Posts

8 Programs which are Linked to Student Success

First-Year Experience

First-year experience programs has been shown to improve Freshman retention rates. These classes bring together smaller groups of students with caring faculty to improve student success while studying an interesting subject. It allows students to bond closely with a faculty member as well as their peers and to integrate more successfully into college. This aids students in understanding the new environment and gives opportunities to ask about issues, which reduces a student’s anxieties in this new, more rigorous environment.

Some colleges are now offering Meta Majors, where the first year experience has a cluster of classes which offer community support, close relationships with professors, classmates, and advisors. Some even have training in time management, study skills and exposure to possible majors and careers.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects

Mentored research, practicums, field-based learning, service learning and study abroad can all enhance a students learning and allowmore infromed choices about a career.

Students may do intensive and self-directed projects in an area of their interest, while being mentored by a faculty member. These students are able to produce scholarly papers or projects that help them grow academically and mature. Many times these works are displayed on campus or the student is given the chance to present them in a professional setting off campus.

Small Interactive Classes

Lectures can be very beneficial, but having the chance to speak in class, present findings, and have an opinion is even more important. We want students to think for themselves rather than just repeat what they learn. College is a fabulous place to better understand yourself and flourish because your opinion is listened to and respected by peers and professors.

Colleges should also offer pre-enrollment bridge programs, shared experiential group activities, or boot camps to help students feel comfortable in their new environment.

Internships

It is incredibly important for students to have the opportunity to try a career that they think might interest them before they spend years pursuing it academically. Colleges should inform students about the carrer opportunities associated with their intended major. The career centers should offer pre-professional advising, and help the student secure internships.

Internships not only give students a chance to learn about an industry or academic area, but also give them the ability to make their resume much stronger when they are ready to get a job or continue to graduate school. Applying your learning to the real world allows it to have more depth and meaning. Sometimes internships are conducted with close supervision of the school or through summer jobs. Schools should have strong career departments that can set students up with numerous internship opportunities.

Study Abroad

Our world is fascinating, take advantage of this opportunity. College is the perfect time to experience the nuances of different cultures and immerse students in new and foreign environments. Studying abroad allows students the chance to mature and view the world differently. 

Strong Writing Programs

We still communicate extensively through writing, so one’s ability to do so coherently can make the difference between a successful or mediocre career. Writing is important not just in business, but in personal interactions outside of the business world. Curricula that emphasize writing through mandatory classes and insists on competence breed accomplishment.

Removing Obstacles 

Complicated and unnecessary degree requirements, sequentially unneed courses, and inconvenient classes limit student success.  Not accepting credits from other institutions delay graduation and drive up costs.  Successful institutions have expanded course availability, often through online courses.  They have simplified degree requirements and  created a campus culture geared toward success, both academic and career success.

When classes are relevant and engaging and students can connect with their professors who care success increases dramatically.

Service Learning

Helping others not only improves your self-worth but creates a connection that strengthens who you are. Getting involved in service learning can improve your experiences and give you new people to connect with. What you learn can also add value in the classroom and in work settings: a new way to do something, unmet needs you were unaware of, opportunities for new businesses ventures – the list goes on and on.

Essential Skills College-Bound Kids Should Know

Prepare for Independence:

This is a list of activities students should know how to do before they leave home. The list is long, but not difficult so review and persevere. Sometimes they will have to learn by trial and error. Most of the items listed apply to all students; some will not be experienced until they live off campus on their own.  If your student is not able to do all things listed prior to leaving for college don’t sweat it.  If they continue checking items off this list while in college, they are headed in the right direction.

Financial Matters:

  • Write a check
  • Cash a check
  • Know your debit card balance – Download your banks app
  • Know how to transfer funds (via phone app is even better!) – Look into PayPal or Venmo as an easy way to transfer money
  • Pay a bill (check or online) – Look into auto draft as an option to avoid any late fees!
  • Advise debit/credit card companies of card use when travelling – This only applies when you’re going out of the country
  • Withdraw cash from an ATM
  • Save for a goal
  • Pay rent & utilities (split with roommates) – Again, investigate autopay if necessary.  If one person will be paying the entire bill, set up an automatic transfer so that you’re never late on payments and they don’t have to “bug” you for your portion
  • Use campus “points” with meal plans
  •   Calculate a tip – Your cell phone can do this for you.
  •   Pay for dinner
  •   Cancel a membership – be sure to confirm whether there are any fees for cancelling before the contract is up.
  •   Figure out the cost of postage and shipping

Travel Matters:

  • Make travel arrangements – air, bus, train
  •   Navigate an airport, train or bus station
  •   Deal with a cancelled flight
  •   Take an Uber or Lyft, have the app and know how to use it
  •   Get around locally without a phone
  •   Pack a suitcase – When traveling for a trip, you can use this handy list to make sure you don’t forget anything: Pack This!
  •   Follow TSA rules
  •   Catch the local train/subway
  •   Check tire pressure
  •   Change a tire
  •   Check the oil
  •   Jump-start a car
  •   Parallel Park

Wellness Matters:

  •   Make an appointment (hair, dentist, doctor)
  •   Self-prescribe over-the-counter meds – When in doubt, if you go to the local pharmacy (CVS, Rite Aid – you can tell someone there your symptoms and they can easily recommend an over the counter medication to you)
  •   Know basic first aid
  •   Locate the campus health center
  • Know when to call a doctor or go to a doc-in-the-box
  • Carry a medical insurance card and know when to use it

Meals and Laundry Matters:

  •   Cook a meal – simple things they like
  •   Go food shopping – what to look for in fresh food items
  •   Load a dishwasher
  •   Put out a kitchen fire
  •   Buy clothes
  •   Return a purchase – Key thing is to hold onto your receipt!
  •   Do the laundry – remember to go back and move it to the dryer and back to your room
  •   Remove a stain
  •   Iron a shirt
  •   Sew a button
  •   Importance of good nutrition and vitamins
  •   How to store leftovers
  •   When to toss old food

Household Matters:

  •   Hook up cable
  •   Change a name on utility bills
  •   Unclog a toilet/sink
  •   Check the smoke alarm/CO2 alarm
  •   Fix basic household problems
  •   Renew car license plates & insurance
  •   How to vote absentee

General Matters:

  •   Think critically and question the status quo
  •   Manage your time
  •   Dress properly
  •   How to approach and meet new people
  •   Be a respectful house guest
  •   How to ask for help

And last, but not least, most important matters:

  •   Negotiate a deal
  •   Write (not email) a thank you note
  •   Say “no” with confidence

TIP: When hurting and in doubt, call home

You probably have mastered some of these before high school graduation. Be as ready as possible so you have a smooth transition and success.

There are some life lessons that we cannot predict nor protect you from: broken hearts, failing a test, making friends, losing friends, or saying they are sorry. Believe in yourself, and continue to move forward and upward, understanding that there will be setbacks.

Financial Information and Scholarship Websites

Financial Information

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid portal, provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

FAFSA4caster is a college cost forecasting tool that estimates your eligibility for federal student aid.

StudentAid.gov has resources for learning about federal student aid, how to apply using the FAFSA, and get information on repaying student loans.

A video that talks about what to expect when your federal student loan enters repayment.

FinAid! – The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid is a free resource for information, advice and tools about student financial aid, college scholarships and education loans.

CSS Profile – the financial aid application service of the College Board (required by some colleges in order to apply for financial aid).

The College Board’s Net Price Calculator allows you to estimate your net price to attend a specific college.

 

Scholarships

SchoolSoup scholarship database

FastWEB scholarship database.

Chegg scholarship database.

CollegeXpress offers college search tools, a scholarship database, lists and rankings, and online articles.

Scholly –  an easy way to find scholarships for high school seniors, current undergraduates, and graduate students.

 

Overcoming Test Anxiety

Test anxiety can be a debilitating and stressful experience. As a student, you may be feeling frustrated by your inability to calm yourself down and put your test preparation to good use. As a parent, you might be feeling at a loss in your abilities to provide helpful advice. Never fear! Test anxiety is something that you can learn to control.

There are two main goals in overcoming test anxiety: Understanding it, and overcoming it.

What is text anxiety?

Anxiety itself is an abnormal sense of fear, nervousness, or apprehension about performing poorly. The difference is that test anxiety occurs only in a testing situation. It may result in difficulty tapping into skills like concentration, attention, and memory.

Anxiety is not grounded in reality; it’s in the head of the test-taker. At its core, anxiety is all about neuroscience. When you experience fear, cortisol knocks out your working memory, making all of that test preparation difficult to access. Your body is ready to spring into action, not to think. This isn’t really helpful if you aren’t trying to fight crime during the SATs or ACTs.

Author Carol Dweck notes an important step in overcoming anxiety as “learning to fulfill your potential.” If you realize that you can learn from the test, you will actually get smarter from taking it. So not only can you beat the test, you can take that information with you!

You have the power to overcome test anxiety!

There are many methods so choose one or multiple methods. Here are some of the most successful techniques:

  • Write It Out: The University of Chicago found that a 10-minute exercise before the exam helped to reduce internal anxieties, and thus, helped students perform better. The students would write about their personal worries, allowing them to “unload” before the actual test.
  • Visualization: Visualize positive and relaxing images and experiences. Envision yourself doing well on the test. Tell yourself daily over the next week that you will be relaxed during the test and that you will get the highest score that you have ever gotten. Practice in your mind, keep calm, and believe in yourself.
  • Get in the Zone: Take some time before your exam to pump yourself up. Maybe you have a song that puts you in a focused mindset. Listen to that song a couple of times before your exam; it will help you gain control of your adrenaline.
  • Treat it like a Game: Test or math anxiety is often immediate and strong. So strong in fact, that some students reported feeling physical pain. The thought of being evaluated and assessed in that way can be challenging to work past, but try treating it more like a game than a test! Pretend you’re trying to solve a puzzle better than a sibling or peer (that’s some good incentive to get it right).
  • Practice Self-Regulation: Spend some time learning how to soothe yourself and keep yourself calm. Begin practicing weeks before the test so you’ll have plenty of time to try out methods of anxiety reduction. Deep breathing can be very effective. Does it help to think of a happy place? To take a sip of water and a breath every time you begin to feel anxious?
  • Simulate the Testing Environment: Some students dislike being surrounded by others in the real test room, so they found it helpful to practice around others. Try taking practice tests in a public space like a library. 
  • Meditation Techniques: Take a few long deep breaths and borrow serenity. Slow breathing actually helps limbic release, so take a few slow breaths, paying attention to your heart rate and filling your lungs entirely with air before an exhale. Take an object such as a rock, a touchstone, which is not powerful until you yourself make it so. Though you might feel silly, using your breath and using your body’s feedback is a helpful way to gain control over your mind.

How parents can help

As a parent, you can be a positive guiding force in your child’s challenges with test anxiety. In addition to the above suggestions, parents can take steps to be coaches in the process. Students can pull others into their anxiety, which can be harmful to everyone. Coach your student to focus on him or herself rather than engaging with others that are anxious.

If all else fails, there are still options to help you or your child succeed. Consider another option of applying to some test optional schools. This helps reduce the anxiety that your score is all important.

You aren’t alone!

We are living in the age of anxiety, in which everyone is worrying about things like the future, with 31% of Americans suffering from some form of anxiety. In fact, test anxiety is actually fairly common. 61% of high school students reported test anxiety, as it tends to surface in high school years. Test anxiety is increasing in both the US and internationally. Interestingly, girls tend to have more anxiety than boys, leading to the discovery of a significant relation to the gender score gap. This form of anxiety is most prevalent in high-stakes tests and gifted students.

The best and final advice: you have more control over your mind and body than you might think, and you have the power to make positive, helpful choices. Let me know if you try any of these methods, and if they work for you.

 

College Application Tracker

Application Tracker

College Application Checklist
Keep Track of Your Applications
Stay on top of your application tasks, e-mails, and deadlines.
College 1 College 2 College 3 College 4 College 5 College 6 College 7 College 8 College 9 College 10
Applications
Download info/application
Common application
Coaltion application
Early application deadline
Regular application deadline
Essays
How many essays?
Proof essays for spelling and grammar
Send me your essay
Interviews
Interview at college (optional)
Alumni interview
Send thank-you notes to interviewers
Test Scores
SAT/ACT required?
SAT Subject Tests™ required?
Send SAT/ACT scores
Letters of Recommendation
Request recommendations
Send thank-you notes
Grades
Request high school transcript sent
Request midyear grade reports sent
Send and Track Your Application
Make copies of all application materials
Apply online
Include application fee
Sign application
Confirm receipt of application materials
Send supplemental material, if needed
Financial Aid Forms
Priority financial aid deadline
Regular financial aid deadline
E-mail FAFSA
E-mail PROFILE, if needed
Email institutional aid form, if needed
Email state aid form, if needed
After You Send Your Application
Receive letter from office of admissions
Receive aid information
Let me know
Send deposit
Congratulations!

How to Find Great Scholarships

With the financial burden of college tuition weighing upon students and parents alike, the need for scholarships has become more important. While it seems simple enough to find scholarships, the process of finding good matches can seem like a daunting task. What are some of your choices?

There’s a new app in our midst that can help you find scholarships and even give you tips on your essays. It was featured on Shark tank and is being used by over 100,000 students now. Scholly, developed by Drexel student Christopher Gray, aims to make the process of finding relevant scholarships quick and easy. Who wouldn’t want a little less stress in the college process?

Scholly uses basic information like GPA, state, and race, to find scholarships that are tailored specifically to you. This eliminates much of the time and energy exerted in finding potential scholarships, so you can spend that much-needed effort on the applications themselves. Another cool feature is that the app allows you to see successful application essays and will alert you to approaching deadlines, an extra helpful feature when you’re trying to keep track of different dates during application season. Scholly is priced at a low 99 cents, and can be purchased on Google Play or through the iTunes store.

Other options to consider are some very good, free websites that will narrow down your options in a similar manner. Some notable sites are Cappex, Fastweb, Schoolsoup, Zinch, and your school’s Naviance. Many will even send you email updates when a new, relevant scholarship opportunity is posted. You might feel more comfortable with these options if you are already familiar with how to navigate them.

As is the case with every feature of the college process, you’re never out of options! Even while you’re searching online, you can search for other scholarship opportunities in your community. Find out if a parent’s company offers scholarships, ask leaders in your religious organization, or read up on scholarships for a particular volunteer activity in which you participate (ex. Eagle Scouts/Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, etc.). Even recreational activities might give you an edge on some more specific scholarships. Have you been writing for your town newspaper? You might qualify for a journalism scholarship! Did you invent a cool, new robot that can make sandwiches? There might be an essay that asks you to talk about your creation.

The opportunities are abundant; don’t be afraid to use all of your resources. Which resources have worked well for you?

11th Grade College Planning Timeline

Eleventh grade is very important in the college planning process, with standardized testing, defining your college list, connecting with teachers for strong letter of recommendation, and keeping your grades high. 

This Fall – This year the college search process really gets going.

Do some early research
Look at these articles Finding a College that you Love and Researching a College to see what is important. Then use Scoir to look at colleges that might be of interest. The website provides good college entrance information, as well as information about what schools offer. Find time for you to check out some of the websites and pick colleges that you are interested in exploring. Reach out to the admissions office and ask them to send you information. Most colleges track all contact that you have with them to determine how interested you are in the school.

Focus on getting the best grades that you can, and getting help where needed
Monitor your grades throughout the year and find ways to keep them high. Talk to teaches when you don’t understand a concept, and ask for extra work at the end of a semester when you grade is a on the edge of a higher one. Showing an interest and communicating with your teacher can make a difference in your grade.

Organize your college information
Set up a filing system on your computer or use file folders for each college’s correspondence and printed materials. This will make it easier to locate the specific information you’re looking for.

Try to find time to visit colleges on your days off
Seeing colleges in session is more useful than during the summer. It gives you a chance to see the students and the vibe of the campus.See my article Visiting Colleges. There may be Options for College Visits so check on them. Take a tour and attend the information session. You may also be able to talk to students or sit in on a class which interests you.

Be an active participant
Go to college fairs at your school or other venues, speak with college representatives who visit your high school, like colleges’ Facebook pages after you have enhanced yours, see Colleges Look at your Social Media. Be open-minded as many students change their criteria significantly during this process.

Be prepared by practicing
Please register for them and mark those dates on your calendar. You will need to prepare by taking practice tests and getting comfortable with the material.

This Winter – Stay involved and prepare for standardized tests

Make a difference with your extracurricular activities
Colleges look for consistency and depth in the activities you pursue. Taking on leadership roles or starting a new venture and making a commitment is significantly more important than just being a member of an activity. I will be sending out an article on this shortly.

Discuss colleges with family and friends
Have discussions about the colleges you’re interested in and learn more about them. Talk to students about what college life is like, especially if they attend a school you’re interested in. Although it’s important to hear what the admissions staff has to say about a school, it’s also important to get the students’ perspective. Your family and friends can learn about what you want to pursue and you can hear any concerns or suggestions they might have. Also feel free to e-mail me with any questions or information that you need.

Use your summer wisely, plan ahead

Summer employment and internships in fields you’re interested in is ideal and powerful on a college application or resume, but there are many other options, Summer Activities that Give you and Edge, and Summer Activities part 2. Be involved in something that interests you. One needs to start looking into this in the winter as some programs and opportunities have early deadlines.

Next Spring – Take the standardized test at least twice and keep your grades high
Continue to prepare for standardized tests.
Practice makes testing easier, less stressful, and you more successful. Take either the SAT or the ACT at least twice in junior year. If you need SAT subject tests schedule them for June. Know that you can take the ACT or SAT again in the fall of your senior year if you’re unhappy with your scores.

Pick classes for senior year.
Touch base with me before you pick your classes, don’t load up on easy electives. Colleges do review your senior year courses and grades, so challenge yourself and take classes that are in your areas of interest. See this article for more information, How Many AP’s to Take.

Some high schools want you to ask teachers for letters of recommendation before the summer
Teachers and guidance counselors are often asked to write recommendations for lots of students. Consider whom you want to ask now and let them know so they’ll have time to prepare before the fall. Ask teachers who know you well and who will have positive things to say. Please read this article to get the best letter possible, How to get a Great Recommendation.  If you have a coach, activity leader, or a boss who knows you well outside of school and can speak to your accomplishments and character that is also valuable.

Plan campus visits during Spring break

You should plan ahead and sign up for the tours when visiting colleges. Spring break can be a very busy time for colleges, so make sure there is room. You can sign up on-line or call the admissions office. There may be Options for College Visits so check on them.

This Summer

Make your time productive
Students should be participating in constructive activities during the year, colleges care. If your child has a career goal in mind, see if you can help arrange a day where he or she can “shadow” someone who works in that field.

Preparation for Standardized Tests

  1. Study Beforehand

See where your weaknesses are and learn what you don’t know. Get comfortable with the format of the test so you can be ready for the type of questions that they ask. There is an enormous range of test prep choices available, from personalized tutoring to free resources, available online or at the local library.

  1. Take Practice Tests

The more you practice, the better you will get at taking those long tests. Sitting for three plus hours is hard, so the weekend before the exam, make yourself go through a whole test. Please, however, remember to take breaks. Staying focused for hours at a time is like athletics, if you don’t practice, you won’t perform well.

  1. Know the ACT / SAT Test Location

If you are unfamiliar with the test location, take a trip there before the test. You don’t want to get lost on the way to the test and arrive late. This will help reduce any extra stress having to find your way on the day of the test.

  1. Prepare Required Items the Night Before

Prepare all of the items on the SAT or ACT test day checklist the night before so you’re not searching for them the morning of the test.

This means you’ll need to have your ID, admissions ticket, No. 2 pencils, eraser, calculator (if allowed), extra batteries, healthy snacks, and a water bottle ready to take to the test in the morning. Put everything together the night before. Minimal stress before the test will help boost your confidence and let you focus on what really matters.

  1. Go to Bed Early for Two Nights before the Test

Many times we are exhausted the day after we have stayed up too late. Make sure to get enough sleep for both nights as this will help your concentration and attention span.

  1. Get up Early on Test Day

Do not press the snooze button. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Grab all your stuff and breathe deeply if you start feeling anxious.

  1. Eat Protein for Breakfast

You will need to keep your stomach full and energy up for this long test. Consider having something healthy and filling with protein.

  1. Control Your Thoughts and Stay Focused

When you don’t know answers to questions it is easy to start accumulating negative thoughts. Stay positive and focused on the task at hand. You are not supposed to know all the answers, just do the best hat you can. It helps a lot of people to take deep breaths as it brings more oxygen into your body which helps keep you calm and focused.

Writing Meaningful and Memorable College Essays

What makes a college essay/story interesting and compelling?

Taking the reader into the scene, describing the moment, details, specificity, showing your knowledge of something that they do not know about.

Before you become stifled by the prompts begin by using this exercise and see which experiences allow you to show your insights, your uniqueness.

Start by writing three to seven sentences, each about a different experience that is meaningful to you; subjects that show your uniqueness, details about one of your activities or experiences, or a topic which shows your view of the world. It will take time to think of these different scenarios which might be a great essay, so don’t be afraid to spend a little time each day to consider and draft your options. Remember to grab the reader’s attention with the sentence so that they want to read more. The key is to take the reader into the scene, the moments, and the ambiance. Show your audience something about your character and how, using these attributes, you will contribute to the college’s campus when you are there. Ponder it daily until your list is finished.

Here are some possible subjects, but don’t feel limited by them:

What achievement are you most proud of?

What makes your family or you different from other families?

Is there something you are passionate about?

Do you do anything better than almost anyone else?

What is the most exciting thing that you have ever done?

What have you contemplated that might be interesting?

What do you think you will be doing ten years from now?

If you could do over one thing in your life what would it be?

If a college had to choose between you and another students why should they pick you?

 

To write a really good college essay takes time, vision and revision, thought and introspection.

Before you start watch these videos, and read the below essays, and tips, to get a little more guidance.

Tufts Admissions Common Application Essay

Also look at Johns Hopkins Essays That Worked to get an idea of the detail to go into.

In case you want more tips:

Best Essays Hint at Who You Are

Once you have written your seven sentences rank them in terms of which you think will transform into the most interesting essay. Make an appointment with me and we can go over your visions to decide on a topic. If you feel comfortable without a meeting, just send me the beginning sentence and an outline of your thoughts before you move forward. This will help to make sure you are picking a strong topic and approaching it correctly. It should save you time in the long run.

Here are some examples of sentences that past students wrote to start their essay:

“Thousands of languages are spoken on Earth, yet they all have one thing in common: they explain the richness of human life. Different cultures use their languages in a multitude of ways to provide their views of the world, yet certain words and phrases of these languages cannot be found in other languages. The usage of languages in diverse cultures can vary from the need to concisely and practically communicate, to lyrically and elegantly expressing the human experience and what it means to be human.”

“My parents named me Imani, which is Swahili for Faith. They’ve instilled in me that through faith, I can triumph over any barrier that comes in my way. I have embraced that philosophy, and have always vowed to strive, and desired to accomplish goals and obstacles that I am faced with.”

“Some people are fortunate to find something that they are inexplicably passionate about, and for me, that’s Pushing Daisies. It was a black swan event, something so random yet so impactful I can’t help but believe I must have somehow seen it coming. Pushing Daisies is a quirky, colorful television show about a man who has the power to bring the dead back to life with a touch.”

“One of my favorite classes in high school is AP Comparative Government and Politics. This is a classic, Political Science 101 type of class where we sit down and talk about the nitty-gritty of political science. I’m learning about rule of law, regime legitimacy, and how different forms of government work. Like a good American student, I have been raised on the noble ideas of the Founding Fathers and taught about the political brilliance they possessed, but I understand the American political system better when I compare it to other governments.”

When you are done, let’s meet and brainstorm so that your essay enhances your application.

Your Checklist for Senior Year

Staying on top of the college process is key to your success. Here is a month by month listing of what you need to do. Please stay current and communicate with us.

AUGUST / SEPTEMBER

❑ Start to fill out your Common App, Coalition App, or Specific College Apps. Make sure that we see your essays before they are added.

❑ Check Naviance and sign up for college visits at your school. Read this article, it will make a big difference, Know your college representative.

❑ Decide if you will apply Early Decision or Early Action to your top choice school. If so make sure everything is sent on time. Let us know.

❑ Tell your counselor and recommenders when you need letters written by. They need at least three weeks’ notice.

❑ Look at the fall calendar — plan final campus visits/interviews.

❑ Take a look at your social media and clean it up!

❑ Request interviews at colleges that you are interested in, where available.

OCTOBER

ED and EA candidates prepare to submit applications by the deadline, Oct. 15th, Nov. 1st, or 15th!

❑ Attend local college fairs and college visits at your high school. Connect with the people who will be reading your application.

❑ Check Naviance to follow up with recommenders to make sure that they have written their letters.

❑ Fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile if you qualify to receive financial aid. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (required by many private schools and a few flagship state universities).

❑ Take advantage of priority deadlines — get your application considered sooner and increase eligibility for merit aid.

❑ Use our tracking form to stay on top of what’s due when. Plan to submit applications before the due dates, preferably before winter vacation!

❑ Confirm that counselor and teacher recommendation letters have been uploaded into Naviance and request transcripts be sent to the schools you’re applying to (there may be a small fee for each transcript).

❑ Decide which test scores (SAT, ACT) to send and order score reports.

❑ Follow up with colleges to make sure all application materials were received.

NOVEMBER

❑ Continue to “demonstrate interest” in schools — open emails from colleges, call the admission office to request an alumni interview, etc.

Make sure all essays are approved by us before they are sent to colleges. The deadline to have the draft in to us is Thanksgiving.

❑ Finalize your college list and finish all essays.

❑ Follow up with colleges to make sure all application materials were received.

DECEMBER

❑ Note financial aid application deadlines, which may differ from admission application deadlines.

❑ Proof any remaining applications one final time and “submit”!

❑ Let us know about any acceptance you receive.

JANUARY

❑ Make sure mid-year grade reports are sent to all schools you’ve applied to.

FEBRUARY

❑ Beware of Senioritis…stay on track academically!

❑ Begin planning for summer (work, travel, volunteering, etc.).

MARCH

❑ Decisions arrive in the mail and/or online by the end of the month, so get ready to handle and share “the news.”

❑ Celebrate!

APRIL

❑ Attend “admitted student” events on campus and compare/contrast other aspects of the schools where you were accepted (including financial aid awards).

❑ If you were waitlisted, express interest to the school.

❑ Send a deposit by May 1st to accept a spot at the college of your choice!

❑ Continue to do your work in class so grades don’t “droop” too much.

❑ Start planning the graduation party!

MAY

❑ Thank teachers, counselors, and coaches who helped you apply to college.

❑ Open and respond promptly to communications from the college — information about housing, orientation, course registration, etc.

❑ Study for finals and AP exams — end the year strong.

❑ Solidify summer plans (work? travel? study? volunteer?).

❑ Connect with future classmates (and perhaps find a roommate) through the college’s official social media sites.

❑ Enjoy time with your friends and family and bask in the glow of your accomplishments at graduation!