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.