Summer 2019 College Readiness Tips

  1. Plan student and family college readiness workshops. In California, the new school accountability index looks at academic, college, and career readiness. Many states are now embedding college and career readiness. Please let communities know as early as middle school about these requirements Dr. Joseph has many powerpoints you can adapt for your sites.
  2. Help your students finalize late summer and fall plans to focus on leadership and initiative. Encourage students to finish their summers with more volunteer work and career exploration. Colleges want active and engaged students. Students should spend at least 20 to 30 hours per week taking classes, working, volunteering, interning, and more. They should also take leadership roles this fall in and out of school and really push their initiative in empowering their communities.
  3. Encourage students to make a resume. High school students should maintain resumes that should focus on leadership and initiative. Naviance offers an online resume maker. We have great resume tips on our website: These resumes are great for interviews—job, internship, and college, as well as preparing for completing brag sheets, college applications, and application essay brainstorming.
  4. Remind students to prepare for late summer and fall standardized tests. Remember, the ACT has test dates September, October, and December. Help 9th and 10th grade families get their accommodations early. The SAT has four upcoming test dates—August, October, November, December. More and colleges are allowing students to self-report their scores. Check those schools so students can save their money. Also order fee waivers now so students can get them for the late summer, early fall dates.
  5. Help students develop a college list that matches their talents. Rising seniors should have a range of schools that match their interests and abilities. I call mine a four by four list: four to eight public universities, four privates, and four scholarships. We need to help kids find more private colleges to add to their lists. Sometimes, nursing students for example will benefit from attending colleges with direct entry nursing programs. College Greenlight is an amazing free program that counselors and teachers serving low-income students can access. You can track your students, and students can find schools around the country who are seeking students like themselves. Introduce students to college fairs—like the College That Change Lives one—that goes around the country in the summer.
  6. Help students see colleges in action. Help students 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: Students can also visit colleges virtually via e-campus tours ( and YOUniversity ( They can also email and contact diversity programs at colleges on their own.
  7. Encourage seniors to start writing their major essays their college applications. Consider holding a summer college application essay bootcamp—many private schools offer them. The Common and Coalition Applications main essays are the same as last year. The University of California Insight Questions can really help all students begin to brainstorm great longer essays. These essays are great for all schools to use to help guide students from middle school through senior year. I updated a new powerpoint on Slideshare:
  8. Help students begin completing applications now and during the summer. The Common Application allows students to roll over accounts, and will open with a new look on August. 1. The Coalition and Universal applications are open (with few supplements up yet).  The UC and UT applications will also open August 1, but kids can work on their essays now. Check out my site: which provides all prompts. If you work at an urban or rural public school, I can send you a free account.
  9. Research major scholarships that are due. Posse nominations occur between the spring and early fall The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation offers a merit scholarship for top under-resourced students. The Phase 1 application will come out in August. 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.
  10. Help students throughout the summer. Summer melt is a growing crisis. Make sure students sign up for their orientations, summer bridge and early start programs, as well as pick a well-balanced fall schedule. The more we help them, the more likely they won’t back down from their choices, and they will start their freshman years off strong. The Cal States now have a dashboard where you can track your students’ success. Take a look, and use it help plan for next year. Check if your area offers this kind of data.

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 *