Your Time Is Now: Preparing this Summer for Your College Admissions Journey (Rising Senior Version)

This is part one of a two-part series for upcoming high school juniors and seniors as they prepare for the college admissions process.

As high school seniors across the country hoist their caps in the air, the reality is setting in for many families with rising high school seniors that their time is quickly approaching! While this is such an exciting time in the lives of these teenagers, it is inevitably an overwhelming time as you try to navigate the college admission landscape ahead. As a father of two of these teenagers and an independent educational consultant, I wanted to offer three things that rising seniors can prioritize this summer to make progress on their journey and (hopefully) have a bit of fun and self-discovery along the way.

Seniors, this summer is your chance to get ahead of the game so that you can lighten your burden on the always-hectic senior year fall semester. Consider these three milestones for your summer:

  1. Sharpen your college list to a list where you will uniquely thrive! Through online and in-person research, now is the time to boldly identify the schools that do and do not make your cut. This exercise should take into consideration academic qualifications, cost, campus environment, location, size, areas of study, and just general vibe! Ideally, by the end of summer you should have somewhere between 6-12 schools that you are distinctively excited to apply to and possibly attend. 
  2. Define YOUR application voice! Take some time to celebrate and document your differentiating strengths and talents. What are you doing when time flies? What role do you play among your friend group? What comes easy to you? All of these answers are unique to you and will set the foundation for the tone you want to convey to admission officers who read your application.
  3. Start some rough (and I mean rough!) drafts of your essays. These will be wonderfully messy. These will be perfectly imperfect. But, you will have a start! A great place to start is the Common App website ( where you can sign up for a practice account until the new form is available on August 1st. There you will see several essay prompts that are great places to start brainstorming and free-writing to get ideas on paper. 
Adam Max, Founder, Max College Advising

Map these out in the way that works best for you and your organizational style. Just getting organized for this process is half of the battle and a great place for personal growth. If you are interested in more personalized guidance and support throughout your journey, I would love to help. I am a former admission officer (Emory University) and have an MBA from the University of Texas. My advising practice is individualized for students based on their interests and talents. You can find more information about my practice, credentials and philosophy at or email me directly at

Next week, look for Part Two: It Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think, three college admission tips for rising Juniors.

About Adam Max

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