Planning for college early has become more and more important as the years go by. Due to a lack of test scores, colleges are embracing holistic evaluations of applications, meaning curriculum, activities, and classes that support your intended major are becoming heavily weighted. Although a few systems still do not require a list of activities and or essays (most notably the CSU System) most do, which means waiting until senior year to plan activities and fill in classes is a thing of the past.
This year's seniors were part of the biggest pool of applicants ever. Why? Applying test-optional has opened doors for many students. In addition, more colleges are on the Common Application making applying to many schools easier. This was the first year the University of Washington was on the Common App and they received 87000 applications and have room in their freshman class for 6000. Application numbers continue to rise across the board making a targeted balanced college list all important.
The UCs and several CSUs continue to be some of the most sought-after colleges in the country. Classes and activities must support the intended major and applicants also need to take into account the 13 Factors that the UCs use to evaluate applications.
Each UC can also use its own factors in addition to the above. Contact me to learn more.
While most colleges are remaining test-optional through 2024 I am encouraging Sophomores and Juniors to take practice tests for both the SAT and ACT. Even if tests are not required if a student scores well, it can help boost their application. A great place to start is the SAT & ACT websites which offer practice tests for free. Keep in mind that the PSAT in October of 2023 will be online with all SATs becoming online after January 2024. It might be wise to practice in the new digital format. ACT tests will remain paper/pencil for the foreseeable future.