Happy Thanksgiving. Take advantage of this time to complete strong college applications, apply for financial aid and scholarships, and finish up your fall semester strong. Here are our ten tips to guide you through the holidays.
- Meet major state and merit deadlines.
- November 30: University of California, Penn State, and California State University system deadline for freshman applicants. Remember, EOP deadlines differ for Cal State applicants. Remember, Cal State EOP deadlines vary. http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/eop_apply.asp
- December 1: University of Texas and University of Washington are two major systems with De
cember 1 deadlines. This is also the deadline for merit scholarships for many colleges including the University of Southern California, University of Richmond, and others.
- Apply for support programs. The EOP applications for the Cal States require separate applications for each campus (it’s the same application, just different cover pages). Please remember to provide details in the EOP short answers. Low-income students (including undocumented) can apply for four Cal States for free. Students can send SAT scores to CSU Mentor and ACT scores through ACT Score Manager. http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/eop_apply.asp
- Write and revise essays, essays, essays!!! Spend the long weekend on your. This is the only way you can differentiate yourself in the application process. Tell specific stories and describe your leadership and initiative. I have attached my 10 questions for revising their college application essays. Ideally, in at least one essay, students should discuss how they are making their community stronger.
- Apply to four to eight scholarships. Many scholarships are due this fall. 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/
- Add private colleges to your list Apply to at least four or five private colleges now that you know your test scores. Again, these applications are free for low-income students. I’m First has a list of colleges that are friendly to first generation/under-represented students. http://www.imfirst.org/colleges/. College Greenlight has a great website with information about colleges and their diversity support. https://www.collegegreenlight.com/
- Keep grades up. Private colleges see fall grades. While many public universities don’t see senior year grades until the end of the year, they take away acceptances from kids whose grades fall and who receive any Ds or Fs.
- Visit colleges and interview. Visit colleges in your area. Arrange for interviews on many of the campuses. Other private colleges offer interviews in the area for students who apply. So get ready for these interviews.
- Speak with current college students. Please speak with kids home for the holiday about their college experiences. They can help you strengthen college supplements and essays.
- Check email and college portals. Most colleges communicate with you via email or college portals. Create a document with all your usernames and passwords. Check your email daily.
- Confirm that all application info is complete. Please keep with your applications. Don’t miss honors college, merit scholarships, financial aid deadlines? Did you send your test scores directly from The College Board or ACT website? Did you make sure your teachers and counselors submitted your recommendations? Did you update Naviance? Did you submit each part of your application?
You can submit great college applications. Just keep your eye on the prize–a great college experience.