Today marks the official start of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere!
What does the Summer Solstice have to do with Educational and College Planning? I’m Glad you asked!
The 2018 summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurred June 21 at 6:07 a.m EST, approximately 45 minutes after sunrise for residents of the East Coast and just before dawn throughout most of the US.
It’s the longest day of the year starting a cycle that will lead to a decreasing amount of sunlight each day until the cycle reverses itself again six months from now. In my practice, there’s a “seasonality” to the questions and educational planning taking place.
At this time of year, I tend to field three types of questions:
Rising Seniors (19):
From Parents- When is it going to be all done?!!
From students attending my June Writers Block Workshop, there is a healthy curiosity and a bit of apprehension about what to do next in their application process.
For all students, just as the number of hours of daylight decreases each day, the number of days you have remaining to decide on where to submit your completed college applications is a finite number approaching zero just about the time of the Winter Solstice! (My aspiring Astronomers, Aerospace Engineers and Astro-Physicists- that analogy was for you!) My aspiring mathematics majors will confirm that the time-period to complete college applications is a convergent series – or for those of you interested in analytic geometry-this is an asymptote!
As the number of days available to complete and submit your applications will approach zero, I know that aspiring Business and Psychology majors can confirm that with some solid planning and a dedicated schedule of task completion, the Autumn Equinox is a reasonable student target for submission of your Applications and all supporting materials. I’ll be talking more about those key tasks in my next blog posting.
Rising 8th-11th :
From Students Entering/Continuing High School there are unique questions. Students and parents sometimes have different goals about how to spend summer vacation. We want all students to be prepared for the academic and social challenges they have accepted for the next year while spending the needed time recharging. “On-ramp” courses can help jump-start students in AP classes ahead.
A balance of activities to continue to discover and explore emerging academic and personal interests through readings and hands-on experiences is encouraged. For rising juniors, standardized test preparation is essential at a time when you’re not distracted (as you should be) by your seven high school classes and your demanding extracurricular calendar. There are many affordable and even free online test preparation options.
Class of 2018:
Questions from Students Heading Off to College? Many of you are awaiting AP / AICE exam scores in anticipation of selecting your fall 2018 courses with guidance from your new undergraduate academic advisor. If you’re already thinking about medical or law school, please give me a final shout-out with some tips on how to start planning for your next educational application milestone. If you are thinking ahead, you may have joined your school’s Alumni network on LinkedIn. Yes, this is an initial career planning step well worth your time this summer.
Sadly, some families I’ve not yet met are calling me just this week to figure out how to pay their fall bursar bill. This type ofquestion is a difficult one and one that would be avoided with careful financial and academic planning as early as 9th grade to understand how to select a university that best fits a student not only academically and socially, but financially. As noted in many of my earlier newsletters/blogs, there are scholarships for students of all academic levels and backgrounds. Looking for these scholarships at the 11th hour isn’t practical. Planning to apply for specific scholarships can begin as early as 9th grade.
I challenge you to celebrate the Summer Solstice by committing to finishing your college applications before Autumn Equinox and perhaps even reading the first few chapters of some of next year’s text books.
As seniors are facing the final cycle of high-school and our recent graduates are preparing to move into their next educational journey, astronomical certainties are like education. Education is an ongoing and life-long sequence of learning and discovery that enriches not only the learner, but education brings benefits to everyone in the communities we share. (This of course is one of the reasons our society has a long history of delivering quality public education to all its citizens.)
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D. is the founder and principal educational consultant of College Career Consulting, LLC. She has over 30 years of experience as a university faculty member and shares her knowledge, professional resources and support with students who are ready to advance their lifelong educational and career journeys.