Timely March Tips regarding Applications

Seniors – You are closing in on making a decision.

You have done the hard work of submitting applications, filing financial aid forms, test taking and visiting campuses. Maybe you have received some acceptances. Now finish strong with these tips:

  • Check in with all the admissions offices that your application is complete: recommendations, SAT scores, and high school transcript.
  • Revisit the colleges where you have been accepted. Try to arrange staying overnight with an acquaintance. This is when you will get a real snapshot of the school. Stay at more than one school so you can make comparisons. Is nightlife important to you? This is how you find out.
  • Attend accepted student programs.
  • Make a list of pros and cons of each school. Use the College Comparison Spreadsheet. Go to home page  >”Freebie Worksheets”.   
  • Read the college campus reviews on www.CollegeProwler.com. Know what culture of the school is. Does it work for you or would you be a fish out of water. Push yourself for growth and self-awareness and be truthful with yourself.
  • Discuss the finances of paying for your education with your parents. Can you afford attend a residential college? Or should you start slow and take a few community colleges first?
  • If you are ready to make a decision, submit your deposit. *  Many schools give priority housing on first come, first serve basis. This could be the difference of living in an awesome location or in a “forced tripled” off in the no man’s land part of campus. Please note that it is unethical to submit more than one deposit, although some schools do allow you to submit a non-binding, refundable deposit. Read the fine print.
  • Local Scholarships, apply to all! Contact your guidance office and reach out to organizations, i.e., church, scouts, etc. to find out if any are offered. Although the award may only be a few hundred dollars, the odds of winning are usually good and they are impressive on your resume as you search for internships later.

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Juniors – Now the fun begins!

  • Visit as many college campuses as you can in the next few months. It is better to see a campus while school is in session and the campus is full of students. Saturday day trips are economical and valuable (see below).
  • If a college is on break when you plan to visit, do so anyway. Never miss an opportunity to see a college campus. Every visit you make will help you in understanding what you want in attending college.
  • Even if you have no intention of attending a college that is within a 1-2 hour drive from home, visiting “local” campuses and going to an information session is a tremendous, low-cost (since there are no hotel rooms involved) opportunity for discovery. Get up early on Saturday morning and make a road trip.
  • Visiting several schools in a few days is exhausting. This is why day trips to nearby schools are excellent opportunities for determining the right school for you.
  •  Start thinking about the summer.  The more planning you, before the start of senior year, the better your application! A few summer jobs, essay writing, visiting more campuses, and studying for the ACTs and SATs. This is the summer to kill it! 

 Sophomores and Freshmen: Enroll for the most challenging classes.

  • Keep up the hard work in your classes. Don’t get lazy! If you are struggling in a class, be sure to seek extra help. Let your teachers know how hard you are working.
  • Do you have any special interests? Figure out ways to expand on them, maybe through volunteering or through a job. Are there any community college non credit classes that interest you? Take them! You learn a lot being on a community college campus. Bill Gates & Jeff Zuckerberg want you to take computer coding classes. Go to www.code.org to learn more.