- If you are a high achieving first generation college applicant, a student of color or a low income student, who takes primarily honors and AP classes, you might want to look at: http://blog.collegegreenlight.com/blog/college-fly-in-diversity-programs/
It is a list of special fly-in programs offered by many liberal arts colleges and some universities. The programs are free. Applications are required for these programs, which are designed to help you learn about colleges and help them learn about you! It’s a great way to figure out what you like.
- If you are a very high achieving student with almost all honors and AP classes and with a family income under $60,000, you might want to apply to colleges through the highly competitive Questbridge program, which offers full scholarships to many of the country’s most selective colleges. They have a late September deadline. Go to questbridge.org for complete information. If you are seriously thinking about Questbridge, tell or e-mail me, your recommending teachers, and your counselor ASAP.
- Remember, the summer is the best time to write application essays. You will not be a happy camper if you leave this chore for the fall. Many of you will need to write additional essays in the fall so getting ahead of the game is a good idea. The Common Application and Coalition Application essay prompts are at the end of this e-mail.
- Remember – your task is to find at least one foundation school – a college that you like, can afford and to which you know you are admissible. It would be great to find two or three of those. Of course, beyond that you should apply anywhere you would like to attend!
- Plan your fall testing schedule ahead of time. If you plan to take the September 8 ACT or the August 25 or October 6 SAT, you might want to register soon, before you forget about school for a while. The registration deadlines without a late fee are August 3 for the September ACT, July 27 for the August SAT and September 7 for the October SAT. You can register late for the September 8 ACT until August 17 and late for the August SAT before August 15. If you qualify for a fee waiver, see Mrs. Cappelli before June 26 or get one in the Main Office after July 1. Unused fee waivers will expire in August!
- It would be a good idea for you to do a lot of test prep in the weeks immediately preceding the summer ACT and SAT. When you are in summer mode, it’s harder to get your adrenaline going for tests. I’ve heard that across the country, last year’s August SAT scores were lower than for other tests likely because of the summer mode phenomenon. If you are going to take a summer test, be sure to be on the top of your test-taking game by test time!
- Remember that demonstrated interest is increasingly important to colleges for admissions purposes. Visit, visit, visit! Get the name of your admissions counselor at colleges you will apply to and stay in touch.
- Set up interviews at colleges you would like to learn more about. Read their websites for information about how to go about making these appointments. To prepare, think about your interests and skills and about some of the activities you would like to participate in. familiarize yourself with the college via the website and other materials you may have, and develop a couple questions about things that matter to you. If the college is not nearby, arrange for a local alumni interview.
- I expect that most of you have secured your teacher recommendations. Don’t forget the last step – naming those teachers in Naviance. Go to colleges/letters of recommendation/ and select your teachers from the dropdown list. Unless you will be applying to colleges for which you might want to send different recommendations, you should select “for all colleges” for each teacher you select. You can amend this later if necessary. You might want to put a quick thank you to your teachers in the Notes section. Remember – if you decide to apply to a college early (November deadline), you need to let your teacher know ASAP so the recommendation will be ready on time.
- In the next few months you may begin to receive mailings or e-mails from honor societies, Who’s Who, National Society of High School Scholars and various other organizations who say they can get you scholarships and other advantages. Some of these are scams outright and some are just benign businesses that will not hurt you except in the wallet. By and large, ignore them, unless you want to put your name in their publications and purchase them. Colleges are not impressed by membership or participation.
- The 2018-19 Common Application (commonapp.org) will officially go live on August 1. If you are applying to four-year colleges, you will almost certainly use this form. UMass accepts it. If you are inclined to begin in July, the current form is supposed to convert to the new one on August 1 if you choose the correct application year when beginning the application.
- The Coalition Application (www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/), which is an alternative application for more than 140 mostly elite institutions, will be available to you in July. UMass will not be accepting that application, so if you plan to apply to UMass you will need to use the Common Application. It’s your call as to whether you want to do the Coalition App as well. The Universities of Maryland, Florida and Washington (state) will use this application exclusively. Likely all other members will accept the Common Application as well as the Coalition Application. As members of the Common Application, colleges are required to treat all applications equally in the Admissions process.
- Research shows that at least 20 hours of preparation for standardized college admission tests can improve your scores significantly. Most of you will have 20 hours available for this purpose in the summer. In addition to the free test prep available through khanacademy.org/satfor the SAT and academy.act.org for the ACT, and through the Method Test Prep link on your Naviance home page, Method Test Prep offers a few additional paid options, some of which are affordable. See their links on the next page.
- Mark your calendars: The FAFSA and CSS Profile (financial aid forms) will open for completion on October 1. On Tuesday, October 2, there will be an evening financial aid informational presentation here at ARHS. Thursday, October 25 will be FAFSA Night at ARHS. Bring your completed 2017 tax return and some other information and leave with a completed FAFSA. You will receive more information about all of this in the fall. For now, put these dates on your calendar and plan to attend.
Have a relaxing and productive summer.
Myra Ross, College Advisor