With time ticking away, stay ahead of college application deadlines by ensuring you follow a regimen
Dear class XI students, if you haven’t realised it already, this is going to be one of the most fast-paced, high-pressure and high-impact years of your student life. The best way to stay cool is to know what to expect and plan things early.
I have collated this timeline for students applying to the top five college destinations for Indian students today: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Singapore and India.
January to March: Most students are writing class XI final exams. Several universities in the U.S., Singapore and Canada consider class XI scores when assessing a student’s application so this has to be given priority.
This is a great time to start planning the summer — fixing testing schedules, applying for summer programmes and reaching out to organisations for internships.
Both the Common App and the Coalition App release their essay prompts by this time and it is a great idea for U.S. college aspirants to start working on these prompts to make time to really think, ideate, edit and re-edit the main essay — and truly get a headstart on the process.
April to July: Multiple SAT, ACT and SAT II dates. This is a good time to finish all your testing, including the IELTS, so that you are free to focus on applications after this. Several schools have summer breaks in May and June. This is the last summer you have to enhance your skills and credentials through short courses, internships or projects. You will soon be writing numerous essays about why you want to major in the subject you have chosen and what you have done to further your interest. Use the summer to create material that could impress admissions officers, as well as give you clarity on your goals.
Another good use of the summer is to create a CV, and a basic Statement of Purpose stating what you want to do in college, why you want to do it and your credentials in the area.
August and September: Class XII half yearly exams form the basis for predicted grades so this has to be given priority during these months. Most U.S. universities open their college applications in August and it is a great idea to start working on the supplementary college essays as well.
Those applying to the U.K. also need to check if their courses require any tests and register for these with the British Council or their representatives. The deadlines for this are usually September 30.
October: This is a big month. The CSS profile for financial aid in U.S. colleges opens on October 1. UCAS deadlines for applying to Oxbridge fall on October 15 and their tests are on October 30. It is good to use this time to prepare for any early deadlines you wish to approach in November and December.
November: Application fever begins in earnest. Almost all Early Decision and Early Action deadlines for U.S. colleges fall on November 1. University of Toronto has an early deadline in November as does Ashoka University. The University of California applications close on November 30.
December: Apart from class XII final exams, you may be dealing with early deadlines for Texas universities and Indian universities like Flame, Krea, Azim Premji among others. Many US and Canada regular decision deadlines are in early January so December is usually a super hectic month for college essays and video essays.
January 2021: The New Year starts with a bang for those applying to the U.S. with many application deadlines between January 1 and 5. UCAS and Canada deadlines are on January 15. Hopefully, you have spent the last quarter of the previous year well and have minimal work to reach these deadlines. Most decisions on early applications are announced at this time so many students have the comfort of having an offer from a target college as they enter their pre-boards.
February and March are for the board exams, of course. Most U.S. and Canada colleges declare their results at this time as well. Hopefully you have applied to a broad and diverse enough list to have good news coming in from several corners.
A word of comfort for those already hitting the stress buttons: you don’t control your class XII outcomes but you do control your actions. And action is the best antidote to stress. Just start early and stay cool to avoid the adrenaline rush of last-minute applications.
The writer is Founder and CEO, Inomi Learning, a Gurugram-based career and college guidance [email protected]
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