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.
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
It’s time to get your college readiness plan in high . Here are 10 tips to get you through September.
1. Push tough senior year schedules. Make sure your schedule is rigorous and does not have more than one core subject missing from last year. Make sure core passions continue through school programs. It’s not too late to make course shifts.
2. Arrange campus tours. All colleges host open houses and special events this fall. Visit a campus. You can visit classes, spend nights in the dorms, interview, meet professors, and more. Visit college websites for details. The Claremont-McKenna colleges, for example, have wonderful overnight programs. Many schools fly in diverse kids for free this fall. See our posting for fly-in programs.
3. Visit colleges at hotels, college fairs, and at your high school. Many colleges have reps visiting your area this fall. Go to a college’s website and search for “On the Road.” Look at your Naviance/Family Connection page for upcoming school visits. If the school offers interviews in town, sign up. But make sure you do thel email communication with a college.
4. Sign up for fall tests. Seniors should take fall tests at least twice this fall. Their scores peak senior year. Remember, fee waivers works twice for each test. Very few schools now require SAT Subject Tests so check. And many schools are now allowing January testing, such as the UCs. YOU NOW NEEDS TO UPLOAD A PICTURE and there are no more walk-ins.
SAT/SAT Subject Tests (http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/register/test-dates)
- Oct 6 (Sept 7 registration)
- Nov 3 (Oct 4 registration). Listening part of foreign language tests offered.
- Dec 1 (Nov 1 registration)
- Jan 26 (Dec 28 registration)
ACT Tests (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html)
- Sept 8 (Registration passed-Standby)
- Oct 27 (Sept 21 registration)
- Dec 8 (Nov 2 registration)
5. Complete detailed brag sheets. You will have to write a brag sheet for your counselors and teachers. Make sure you are very specific in the examples of favorite assignments, papers, projects, and class moments. Attach copies of best papers and projects. Make sure weaknesses are actually strengths. If parents have to write one, vary the stories and qualities you emphasize.
6. Start working on college application essays. Get going with writing the essays required for college applications. Let me know if you want great samples and tips. Buy ALL COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAYS-the one-stop app for ALL college application essay requirements. I developed this app, and it provides all essays students must write along with deadlines and application requirements. Now available on iTunes. http://www.allcollegeessays.org/ More on essays next month.
7. Set up a filing system. Organize your process. Make a bulletin board with all colleges, deadlines, types of applications, and essay requirements. Prioritize by deadline and by preference. Make sure you keep track of all user name and passwords for each college!!!
8. Make an appointment with your counselor and finalize your college list. Make sure you meet with your counselor as soon as you can to finalize your college list. If the counselor suggests some colleges you don’t like, throw them a bone and include a couple.
9. Use Naviance (Family Connection) to its fullest. Naviance has some great resources including scattergrams and a resume maker. It has links to the Fiske Guide and provides all deadlines. Visit it at least once a week.
10. Build in breaks for you. As the year begins, the stress gets going pretty quickly. So make sure to build in some breaks as you child needs to excel in all that you do. Treat yourself after tests. Take a break each weekend.Tweet
- 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.
November College Readiness Tips for Teachers and Lay College Advocates
1. End of senior year testing reminders.
- November 11 is the new deadline to register for the December10 ACT. http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html).
- November 8 is the deadline for the December 3 SAT. http://sat.collegeboard.org/registerhttp://sat.collegeboard.org/register
- Remember kids can take each test twice for free and send four test scores for free per test.
2. Good news for undocumented students:
- In October, Governor Brown signed AB 131 into law enabling undocumented students to qualify for California financial aid. Bad news. It doesn’t go into effect until the 2013-2014 school. Year.
- Earlier this summer he signed AB 130 into law that allows undocumented students to qualify for private scholarships at public universities. That goes into effect January 1, 2012.
- So tell your undocumented students to have patience and to apply for scholarships from this list. http://www.scholarshipsaz.org/collateral/scholarships.pdf. For high school seniors attending public school in Los Angeles, there is a $500 scholarship available. Students must attend a workshop on November 12. Students can download the College is For Everyone (CIFE) application and get more info at the CORE website at http://www.ca-core.org/resources.
3. 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.
4. The Cal State applications are due November 30. The EOP application is separate. http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/eop_apply.asp/ Please remind them to provide details in the EOP short answers. Low-income students (not undocumented) can apply for four Cal States for free. Students can send SAT scores to CSU Mentor and ACT scores through ACT Score Manager.
5. 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. I have attached my 10 tips for writing powerful college application essays below. Ideally, in at least one essay, students should describe the world they come from and show how they have made a difference in it.
6. 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/.
7. Private colleges. Encourage students to apply to four or five private colleges. Again, these applications are free for low-income students. The Center for Student Opportunity has a list of colleges that are friendly to first generation/under-represented students. http://csopportunity.org/. Many private colleges offer full scholarships to top undocumented students. For a list of these schools, go to http://getmetocollege.org
8. Remind kids to keep their grades up. Private colleges see fall grades. The UCs and Cal States 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.
9. Encourage kids to get ready to apply for financial aid. Kids need to apply for financial aid. Attend Cash for College events in your area and other events to encourage kids to apply for financial aid. The LA Cash for College is December 7 and 8. Book a bus to take your students to this great event. http://www.lacashforcollege.org/home.html
10. Plan alumni visits. Please invite kids who are attending college to come visit your classrooms in November. Many can come in the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Ask them to describe what makes college so fun. Ask alumni to mentor a student or two in your class.Tweet
Beat the SAT or ACT: Don’t let these tests beat you!!!
Read this advice my current expert column on Unigo. http://www.unigo.com/expertnetwork
- Finalize summer and fall plans to focus on leadership and initiative. Be busy this summer.-Spend-at least 20 to 30 hours per week taking classes, working, volunteering, doing internships, and more. Take leadership roles this fall in and out of school and really push the initiative factor.
- Make a resume. Focus on your major accomplishments in each listing.
- Do all you can to prepare for fall standardized tests. There are three ACT and three SAT dates you can take this fall. Hire a tutor if you really need to improve your scores.
- Really refine your college list. Have a range of schools that match your interests and abilities. Don’t have only reach colleges on your list. Use Naviance’s scatter-grams to help show you your likelihood of getting in or other online tools. The Fiske Guide is great as is Unigo.com to help you learn about colleges.
- Book fall trips and arrange interviews either here or there. Plan to meet with professors, students, and other campus representatives that interest you. See if you can stay in a dorm and eat in the cafeteria.
- Start writing your major essays—for Common and UC applications. They are the same as last year. Tufts (http://admissions.tufts.edu/?pid=195). Connecticut College (http://www.conncoll.edu/admission/11189.htm), and Johns Hopkins (http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/essays.html) share essays that real admitted students wrote. I can send you others. Only write stories that are unique and interesting to read.
- Begin completing the Common Application on August 1 when it goes online (USC is now on it). Follow the yellow dots-only they are mandatory to fill in.
- Save all passwords on your computer and your phone.
- For artists, musicians, etc…collect all audition requirements. Begin preparing audition materials and developing repertoire lists as well as specialized resumes.
- First gen, Latino, and African-American students should apply for some free fly-in programs to top colleges this fall. Applications go online this summer and early fall. Undocumented students can apply for most of these programs.
- Research the scholarships that are due in the early fall–Questbridge, etc. and start preparing their requirements.
- BUY MY ALL COLLEGE ESSAY IPHONE AND IPAD APP THAT LISTS ALL COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY REQUIREMENTS. BUY IT NOW FOR $1.99. THE COMMON APP AND UC ESSAYS ARE THE SAME. ONCE THE NEW SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAYS COME OUT YOU WON’T NEED TO BUY THE AGAIN.
Now more than ever, we need to help counselors and schools prepare our students for college. Join our group of lay-college counselors, aka high school teachers, with these 12 May 2011 tips. Use TAs and seniors to help you. I can send you a word version of this document, if needed.
- Develop a college readiness area in your classroom.
- Post deadlines for testing, summer programs, and major scholarships.
Friday, May 6 is the deadline to sign up for June 11th ACT
Tuesday, May 10 is the deadline to sign up for June 4th SAT and SAT Subject Tests
Saturday, May 7 is the current test day for the SAT. Kids can try to walk in if they must.
- Put up A-G requirements and tips for advancing and for making up failed or missed classes
- Post posters of major tests. You can contact the College Board http://www.collegeboard.org/ for SAT deadlines and the ACT for ACT deadlines http://act.org.
- Post pictures of former students at their colleges.
- List names of the colleges your former students have attended.
- Feature different colleges each week or month.
2. Ask current college students who are just now returning for the summer to speak at your school.
- With seniors-they can talk about getting ready to start college.
- With juniors-they can talk about getting ready to apply and find financial aid and scholarships.
- With young kids-they can talk about being serious in school and getting active in their communities and activities.
- With parents and teachers-they can talk about why college is awesome and provide some useful tips for surviving and thriving in college.
3. Put up a college board of your own college years. Post pictures, a copy of your diploma, and some memorabilia. Contact your college to send you free stuff.
4. Begin to collect books about college readiness. Start with
• The Fiske Guide • College Finder •College Board’s Book of Majors
• CSO’s College Access and Opportunity Guide 
5. Make college awareness and readiness websites as favorites on your classroom computers. Some great ones to start with…The College Board. ACT. Unigo. Cappex, Center for Student Opportunity, CSU Mentor, Hispanic College Fund, Latinos in College, and my site: Get Me To College
6. Collect lists of colleges that offer fly-in programs for under-represented students and provide some kind of major aid to undocumented students. I have these lists if you want them.
7. Participate in online workshops with your students. College Week Live has ongoing free workshops, online college fairs, and so much more. http://www.collegeweeklive.com/
8. Sign up for college information tips.
- The UCs have a counselor newsletter you can receive.
- Unigo sends out expert advice daily.
9. Use FB. If you have a teacher FB page, like as many college readiness sites as possible. My college name is getmetocollege freeadvice. CSO, Hispanic College Fund, Latinos in College, California Dream ACT, Undocumented Students, AB 540, and hundreds of colleges have pages. Have your students friend me as well.
10. Develop college readiness links into your lessons. For example, use California Reality Check to help students see links between occupations, income, and college. http://www.californiarealitycheck.com/start.htm
11. Help seniors planning to go to community college get ready. It’s the toughest year yet to go to community college. For example, help them understand how to afford textbooks or find programs to help them transfer. http://www.cccp.ucla.edu/docs/CCCP%20Scholars%202011%2012.pdf is a great program for kids interesting in transferring to UCLA.
12. Contact Dr. Joseph to see if she can offer free workshops or connect you with folks who can.
 (lists colleges that offer major support to first gen kids and even comes with lesson plans how to use the book.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about planning your own semester, particularly in terms of testing.
When I was a junior, I took the SAT in March with full intentions of retaking and beating my score in October. After studying and taking the March SAT, I evaluated my scores and set a reasonable goal for the next time I was to take the SAT.
As SAT classes can be expensive, I went to my local bookstore and library to peruse prep books.
If you choose to do what I did and take the SAT in March, be sure to take advantage of the College Board online SAT score reports, which was particularly useful in guiding my studies between March and October. You can use fee waivers to take the test twice at no cost.
The deadline for the March 12 SAT is February 11. So, you have time. There are no SAT Subject Tests that date.
The other spring dates are May 7 (Register by April 8th) and June 4 (Register by May 6th).
Sign up to take the SAT now!!!Tweet