Now more than ever, we need to help counselors and schools prepare our students for college. Join our group of lay-college counselors, aka high school teachers, with these 10 September College Readiness tips.
- Encourage students to apply for Diversity Fly-in Programs. Now is the time for diverse high school seniors to visit many colleges for free. Deadlines are now-October for visits to more than 40 four year colleges. Here is our list. Undocumented students can also apply– http://getmetocollege.org//2011-diversity-fly-in-list
- Arrange campus tours. All colleges host open houses and special events this fall. Visit a campus with your students. Or send them to visit some campuses on their own. They can visit classes, spend nights in the dorms, interview, meet professors, and more.
- 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. Also contact local college students to come and visit your classes.
- 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. And many schools are now allowing January testing, such as the UCs. See the fall test schedules below.
- 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.
- 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. Buy ALL COLLEGE ESSAYS-the one-stop app for ALL college application essay requirements. I developed this app, and it provides all essays students must write along with deadlines and application requirements. Now available on iTunes. http://www.allcollegeessays.org/ More on essays next month
- Encourage students to research private colleges. It would be great if students could 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. The Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) has a great guide that features colleges that welcome diverse students and free resources. http://www.csopportunity.org. The colleges are on the diversity fly-in list are also friendly to diverse students as is every Ivy League college.
- Direct students to great websites that promote college attendance. www.unigo.com; http://www.latinosincollege.com; getmetocollege.org; http://www.csopportunity.org
- Encourage students to research scholarships. Some major scholarships are already online and students can start working on then now. Below is a list of some major ones with their links and deadlines.
- Make a college corner in your classroom. Put up a college board of your own college years.
- 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.
Fall 2011 Test Schedule:
SAT/SAT Subject Tests (http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-dates)
- Oct 1 (Sept 9 registration)
- Nov 5 (Oct 7 registration). Listening part of foreign language tests offered.
- Dec 3 (Nov 8 registration)
- Jan 28 (Dec 30 registration)
ACT Tests (http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html)
- Sept 10 (Registration passed-Walk in)
- Oct 22 (Sept 16 registration)
- Dec 10 (Nov 4 registration)