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Finalizing Your College List and Submitting Applications

Seniors, it’s time to think about finalizing your list and submitting applications! On August 1, the Common App will open and you can start this one-stop-shop application process which allows you to send your application to all the colleges on your list that accept the Common Application.  So, one application and one essay topic!  Keep in mind though that some colleges do require supplemental essays, so you may have a little more to do later.  

When colleges closed their doors to in-person visits due to COVID-19, it was a bit difficult for students and parents to get a first-hand look to help make college decisions. The next best thing can be virtual tours. You can also watch YouTube videos featuring current students or attend college fairs, online or in-person, to explore which options may be the right fit for you. It can also be helpful to reach out to admission counselors to schedule a one-on-one virtual meeting. Some, like Abilene Christian University, are scheduling those calls with students and parents. Take advantage of those opportunities.  

It can feel like there are tons of things to think about when researching colleges. We’ve broken down the top 5 things to help you get started and feel less overwhelmed. 

Top 5 List to Consider when Finalizing your College List

  1. College is what you make of it.  Decide for yourself what is essential and what isn’t. 
  2. Focus on what you want to do in college rather than where you want to go.* Many schools offer an excellent education.  Your goal is to think about what skills you want to acquire while in college to make you marketable when you leave.
  3. Think about the cost of college when you are finalizing your list. The less debt you incur will impact you after you graduate.
  4. Balance your list.   Broaden your search. Don’t get fixated on one or two schools or only schools your friends want to attend. What is your long-term goal? What story do you want to tell in 10 years?
  5. Trust yourself to make the right decision. You have done the work to narrow down the list, now it’s time to get to work and put your best self forward when applying to each school.

Need help finalizing your list? We are here to help you navigate this process! Contact us today.   

8 College Planning Tips for Summer

Another school year is almost over, and what a year it was! Kudos to all the teachers and school administrators who put their best foot forward, pivoted to new classroom technology and met many challenges head-on. And congratulations to the students and parents who also did their best to keep up with the changing landscape of online classes, hybrid classes, or in-person classes following strict safety guidelines. Yes, it has been challenging, but it’s almost summer, and you can relax. Not so fast, juniors! While you can take time to go to the pool and visit with friends in a more open environment, there is still work to do if you plan to attend college after you graduate. Here are a few summer tips to keep you on track.

Summer Tip #1:  Prepare a brag sheet and give it to your teachers to get a head start on writing your letter of recommendation.

Summer Tip #2:  Start preparing to write your personal statements and application essays this summer! 

Summer Tip #3   Shows demonstrated interest. Reach out to colleges on your list.  Talk to an admission counselor. Take a tour of the campus. Or view the college through virtual tours.

Summer Tip #4   Register to take the ACT/SAT.  While most schools are test-optional, and ACT/SAT score is still helpful for scholarships.

Summer Tip #5  Look for a job or internship this summer in a field that aligns with an interested major.

Summer Tip #6  Sign up for volunteer hours to complete over the summer

Summer Tip #7  Prepare a resume to attach to your college application.

Summer Tip #8  ApplyTexas and the Common app open on August 1, 2021. You can create your account now.

If you need assistance staying on track this summer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Hello, Juniors |Let’s Get Started!

Wow, 2020 has been a crazy year for everyone!  Our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered a loss during this time. We also feel for our students, parents, and teachers who had to adjust to a new normal in school and at work. But now that a vaccine is available and we are wearing masks and social distancing, we can hopefully look forward to a brighter 2021!

For juniors in high school, now is the time to get serious about exploring careers and colleges that will lead to completing college applications that will be ready to submit in the fall of 2021!  By making thoughtful decisions now about their career and college choices they can avoid deadlines creeping up on them in September. Career and personality assessments along with college application tracking tools are one-way LaunchPad can help make the process less stressful for students and parents. 

Why are personality and career assessments helpful to the career and college search process? These assessments can help students not only uncover their potential and discover career goals, but they can also improve their study habits, and establish an education plan to achieve their dreams. More importantly, they provide students with self-awareness which they can use when making decisions in the future as well.

There are many free online options, such as and At LaunchPad, we use these and several others including AchieveWorks and YouScience. AchieveWorks surveys the student’s interests and skills to uncover their personality type and guide them to explore career paths that fit their personality and interests. YouScience goes one step further and utilizes aptitudes to create a student profile that aligns with careers and offers suggestions for colleges.  After all, people are happiest and most successful in jobs that allow them to use their greatest natural gifts. Both include a comprehensive report with information that can be used to design a resume or a personal reflection statement.

At LaunchPad, we can offer these assessments for career exploration and college list building. We also are here to help with college essays, college application completion. financial aid applications, ACT/SAT prep, gap year exploration, LD/ADHD coaching, volunteer opportunities, and more.

So here’s to 2021, a new year and a new outlook! We look forward to working with your student to help them achieve their dreams.