Skip to main content

What Juniors Can Do Now: Spring Edition

Jennifer Simons

Written by Jennifer Simonson March 1st, 2022

My interest in the college application process stems from my own experience navigating the college process mostly by myself, albeit with supportive but hands-off parents. I was fascinated by trying to understand how colleges know how many students to accept and why. My first job in admissions at Barnard College allowed me to supervise joint programs with the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Manhattan School of Music, while also running the tour guide programs and traveling throughout the American Midwest. In my subsequent role as Associate Director of Admissions at Connecticut College, I ran the Transfer and Return to College Program for non-traditional students. It was at Connecticut College where I got my first taste of international recruitment. Subsequently, I served as the Director of International Recruitment for ten years at Tufts University, where my focus was Asia. One of the highlights of that time was leading a three-week recruitment tour for 30 admissions officers across India. One of the aspects I loved about admissions, specifically international admissions, where there is a great deal of joint and team travel, is that you learn so much about other colleges and universities, and you realize that colleges are not competitors per se but rather institutions in search of the right student, just as students are searching for the right college. I moved from Tufts to take on the Director of Recruitment position at Northeastern University, an institution I admired from across the Charles River for a long while. And in the midst of all of this, I served as a college counselor at the Ramaz School in Manhattan for a few years, and that is why I am adamant about students fostering a positive relationship with their school counselor as they navigate this process.
Learn More About Jennifer
Juniors, welcome to March.  I told you a few months ago that this is when the college search will get real and here you are. What happens next? Well, let’s work backwards, shall we? November 2022 is eight months away and right now, that feels like a solid deadline, doesn’t it? You can accomplish a great deal in eight months.  Why am I choosing November as a deadline? You should aim to have your applications done by Halloween, ready to submit before all the mini-Twix have been eaten, before the candy corn packets have been tossed unceremoniously into the garbage, because let’s face it, who even eats candy corn? Does November seem early? Had you planned on January 1st or does that now seem late? In my previous blog, I said that the goal is to have your applications done by the time you go back to school for your senior year. For some of you, that means August. While I still encourage you to get as much app-related work done as possible before school’s back in, I understand that goal might feel impossible, or at least uncomfortable. If so, November as a deadline hopefully feels more achievable. If you are applying Early Action or Early Decision, you will likely have a November 1 deadline, though a handful of schools (including University of Georgia and Georgia Tech) set their EA deadline as early as October 15. Some of you will apply even earlier to places like Arizona State and, by October, you might have a decision (and a Sun Devil t-shirt in your closet). Bottom line: there are a scant couple of months between when senior year begins and applications are due. If you’re a student who took my previous post to heart, you’ve had a conversation with your family by now about how far you can go from home, or how close you should stay to home, and how much the all-important budget is. You have started your research about whether you want cows or skyscrapers, bricks and ivy or steel and subways; now, it is time to make a list. The list is arguably the most important part of this process. You need to have two types of colleges on your list: colleges that are likely to admit you and colleges that are very likely to admit you. I know you have probably heard a lot about “reach” schools but I am on a one-woman campaign to dispel the myth that students must aspire to colleges that will likely, at least statistically speaking, reject them. Why not “fall in love” with a college that actually wants to love you back? (I put “fall in love” in quotes because college is not a romantic concept, and your prospective schools should not be the object of all your hopes, dreams, and romantic aspirations). Your job right now, this spring, is to find a few colleges that seem compelling to you, ones that you will benefit from, and that are very likely to want you on campus. Of course, there are still essays to write, recommendations to request, and exams to ace. But your job now is to find three colleges where you can see yourself, that have your major, that your family can afford, that fit the other parameters you’ve established—and that will accept you. Please spend the next few months visiting colleges with acceptance rates that align with your achievements and finding things to appreciate about these colleges. Get interested, dare I say, excited about them, and write the reasons why on your phone, in a notebook, wherever you wish, just in case they ask for these reasons when you apply.  Right now, work backwards with the goal to be done by November, to write your essays this summer, and to do your research now. If you insist on “falling in love” with a college, find some colleges right now that will love you back, and I will return to the blog in June to help you establish a schedule for writing essays.


Interested in learning more about how our college admissions counseling services can help your student succeed?

Call 877-402-6224 or complete the form for information on getting your student started with one of our experts.

Inclusion Matters Here Pride Flag