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How early to start on college essays and applying for scholarships?

Hi my name is Jason, I’m currently a Junior in high school and I’m wondering how to get ahead in college apps as well as scholarships. Also, I have a GPA of 3.66, and I’m worried whether it is good enough.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Karissa’s Answer

Start working on the essay now. Recently my husband got into medical school and had to revise his essay 8 times and the last few were with his academic advisor. This is a very long process. Find the top 10 admission essay topics and write essays for all of them. Spend 1-2 hours a day Monday through Friday every day during summer break. Even better take 12th grade English for summer school.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Karissa! Will definitely take an English class during community college during the summer. Jason
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Mitchell’s Answer

Hi Jason,

That's a great question and props to you for already thinking about this as a Junior and getting ahead of your peers. The key to getting ahead in college applications is starting early. Many schools start their formal application process for new students in July-September of the prior year (example: July 2024-Sept. 2024 for the Fall 2025 year). I would also recommend that you visit each college that you apply to early in the fall to see what you options look like in person early in your senior year. Many schools allow you to apply for their scholarships at the same time you are applying to their school. You can also investigate what scholarships are available in your community and even look online for different grants and scholarships.

In terms of your GPA, 3.66 should get you into the majority of colleges that you apply for. However, keep in mind that most colleges look at more than just your GPA. In your applications and essays, be sure to mention the extracurriculars that you are involved in, volunteering that you have done, and any work history that you have attained. Colleges want to see the whole picture you bring, not just the number associated with your grades! Finally, even if you find a college that mentions a specific GPA requirement that you do not meet, I would still apply anyway! You never know who will see your application and something you mention may peak their interest and you may receive an offer despite not hitting their GPA requirement.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer! I appreciate it. Jason
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Astrid’s Answer

Hi John,
Look at the essay prompts for this years applications for the schools you are planning to apply for.

Even though prompts tend to change, they usually revolve around the same topics. Essay practice will leave you with material to further work on through the summer and will come in handy once you’re writing for your applications.

Create a list of dream, reach and safety schools.

Safety schools are schools you won’t have any issue getting into that are 100% going to accept you (factor in scholarship availability?
Reach schools are schools you are likely to get into based on GPA, extra curriculars, test scores, etc. these schools are not 100% guaranteed admissions but those where you have a good chance to be accepted I .
Dream schools are the schools you’d love to go to but may not necessarily meet the criteria to get admission. Schools make the best effort to review candidates holistically- meaning they look at everything not just class rank, test scores and GPA.

Hope this helps you get a start on your prep! Make sure to watch out for application deadlines and FAFSA
Thank you comment icon Thank you Astrid! Jason
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Jason,
It's great that you are thinking ahead and taking proactive steps towards your future.

As a junior in high school, now is the perfect time to start researching colleges that interest you and checking for available scholarships. Remember, it's never too early to start this process. Don't be discouraged by your GPA - a 3.66 is a solid achievement and colleges are looking for well-rounded individuals, not just high grades.

During your summer vacation, consider doing some volunteering work to not only give back to your community but also to enhance your college application. Additionally, make sure to participate in extracurricular activities during your senior year and ask teachers or supervisors from your volunteer work for recommendations.

I also wanted to recommend a great website for finding scholarships - fastweb.com. It's a valuable resource for finding scholarships that match your interests and qualifications.

Remember, it's never too early to start planning for your future. Keep up the great work and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need further guidance.

Best of luck,
Jennifer
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your insight Jennifer! I will definitely check out the scholarship website! Jason
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