BUILDING YOUR TEAM
Getting into college is a team effort. You are the captain of your college application team, but you will need to surround yourself with individuals who can help make your college application shine. Your team should include your family, counselor, teacher(s) and College Calm! Below are some ideas regarding the roles that each group can play in helping your application be the best it can be.
COUNSELOR: Counselors are great sources of information on the application process and scholarships.
Take your college list to your counselor. He/she can look at your list with in the context of your school and your peers. This is an important step in determining that you have enough schools in your safety, target and reach categories.
Ask your counselor the process for requesting transcripts and letters of recommendations. The process varies at each school and can change year to year, so make sure you understand the procedure and deadlines.
Your counselor needs to fill out a recommendation for the Common Application- so meet with them, have them read your essay and your resume. Be pro-active and try to meet with them early so they are not overwhelmed with other students.
For public school students, you need to let your counselor know if you are applying to private schools ASAP, so they can prepare their recommendations and the paperwork. Many students will not be going through the private school process, so you really need to alert your counselor that you will be.
The counseling office is a great place to get information on financial aid and scholarships. Many local scholarships will send information only to the counseling office, so make sure you are checking for new information often. The best place to start is to ask for a list of the scholarships the class of 2015 received last year. Scholarship deadlines vary from November to March, so be on the lookout.
PARENTS/FAMILY: Your family should bring support and guidance. The best things your parents can do to help you complete your applications are making sure you hit your deadlines and offering encouragement to you during this stressful time.
Have a family member read your essay asking the following questions- Does this sound like me? Am I missing anything? Is the story well told? Is there anything that you would take out or add?
Have your family help you enter and/or check the biographical data. There is a lot of biographical data that needs to be entered in to the CSU, UC, Common Application and out-of-state public schools. Things that will help you with this task are having a transcript and test scores ready and a paper version of the common application filled out.
Consider designating a college night, once a week in the fall, to talk with your family about college. This is a good way for everyone to be able to check in and update one another on the process. Share your electronic calendar with all of the deadlines.
Always have a family member proof read your entire application(s) before you send them in. Every application looks different in print than they do on the computer screen, so MAKE SURE TO PRINT ALL APPLICATIONS and have another person read through them before you press the submit button. You should proof it and then give it to a family member to look at to make sure all of the information is correct.
REFERENCES (TEACHERS AND /OR MENTORS):
References have the ability to positively speak not just on your accomplishments, but about your passions and potential.
Stay in contact with the teachers you asked to write your recommendations. If you do not see them every day in class, make the effort to drop by and keep them updated on your semester and your progress on your college applications.
Teachers can be really insightful readers of your applications. English teachers are especially good at proof reading! Just make sure that you give them enough time to read your essay(s) and offer feedback.