Q&A How Much Time Should I Devote to the College Process?

I really want my family to host an exchange student for the upcoming school year. I will be a senior this year, and my dad is convinced we won’t have time for the student. After sending out all my college applications (which I plan to finish early!), how much college prep stuff is involved for the rest of the year (aside from overnight and other visits)?

How much time you need to spend on your college applications depends very much on the circumstances you are in. Do you need to take anymore standardized tests like the SATs or ACTs? Do you need to go on more college visits? Complete any interviews? Write your essays? These are all questions to consider. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of tasks many seniors need to complete:

  • Study for SATs/ACTs
  • Take SATs/ACTs
  • Study for Subject Tests
  • Take Subject Tests
  • Write Common App essay
  • Write 5-10 school supplement essays
  • Fill out nitty gritty parts of the application
  • Complete 3-5 on-campus or alumni interviews
  • File the FAFSA
  • File the CSS Profile

Again, the amount of time it will take each student to complete some or all of this list is highly variable. It could take you months of long and hard studying to prepare for the SATs or you might just want to brush up on some vocabulary. My gut, however, is to say listen to your parents. Most likely they are looking out for your best interest (ie both your and their stress levels). They may think they can’t handle having an exchange student. Perhaps you could talk about maybe hosting a student in the spring semester or during the summer when there is less pressure and stress?