June 2013 College Readiness Tips For College Access Advocates

Welcome to the end of the school year. You deserve a great summer, yet we need to do so much to help our students get ready for college. Here are some tips–many of them are brand-new, including a new scholarship from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and College Greenlight. Let us know if you need help brainstorming summer bootcamps or other college readiness ideas or plans.

  1. Make sure your school has submitted all necessary paperwork to colleges. For example, June 30 is the deadline for schools to submit their ELC list for the UCS. Each public university system sends out newsletters and holds conferences. To sign up for the UC listserv, send an email to listserv@listserv.ucop.edu with “Subscribe CAB-L” in the body of the email. You can do this for the Cal States and for other universities in your state.
  2. Plan student and family college readiness workshops. In LAUSD, A-G graduation requirements go into effect for the class of 2017. Hold workshop for families so they understand new requirements.  Dr. Joseph developed a powerpoint you can use and/or adapt. She has other presentation as well on Slideshare. http://www.slideshare.net/getmetocollege.
  3. Help your students finalize summer and fall plans to focus on leadership and initiative. Encourage them to be busy this summer. Colleges want active and engaged students. Students should spend-at least 20 to 30 hours per week taking classes, working, volunteering, doing internships, and more. They should also take leadership roles this fall in and out of school and really push the initiative factor. LAUSD just passed a rule that all new vendors must offer internship and other career readiness opportunities.
  4. Encourage students to make a resume. It should focus on leadership and initiative. Categories: Education, Activities, Work, Service, and more. Tips–Always start with most recent and work your way to the past. Use power verbs to begin each entry.
  5. Remind students to do all they can to prepare for fall standardized tests. There are three fall dates for both the SAT and ACT. Occasionally schools will accept January scores for seniors. Here are 2013-2014 SAT dates: http://sat.collegeboard.org/SAT/public/pdf/sat-sat-subject-tests-dates.pdf.  Here are 2013-2014 ACT dates. http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html#second. Please do not plan any mandatory events on these days for juniors or seniors. Also please Make sure your counselors have enough waivers ordered for the fall and that students can access them for September and October registration deadlines.
  6. Help students develop a college list that matches their talents. They should have a range of schools that match their interests and abilities. College Greenlight is an amazing new program that counselors and teachers serving low-income students can access for free. You can track your students, and students can find schools around the country who are seeking students like themselves. http://www.collegegreenlight.com/
  7. Help students see colleges in action. Help them book fall trips and arrange interviews either here or there. They can plan to meet with professors, students, and other campus representatives that interest you. See if they can stay in a dorm and eat in the cafeteria. Many colleges fly under-represented students for free. Application deadlines start now and run through mid-fall. Email Dr. Joseph for the current list. We are updating it now for the 2012-2013 year. Students can also visit colleges virtually via e-campus tours (http://www.ecampustours.com/) and YOUniversity (http://www.youniversitytv.com/). They can also email and contact diversity programs at colleges on their own.
  8. Encourage seniors to start writing their major essays their college applications. Consider holding a summer bootcamp—private schools are all doing them. The Common Application and University of Texas essay topics have changed. Please help your students address the correct prompts. Dr. Joseph has just developed a free 4 to 10 day curriculum you can use to help students develop these essays. They connect with new Common Core standards for 11th and 12th grade English. I’ve attached it below. If you use it and have any feedback, please let me know. We also just posted a brand new powerpoint for helping under-represented students write powerful appication essays to slideshare. http://www.slideshare.net/getmetocollege
  9. Help students begin completing applications now and during the summer. CSU mentor (http://www.csumentor.edu/Planning/) allows kids to enter their grades and courses at any time in high school and that transfers to their application this fall. They can start working on the Common Application (http://commonapp.org) on August 1 when it goes online (USC, University of Colorado-Boulder, Ohio State, and Purdue is now on it).
  10. Help students develop organizational systems. Insist students save all application, standardized test, financial aid, and scholarships passwords on their computers and phones. Even be willing to store them for them as kids lose these and they need them for every part of the application, financial aid, and enrollment process.
  11. Research major scholarships that are due. Posse nominations occur between the spring and early fall http://www.possefoundation.org/about-posse/program-components/recruitment/nomination-process. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has just released a new scholarship for top under-resourced students. The Phase 1 application will come out in August. http://www.jkcf.org/scholarships/college-scholarship-program/. Questbridge and other major scholarships are due in the fall. Be willing to nominate students and to write powerful letters of recommendation early for these scholarships.
  12. Encourage undocumented students. Remind them that the full Dream Act in California is in effect. They can also apply for their Deferred Action. They can qualify for Cal Grants and must submit a Dream Act financial aid application. School policies around the country are changing rapidly. UCLA is providing, for example, separate funding above and beyond Cal Grants, as is Chapman University. In the meantime, they can research other colleges that are friendly to undocumented students. Email Dr. Joseph for that list.



  • Did you know there is Score Choice which means students can send out the scores they want to sent out?—So students take the tests as many times as possible and send out only scores they want.
  • Did you know more and more schools are using composite SAT or ACT scores, which means they will look at highest test section scores from across diferent dates. If you’re not sure, check the college website.
  • Did you know students can take the SAT twice? The ACT twice? SAT Subject Tests-3 per day-twice? Help them find free online prep programs. https://www.number2.com/. Encourage them to find free programs in their communities. They can buy an practice book for less than $20.



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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