Happy September. Here are 10 tips to help all students prepare for college application season.
- 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 65 four-year colleges. Undocumented students can also apply to many of the colleges—This list is greatly expanded from last year. Since so many deadlines have past–remember this list for next spring and summer as well. https://getmetocollege.org//what-colleges-look-for/2015-fall-diversity-visit-programs
- Visit local colleges. All colleges host open houses and special events this fall. Visit a campus. Visit classes, spend nights in the dorms, interview, meet professors, and more. Local private colleges will expect students to visit sometime before applying.
- Attend local college fairs and college info sessions. Many colleges have reps visiting your area this fall. Many host meetings at hotels or college fairs. Many colleges travel together to your area. Please try to connect with colleges on your list. If they are not in your area, go to online college fairs. College Week Live and College Greenlight host online college info sessions and fairs.
- Sign up for fall tests. 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. ALSO MAKE SURE YOUR TEST PICTURE LOOKS LIKE YOU NOW. If you have a new haircut or glasses, reshoot the picture.
- Complete detailed brag sheets. Your teachers and counselors have to write many letters of recommendation. Colleges want very detailed ones that describe leadership and initiative, so complete brag sheets and questionnaires in great details. Attach examples of your favorite assignments, papers, projects, and class moments.
- Start working on college application essays. Please spend time creating application essays and personal statements that share unique stories and qualities about you to colleges. Remember, you want to impress them with your leadership, resilience, and initiative. These essays should focus on relatively recent stories and provide specific evidence of what you can offer colleges. See our tips on our site for brainstorming, writing, and revising great essays.
- Research private colleges, especially those with merit and diversity scholarships.
Apply to at least four public and four private colleges. Private colleges often offer more financial assistance than public universities for top diverse and middle class 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 merit and diversity scholarships. Emory, University of Notre Dame, Northeastern, Villanova are examples of colleges with outstanding non-need based scholarships. Some require extra applications and some do not.
- Prepare for and arrange interviews. Many colleges offer interviews–both on and off campus. Many schools require you to set up the interview, so please go to their sites and arrange these as they fill up early. Others interview you after you apply and contact you. For any interview, go with your resume. This will not only your interviewer but also you–if you get nervous.
- Save all usernames and passwords. As you set-up all of your accounts, create a document to save your usernames and passwords. You will have many to track, especially when colleges have unique portals for applicants.
- Please check your email daily. Many colleges now announce admissions decisions through email. Others will notify you of special programs, financial aid, and more. Please do not miss out on key information because you don’t check emails. If you refuse to check your email, then agree for colleges to text you. Most offer that option this year.