2014 September College Readiness Tips for Teachers and Counselors

Welcome back to school. Now more than ever, we need to help counselors and schools prepare our students for college. Join our group of counselors, high school teachers, and others committed to college access with these 10 September College Readiness tips. Please visit our presentation September 19 NACAC presentation on college application essays.

  1. Encourage under-represented high seniors to apply for free trips to colleges this fall. Now is the time for diverse high school seniors to visit many colleges for free. Deadlines are now through October for visits to more than 50 four-year colleges. Undocumented students can also apply to many of the colleges—This list is greatly expanded from last year. http://getmetocollege.org//2014-diversity-college-weekends-free-fall-visits-for-rising-seniors 
  2. Arrange campus tours. campus visitAll colleges host open houses and special events this fall. Visit a campus with your students. Send them to visit some campuses on their own. They can visit classes, spend nights in the dorms, interview, meet professors, and more. Local private colleges will expect students to visit sometime before applying.
  3. Invite colleges and/or alumni to visit you. Many colleges have reps visiting your area this fall. Many are booked already but call and see if they can come or send an alum to visit. Also contact local college students to come and visit your classes. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving as that may be too late for students to pick new colleges to consider.
  4. Sign up for fall tests. Make sure kids take the PSAT this October. It’s a great diagnostic and counts for National Merit. Seniors should take fall tests at least twice this fall. Remember, fee waivers works twice for each test. Very few schools now require SAT Subject Tests so check, but students applying to top colleges should take them this fall, including the listening version of foreign language exams in November.  Many schools are now allowing January testing, such as the UCs. ALSO KIDS MUST HAVE HEADSHOTS TO REGISTER. Kids need to upload a picture. Make sure to help them do this.
  5.  Have seniors complete brag sheets. You will have to write many letters of recommendation, and colleges want very detailed ones that describe leadership and initiative, so have students complete a brag sheet for you. Have students write examples of their favorite assignments, papers, projects, and class moments. Have them attach copies of best papers and projects. PLEASE DON’T LIMIT THE NUMBER YOU’LL WRITE FOR TALENTED STUDENTS. WORK WITH OTHER TEACHERS TO EVEN OUT RECOMMENDATIONS.
  6. Have students start working on college application essays. Embed application essay writing into your homework or teaching curricula. These essays make for great autobiographical assignments. Bring in guest speakers to help push great essays. Let me know if you want great samples and tips.
  7. Encourage students to research private colleges. Please have students apply to at least four public and four private colleges. It would be great if your California students would apply to four UCs, four Cal States, and four privates. The UCS and Cal States provide fee waivers for four campuses. Undocumented students must pay for their Cal State applications. Privates often cover more than public universities for top diverse students. College Greenlight, http://www.collegegreenlight.com/ has a great free site to direct under-represented students to colleges who seek them. It provides them with all resources and school based scholarships.
  8. Direct students to great websites that promote college attendance. http://www.collegeweeklive.com/ ; http://www.latinosincollege.com; getmetocollege.org; http://www.imfirst.org/center-for-student-opportunity/
  9. Encourage students to research scholarships. Some major scholarships are already online and students can start working on then now.
  10. Make a college corner in your classroom. Put up a college board of your own college years.bulletin board
    • Post pictures, a copy of your diploma, and some memorabilia. Contact your college to send you free stuff.
    • Focus on different colleges each week or two to three days.
    • Unigo.com features colleges all the time.
    • The CSO guide focuses on colleges that welcome diverse students.
    • The Cal States and UCs will send you free materials.



Testing Deadlines

SAT/SAT Subject Tests (http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/register/test-dates)

  • Oct 11 (Sept 12 registration)
  • Nov 8 (Oct 9 registration). Listening part of foreign language tests offered.
  • Dec 6 (Nov 6 registration)
  • Jan 24 (Dec 29 registration)testing

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

  • Sept 13 (Registration passed-Standby)
  • Oct 25 (Sept 19 registration)
  • Dec 13 (Nov 7 registration)

Major Scholarships

There are many major scholarships available to under-represented students. Here are just a few…

2014-2015 Major Scholarship Deadlines


September 26, 2014



Application is now open

Only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible to receive College Match scholarships to partner colleges (with the exception of Brown, Pomona, Princeton, and Yale, who may consider applications from students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents). Students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents can still use the QuestBridge application, be chosen as QuestBridge finalists, and participate in the Regular Decision process.

Although only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are generally eligible for College Match scholarship packages, our partner colleges will consider allstudents who apply through the Regular Decision process, regardless ofcitizenship status. Each year, many QuestBridge applicants who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents gain acceptance and financial aid to our partner colleges via the Regular Decision process.


October 31, 2014

The Coca Cola Scholarship Program


The application is now open.

U.S. Citizens; U.S. Nationals; U.S. Permanent Residents; Temporary Residents (in a legalization program); Refugees; Asylees; Cuban-Haitian Entrants; or Humanitarian Parolees;


November 2014

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program


Competitive scholarship for top seniors. Opens September. Due November.


December 15, 2014

Hispanic Scholarship Fund.


Application opens September 1

With exception, of Gates Millennium, your Hispanic Scholarship application services as the one master application for dozens of scholarships. Your applications need to be in as soon as possible to meet various deadlines. For other major scholarships and their deadlines: http://www.hsf.net/innerContent.aspx?id=426

Officially: Be a U.S. citizen OR legal permanent resident with a valid permanent resident card or passport stamped I-551

Others can apply.


November 17, 2014

Univision Scholarship

All can apply if you have 3.0 GPA and higher.

For freshmen and transfer students.



January 14, 2015



The application is now open.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:59 pm EST deadline

January 15, 2015

Dell Scholars Program


U.S. citizenship or permanent residency


February 10, 2015 for freshman (Check for specific date, 2015 date not yet posted)

May 10, 2015 for transfers and graduate students

Norman Topping Student Aid Fund at University of Southern California.



February 17, 2015 (Exact 2015

GE-Ronald Reagan Scholarship

Application opens November 14

Each year, roughly 20 Scholars will receive a $10,000 scholarship renewable for an additional three years – up to $40,000 total per recipient.



March 1, 2015

Hispanic College Fund.

Application closes March 1


Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident; or, have graduated from a high school in the U.S. after having attended at least three years

Ideally GPA 3.0 or higher.


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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