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
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.
- Make sure your school has submitted all necessary paperwork to colleges. For example, June is the deadline for schools to submit their ELC list for the UCS. Each public university system sends out newsletters and holds conferences. To sign up for the UC listserv, send an email to email@example.com with “Subscribe CAB-L” in the body of the email. You can do this for the Cal States and for other universities in your state.
- Help your students finalize summer and fall plans to focus on leadership and initiative. Encourage them to be busy this summer. Colleges want active and engaged students. Students should spend-at least 20 to 30 hours per week taking classes, working, volunteering, doing internships, and more. They should also take leadership roles this fall in and out of school and really push the initiative factor.
- Encourage students to make a resume. It should focus on leadership and initiative. Categories: Education, Activities, Work, Service, and more. Tips–Always start with most recent and work your way to the past. Use power verbs to begin each entry.
- Remind students to do all they can to prepare for fall standardized tests. There are three ACT and three SAT dates you can take this fall. Did you know there is Score Choice—so students take the tests as many times as possible and send out only scores they want? Did you know students can take the SAT twice? The ACT twice? SAT Subject Tests-3 per day-twice? Help them find free online prep programs. https://www.number2.com/. Encourage them to find free programs in their communities. They can buy an practice book for less than $20. NOTE: Make sure your counselors have enough waivers ordered for the fall and that students can access them for September and October registration deadlines.
- Help students develop a college list that matches their talents. They should have a range of schools that match their interests and abilities. Naviance is a great online system to help students. The Fiske Guide is great as is Unigo.com to help students learn about colleges. The College Access and Opportunity Guide is great for first generation and under-represented students. http://www.csopportunity.org/whatwedo/guidebook.aspx. Reminder: Students can apply to four Cal States (not undocumented kids), four UCs, and unlimited private colleges for free if they qualify for free or reduced lunch.
- Help students see colleges in action. Help them book fall trips and arrange interviews either here or there. They can plan to meet with professors, students, and other campus representatives that interest you. See if they can stay in a dorm and eat in the cafeteria. Many colleges fly under-represented students for free. Application deadlines start now and run through mid-fall. Email Dr. Joseph for the current list. We are updating it now for the 2012-2013 year. Students can also visit colleges virtually via e-campus tours (http://www.ecampustours.com/) and YOUniversity (http://www.youniversitytv.com/).
- Encourage your students to start writing their major essays their college applications. Tufts (http://admissions.tufts.edu/apply/essay-questions/past-essays/). Connecticut College (http://www.conncoll.edu/admission/essays-that-worked.htm), and Johns Hopkins (http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/essays.html) share essays that real admitted students wrote. Students should only write stories that are unique and interesting to read. They should plan to use essays more than once. Their essays should always be as specific and powerful as possible.
- Help them begin completing applications now and during the summer. CSU mentor (http://www.csumentor.edu/Planning/) allows kids to enter their grades and courses at any time in high school and that transfers to their application this fall. They can start working on the Common Application (http://commonapp.org) on August 1 when it goes online (USC is now on it).
- Insist students save all application, standardized test, financial aid, and scholarships passwords on their computers and phones. Even be willing to store them for them as kids lose these and they need them for every part of the application, financial aid, and enrollment process.
- Research major scholarships that are due. Posse is due in late June. Questbridge and other are due in the fall. Be willing to write powerful letters of recommendation early for these scholarships.
- Encourage undocumented students. Remind them that the full Dream Act goes into effect for CA students graduating in 2013. They can qualify for Cal Grants and must submit a Dream Act financial aid application next spring. But in the meantime, they can research other colleges that are friendly to undocumented students. Email Dr. Joseph for that list.
Introduction: Here are 15 tips for completing the Fall 2012 University of California application system. Remember, while the UC application opened on October 1, you cannot submit your application until November 1-30.
But remember-this is a tough year for University of California (UC) admissions. The UCs implemented their new admissions requirements, including no mandatory SAT Subject Tests, new eligibility requirements, including the completion of 11 out of 15 A-G courses by the beginning of 12th grade. More students than ever are applying, the November 30 application deadline for freshmen and transfers is fixed, and you need to make sure your application is correct and complete.
You only need to complete and submit one application for the 9 campus UC system. Unlike the CSU system, you get to submit your application to all the campuses you select at once. You also pay one total application fee (by number of campuses) to a centralized payment system.
Please let us know if you need help convincing your family of the value of letting you attend a UC, even one a few hours away from home.
- Have a working email address: Create an email address if you don’t have one. Gmail and hotmail are free and easy to use. Your high school may provide you with an email as well. YOU MUST CHECK YOUR EMAIL OFTEN. The UC campuses will only communicate with you via email. Please save your user name and password.
- Investigate how the UCs evaluate applications. The UCs look at several factors when evaluating applications: Freshmen: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/counselors/freshman/fall-2012/index.html Transfers: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/counselors/transfer/index.html
- Determine your UC eligibility-
a. California Residents
- 11 out of 15 required A-G courses completed by beginning of 12th grade.
- A GPA of 3.0 or higher on all A-G courses in 10th and 11th grade and no A-G grade lower than a C. Extra GPA points for honors and AP classes, but only award for two classes in 10th grade.
- The SAT or ACT w/writing
- SAT Subject Tests can help fulfill A-G requirements
- Check the academic requirements for transferring by checking whether you have 60 semester or 90 quarter transferrable units.
- You need to have completed the majority of the IGETC and major requirements for your campus.
b. Non CA residents
Out of state, international and home-schooled students must provide other materials. http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/freshman/other-applicants/index.htmlhttp://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/freshman/other-applicants/index.html
4. Send your test scores to UC campuses. Freshman only-Send your SAT, SAT Subject Test, and ACT scores to only one UC campus. Then the UCs will send your scores to the other UC campuses to which you apply for free. Remember, the UCs only use your highest overall one-day test score.
5. Send other test scores: If you have taken AP tests, you must send your test scores to the UC campuses to which you apply. Transfers- you report these scores if you are using them for course credits. Contact the College Board to do this. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/exgrd_rep.html. You must also sent IB, TOEFL, or IELTS scores.
6. Collect required and optional identification numbers. If you qualify for a guaranteed admission, include the 12-digit identification number that was included in your notification letter from UC. This is called your ELC ID number. Optional: Each K-12 student in California public schools is assigned an ID number. If it’s not printed on your transcript, ask your counselor or registrar.
7. Gather family personal and financial information: You will need your family’s educational backgrounds and income for the past two years if you want a fee waiver for the UC applications and want to be considered for each campus’ great support programs for low-income students.
8. Determine residency status: You need to know your residency status. Ask your parents or family members. You do not need a SSN number but you need to know how long you have been in the California as the UC system calculates your tuition based on how long you have lived and attended school in California. Remember, AB 540 student can get admitted to the UC system but you cannot qualify for state or federal financial aid this year. You can qualify for private scholarships.
9. Prepare to check interest in scholarships and EOP: The UC application allows you to select 16 scholarships to be considered for without completing any additional paperwork. Go through each category and apply for as many as 16 scholarships that fit your qualifications and background. The application asks if you want to participate in EOP, the program for under-represented students. If you are a low-income student, say yes. You will benefit so much from EOP programs at each UC, including Summer Bridge and year long support programs. There is no separate application for scholarships or EOP.
10. Have access to official transcript(s). You self report your grades. You only send your official transcripts to the UC you elect to attend. But DO NOT lie. The UCs will take away your acceptance if you lie and if your grades fall. Enter each course from the list. But if you can’t find a course, then add it in. Transfer students will need to enter in fall 2011 grades in five weeks to the UC system. All students who change courses in the spring must notify the UCs in writing.
11. Collect information on all of your activities, jobs, honors, specialized programs, and non-A-G courses. The UCs look for special talents, achievements, and awards in particular fields-in and out school and academic and non-academic. The application provides room for five examples within each of the following six categories:
- Coursework Other Than A-G (freshmen only)
- Educational Preparation Programs
- Volunteer & Community Service
- Work Experience
- Awards & Honors
- Extracurricular Activities
You need to provide the hours per week and weeks per year and provide short descriptions of each activity. Focus on your leadership and initiative. Prepare to enter 160 character or less descriptions for each item you list. Remember that working for your family, including childcare counts.
12. Draft the two mandated UC essays: The UCs require you to write two essays (totaling no more than exactly 1000 words) that you paste into the application. It only gives you 30 minutes on the actual pages so prepare your essays in advance. You can write the essays now and make sure you reveal unique information and qualities about you that are not evident elsewhere in your application. Be brave and describe who are really are as this is the only way the UCs can learn about your life and the powerful ways you will enrich their campuses.
In each essay, connect to some major activity or experience you have had.
Some tips: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/how-to-apply/personal-statement/index.html
- Here are the UC prompts: “Respond to both prompts, using a maximum of 1,000 words total. You may allocate the word count as you wish. If you choose to respond to one prompt at greater length, we suggest your shorter answer be no less than 250 words.”
- You can no longer go over the 1000 word limit.
- Prompt #1 (freshman applicants): Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
- Prompt #1 (transfer applicants): What is your intended major? Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had in the field — such as volunteer work, internships and employment, participation in student organizations and activities — and what you have gained from your involvement. Use this essay for your common application long essay.
- Prompt #2 (all applicants): Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are
- Additional information. If you wish, you may use this space to tell us anything else you want us to know about you that you have not had the opportunity to describe elsewhere in the application (no more than 550 words) Use this section to explain any limitations at your school-few AP courses, new school with few activities, etc.
14. Pay for applications via fee waivers, credit cards, or check and apply for specialized program for low-income students. Provide household size and income for 2010 and 2011: To qualify for application fee waivers and to be considered to special programs for low-income students, you need to provide your family’s household size and income for the past two years. You can get fee waivers for four UC campuses if you qualify. Additional campuses are $70 a piece. Undocumented students can use of the four fee waivers.
15. Research Blue and Gold Plan: Most low-income students than ever are attending a UC campus because the UCs have the Blue and Gold Plan.. If your family makes less than $80,000 per year, you may qualify for the UC’s Blue and Gold Opportunity, which covers the majority of your tuitions, fees, and living expenses. http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/paying-for-uc/financial-aid/grants/blue-gold/index.htmlTweet
Summer is coming, and college readiness does not stop for your students, especially those entering their senior years and going off to college. Here are some tips for ending the school year and helping you and your students use their summers well.
1. Remember, college students are back in town. Ask current college students who are just now returning for the summer to speak at your school before school ends.
- Have them speak with different grades and share real life examples of how they prepared for college and what college life is actually like. They can bring pictures to show.
- Videotape them while they are there. Get short video clips of different kinds of advice. Post these tips on your website.
- Get them to write tips to share with your students on various topics—active engagement in high school, how to write great application essays, how to survive your first few weeks of college, etc.
- Ask them to mentor students with great potential and who could go to the same kinds of colleges.
2. Invite college admissions officers to visit your campus. It’s not too late. June is a quiet time on most college campuses, so you can ask them to visit your school as long as no one has asked them so far.
- Since most college admissions representatives are already booked for fall visits, call and see if they have any time now to come in and speak with your juniors and even interested freshmen and sophomores.
- They are very interested in speaking to first generation and other under-represented students. You can find their names on college admissions websites.
- Think of public and private colleges in your area.
- Also many out of state colleges have representatives in your area.
- If you need suggestions, email us for some colleges to contact.
- Make sure you invite students from other classes to attend
3. Build in college readiness lessons and workshops for your end of year lessons.
- Share real college admissions applications
- Have students develop a resume.
- Prepare activities for kids going off to four year colleges, attending community colleges, and preparing for senior year.—paying for college, finding scholarships, visiting colleges for free, beginning their application essays.
4. Let kids know that many colleges will pay for them to visit during the fall. These visits are called fly-ins and are competitive. Many deadlines are in the late summer. We have attached last year’s list. We will email you the updated list later this summer. But kids who are interested in a particular college on the list, can contact them for their current dates.
5. Post information on scholarships.
- Many major scholarships are due in the early fall.
- So kids can begin working on them during the summer. Questbridge, Gates, Dell are some major scholarships.
- Help kids do some scholarship searches in your class or show them a sample application so they can see the kinds of essays they will have to write for a scholarship.
- Here is the Gates Millenium Scholarship application. https://nominations.gmsp.org/GMSP_APP/docs/NomineeForms.pdf
6. Please, please plan some summer workshops for seniors on applying to public and private campuses. Ask two of your colleagues to sponsor a boot camp with you. The Common Application comes on line August 1. Public campuses come out later but you can have students enter grades on CSU mentor and other public sites. You can include workshops on college application essays—We can provide all kinds of materials if you want.
7. Tell your students to be busy this summer. Colleges expect students to use their summers for jobs, internships, volunteer activities, and more. Tell them to contact local non-profits. If your students don’t have a plan, give them some things they can do for you over the summer. They can help you build a website or do other college or class readiness activities.
8. Remind students who are taking the ACT in the fall that the sign up is during the summer. August 12 is the deadline for September 10. If they need a fee waiver, arrange for them now. http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html. They can take the ACT twice for free.
Using your summer vacation wisely is definitely important even if you are unsure of your career goals. One thing I have noticed about my classmates is that many are applying and planning on doing internships over the summer. They did all kinds of internships before college also.
I was busy during my high school summers also. I volunteered at my church. I worked at my high school for the testing coordinator. BUT no one told me about summer internships, but NOW I KNOW!!!
Because I am interested in becoming either a vet or a doctor, I am making plans to explore both fields. Right now, I plan to volunteer at either the vet or medical hospital while still here at Penn, and over the summer, I plan to do an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo and get hands-on experience as well as decide whether or not the veterinarian field is where I want to continue.
It is, without doubt, imperative that college students, as well as incoming freshmen, start exploring fields they’re interested in and start building a resume for applying to grad school.
So find places to
So don’t sit still during the summer. Your future is just around the corner. And colleges love busy, active students.Tweet
University of California, Los Angeles, Class of 2014
Hometown: Los Angeles
High School: Discovery Prep Charter School
It is now 12:47am (October 5th) and I am currently working on a paper that is due in two days, well technically tomorrow because it is now Tuesday. I am also attempting to do some reading that is due today at 10am. Although this may seem a bit overwhelming it is not as bad as it sounds. I usually do my work in the lounge, where I am currently writing this, and there are always several people in here. Currently there are about 8 people in the lounge with me and we are all doing the same thing, working on homework. Working in the lounge really benefits me because it allows me to see that I am not alone.
At home I used to think, “who else is doing homework at 1 am? Am I crazy or there other people still up doing their work?” Working in the lounge has allowed me to see that I am not the only person that stays up doing work. If I ever feel that I just have to much work to do, I usually come to the lounge where I can get some homework done while surrounded by others that are focused on their homework. As the phrase goes “monkey see, monkey do” and that is what helps me get into the mindset of working on homework.
It is now 1 am and I am going back to work. I want to leave you with this idea, surround yourself with positivity and studious people every once in a while because I might just rub off on you.Tweet