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About when would be the right time to start applying for colleges?

Specifically grades and time frames.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Doc’s Answer

Charlie here's a timeline on when to focus on each month of your senior year to produce high-quality materials ahead of time and boost your odds of getting into your dream college.

SEPTEMBER
• GUIDANCE COUNSELOR– Hopefully you’ve already talked about college with your guidance counselor during your junior year. Now that you’ve had the summer to explore your options, sit down again to review the whole process. Your counselor will give you valuable perspective about the schools on your list and help you chart out the application process. Also make sure that you’re fulfilling all of your requirements for high school graduation.
• LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION – As soon as you possibly can, ask two teachers to write you letters of recommendation. It is wise to ask teachers from your junior year, especially if you have a good relationship with them and participate in their class. If a teacher doesn’t really know you or hasn’t heard much from you in class discussions, they won’t have much to write about.

OCTOBER
• COLLEGE FAIRS– Most colleges and universities host college fairs in the fall. This is an open recruiting forum where students and parents are invited to see the campus and learn more about academics and student life. These days, most schools also offer virtual fairs online. Find out the fair schedule of each school on your list and take advantage of this opportunity. It will reveal a lot about each school.
• TRANSCRIPTS – Request your high school transcripts and verify that they are accurate. If anything is wrong or missing you’ll need time to correct it. Reviewing your transcript is also a good reminder to maintain your grades through to the end.
• APPLICATIONS – By now you should know what schools you’re applying to-5 or 6 ideally. You’ve had a few months to look over the various applications and think long and hard about your essay. Give yourself ample time in November to complete all the applications and get feedback about your essay. Have parents, teachers and other adults in your life read your essay and try to keep an open mind to their constructive criticism.

NOVEMBER
• FINANCIAL AID/SCHOLARSHIPS – Deadlines for financial aid and scholarships are still further down the road, but the sooner you apply the better. Knowing what kind of aid packages are available will help you weigh the cost of different schools.
• TESTING – November is still within the normal window to take your SAT and/or ACT, but December will probably be your last opportunity to do so. If you haven’t taken or would like to retake either one, make sure you register now for the December test. Retaking in the spring will be too late.

DECEMBER
SUBMIT COLLEGE APPLICATIONS – Most colleges have regular application deadlines sometime in December. Make sure you’ve been keeping track of all deadlines; they can vary from school to school. Don’t leave anything to the last minute. For most people, the month of December is always filled with extra holiday-related activities, not to mention the end of the fall semester. However, sometimes you may need a bit more time. If this is you, that’s okay – but you’ll want to pay attention to colleges’ final application deadlines, many of which are right around January 1. Keep in mind that many students are sending in college applications at the same time, which can occasionally result in slower submission times on platforms like the Common App. Don’t wait until 11:59 PM on January 1 to hit submit.
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Marylou’s Answer

When you begin to think about what you love. That is the beginning of the answer.

As the great philosopher, Joseph Campbell said, follow your bliss. Find out what pleases you and then go that way. I did and I have had an amazing career.

Bless you and may go forward with happiness!
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Charlaine Jane’s Answer

Complete your list of potential colleges, categorizing them into ambitious choices, suitable matches, and secure options.
Begin crafting your college application essays and personal statements to showcase your abilities and achievements.
Think about contacting your teachers or mentors to request recommendation letters that can strengthen your application.

Start the process of filling out your college applications, and assemble required documents such as transcripts and test scores.
If you're certain about your first-choice college and can meet the submission deadlines, you might want to consider applying for early decision or early action.
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