October College Readiness Tips for Teachers and Lay College Counselors


1. 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!!!

2. 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/AdmissionApp/eop_apply.asp

On the UC application, students just have to check that they want to be considered for EOP.

3.  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, except for the Cal States and public colleges in Arizona and some southern states.

4. 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/

5. Remind seniors of upcoming standardized tests. Yes, students can still take the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests. They can qualify for two fee waivers per test. Encourage them to keep trying as their scores usually go up.

SAT/SAT Subject Tests (http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-dates)

  • Nov 5 (Oct 9 registration). Listening part of foreign language tests offered.
  • Dec 3 (Nov 8 registration)
  • Jan 28 (Dec 30 registration)

ACT Tests (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html)

  • Oct 22 (Late and walk in registration)
  • Dec 10 (Nov 4 registration)

6. 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 public high school in your area. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is holding free Steps for Success on Saturdays this fall in key states. http://www.hsf.net/workshops.aspx

7. 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/

8. 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 decision for a first gen student. PLEASE WRITE YOUR LETTERS ONLINE!!!

9. 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.

10. 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.

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About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

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