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.
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
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.
Happy holidays. December goes by so quickly, so please help kids with their college and scholarship applications. There is still so much we can do to help these amazing kids.
Here are ten college access tips to get you through the rest of 2012.
1. More applications. You have survived many public application deadlines, but there are numerous private college and scholarship deadlines coming up. Please encourage your students to apply for these. Private colleges are desperate for interested under-represented minority and first generation students. Students need the encouragement to find schools that are looking for students with their profiles. I recommend students apply to 4 to 8 other colleges. Students with low test scores should add some test optional colleges. Fair Test lists 850 colleges with test optional possibilities. http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional
2. Essays. Kids need to keep writing powerful college and scholarship application essays. Remind them, they can use essays more than once. They need to push themselves to write specific, empowering essays for private college. They can keep on revising and adapting for other schools and write powerful supplemental essays targeted to specific colleges.
3. Recommendations. Please, please write as many great, specific letters as you can. Students needs these letters and often ask you rather late. But they need these to get into college and EOP and to receive scholarships. Short letters don’t work. Give specific examples from their assignments, so you may need students to give you their former graded work to remind you. If you don’t have something nice to say, then perhaps refer them to someone else. For schools with overwhelmed counselors, others can write counselor letters. Please help students with getting great counselor letters as well.
4. Free applications. Did you know that there are multiple ways for students to apply for free to private and many public colleges? Students who took the SAT or ACT get four free apps on the Common Application. They can apply for free to lots of out of state public colleges as well for free. NACAC provides fee waivers that most colleges accept. The forms require official stamps. Trio programs can provide these stamps. http://www.nacacnet.org/studentinfo/feewaiver/Pages/default.aspx
5. Educational Opportunity Programs. Please assist and encourage students to complete their EOP applications and applications for other support programs at college. Each college, including CSU, has a separate deadline. Call colleges to see if deadlines have been extended. http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/eop_apply.asp
6. Scholarships. Scholarships. Scholarships. There are multiple ways for first generation and under-represented students to pay for college. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is due December 15. http://www.hsf.net/Scholarship-Programs.aspx. Many colleges have specific scholarships. Encourage students to find national, state, local, and college specific scholarships. USC for example has the USC Norman Topping Fund that provides scholarships. It is due February 10. http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/ntsaf/ Undocumented students: Dated but still working links: http://www.maldef.org/leadership/scholarships/2010_Scholarship_List.pdf
7. Alumni. Remember, your alumni are back in town and eager to help. Ask them to wear their college sweatshirts and to be able to describe how they manage their workloads, social lives, and more. College sophomores are ideal as they have already navigated freshmen year and are not so embedded in upper level experiences yet.
8. Preparing for financial aid. Please get families and students ready to complete financial aid forms. Families need to complete taxes early in 2013, and students need to determine how they will declare income. Sometimes, students need to put an explanation in an additional information paragraph explaining their complex family, living, and financial situations.
9. Test scores. Students need to send their test scores. Make sure they send them as soon as they can. Students with free or reduced lunch get to send scores for free to eight colleges. If they can’t afford to do this, you can contact a college and see if you can fax the scores to the college for the students. Remember, the UCs and Cal States allow scores to be sent only once. Cal States: CSU Mentor for SATs and ACT Score Manager for the ACT.
- January SAT: The next SAT, which can be used for Cal States and many other colleges is January 26. Registration is December 28. http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/register/test-dates
- February ACT: Next ACT is February 9. Kids must register by January 11. http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html
10. Enjoy your holidays. Please, please help students with any last minute college application questions. Perhaps hold an application party during the break. They shouldn’t wait to the last minute, but they do.
Again, you are the best at what you do. Your students are so lucky. Enjoy this time of year!!! Let me know if I can help in any way.
- Help students with their state university applications. In California, the Cal State and UC applications came online October 1. Both must be submitted by November 30. The Cal States can be submitted October 1-November 30, while the UCs can be submitted November 1-30. Both applications have students self-report their course and grades, so they need access to their transcripts. Please help them with their application completion. Other public university systems are all online. Help students!!!
- Encourage seniors to apply for EOP and other support programs. These programs provided amazing support for low-income students throughout the admissions, college readiness, and college survival process. The Cal States have a separate EOP application with several short responses and two required recommendations. As space is limited, have students apply as early as possible. http://www.csumentor.edu/planning/eop/. On the UC application, students just have to check that they want to be considered for EOP.
- Inform students about college application fee waivers. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch qualify for fee waivers for most college applications. The Cal States and UCs allow students to apply to four of their campuses for free. Private colleges accept NACAC or College Board fee waivers or will waive fees if counselors, teachers, or students request them for students. http://professionals.collegeboard.com/guidance/applications/fee-waivers. Undocumented students qualify for fee waivers for most colleges, including the CAL STATES for the first time. Sadly public colleges in Arizona and some southern states ban undocumented students from applying or getting aid.
- Hold college application and college essay workshops before, during, and after school. Your students need help with their essays. These essays make them pop for college admissions officers who are desperate for your students. Make the essays requirements for English or hold workshops after school. Help them read great samples and see ways to use their essays more than once. They need to tell unique stories that grab reads from the first sentence. See our ten tips that we have attached with this email. Read the article about our approach in the New York Times. http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/nacac-essa/
- Remind seniors of upcoming standardized tests. Yes, students can still take the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests. They must now upload a picture to qualify and there are no more day of admission possibilities. They can qualify for two fee waivers per test. Encourage them to keep trying as their scores usually go up. See below for test registration dates and deadlines.
- Help students learn more about colleges by attending college and non-profit events in your area. Colleges are in your area in October. Find out where they are or take your students to a college fair. If your high school doesn’t have a college night, perhaps you can crash one at a local high school in your area. Many colleges are still hosting fly-in programs for under-represented students. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is holding free Steps for Success on Saturdays this fall in key states. http://www.hsf.net/workshops.aspx.
- Continue to encourage students to research colleges online. Colleges want your students. But students need to apply to match colleges. The Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) has a great guide that features colleges that welcome diverse students and free resources. http://www.csopportunity.org. You University offers great video tours of colleges. http://www.youniversitytv.com/ Take advantage of College Week Live. This free website offers amazing webinars and workshops for students applying to college. http://www.collegeweeklive.com/
- Write great letters of recommendation. Please write recommendations that make your students pop. Follow our Into-Through-Beyond approach so that you can help colleges see why these students belong on their campuses. Give details about their academic performance if you’re a teacher. Highlight their leadership and initiative if you’re a counselor. If you can’t remember or just don’t know them, have them submit detailed brag sheets. These letters can make or break an admissions or scholarship decisions. Please, write and submit your letters online.
- Connect with current college students. Keep ongoing contact with your graduates. Ask these students to write tips for your students and post them around the classroom and college center.
- A PLEA…Help homesick college freshmen. We send out students away, and in October they begin to get very homesick. Their parents often can’t visit them, and they are beginning to struggle, at times, with their workload. So please keep in touch with freshmen. Send them care packages. Or just FB message or text them. They need your ongoing support.
- Test Deadlines
SAT/SAT Subject Tests (http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/register/test-dates)
- Oct 6 (standby registration)
- Nov 3 (Oct 4 registration). Listening part of foreign language tests offered.
- Dec 1 (Nov 1 registration)
- Jan 26 (Dec 28 registration)
- Oct 27 (Sept 21 registration)
- Dec 8 (Nov 2 registration)
Tip 1. Write a strong resume to use during the college admissions process. Some applications allow for limited information, while others want more. Some schools take entire resumes. Some colleges will let you upload your resume to the common application or to their application. Consider that option if you cannot describe all you do within an application’s confines. Bring your resume to all interviews and include it as part of your brag-sheets, autobiographical information packets.
Tip 2. Center your name, home address, email address, and cell and home numbers at the top. Do not put down any contact information that is not current or where you cannot be easily reached.
Tip 3. Develop an order. Always start with Education. After that you can use categories such as Extracurricular Activities, Sports, Service, Volunteer Work, Jobs or Employment, Internships. Start with the category in which you have the most experience and depth.
Tip 4. Always start each section with the most recent activity and work your way backwards. Don’t use your middle school years, unless you started a sport or activity then that continued into high school.
Tip 5. Use power verbs to begin each sentence in your listings. Describe exactly, what you did for each activity. Use past tense for activities that have ended. Use present tense for activities still underway. You can write in paragraph form or use bullets. The word I is never present in a resume.
Tip 6. Academic. Start with your current school. List honor roll and any other honors you have received. List honors and AP courses. If you like your SAT/ACT/AP scores, list them here. If these are not your strengths, then don’t list them. List summer programs that are academic here as well.
Tip 7. Activities. Colleges look for consistency, development, leadership, and initiative in activities. Demonstrate these through your activity descriptions. Make sure you are clear with describing the level of your activity and any awards and honors received. Include leadership positions held. Mention hours per week and weeks per year, if possible.
Tip 8. Describe everything you do in your non-academic time. Count caring for younger siblings or the elderly, helping out with family businesses, or anything else you do to support your family, church, or community. Also include work as a teaching assistant, tutor, or office worker at your school.
Tip 9. Have your parents or other people who know you well read through the resume. Content: They may remember details you’ve forgotten. Grammar and Spelling: Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Tip 10. Always tell the truth. More and more colleges are checking activities for veracity. For example, the University of California system now has people checking activities listed on their applications for their truthfulness. So be prepared to back up your activities with evidence.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 2012 tips. Use TAs and seniors to help you.
- Develop a college readiness area in your classroom.
- Post deadlines for testing, summer programs, and major scholarships. Remember to order enough fee waivers as kids can take each test twice for free.
- Friday, May 4 is the deadline to sign up for June 9th ACT
- Tuesday, May 8 is the deadline to sign up for June 2nd SAT and SAT Subject Tests
- Saturday, May 5 is the current test day for the SAT. Kids can try to walk in if they must.
- Post new A-G requirements and tips for advancing and for making up failed or missed classes. This is the link to the UC site for counselors. http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/counselors/index.html.
- 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.
- 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 younger students-they can talk about being serious in school and getting active in and out of school.
- With parents and teachers-they can talk about why college is awesome and provide some useful tips for surviving and thriving in college.
- 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.
- 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 
- 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
- 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.
- Please, please find free or reduced cost SAT/ACT readiness workshops in your community. These are desperately needed for your students.
- 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/
- Find college fairs for your students to visit. NACAC comes to cities around the country. So do other groups of colleges. http://www.nacacnet.org/college-fairs/Pages/default.aspx. Columbia, Brown, Rice, Cornell, and University of Chicago travel around the country. http://www.exploringeducationalexcellence.org/
- Begin to book colleges to visit you next year. Find out if local colleges will send outreach programs and students to your school.
- Sign up for college information tips.
- The UCs have a counselor newsletter you can receive. They have all kinds of free guides as do the CSU’s.
- Unigo sends out expert advice daily.
- There are still scholarships available for seniors. Each college has alumni scholarships and there are many non-profits with deadlines.
- Don’t forget major scholarships for kids. POSSE deadlines are soon-Mid to late May. This is an amazing scholarship for under-represented kids in key cities. Yet, remember, it only covers tuition. Kids have to find other aid to cover the rest. You need to become a nominator. http://www.possefoundation.org/about-posse/program-components/recruitment/nomination-process
- Contact Dr. Joseph to see if she can offer free workshops or connect you with folks who can.
Five Fun College Facts:
1. Kids can take each test-SAT, ACT, and/or SAT Subject Tests- for free if they qualify for fee waivers. Legal status does not matter. They must qualify for free or reduced lunch and get waiver from counselors or non-profits.
2. After this year, seniors can take the SAT in the fall in October, November, and December. The ACT is offered in September, October, and December. The UCS are no longer requiring SAT Subject Tests but they are required still for top private colleges and can help with others.
3. The California Dream Act passed. As of January 1, 2012, students can now qualify for private scholarships at CA public colleges . Starting next January students can qualify for Cal Grants and California Community College Board of Governor Fee Waivers. Some go into effect January 1, 2013 and others for the 2013-2014 school year. This year, there is a new online financial aid application students can use instead of FAFSA. http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp
4. The UCS are requiring kids to complete 11/15 A-G requirements by end of the summer before senior year. So juniors need to clear failing grades this summer or through Adult School by November.
5. Low-income students can apply to four UC campuses for free (including AB540 students), four CSU campuses for free (not yet for AB 540 students), and unlimited private colleges for free (including AB 540 students).
OTHER FINAL TIPS FOR SENIORS
Remind them they must
- submit their Statement of Intent to Register May 1.
- keep in contact with any waitlisted colleges.
- finalize financial aid forms, including submitting the California Dream Act application by May 10.
- pay for housing and arrange for orientation programs.
- complete placement tests-for CSUs, UCs, Community Colleges, and others.
- sign-up for summer bridge programs. They fill fast. USC has an amazing program for kids accepted to top four year colleges. Unfortunately, they always post late, and we just missed this year’s deadline. Perhaps, you can contact them and ask for an extension for top kids. http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/st-2012-application-rec-letter.pdf
- fulfill preliminary remediation requirements as stated by each CSU campus before enrolling in the fall.
 (lists colleges that offer major support to first gen kids and even comes with lesson plans how to use the book.
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 waitlisted school, 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.
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. 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.
3. Make sure you accept the waitlist invitation. It is no longer assumed you will accept so send in the form asap.
4. Write a letter or email to the Admissions Committee. 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 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 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.
Thanks to JHU for many of the ideas included in this note.Tweet