Happy November. We still have so much to do to help our seniors with their college application process. Here are 10 tips to hep you manage this month without losing too much sleep.
- Testing Reminders. Remind students they must send out their test scores from the testing agencies’ websites. They can wait for test scores to come out or send existing scores now. But just posting scores on applications does not count as an official submission of test scores. Most colleges do not require AP test scores be sent: only SAT or ACT scores. B. The majority of colleges do not require test scores to be submitted by time of actual application submission. For example, while the University of California application is due November 30, the UC campuses accept scores from December. Check websites to find out latest test scores they will accept.
- Essays, essays, essays!!! Tell your students to spend time on their essays. This is the only way they can differentiate themselves in the application process. They need to tell specific stories and make clear their leadership and initiative. Ideally, in at least one essay, students should describe the world they come from and show how they have made a difference in it.
- EOP or other first generation support programs. Remind specific students to apply for these programs. Some like in the University of California embed the application within the larger UC application, while others like the California State University 23 campuses requires students to submit applications to each campus. https://secure.csumentor.edu/planning/eop/. In any required essays, please ask them to be as specific about how they will benefit and what they can offer a campus. See below for more California specific information.
- Scholarship applications. Many scholarships are due this fall. Please beg your students to apply to as many scholarships as possible. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a great place to start. Students can reuse essays that they write for their college applications. http://www.hsf.net/.
- Private colleges. Encourage students to apply to four to eight private colleges. Again, these applications are free for low-income students. I’m First and College Greenlight are free websites that provide access to colleges that are friendly to first generation/under-represented students. http://www.imfirst.org/ – colleges and https://www.collegegreenlight.com/
- Strong fall grades. The large majority of private colleges see fall grades. Many public colleges with fall deadlines like the University of California or University of Washington don’t see grades until the end of the year, but they take away acceptances from kids whose grades fall and who receive any Ds or Fs.
- Financial Aid. Kids need to apply for financial aid, so it’s never too early to encourage them and their families to submit 2014 taxes as early as possible and/or college financial data. Undocumented students need to find out the system their colleges require them to use.
- Alumni visits. Please invite kids who are attending college to come visit your classrooms in November. Many can come if you have school the week before Thanksgiving or during their winter breaks that start much earlier than ours. Ask them to bring pictures and campus memorabilia, Ask them to describe what makes college so fun. Ask these alumni to mentor a student or two in your class.
- Letters of Recommendation. Please write powerful letters of recommendation for students. Ideally four to five paragraph letters is a good minimum standard. Provide students with specific brag sheets. These will help you remember the specifics of how they performed in your classroom or in general. Often colleges, say these letters help them make scholarship decisions in addition to contributing significantly to admissions.
- Fall College Fairs. There are many in person and virtual colleges fairs around the country this fall. College Week Live is hosting a virtual college fair on November 13. http://www.collegeweeklive.com/event-schedule/all-access-november-2014. Dr. Joseph will be presenting on how to strengthen your college applications.
- The UC applications can be submitted November 1- November 30. Remind students to apply for EOP. It doesn’t require an extra application. Just a short explain why. Low-income students (including undocumented students) can apply to four UCs at no charge. Remember, students can send test scores to one UC, and that UC will send the scores to the other UCs on the students’ lists.
- The Cal State applications are due November 30. The EOP application is separate. https://secure.csumentor.edu/planning/eop/. Please remind them to provide details in the EOP short answers. Low-income students, including undocumented students can apply for four Cal States for free. Students can send SAT scores to CSU Mentor and ACT scores through ACT Score Manager.