And just like that, summer is over and we are at the start of another school year. For our Grade 12 students, the start of their final high school year can feel bittersweet and a bit surreal –  but more than that, it can feel extremely anxiety inducing. 

Why? University Applications.

Suddenly, the looming task of university applications is no longer a task for the future To Do List  – it is happening now, and happening fast. Emails about applications, predicted grades, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and entry requirements for various courses are flooding their email inboxes, and trying to stay on top of all the moving pieces, while continuing to complete IB coursework, can feel….well, just as overwhelming as reading this paragraph felt for you.

If your child is feeling overwhelmed or anxious by the process, know that the Guidance Counsellors are here to help. Remind them that the key to successfully submitting university applications is to break up their to-do list into small, approachable tasks, and then to prioritise these tasks based on when they are due. Here is a general timeline of what should be done, and when:


Step 1: Finalise your college list!

  • This should be the very first thing you get done. Without a college list, you do not know what is required  – and therefore you cannot organise your tasks.
  • For every school on your list, label it as a “Reach/Target/Safety”. Is your list comprehensive? Does it include at least one safety? If not, change it


Step 2: Organise what is required on one document

  • It is important to have one go to place for all of your application requirements. We recommend creating a Google Excel Sheet to organise your college list, entry level requirements, deadlines, and application components into one table. You can also link things like personal statement prompts and drafts into this document as well.


Step 3: Start getting things done, one step at a time

  • Book a meeting with your Guidance Counsellor, if you haven’t already done so, to review your college list and deadlines. Share the document above (Step 2) with your counsellor.
  • If you need to write a personal statement, start working on it! Your counsellor should have eyes on this well before your application is due, so that you have time for revision.
  • Do you need a letter of recommendation from a teacher? If yes, you should have asked them for one already and given them your Student Questionnaire. Touch base with your counsellor if you do not remember doing this.


Remember – everything cannot be done all at once. Focus on taking one step at a time, and you will be hitting submit before you know it!