The majority of High School students throughout the country have returned to in-person learning. Some of those students are rising seniors, who will hopefully spend their last year of High School in the classrooms that witnessed them mature and become young adults.
At First Workings, we want our Alumni community to feel emotionally prepared and comfortable returning to school. In this blog post, we will focus on the rising high school seniors and give you tips regarding your last year of High School and the college application process.
Tips on College Readiness
Introduce yourself to your college counselor
College counselors will help you end up in a college or university that is the right fit for you. Now, the college application process is not the sole responsibility of your counselor. A successful college application process is influenced by the productive and collaborative work of both you and your counselor.
To do your part, you can do the following;
- Schedule a meeting with your counselor (in-person or virtual) to introduce yourself, your goals, and your college interests.
- Share your college list with your counselor over Email
- Create a document with all the questions you have about the college application process
Begin drafting your college admissions essay
By now, you should have a basic understanding of the schools you plan on applying to. With that said, a huge factor of the college application process is the college admissions essay. This piece of writing can have a great impact on your application as a whole! Begin drafting this essay by thinking about what you want to talk about, perhaps a life event that shaped who you are, or an experience that had a significant impact on you. Think about your identity, and how you can convey that through your essay while also connecting it to why you want to attend that school. You can use the “My life map” that you created during your time at First Workings to get your thoughts flowing. It is also good to begin associating yourself with what a college admissions essay looks like and the formatting of it. You can look up examples of successful college admissions essays online and formatting guidelines
Keep an organized calendar of important dates
Throughout the college application process, develop a habit of relying on yourself for reminders regarding your application and anything related to it. If you are someone who enjoys a physical calendar, invest in one and keep it with you all the time. On the other hand, if you prefer tech, use your google calendar on your phone or laptop. Here are some key reminders to keep in mind this fall:
- College Application due dates (Common App, SUNY App, CUNY App)
- Financial Aid application due dates (FAFSA)
- Scholarship Application due dates
- Meetings with your college counselor
- College night / fair events
Attend college night/fair events
Virtual or in-person, these are great events for you to hear from admissions officers who can answer any questions you may have about the application process of their school and how they judge candidates. Your elevator pitch can be simply introducing yourself, briefly sharing your interest in the school, and having 2-3 questions ready for them. The more positive interactions you have with an admissions office from your dream school, the more chances you have of being remembered if they review your application. You can find more information about when college night/fair events happen online
Talk about finance with your parents
The reality is that most high school students will have to think about how they plan to pay for college. With that said, you need to attend any financial aid information events hosted by your school with your parents. These events are a great opportunity for you and them to learn about student loans, government grants, and scholarships. You can also have conversations regarding the following;
- What is the cost of attendance (Tuition, Room & Board, Books, Supplies) of the schools you are interested in applying to?
- How much financial support can your family provide?
- What can you do to help with the cost?
A great way to get more insight into the school you are interested in is through networking. During your training, you learned about the benefits of networking regarding internship and job opportunities. The same applies to college because you can reach out to students who currently attend the schools you are interested in through LinkedIn. You can schedule a time for you to speak to them and ask questions like the following.
- What is life on campus?
- What was the application process like for you?
- What made your application successful?
Lastly, senior year of High School is synonymous with the college application process. But do not forget to appreciate your last year with the place and the people who watched you grow up for four years.
Be mindful of your stress levels
Senior year is stressful. But if you manage your time wisely and stick to a predictable schedule, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed or drained.
As you can now tell, there will be many moving parts during your senior year. But be present and enjoy your time with your friends and teachers, allow your school to celebrate your accomplishments, and attend the events that make the senior year memorable such as prom and graduation!
In good spirits,
The First Workings Team