September College Readiness Tips for Teachers and College Advocates

Welcome back to school. Now more than ever, we need to help counselors and schools prepare our students for college. Join our group of counselors, high school teachers, and others committed to college access with these 10 September College Readiness tips.

  1. Make a college corner in your classroom. Post college readiness news and put up as many pictures as you can from your own college years and from former students. You can even contact your alma mater for free memorabilia.
  2. Ask your seniors to 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 November for visits to more than 50 four year colleges. Undocumented students can also apply to many of the college. I list the GPA and test score range for each college:
  3. Encourage students to start researching 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.  The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has a new scholarship for top seniors due November 5.. Colleges themselves have special scholarships like the Torch at Northeastern.
  4. 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. Also there are college fairs in your area this fall, including NACAC’s performing and visual arts fairs.
  5. 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. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving as that may be too late for students to pick new colleges to consider.
  6. Sign up for fall tests. Make sure kids take the PSAT this October. It’s a great diagnostic tool 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, 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.
  7. 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 \. Students should write examples of their favorite assignments, papers, projects, and class moments. Have them attach copies of best papers and projects. PLEASE DON’T LIMIT THE NUMBER OF RECOMMENDATONS YOU’LL WRITE FOR TALENTED STUDENTS. WORK WITH OTHER TEACHERS TO EVEN OUT RECOMMENDATIONS.
  8. Have students 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 APPLICATION 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 amd Google. More on essays next month.
  9. Encourage students to research private colleges. It would be great if your students would apply to four UCs, four Cal States, and four privates. The UCS and Cal States provide fee waivers for four campuses. Privates often cover more than public universities for top diverse students. College Greenlight,,has a great new free site to direct under-represented students to colleges who seek them. It provides them with all resources and school based scholarships.
  10. Direct students to great websites that promote college attendance. http://www.youniversitytv.com;;, and


There are many major scholarships available to under-represented students. Here are just a few…

 2013-2014 Major Scholarship Deadlines

Rolling Deadlines

Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Application opened September 1

With exception, of Gates Millennium, your Hispanic Scholarship application services as the one master application for dozens of scholarships. Your applications need to be in as soon as possible to meet various deadlines. For other major scholarships and their deadlines:

Officially: Be a U.S. citizen OR legal permanent resident with a valid permanent resident card or passport stamped I-551

Others can apply.


September 27, 2013


Application is now open

Only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are eligible to receive College Match scholarships to partner colleges (with the exception of Brown, Pomona, Princeton, and Yale, who may consider applications from students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents). Students who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents can still use the QuestBridge application, be chosen as QuestBridge finalists, and participate in the Regular Decision process.

Although only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents are generally eligible for College Match scholarship packages, our partner colleges will consider all students who apply through the Regular Decision process, regardless of  citizenship status. Each year, many QuestBridge applicants who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents gain acceptance and financial aid to our partner colleges via the Regular Decision process.


October 31, 2013

The Coca Cola Scholarship Program

The application is now open.

U.S. Citizens; U.S. Nationals; U.S. Permanent Residents; Temporary Residents (in a legalization program); Refugees; Asylees; Cuban-Haitian Entrants; or Humanitarian Parolees;

November 5, 2013

Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship

  • Up to $30,000 per year to attend a four-year accredited undergraduate school
  • Ability to pursue any area of study
  • Personal advising about selecting a college and navigating financial aid
  • Multifaceted advising about how to transition to college and maximize the college student experience

Immigration status does not matter. All seniors can apply.


January 15, 2014

The Gates Millennium ScholarS Program

The application is now open.

In order to be eligible to be considered for the GMS scholarship, all three forms must be submitted online by Wednesday, January 15, 2013 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

January 15, 2014

Dell Scholars Program

The application opens November 1 and closes January 15, 2014

U.S. citizenship or permanent residency


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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *