this stress-filled year.


TIPS AND TRICKS



1. Update your school counselor and recommenders about where you are in the college application process and thank them for their help so far.


Your school counselor and your recommenders WANT to know what’s happening. So give them a brief update along with a thank you before you go on break. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just an email along with these lines will do the trick:

Hi Mr. Delaney:


I just wanted to let you know how things are going with college applications. I’m waiting to hear back from three colleges where I submitted early. Depending on what I hear from them, I plan to submit one to three more applications by the end of the year.


Thank you so much for all you’ve done to help me. I
really appreciate it. I’ll keep you updated about decisions as they come in.


Have a wonderful holiday!

~Stephanie Student




2. At the same time you send your update, confirm that your school reports, counselor recommendations, and teacher recommendations will be submitted before the holiday IF you are submitting applications with deadlines that come during the holiday.


Many of you will be submitting applications with due dates during the holiday (think of all the January 1 -15 schools!). That means you’ll have school reports, counselor recommendations, and teacher recommendations due then too. So it is vital that you line them up before the holiday comes. Do it at LEAST A WEEK BEFORE THE HOLIDAY STARTS.


Confirm that these have already been sent or are in line to be sent in, whatever way makes the most sense. You’ll know the system at your school by now. But do yourself a favor and double-check everything. If you submitted the form to request one of those items, check back with your school counselor or recommender and make sure they got it. Same if you sent an email request or made a request online through Naviance or something similar.


You can also just add a sentence or two to the email you’re already sending with the update to confirm. For example, Stephanie Student could modify her email this way:

Hi Mr. Delaney:

I just wanted to let you know how things are going with college applications. I’m waiting to hear back from three colleges where I submitted early.

Depending on what I hear from them, I plan to submit applications to the following colleges before January 1st: College 1, College 2, College 3. I have already requested that you send your recommendation to those colleges, but could you please confirm that you will do that before the holiday? I want to make sure they receive it by the deadline.

Thank you so much for all you’ve done to help me. I
really appreciate it. I’ll keep you updated about decisions as they come in as well as let you know if my application plans change.

Have a wonderful holiday!

~Stephanie Student



Stephanie should get a reply from Mr. Delaney confirming that he has sent the recommendation to Colleges 1, 2 and 3 AT LEAST TWO DAYS before the holiday break. If she doesn’t, she should follow up with Mr. Delaney and make sure he’s going to get it done. You can and should be diligent without being a pest. Just be polite, but firm, that you need to get his confirmation that the recommendation has been sent.


Anna Ivey is one of the founders of Inline. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the college admissions bible How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.

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