A quick summary…Pick a great senior year schedule. Do well on May and June tests. Plan a busy, interactive summer. May 3rd is deadline for June 8 ACT. May 7 is deadline for June 1 SAT and SAT Subject Tests. Meet with your counselor to develop/refine your college list. Visit and research colleges.
- Senior year—Pick a rigorous 12th grade schedule.
- Choose senior year courses that push you further. AP and honors classes
- If you stop a foreign language or math, remember, colleges have placement tests and they are harder if you don’t take a class senior year.
- If you do stop a content area, you should take an elective in its place.
- Colleges are very worried about kids who take light senior years.
- Remember you must keep grades high all year most colleges ask for 1st semester grades and often take back admissions if second semester grades go down.
If you can’t find summer classes at your school or district, consider
- Adult Schools
- Online courses
- Regular four-year university classes-many have regular summer sessions.
- Extension courses that provide regular transfer/college credits.
- Community colleges, if you’re lucky try to find one that is taking high school kids.
2. Test Readiness and Taking
Remember, you can take each test—SAT, SAT Subject Test, and Act—twice for free if you get fee waivers. You can’t take the SAT and Subject Tests on the same date. Remember, you get to send out your own scores.
- May 4 is here…Take a candy bar or something sweet to energize you during the test.
- May 7 is the registration date for the June 1 SATS. http://sat.collegeboard.com/register/sat-dates
SAT Subject Tests
- May 7 is the registration date for the June 1 SAT Subject Tests
- Remember, the UCs no longer require them but why not?
- Take up to three of the one hour tests.
- Take US History, Math 2, and Literature. There are several other choices.
- May 3 is the deadline for the June 8 ACT http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html
3. Summer Plans
- You need to be busy this summer. Colleges do not understand high school juniors who do not use their summers productively.
- Plan to do something at least 30 to 40 hours a week.
- Get a job. Any job counts. Use connections.
- Volunteer. Any volunteer position counts. Ideally, find one that pushes your interests further.
- Intern. Again use connections. Follow your passions.
- Take Classes.
- Making Up. Take summer classes to make up any missed or failed classes. Districts have very few classes. So sign up now.
- Moving forward. Take classes at a community college or local colleges
4. Meet with Your Counselor
- Go over your current list of colleges
- Get some more colleges to research
- Develop a strategy for picking teachers to write recommendations.
- If any teacher is leaving, get his or her email address for recommendations
5. Research and Visit College Visits
- Sign up for Unigo. This free site sends out weekly tips and college profiles that are hip, interesting, and helpful. http://www.unigo.com/
- Sign up for Princeton Review’s college major finder. It sends you lists of colleges that match your major interests. http://www.princetonreview.com/majors.aspx
- Buy The College Finder by Steven Antonoff. It lists colleges by a million interests topics and themes.
- If you’re a first generation college goer, become an I’m First member and get free resources and links to colleges that want you. http://www.imfirst.org/?legacy=csopportunity.org
- Go to College GreenLight and get free online help with finding colleges that want you and manage your application process for free. http://www.collegegreenlight.com
- If your school uses Naviance, make sure you have an active account and start using the many resources, including the resume builder and college research functions.
Don’t Wait to Get Off a College Wait list: 10 Proactive Tips
Congratulations for making it this far in the college admissions process. You will most likely have many good colleges options already or on the way, but if you really want to go to a college that waitlisted you, follow as many of these 10 tips as possible. Do not do this for a school you will not attend. Colleges often take kids off waitlists who can afford to pay outright, have special connections, fulfill regional needs, or make a spectacular case. Remember, spots only open if the college has available spaces, and colleges are keeping longer waitlists than ever.
1. Be happy with another college to which you got accepted. Because if these tips don’t work, you can and will find happiness at another school. Many, many students do and never look back.
2. Make sure you accept the waitlist invitation. It is no longer assumed you will accept so send in the waitlist acceptance form ASAP.
3. Follow the psychology of the admissions timeline. Admissions officers are now actively courting the students they accepted. They are not thinking about anything else. So do not bother the admissions office of the waitlisted school in early to mid-April, but get materials ready and make sure you meet all deadlines. Even if they don’t want to accept any additional info, try to get them new information when the time is right towards the middle to end of the month of April. Once kids accept or don’t accept, they will go into waitlist consideration mode to fill outstanding spaces–late April to late summer. That will happen this year for sure at many colleges as more kids than ever applied to multiple colleges.
4. Write a letter or email to the Admissions Committee. Find the right admissions officer to communicate with. Stress your interest in your waitlisted institution and why you feel you are still an appropriate candidate for admissions. Consider this a cover letter to your overall waitlist application. Do not restate all that you said earlier in your application. But really express passionately your commitment to the campus. Talk about what is new since you applied-senior year grades and major academic and extracurricular accomplishments. Commit to going there if you get off. You can even mention where else you got in if these schools are peers or close matches to the waitlisted school.
5. Ask a senior year teacher, who has not already written you a letter to this school, to write you a letter of recommendation. This letter should really emphasize your academic talents this year in that class and why you will thrive at that college.
6. Get an updated letter of recommendation from your guidance counselor or even have your counselor contact the school personally.
7. Contact your alumni interviewer–if you think you had a good interview…Thank the interviewer again and then ask for any advice about moving from waitlist to admissions.
8. If you can, visit the institution one more time and revisit the admissions office to remind them of your interest. Contact anyone in the admissions office whom you met in person or via email.
9. Do not ask people who do not have major contacts with school to contact school. Do not have anyone other than school teachers and officials write letters. The only other exception would be someone for whom you did a major project this year…volunteer leader, youth group…only someone who can attest to new work this year and who knows you really, really well.
10. Please find happiness in your choices, please, please, please. There are so many great colleges that want you now. Discover what makes them great colleges for you.
Thanks to JHU for many of the ideas included in this note.
Welcome back from spring break. I know how busy you are, but we have so much to do before the school year ends.April is a busy month for seniors as they decide where to attend and for other students as they get ready for testing and other core college readiness efforts. In this newsletter, we provide April college readiness tips for freshmen through juniors and general tips for current seniors.
Remember, we are here to help you anytime.
1. Attend College Readiness Conferences. There are organizations in every state that have spring and summer workshops and conferences. In California, WACAC is May 20-22. It also has the IDEA conference, which addresses college access and success for under-represented students, is May 20. http://wacac.org/Resources/Documents/Conference/12-133%20WACAC%202013_FPP.pdf There are always scholarships available.
2. Summer Plans. Your students need to be busy this summer.
- There are many summer programs that recruit at-risk students. Most deadlines have passed but there are still many accepting applications. Please start collecting programs for next year. Some programs are due the end of April.
- The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is holding free workshops around the country. The spring and summer schedule is here. http://www.hsf.net/workshops.aspx. Many workshops are in April. They also have Hispanic Youth Institutes that run several days. Their apps are also up. http://symposiums.hispanicyouth.org/. The LA workshop is June 18-20.
- Seniors-who got into top colleges should consider applying to USC’s amazing free college bridge program for all kids (Not USC only—all kids going to top four year colleges. The application is due April 26, 2013. http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/research/projects/summertime/
- Push your students to consider going away to a program.
- If not, encourage them to volunteer, get an internship, or do something else significant this summer. Colleges want under-represented students to be active during their summers.
- There is no one comprehensive list. But here is a site that lists some programs.i. https://www.teenlife.com/ ii. http://www.usummer.com/
3. Standardized Test Readiness.
These tests make or break your students’ access to top colleges. With the tough competition for at-risk students, our students need to take the tests as prepared as possible. We need to push kids to see the importance of these tests.
- Many schools help connect kids with free or reduced test prep programs. Some bring providers in. Others link kids to programs in their communities. Programs exist. But help is not available for all.
- College Spring is a new service that provides links to free online services and free in –person programs. http://collegespring.org
- Varsity Tutors, a private tutoring company, just released free practice tests for the SAT, ACT, and AP tests along with questions of the day and free flashcards. http://www.varsitytutors.com/practice-tests
4. Standardized Testing Schedule Planning.
- Please encourage your students to take the SAT twice, the ACT twice, and SAT Subject Tests twice.
- Low-income students receive fee waivers to do so. Your counselor or administrator needs to order fee waivers. Make sure your counselor calls early to arrange for these waivers as they do not arrive quickly. Privileged kids take the tests several times.
- We recommend students take the ACT in April or June and then September or October
- We recommend students take the SAT in May or June and October or December.
- We recommend students take SAT Subject Tests in May or June and November as foreign languages offer their listening tests only in November.
- i. SAT FEE WAIVERS-http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/waivers/guidelines/sat
- ii. ACT FEE WAIVERS-http://www.act.org/aap/pdf/feewaiver.pdf
5. Standardized Testing Sign-Ups. The registration deadlines coming up are
- Standby only for April 13 ACT
- April 5 for May 4 SAT/Subject Tests
- May 3 for June 8 ACT
- May 7 for June 1 SAT/Subject Tests
6. College fairs and visits. Try to get a bus to take your kids to the free NACAC College Fairs.
- April 25 the date for the Greater Los Angeles fair. 9am-12 noon and 6pm -9 p.m.
- Check the dates for fairs in your area. http://www.nacacnet.org/college-fairs/SpringNCF/Pages/default.aspx
- Have kids register so they can bring the bar code so colleges can immediately place them on their mailing lists.
- Give them a treasure hunt sheet to help them find colleges within their academic and interests range
- Take them to see colleges before they close in May or June. Contact the admissions office and arrange a special tour. Colleges used to provide busses. They rarely do anymore.
7. Seniors. No…we have not forgotten them.
- We are providing our tips for seniors who were admitted to four year universities, especially Cal States and UCs about what to do.
- For your top seniors, please help them find a summer bridge program. USC has Summertime for LAUSD seniors accepted to top four year colleges. http://www.usc.edu/dept/chepa/SummerTIME/student.php
- Please, please encourage them to fight financial packages that are top heavy in loans.
- Your students can still apply for scholarships. Help them find ones from their state representatives, city council people, school districts, and more.
- We are also providing a list of the UCS and their summer bridge programs.
i. Berkeley. http://summerbridge.berkeley.edu/index.php Deadline to apply: May 1.
ii. Merced. http://summerbridge.ucmerced.edu/program-overview/2013-brochure-and-application Deadline to apply: May 3.
iii. Santa Barbara. http://eop.sa.ucsb.edu/Home/STEP.aspx. Deadline to apply: June 1.
iv. Irvine. http://www.due.uci.edu/sss/bridge.html. Deadline to apply: June 3.
vi. Riverside. Not yet available. http://summerbridge.ucr.edu/
viii. UCLA. Summer program not yet available. Engineering & Diversity summer program. http://www.ceed.ucla.edu/programs/undergrad/bridge
All day today and yesterday, I have talked, emailed, and texted with teens and their parents about college decisions, many of which have cut the high school seniors to the core. Most have been admitted to several amazing colleges. Yet the pain of their rejections seems to prevail.
These are the parents and children that I have been speaking to all year about the unlikeness of their children getting into many of the schools on their lists. The college admissions process is more brutal than ever.
Selective colleges around the country experienced another dramatic increase in application numbers for the class of 2017, leaving even more room for rejections, the rejections of talented, spectacular students. Sadly, numbers don’t lie. New York University apps went up 17 percent, Tufts University apps increased 11 percent, and the University of Chicago apps skyrocketed 20 percent. Public universities also saw record numbers of applications as the escalating price of college has driven students to apply to several more colleges than usual. The Ivy League admitted fewer students than ever, making other colleges even more competitive.
These stats didn’t mean that their children shouldn’t apply. It just meant they should have applied with their eyes wide open.
However, many parents, their children’s rightful advocates, have held unrealistic expectations despite evidence — statistical and qualitative — that their children would most likely not get into some of the top colleges on their lists.
Yet, these high school seniors have outstanding choices. We need to help our high school seniors make some college acceptance lemonade.
One young lady I know got admitted to Wellesley College and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Another got into George Washington University and NYU-Poly, while another got accepted to Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts and the University of Oklahoma’s musical theatre program. These students have wonderful choices, and yet they are not as happy as they should be. They believe they should have had better options.
Those feelings are natural, temporarily. No one likes rejection. So it’s our job to help guide and focus these students. They were admitted to wonderful college with great professors, amazing study abroad opportunities, specialized internships, and other programs that will make other students jealous. No college is so unique that attending it will limit a student’s future, except maybe the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. And yet even clowns from different backgrounds make it into the Big Top.
These students have great options. The University of California Santa Cruz, for examples, allows students to conduct unique research projects with a team of professors on college retention rates. NYU-Poly offers students the ability to work in four cutting edge labs, while Point Park provides students with access to its Pittsburgh Playhouse with three student companies and 18 annual productions.
So go visit the colleges that want your children. Some will even fly your kids into visit for free, while others will offer merit scholarships. Help your seniors see how the colleges that admitted them will help them experience the joys of higher education in astonishing ways.
Yes, some students will go to community college — by default. Others will plan to transfer from their four-year college from day one. These are students for whom I feel sorry, as we are not encouraging them to discover, imagine, and taste the lemonade in the colleges that have accepted them.
Now let’s start our difficult, yet irreplaceable jobs as parents, mentors, and counselors. I make really tasty pink lemonade.
April is college decision month for high school seniors who have until May 1 to decide which college to attend. The brutal process of applying to college and waiting for acceptances is over. Now, seniors get to decide which college’s offer of admissions to accept. While many adults and students often get attached to college names, they should both realize that colleges are so much more than their names.
Here are ten tips to guide undecided high school seniors and their families through these challenging, yet empowering weeks of decision-making.
- Accept and allow. We need to help seniors understand that while they may feel disappointed and even devastated by rejections, they need to be proud of the offers they receive. With competitive colleges accepting anywhere from 5.9 percent to 28 percent of students, huge numbers of students will be disappointed with rejection letters. But, we need to help them see how talented they are despite these rejections and understand that acceptances are powerful and can open the doors they need to be successful. So we need to help seniors focus on the colleges that accepted them — the amazing schools with programs and communities that will offer them the same, if not better, opportunities as the schools that rejected them.
- Appeal and move through waitlists. If students are still determined to attend a college that rejected or waitlisted them (the often longer road to rejection), help them. Gather stats — how many kids are on the waitlist and what percentages typically get admitted? Does the college accept appeals? Students need to feel they have tried, but then they must move on, as they have to find happiness with a college that accepted them. Adults have to guide seniors through this process and help students focus on the future.
- Make sense of financial aid packages. High school seniors will get many complex financial aid packages. We need to help them understand their offers by creating comparative charts with columns for grant and scholarships, loans, and outright payments. Last week, I spoke to two students who didn’t understand that several of the colleges that admitted them had left them with large portions of uncovered college costs. Using their charts, students can call colleges and ask them to match other offers. Seniors need to make hard decisions that don’t leave them irrevocably in debt or at a college that doesn’t offer all that they want. Don’t forget to have kids budget in costs for computers, clothing, and other intangibles.
- Apply for additional scholarships. There are many scholarships out there for under-represented and other students. Many deadlines are coming up now — in April and May. Students need to continue applying for them. They can call colleges they are considering attending or accepted, and see if there are scholarships for incoming freshmen.
- Visit, visit, visit. In April, every college has programs for accepted students. Students can sit in on classes, stay overnight in the dorms, and talk with current students. Parents can also attend special sessions. Amtrak just introduced a companion fare for college visits. It is so important to show students what the colleges look like. Often colleges will cover travel expenses of under-represented students. It can’t hurt to ask for travel assistance.
- Talk with current and former students of accepted colleges. If students can’t visit in person, there are other options. Alumni organizations in students’ hometowns often have accepted student functions. There are also current students in your area that will meet or speak with your students.
- Compare and compare and compare. Students often have so many choices — that they need to narrow down their lists. Some colleges, despite their names, are not right for many seniors. Seniors need to look at access to classes and majors, special resources, alumni networks, and more. Students need to prioritize their key needs and make difficult decisions. Help them decide what is really best for them.
- Flip a coin. Ultimately, students may narrow down their choices to two colleges and get stuck. So I often recommend they flip a coin and decide to accept whichever college they assigned to that side. Their gut response to that decision may help guide them.
- Be supportive at all costs. High school seniors do not have fully developed frontal cortexes. They are making huge decisions about their futures, and they are going through this process for the first and hopefully only time. Please understand their confusion, and do whatever you can to help them make the right decisions for them.
- Speak with families and advocate for match colleges. Many families may not want their students to leave home, live in dorms, or go to match colleges. Please do what you can to help these students and their families make decisions that benefit their students — it is the student’s (not the parent’s) time to grow and achieve what’s truly possible.
The University of California received a record number of applications this year. Each campus admits its own class and notifies students separately. Here are the dates for the students planning to enter as freshmen and transfers for the fall of 2013. We follow with info on the complex waitlist and appeal processes.
A few UC campuses already have started sending out freshman admission decisions on a rolling basis, with other campuses soon to follow. Below is a list of admissions decision release dates by campus for both freshmen and transfers. Please note that these dates may be subject to change:
Berkeley 3/28 4/26
Davis 3/15 4/19
Irvine first week Feb. rolling first week March rolling
Los Angeles 3/22 4/19
Merced 2/15 rolling 3/01 rolling
Riverside 2/01 rolling 3/01 rolling
San Diego 3/16 3/16 rolling
Santa Barbara 3/19 3/19 rolling
Santa Cruz 3/15 3/17 rolling
All campuses, except Merced and possibly Berkeley, will use waitlists for their freshman pools. Davis, Irvine and San Diego will have a transfer waitlist, and Riverside will have a transfer waitlist for a small population of applicants. Santa Barbara is considering the option for transfers.
What students need to know:
• They might receive waitlist offers from more than one campus. Students can be on more than one waitlist, but they will only be allowed to accept one offer for admission. Waitlist offers will be made by the end of March for freshman applicants and the end of April for transfers.
• Once offered a spot on a waitlist, students must opt in by the stated deadline. Instructions for doing so will be included with the waitlist notification.
o Freshman applicants:
• Waitlist offers will be made by the end of March.
• The waitlist opt-in deadline is April 15 (for all participating campuses).
• Waitlist notification status will be made no later than June 1.
• Waitlist offers will be made by the end of April.
• The waitlist opt-in deadline is May 15 (for the participating campuses: Davis, Irvine and San Diego) .
• Waitlist notification status will be made no later than July 1.
• UC campuses strictly adhere to all stated deadlines.
• Even if they accept a waitlist offer at a UC campus (or several), students should submit a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by the stated deadline to a UC campus, or other institution to which they have been accepted, to ensure they have a place to attend in the fall. If they later accept an offer of admission from a UC campus where they have been waitlisted, they will forfeit their deposit at the first campus and must submit an additional SIR and enrollment deposit.
• UC Santa Barbara will send preliminary financial aid awards to students who opt in to the waitlist. UCLA and UC San Diego will provide financial aid awards once students are admitted from the waitlist. For all other campuses, preliminary awards will be sent at the time students are notified of waitlist offers.
• SIRs of waitlisted students will be considered on time for purposes of housing and orientation, provided they are submitted by the deadline stated in the offer of admission.
• California applicants who are guaranteed admission through ELC or the statewide admission index, and don’t receive an admission offer from any campus to which they applied, will be in the referral pool even if they are on the waitlist at another campus.
• Campuses will still consider appeals received by the deadlines specified below. Applicants who feel they have grounds for an appeal should submit one, but they should keep in mind that the purpose of the appeal process is to address compelling new information or correct a possible oversight in the initial review. Students cannot appeal for a spot on the waitlist.
o Freshman appeal deadline: April 15 (March 29 for Santa Cruz)
o Transfer appeal deadline: May 15 (before May 15 for Santa Cruz)Tweet
Spring is the time of year when many juniors start visiting prospective colleges. This is the ideal time of year to visit colleges as they are still in session and you can see authentic college life. By doing an official visit, you also let the colleges know you are serious about the possibility of attending—this is so key for competitive colleges which now value demonstrated interest as a major component of the admissions process.
Here are some tips to help guide you on a college visit.
- Visit colleges during your spring break. Most colleges are still in session and you can see authentic campus life. If you can’t visit now, try to visit during the fall. Many colleges offer under-represented students free tips. Check out our annual listing that comes out in the late summer.
- Try to visit a variety of schools on your list. Even if timing or money is an issue, you can visit campuses locally to see different forms of campus life. Many kids are very visual and need to see a campus in real life. Visit a variety of campuses so you can see what it means to be at a large urban campus versus a small suburban one. Please just don’t visit colleges that are unlikely or true stretch colleges. Try to build in visits to 50-50 or likely schools as well.
- Develop a checklist to complete. As you visit, take notes about core factors that are key to you, such as availability of particular majors, percentage of students who move off campus after sophomore year, the availability of activities on weekends, support programs for different groups of students, etc.
- Book at least a tour, information session, and interview (if offered). You complete reservations online at most schools through the admissions office. Visits ideally last a minimum of three to four hours. Class visits are also available at many campuses. Check for special spring programming. Many colleges host open houses, special information sessions, and extra campus tours during this very busy time of year. Visit the college’s admissions website to see what it offers.
- Visit with anyone you know. If you know any adults on campus, try to meet with them, especially professors, coaches, and admissions officials. If your child or you know any current students, try to arrange informal overnight visits. Spending the night in a dorm and on campus can really show a junior what that campus is like.
- Pay close attention to what campus students talk about. Get a sense of what their priorities are at each college. It’s always impressive to see students who are genuinely excited about certain classes, or professors, or an upcoming internship or semester abroad. Yes, college students all want to have fun, but you’ll be especially impressed by a college whose students clearly know the main reason they are there—getting an education!
- Ask probing questions. Tours often highlight a college’s strengths. Make sure you probe students to also determine some of the college’s weaknesses. Every college has some and you want to make sure they’re ‘acceptable’ weaknesses for you. Do they have programs for your interests-athletic, social, extracurricular, academic, and cultural? What do students do on weekends? Do they have programs to support diverse students?
- Make sure to go off on your own on for a bit. Your may want to go off with a friend or visit some parts of campus on your own. That is fine. Some joint and separate experiences on campus are just fine.
- Make some brief notes about each visit, including things you liked and things you didn’t particularly like. Take business cards from any adult you meet and write a note on the back about something this adult said during your visit about the college. These notes will be helpful during application and acceptance time next year. Remember to write thank you emails or cards to anyone key you met on your trip within 72 hours of your return home.
- Use these visits to refine and expand your college list. You may find a kind of college you like, and you will need to research additional schools. Fall visits are also great and a great chance to visit some top schools or even new schools. Remember, many campuses will allow you to stay overnight, eat in the cafeteria, and visit classes. Many even pay for you to visit.
This is a time of agonized waiting for many high school seniors. They have submitted their college applications and supporting materials. Now their fate lies in the hands of admissions officers who are busily reading through applications. During this often agonized waiting game, students, families, and schools can use this time wisely. Here are some tips.
- Check that that college files are complete. Check your status regularly. Colleges will send you unique ways to track your applications. Check right now that everything is complete. It would be a shame to miss out on admissions because a college didn’t get your first semester grades or your final set of test scores. Colleges will also communicate your acceptances and other key information via their sites. Check them regularly.
- Complete all financial aid applications now. March 2 is the major deadline for the FAFSA and many state grants, and the sooner you submit them the better. Please beg your family to provide all their financial information now as waiting will significantly reduce potential aid you can receive.
- Apply for scholarships and contests. You have written application essays. Don’t let them get moldy. Use them again for scholarships. Apply for at least two. Visit college websites for merit scholarships. Find local ones for students in your area. Be creative. You can even submit your essays to writing competitions.
- Submit any necessary updates. If you were deferred to a college, send them an updated email or letter. Send in another letter of recommendation. Keep in constant contact. February is a great month for a final contact with some great news or update. If you changed spring classes, you also need to contact schools.
- Keep grades high; don’t fall victim to senioritis. I know it’s tempting to fall victim to senioritis. But fight it off. Keep working and doing your best. Colleges will see your spring grades. While they expect some small slips, they have no empathy for dramatic plunges. Teachers, parents, and counselors should be in constant contact. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page. Prevent disasters early. I have known several kids who lost their spots because they entered the black hole of senioritis, and no one intervened.
- Prepare for April college visits. You will most likely get accepted to several colleges. Prepare to visit them in April before the national May 1 intent to register deadline. The colleges will have open houses. You can spend the night in dorms, visit classes, and meet currents students. Plan ahead.
- Apply for honors programs. Many colleges on your list have honors programs that have winter and spring deadlines. Apply now, and you can get priority enrollment, housing, and other benefits.
- Plan active summers. This is the time to plan for your summer. What are your goals? Do you want to work? Do you want to be a camp counselor? Do you want to do an internship? If you’re planning on going to community college or transferring, this is the time to do something career related or to take classes. There are many great opportunities for all high school graduates.
- Consider a gap year. Yes, you are about to complete high school. You may be burned out or just eager for a change. A gap year may truly benefit you. You can experience something new and enter college refreshed. I know a teenager who is trekking through New Zealand as we speak. He will be attending Stanford next fall as a freshman after also completing an art internship. There are many programs that are no cost as well including City Year). Teen Life has a great set of resources for those interested: https://www.teenlife.com/pages/gap-year-programs/
- Leave a legacy. Think about what your high school or places of community service. Could it use any additional resources? Could you prepare younger students to take over your groups? What can you do to help leave your high school or community stronger than ever? Plan a fundraiser. Do some significant training. Become a peer college counselor and motivate your students.
NEW COMMON APPLICATION PROMPTS
From the Common Application:
“The Common Application Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2013-14 essay prompts. They are presented below along with the instructions that will accompany them. While not specified here, the online application will make clear that the word limit will be enforced.The new prompts and the written guidance around them are the culmination of two years of discussion about the role writing plays in a holistic selection process. The Board relied heavily on the advice of the 15 counselors who serve on its Outreach Advisory Committee. Together, these colleagues have decades of experience advising students from every academic, social, cultural, and economic background. As they considered the topics our members suggested, they worked diligently to ensure that all applicants,regardless of background or access to counseling, would have the chance to tell their unique stories.The Board of Directors thanks everyone who provided constructive and collegial feedback over the last several months. We are excited about the possibilities these prompts present for thoughtful and creative expression. The measure of their success will be how well they help our member institutions make informed decisions. We will revisit the essay prompts each year, and we will look to our members for input regarding their effectiveness.
Instructions. The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so. (The application won’t accept a response shorter than 250 words.)
• Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
• Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
• Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
• Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
• Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.”Tweet