When to begin preparing for college applications.

When to begin preparing for college applications!

Summer Before Senior Year

Start the preliminary phases of college admissions

Guaranteed you have thought about which colleges you want to apply to for a long time. Make sure you know when all the deadlines are for applications and also what applications and materials you will need to start collecting.

Ask for letter of recommendation

You want to keep a list of people that can provide you a recommendation as early as Freshman year. You want to make sure you don’t leave anyone out as the more people you have on your side the better.

Personal essay or personal statement

Most colleges read every singe essay that comes across their desk, this is your time to shine! You want to make sure the admission committee gets to know you on a more personal level. Keep notes about the things you do throughout high school and the accomplishments you reach as when you look back you don’t want to leave anything out.

Explore their websites to learn admissions requirements

This is very important as every school is different. You want to make sure you know when every deadline is and that you know everything that is required. Missing something will not be a good first impression.

Request an application

Make sure you have an application well in advance so you can begin this process early and not let is eat you alive.

Required courses you’ll need for enrollment

You really need to start looking at this as early as freshman year as many classes are going to need a prerequisite and you are going to need to know that early so you can take the necessary classes so everything lines up like you want.

October through January

Meet with your school’s guidance counselor for assistance

Sometimes this can be a hidden gym. You counselor is there is guide you along this journey. Many schools now have a college room in which they have personal advisors and information that is super helpful.

College essay is in tip-top shape

Make sure when writing this you go through several rounds of edits. It doesn’t hurt to pay someone to look over it for you and provide you with some feedback, you could receive more money back in scholarships for a good essay so it could totally be worth it.

Request your high school transcript

Sometimes people think this process is easy and it will be quick. It doesn’t always happen that way and you don’t want this to hold up your application process. Order this in enough time to give yourself some wiggle room.

Send your ACT or SAT scores

Make sure you are only sending in your best score. If you have taken it several times to get the best score that is ok as they will only be sending the best one in.

Early decision deadlines

If you are looking into early decision make sure you know all the requirements that go with it and also all the rules as they can be lengthy at some schools.

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as January 1st

Why not apply for free money, the worst thing they can say is no and then you are in the same boat as you started. Get use to requesting money from places you never know what you may receive.

February through April

Avoid contracting senioritis

Many students love to slack off their senior year and take easy classes, I have to admit I was one of these students. Learn from my mistakes that is not the best thing to do. Colleges want to see what course load you took your senior year. You wont be able to submit your final grades from senior year when you apply so they will be looking at course load and your essay so make these count!

Keep track of all acceptance letters, rejection letters, and wait lists

Create a folder (paper or on the computer) where you keep track of everything., There may be a time you will need it again and it would be really nice if it was easy to pull from.

Don’t wish to attend, notify them promptly as a courtesy

If you know you aren’t going to attend somewhere that has accepted you, let them know. You are holding a spot that could be offered to someone else. Colleges are use to this so don’t feel bad just let them know so they can offer that spot to someone else.

Acceptance letters Compare financial aid packages

When you do get accepted to a college look at what is being offered to you. financial aid is a big deal to many and this is something that doesn’t need to be overlooked. Some colleges will offer you more.

Stay organized

Make sure you keep everything together and easy to find. Last thing you want is for the college to request something and it takes you a week to find it. Starting off being organized and having a plan for everything will help you going forward.

kids are driving mom crazy

School is back in session and routine is the key to your sanity!

10 Tips on how to establish a routine ASAP!

Kids are going back to school! You are either crying in your coffee, or you are praising the big man upstairs…but either way you are probably like most people are NOT READY. Summertime often means schedules and routines are out the door. Bedtime and wake time are no more, dinner time is all over the place and chores never get done like they usually do. It’s a circus, right? Well hang on to your hat because once school starts back you need to be ready for routine. It’s a mental health precaution…trust me. So stick with me, as I give you 10 GREAT tips on how to get organized NOW and take on the school year like a NINJA instead of a headcase.

Tips for Routine when school is back in session

  1. Same bedtime every school night. Studies have shown that older kids need 9-11 hours of sleep each night and younger kids need 14-24 hours. If you are anything like me my kids are not getting the recommended hours of sleep, but we try. Setting the same scheduled bedtime each night really helps so we have a goal and can make sure we are working towards getting into bed by a certain time. Will your child fight you, YES, but ultimately we know it is what’s best for them and it gives us some time after they are in bed to complete the things we need to do before we go to bed as well.
  2. Have a designated homework spot. Ours is the kitchen table, yours could be in the office, in the backyard, wherever your child can focus and not be distracted by things around them. Picking out a spot before hand and using the same one every time they have homework takes the guess work out of where they will do their work and they know exactly where to go, how to get started and will have everything they need to finish their homework successfully.
  3. Set up a homework time. There are three times that are good for doing homework and which is best is different with each child. The best times are right after school, before dinner or after dinner. Everyone is different on what works for them. My daughter does best when she completes her homework right after she gets home so it doesn’t weigh on her for the rest of the night and she has a sense of freedom from it. That doesn’t work though on nights she has activities right after school so we have to change it up on those nights. Having your student know ahead of time when they will be completing their homework will help them be more successful. If one of the above times isn’t working try another, don’t be afraid to change it up.
  4. Plan out each week. Know when tests and quizzes are so you aren’t cramming last minute. In the digital age we live in we now have instant access to a lot of information including teachers websites. Many teachers put their upcoming calendars online so students know when their next assessment will be. Have your child check this on a weekly basis so they can write in their agenda when their next assessment will be. This way they can plan out and see the date approaching and make sure to study ahead of time and not cram everything in the night before.
  5. Use Sunday’s before bed to decompress and prepare for Monday. A good start on Monday makes for a good week. Sunday’s are family days for most and are a great time to get prepared for the school week ahead. Have your child use Sunday’s to look at the upcoming week see if there are assessments approaching or books that need to be read. Make sure they use Sunday to get to bed early so they can decompress from their weekend and have their mind prepare for the week ahead.
  6. Meal plan! Easier said then done! I use to be the worst at this and without a plan found myself ordering out for my family more times then not during the week. Taking a few minutes on Saturday or Sunday to look over some recipes and pick which ones you think your family will like will save you a ton of time during the week. Many people will take this an extra step and actually meal prep on Sunday. I admit I am not that good, but after finding the an app I like to store all my families favorite dinner recipes it has made it a lot easier during the week. Let yourself have a day for leftovers or eating out. I always plan a day or two when I know I will have a crap day and just need to pick my family up something fast and that is ok, but planning ahead for meals really saves my sanity in the evening.
  7. Pick outfits out the night before. So not one is fighting or rushing to find clothes in the morning. It could be you picking out the clothes or your child, but having that outfit laid out and ready the night before is a huge time saver in the morning. I personally have left this to my children to do and believe me they have come down with some interesting outfits, but I feel like I am winning because they are at least dressed and ready for the day. Starting the day by having someone searching for a item of clothing and coming down half dressed puts everyone in a bad mood. Give this task to your child and again save your sanity.
  8. Use the same spot everyday for backpacks and materials. This way everyone will always know where the school items are. Ideally this is located near the door in which you will leave out of in the morning. This way your kids are less likely to forget something in the morning that has you running up to the school to bring it to them.
  9. Pack bags the night before. Have everything ready to go and in their bag. I don’t know how many times my kids have left things (books, homework) on the counter and it never made it to school. Checking their bags and making sure when homework is done it goes right into the backpack. The last thing any mom or dad needs is a frantic phone call from school that your child left something very important at home.
  10. Have a planner. I am a huge paper planner girl myself, but many are moving to the digital planners. Make sure you write things down, add an alarm for things to make sure you stay on course.

So there you have it people. Some good old fashioned CONCRETE ideas to get your home in order so that life will hand you lemonade and not lemons as the kids go back to school. Did you feel like some of these ideas were specifically for you? Did you feel like I wrote this blog TOO YOU? Are you wondering if I can see you right now and have been watching you on a spy cam? I’m kidding of course, but seriously…what changes are you going to make TODAY to get your butt in gear? Comment below!!