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High School Advice + Tips

Applying to college: 

Make a list that contains all of the possible universities/colleges you can attend. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it is such an important first step to take. Write down all of your possible choices. Choose your top 5 or at least top 3. 

  • Your list should contain: Application Deadlines for Early Admission/Regular Admission, ACT/GPA Requirements, Acceptance Rate, Pros/Cons, etc.

 

It also helps to do a vision board! Make sure it contains your ultimate goals but also to include realistic options. It is also very helpful to include your stressors (Pros/Cons) of all of your options. Sometimes it's better to make a guide that focuses specifically on Pros/Cons because it helps eliminate options. 

 

 Remember that your college choices should vary. Meaning, do not make all of your choices extremely hard universities to get into. It should contain both of your safety and dream schools. Have a diverse amount of schools that you apply for, state schools, community college, out of state schools, etc. You never know how the future is going to end up. You have to accept the fact that you might not get accepted into your dream school. However, this does not mean that you will never reach your dream school. “It's not how you start the season, it's how you finish” (Albert Pujols). You should always have multiple plans in deciding where you want to attend college.

 

  • Many colleges will have Facebook Admission pages that are made for students like you who are interested in attending their school. Go on Facebook and look to see if there is a Facebook Group Page that you can be a part of. Colleges also use admission social media pages in other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc. These social media resources can be very useful because it gives students the opportunity to ask questions about the application process.

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Scholarship Organization Tool: 

It is very important to stay organized with scholarship/grant deadlines, you want to make sure you apply to as many as you qualify for! A great organization tool is a planner or some kind of calendar that marks down specific dates when deadlines approach. We recommend using a physical planner, Excel Sheet, and/or Google Calendar. It is up to you! The important part is to make sure you have an accessible resource that organizes all of your deadlines.

 

We have provided below an example of an Excel Sheet: 

It is color coded into four different parts. 

 

Green= Completed, the application has been submitted. 

Yellow= Not Completed, the deadline is approaching. (Approx. 1-3 Weeks)

Red= Not Completed, the deadline is very close. (Approx. 2-4 Days) 

Dark Green= Not Applying, it will be an application to complete next year.

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Take a couple days out of your summer to dedicate time to research for scholarships/grants that you can input in your scholarship organization tool. It helps to do this in the summer because you will be starting school in the Fall and next thing you know you have quizzes and homework assignments to worry about. It is better to do your own research for scholarship opportunities in the summer and keep an eye out for the scholarship opportunities that are available throughout the academic year with the help of your school.

Scholarships: 

  • Do not waste your time applying for scholarships that you do not qualify for. There have been some cases where students don’t qualify for scholarship requirements and they still get them. Try applying for all the scholarships you qualify for first! 

  • It is very helpful to dedicate a day of the week during the academic year when you give yourself an opportunity to apply to as many scholarships that have upcoming deadlines on your scholarship organization tool! It also gives you the chance to see how many requirements you need to do during the week so you can be prepared, for example: recommendation letters, essays, etc.

  • Recycle your scholarship applications! Save all of your scholarship essays and entries in a folder on your desktop! This can come in handy because some scholarships use the same essays or have the same requirements that you can just tweak and input without having to start from scratch. 

  • Have a folder saved on your desktop with all your necessary documents that you will need when applying for scholarships. For example: Transcript, Resume, Essays, FAFSA, Schedule, College Acceptance Letter, Photo Documentation, Letter of Recommendations, etc. Keeping track of all your needs for applying for scholarships will make the process run much smoother and faster.

Communication/Reaching Out: 

  • Talk to your teachers, college counselors, coaches, art teachers, etc! They have been through this process before and they are there to help you reach your goals! 

  • If you are interested in playing college sports, talk to your coach about how you can start documenting your games and inputting them in college recruitment websites. 

  • If you are interested in attending art school, talk to your art teachers about how you can make an art portfolio for your application. Or you can also talk to me! I will be making a guide about applying to art school as a first-generation college student as well! 

  • Have someone look over your college/scholarship essays, resume, art portfolios, etc. It can be very helpful to get help by someone else who can help organize and edit your documents.
     

Tips for successfully completing a college application!: 

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Make Sure You: 

  • Know the college’s admission requirements before you even apply and check to see that you meet the admissions requirements! 

  • Include your Social Security Number (if applicable) on the college application if they ask for it so that your application can be processed accurately! 

  • Check your email frequently to make sure you do not miss any emails from the colleges you applied to. Follow up with the Admissions Office about 14 business days after you have submitted your application to ensure they have received your application and do not need any other information. 

  • Write neatly and clearly if it is a paper application. If online application, ensure that there are no typos. 

  • Highlight your high school activities (9th-12th grade). Some college applications ask students to list their school, volunteer, church, and community activities as well as awards and special recognitions. 

  • Spell everything correctly and spell out words rather than using abbreviations! 

  • Take your time and proofread before submitting your application!

  • Ask your school counselor or Lead College & Career Coordinator about an application fee waiver. 

DO NOT:

  • Use an inappropriate email address 

  • Provide contact information that is outdated 

  • Feel that you need to declare a major. If you are undecided, that is okay! 

  • Give a cellphone that has an appropriate voicemail message

  • Scratch out mistakes on paper applications, use white our or start over

(References: www.collegeboard.org; http://www.knowhow2go.org; various college sites)