Dear Juniors

Dear Juniors,

We asked the seniors to leave behind some college advice for you as they leave behind their final week of school, final assembly and final late start Wednesday. After all, today is their last day to make a decision and enroll in their school of choice. Some decided before applying to college what this first choice was – and committed upon submitting their application. Some are still deciding today.

Tomorrow we’ll learn all final decisions. In the meantime, here’s the advice from the Class of 2013.

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On testing:

“Take the ACT and SAT seriously, take prep classes, and plan ahead. The test deadline dates come up faster than you may think and it’s easy to miss the few opportunities you have to take the tests (…I missed the deadlines quite a few times.)”

“Take the ACT multiple times! Do prep and always do the writing portion! I feel that ACT scores are such an important part in the decision process and an even bigger part of scholarship possibilities.”

On visiting schools:

“I strongly recommend visiting the schools’ campuses. You may love the way a school seems in pamphlets and college meetings, but spending time on campus and interacting with current students and faculty makes all the difference.”

“It helped me to write down my impressions of the schools right after I left campus so I would remember exactly how I felt about it. When I went back and compared my notes from all the different schools, the differences of my first impressions were astounding. And definitely go with your gut feeling. I thought I would love certain schools, but they just didn’t feel right for me when I visited.”

“Honestly…I never visited my dream school…But I was in love with everything I had read about, the atmosphere that was described to me, and all of my friends that visited told me it was the school for me. I was infatuated with the idea of starting new at a beautiful school. But I was living in a fantasy land…”

On the importance of reality

“”This past July I took Mrs. Flanagan’s summer class with an open mind. I was ready to start applying to colleges that were out of state. My main focus was on getting out of state and going to a popular/well-known college. I didn’t take into account my grades or money. Mrs. Flanagan and my parents gave me a reality check and I realized that some of my choices would not be possible. Be sure to communicate with your parents and make sure that everyone is constantly on the same page so you don’t get your hopes up and then are disappointed.”

“Always keep communication with your parents! Make sure everyone is on the same page! Talk finances with them and explore the compromises they are willing to make.”

“Be realistic about the colleges you plan to apply to. Push yourself, but also don’t set only goals that are impossible to reach.”

On applying early

“The college process is not easy…no matter what you do or how early you start preparing. But starting early does give you an advantage! Take Mrs. Flanagan’s class over the summer if you have the opportunity… or get an older sibling to help you!”

On thinking for yourself

“Do research on the college list Mrs. Flanagan provides for you, but explore other choices as well!”

“Mrs. Flanagan gave me a list of 10 small schools and 10 larger schools that would be a good fit for me… Now, I should have done more research on that list. But I didn’t. I didn’t meet Mrs. Flangan half-way. I played it safe and picked 10 schools out of Mrs. Flanagan’s list of 20 that appealed to me or seemed to be well known. I was accepted to all 10 of my schools. I did not challenge myself… I played it too safe. I wasted my parents money applying to some of these schools knowing that I had no actual interest in them… I just wanted to know that I was accepted.”

On asking for help!

“Be good to Mrs. Flanagan and Ms. Larimer! They are there to help you! Don’t feel uncomfortable to chat with them (I’ve had many therapy sessions with them)”

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A big thank you, congratulations and best wishes to our 2013 graduates!