November College Readiness Tips

November College Readiness Tips for Teachers and Lay College Advocates

1.     End of senior year testing reminders.

November 19 is the late deadline to register for the December 8ACT.

November 20 is the late deadline for the December 1 SAT.

Remember kids can take each test twice for free, can now self-report to more colleges than ever, and ACT free test takes can send to 20 colleges now for free.

2. Use Dr. Joseph’s Four By Four Plan

  1. Apply to four Cal States
  2. Apply to four UCs
  3. Apply to four (to eight) private colleges
  4. Apply to four scholarships

3. States Colleges In California

  • University of California. The UC applications can be submitted November 1- November 30. Remind students to apply for EOP. It doesn’t require an extra application. Just a short explain why. Low-income students (including undocumented students) can apply to four UCs at no charge.
  • California State Universities.The Cal State applications are due November 30. The EOP application is now integrated into the app. It’s easier than ever to apply. Please remind them to provide details in the EOP short answers. Low-income students (including undocumented) can apply for four Cal States for free. Students can send SAT scores to CSU Mentor and ACT scores through ACT Score Manager.

4. Essays, essays, essays!!!Tell your students to spend time on their essays. This is the only way they can directly advocate for themselves in the application process. They need to tell specific stories and make clear their leadership and initiative. I end this blog with my guiding questions for essay drafts.

5. Scholarship applications.Many scholarships are due this fall. Please beg your students to apply to as many scholarships as possible. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard offers a comprehensive list of external scholarships.

6. Private colleges.Encourage students to apply to four or eight private colleges. Again, these applications are free for low-income students. College Greenlight lists most of the colleges looking for diverse students and provides information about their scholarships and supports.

7. Remind kids to keep their grades up.Private colleges see fall grades. Most UCs and Cal States don’t see grades until the end of the year, but they take away acceptances from kids whose grades fall and who receive any Ds or Fs.

CAL will now ask for some semester seven grades. Let’s see if more follow.

8. Visit colleges and interview.Encourage your students to visit colleges in the area. They can arrange for interviews on many of the campuses. Other private colleges offer interviews in their home areas for students who apply. So get students ready for these interviews.

9. Alumni visits.Please invite kids who are attending college to come visit your classrooms in November. Many come home for Thanksgiving and come in the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the week after. Ask them to describe what makes college so fun.

Make Your Essays Pop:  10 College Application Essay Guiding Questions

Working on the drafts of your personal statements for your college applications? The drafting process is critical and can help make your stories and messages clearer.  Please be willing to draft and re-write to make your essays stronger.

Here are 10 questions to help guide you through the editing process. I hope they can help make your stories pop on the page and help you get admitted to your match colleges and receive lots of scholarship money.

  1. Does your essay start with a story that hooks us in from the first paragraph?
  2. If you start in the past, do you get to the present very quickly? Colleges want to know about the recent you. Great essays can start more recently and weave in past events.
  3. Do you write only in the first person and not spend too much time describing anyone or anything else? Use my one-third-two-third rule. You may not spend more than 1/3 of the essay describing anything other than your own activities and goals.
  4. If you are writing about your community or family, do you get to the present and your life and life works quickly? Can this description only connect to you and your story of who are you and how you are making a difference?
  5. Do you only tell one story and not try to tell your entire life story?
  6. If you are writing about an obstacle or challenge overcome, do you get to how you have responded and made a difference in the life of your community by the second or third paragraph of the essay? Admissions officers want to know who are you and how you make an impact drawing upon your obstacles or challenges.
  7. Do you have a metaphor that goes through the entire piece…does this metaphor reveal who you are and what you offer to potential colleges? You can embed this metaphor throughout out your piece.
  8. Can I close my eyes and picture your story? Does it make you sound unique and not like anyone else applying? Can I see your leadership and initiative and the power of what you will offer a college campus?
  9. Do you tell new stories and qualities in each separate essay your write? Do you make sure to reveal powerful information and core messages that colleges will need to know to admit you and give you money to attend?
  10. Endings-Do you end with a bang? Do you make it clear by the end you have goals and aspirations that drive you. Your endings must be specific for some prompts like the University of California and University of Texas, but can be more oblique and implied in Common Application and many supplementary essays. Do you end leaving the reader with the desire to get to know you more, to see you on his or her campus, and to share your essay with someone else




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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