January College Readiness Tips for Seniors
We hope you had a happy and healthy winter vacation. We imagine many of you helped with last minute recommendations and school reports as well as assisted kids with their applications. We did both. Here are some tips for people working with seniors.
- Seventh semester grades really do count. First semester senior year grades count for many students applying to four year colleges and for scholarships. Students need to do the best they can. Please remind any student who got accepted early to a college to keep grades up as falling grades can risk a spot in college. Remind Cal State and UC bound students that Ds and Fs in A-G courses senior year will knock them out because there is no summer making up of classes.
- Finish those last minute applications. Many colleges are still accepting applications. More than half of the state universities are accepting colleges as are many private colleges with deadlines ranging from January 15 to July. The less competitive the college, the later the application deadline may be.
- Send all test scores. If you haven’t sent your test scores to colleges, it’s not too late. You can even update scores on the UC application. But you must send out OFFICIAL scores from the College Board or ACT. UCs-only send to one official score report to one UC and that UC will send to rest. Cal States-CSU Mentor for SATs and ACT Score Manager for ACT. Private colleges must each receive a copy.
- It’s time to apply for financial aid. Students can now apply for 2014-2015 financial aid. That means FAFSA, CSS profile, Cal Grants, and CA Dream Act. Remind students, the earlier they apply, the more likely they will be to qualify for loans, grants, and scholarships. Offer workshops to help explain process to students. Don’t send AP scores until you decide which college to attend. See below for types of aid and links.
- The Dream Act lives in CA. Remember undocumented students qualify for public CA money and private monies at universities in CA. They still do not qualify for federal aid and must complete separate financial aid documents. https://dream.csac.ca.gov/
- Placement tests are here. Remind your students attending public universities to check with placement tests. Cal State students need to take placement tests if they don’t waive out through test scores. If students are not sure, have them check. http://www.ets.org/csu/about. They need to register to take the tests-for English and Math-online and take them at the closest CSU to where they live. There are practice tests to prepare them. Please help kids prepare. A year in remediation often prevents kids from even making it to their 2nd year. And now the Cal States are requiring summer remediation for students to start in the fall.
- Scholarships abound. Please remind students to apply for scholarships. They need to be persistent. They can use essays over and over apply. They can’t get the free money unless they apply. There are local, private, regional, non-profit, and national scholarships. I got one from my state senator. Students need to be creative. One good place to start is the scholarship page of colleges, as many have merit scholarships available.
Financial Aid Info and Links
- FAFSA- Please direct students to the correct site. The private one often comes up first in searches. http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ Remember, students attending CA schools must submit their FAFSA by March 2, 2014. Other colleges have other deadlines. The federal last deadline is June 30, 2014.
- CSS Profile-Remember, many private colleges require the CSS profile available through the College Board. Each college has its own deadline. Even if students took the ACT, they will have to make an account through the College Board to set up this profile. They will also need to send reports to colleges at their own expense and have access to a credit card. The advantage of the CSS profile is that there is a non-custodial version and room for explanations that the FAFSA does not provide. https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp
- Cal Grants-Cal Grants are due March 2, 2014. Community college students in CA may apply by September 2, 2014. Make sure to do entire class presentations about Cal Grants. http://www.calgrants.org/
- CA Dream Act. This application takes the place of the Cal Grant application for undocumented students. It opened January 1, 2014 and is due March 2, 2014. https://dream.csac.ca.gov/