I hope you had a great holiday break and first month of your Spring semester! By now you should have A.) Applied to college B.) Applied for Financial Aid and C.) Have been monitoring ALL college accounts to make sure you aren’t missing any documents.
If you haven’t done ALL of these steps, STOP and go back to complete them in that order.
College applications can be found by Googling that college and freshman admissions. Follow their instructions. For Financial Aid, if you have a Social Security Number, make a username at FSAID.ed.gov first and then complete the application on FAFSA.ed.gov. If you don’t have a SSN, there is a paper Financial Aid application for the state of Texas. Contact me at email@example.com and I can help you with that.
Okay, now to the….. drumroll……
Yay! Get SO excited! You are are on the downward slope to high school graduation! YAAASSSS!!!
But before you get there, you do have more steps to complete for college to make sure that you have a seamless transition.
So because this is a lot and I know that it is a lot, I’m going to break these down into two posts. Next week I will go in depth on 1-3 and the following week we will go over 4-6.
Get started with what you can and I will see you next week!
Juniors! It’s time to start getting ready for your college applications! DO NOT WAIT until Senior year to put in the work. We need to use this Spring semester to prepare and warm up for what’s to come.
Tip: Make a professional email account to use solely for college related accounts and information.
Test for SAT/ACT tests
If you are planning to apply to a 4 year college, they will require at least one SAT or ACT test. Because you have to register for this test a month in advance and get the scores 3 weeks after the test date, you want to get this out of the way Junior year. This will eliminate a lot of deadline related stress, TRUST ME. You do not want to wait until one month before your college’s deadline to try and make sure your test scores are in on time.
There are tests once a month from now all the way until July. This will give you a chance to test and retest if you do not like your score. Just keep in mind that if you do not actually study for the test, you can not expect for your score to improve. For more info, see my previous post on SAT/ACT tests here and here.
All test registrations will be online at www.collegeboard.org (SAT) or www.act.org (ACT).
2. Compile a high school resume
If you don’t have a resume by now, MAKE ONE. I’ve written about resumes before and they serve a very important role for the college applications. You will be asked to list all of your involvement, awards, and achievements throughout high school. Your life will be much simpler if you have a list of these already. Make sure to include dates of participation and total hours for the community service.
I’m going to focus more on Texas schools here because I work in Texas and am more familiar with their process but most 4 year colleges will ask for an essay. They will either ask for the essay for admission purposes or for scholarship purposes.
There are 3 total essay prompts for ApplyTexas (the application for all Texas colleges). I would suggest writing Essay A and Essay B as these are the most commonly asked for.
Essay A: Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?
Essay B: Most students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.
For both of these essays, please make sure that you get personal. This is your chance to show the admission representatives who you are. It is supplemental information to what is on your resume. Use this opportunity to market yourself and let the admission representatives connect with you.
For more tips on how to write the essays, see this excerpt from a previous blog post: