This is a very busy time for most high school juniors. If you consider what most visual and performing arts students are doing right about now, staying organized and thinking about college probably isn’t high on the list. The thing to remember is, the more time you spend getting ready for the application season, the less stressed you will be at the beginning of your senior year. So, here is a list of things that every junior interested in the arts should be doing:
- Tour colleges. Make sure to visit the department you are interested in, which may require an additional appointment after the general campus tour. If you have a portfolio or sketchbook, bring it along and make an appointment to see an admissions officer. If you are not able to go for a visit, most schools provide online virtual tours. You need to familiarize yourself with the various programs so that you can have a final list of schools to which you will apply by June.
- Keep a journal. Start writing down your thoughts and ideas that may end up helping you to answer the various essay questions. Take time to think about who or what has influenced you and why you want to pursue a certain course of study.
- Volunteer. See my blog on volunteerism High School Junior Volunteers – Commit! Create! Contribute!. I list websites to help you find volunteer opportunities.
- Visit galleries and museums. Go to the movies. See live performances. You will be asked what you like and who influences you. Not having an opinion because you have not been exposed to the creativity of others is no excuse. Take the time to analyze what you like and what you don’t. This will all have an impact on your portfolio, audition and artist statement.
- Think about who you will ask for your letters of recommendation. Do not let this school year end without having locked in the teachers you want to write your letters.
- Keep your resume current. You will need this information for your applications and it will be much easier if you have everything in one place. By working on your resume now, you will remember activities that are important to include as well as see areas where you need to focus. Naviance and online resume templates will help you to get started.
- Take a deep breath. This is an important time to learn that the more relaxed and focused you remain, the better off you will be. Panic doesn’t help and the more you remain true to yourself and your personal goals, the more likely you are to find a program and a school that is the perfect match for you.