It’s hard to believe it, but the first semester of your senior year is underway. It’s fall and the college application process is in full gear.
Now that you’re settled in your senior year classes, it’s time to really start focusing on both the college applications and admissions processes.
While it may seem daunting, it’s much more manageable once broken down into a task list. This year, take the time at the beginning of each more to evaluate what you can do to continue your focus on the college admissions process.
Here’s what high school seniors should do throughout the month of October in terms of the college applications, admissions and planning processes:
Focus on Your Grades
Although your grades will no longer significantly impact your grade point average, that does not mean you can stop trying. Your grades still matter in terms of college admissions!
College admissions officers will definitely want to see you senior year grades and you will need to keep those grades up to remain admitted to whichever school you decide upon. Showing continual improvement will also improve your chances of admission into your top school choices.
Exercise Time Management Skills
At this point in the semester, you have a pretty solid idea of what each class’s demands are. Now is the time to start practicing balance – a skill you will need to utilize throughout your entire college career and life.
Start Narrowing Your College List
While it’s easy to place this on your general “things to do” list, it’s vital that you actually to do. It’s important that you actually schedule time to think about schools and research them.
Set aside some time each week to devote to narrowing down your list of colleges through thought, research and debate.
With this time set aside, you should eventually narrow down your list to somewhere between six and eight colleges that vary in difficulty of admissions (your “safety,” “match,” and “reach” schools) .
Here’s the breakdown of the school categories:
Safety: the school you are almost positive, based on admissions criteria, you will be admitted to because your academic credentials are well above the average incoming freshman’s range. You do not plan of attending this school, rather, it is seen as your back-up. However, you should feel comfortable attending this college, should you need to. At this school, you will most likely fall at the top of the class.
Match: the school you are quite likely, based on admissions criteria, you will be admitted to because your academic credentials are well within the average incoming freshman’s range. This is the college you are most likely to attend. At this school, you will most likely fall within the mid-range of the class.
Reach: this school is a called a reach school because it’s possible, but not guaranteed. Your reach school shouldn’t be a pipe dream, it should be somewhat within reason (for example, if you have a 2.5 and are applying to Georgetown, it’s not a reach school – it’s a dream school). Your academic credentials usually fall below the average incoming freshman’s range.
Consider if Early Admissions are for You (If Yes, Get Started on Early Applications!)
What to Consider:
Have you considered early decision, early action or rolling admissions yet? If not, the time is now.
It’s important to be aware that some of the decisions can be binding, such as early decision. You want to be certain that, when applying early decision, for example, you’re sure that you want absolutely want to attend the college if admitted.
There are plenty of pros and cons to early admissions, which you should evaluate before pursuing these routes.
If you do decide that early admissions options are right for you, it’s time to work on your early applications. Many deadlines fall between October and November, so now is the time to focus on finishing up your early applications for submission.
Obtain Letters of Recommendation
If you have not already obtained letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches and other important people within your life to include within your college applications, reach out and ask as soon as possible. The more notice you give, the better.
A letter of recommendation can speak to your character as a student and, though isn’t always required, is a valuable asset.
Start Finalizing Your College Essays
While some of your college application essay prompts may differ, many of them will be quite similar. It’s important that you perfect your essays by proofreading them through the editing process.
Also, take the time to ask others to read them. Extra sets of eyes on your writing can make all the difference in the world, especially on a body of writing you have been working so closely with.
Request Application Fee Waivers Through Your Counselor (If Applicable)
Many colleges waive application fees for qualifying students. If you’d like to have your application fees waived, speak with your school counselor sooner than later so that the inquiry won’t slow down your application submission process.
Gather Any Required Documents
As you’re researching the colleges you’re thinking of applying to and finalizing your list, note what each college requires in terms of documentation for the application process.
That way, you can gather all of the necessary materials ahead of time in order to make your application process as smooth as possible by having everything you need accessible.
Fill Out the Common Application
Set aside time to fill out the Common Application thoroughly. Many colleges use the Common Application in place of an individualized school application, so filling out the Common App will save you a lot of time and effort, allowing you to apply to a lot more colleges. Bonus: it’s free!
Double Check Your Transcripts
Before your school submits your transcripts to any college, you want to make sure they are, in fact, your transcripts. You also want to ensure that all of your credits appear and that they are accurate. Don’t assume that everything is correct – administration errors happen more often than you may think! You don’t want a clerical error to stand in the way of your future – or admission to the school of your dreams.
Keep Applying for Scholarships
As always, it’s important to stay focused on your scholarship applications. College is right around the corner and, with hefty tuition bills headed your way, extra scholarship money will certainly come in handy.
Apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for and don’t get discouraged when you don’t win right away. Scholarship winners will tell you: persistence is often the key to winning.
Follow the above suggestions for a productive October in your senior year of high school to remain on track in your college applications and admissions processes.
The personal statement is a critical component of your college application package. Schools hope to see that you are a well-rounded individual, as well as one who can write critically and convincingly.
Here are three reasons it is important to begin writing and thinking about your personal statement now, rather than waiting:
1. Multiple people should read it
The best part about beginning your personal statement early on is that you can ask more than one person to read it. This is an excellent way to receive outside opinions about your admissions essay.
It is also easier to ask an editor to spend real quality time on your essay if he or she has an appropriate amount of time to work with it.
For instance, if you give a teacher your personal statement the same week that 30 other students need their recommendation letters written, your essay will not get the same amount of attention that it would if you gave it to an instructor two months prior instead.
This is also a great opportunity to connect with teachers and mentors who you may later ask to write you recommendation letters.
2. How you write matters more than what you write
Your ability to tell a story and write well is much more important than how incredible the story may be by itself. Giving yourself plenty of time to figure out how to accomplish this is crucial.
Remember, however, that this is more so an opportunity to write about a cake-eating contest or your beloved dog—not to express your feelings about an almost-arrest or another inappropriate incident.
Choose a topic that you can speak volumes about, and note that this may mean you need to begin by writing a number of different essays.
Your personal statement should answer the prompt, be relevant to you as a person, remain accurate (i.e. no lies), and be clearly written.
Staying true to your voice, or keeping your personal writing voice present within the essay, is also important within reason.
Try to keep your overall story arc in mind—the story should be set up, reach a climax, and then finish with any loose ends resolved.
3. You should talk about it
The best way to gauge how the committee at any one school will respond to your essay is by seeing how a number of different people react.
While you cannot ask everyone you encounter to read your essay, it may be wise to develop a 30 second “elevator pitch” about your topic.
Try to cover what it is about, what it says about you, and one relevant detail that you will discuss in it. This will not only help you measure other people’s initial reactions to the topic, but it will also help you clarify your essay verbally in terms of themes, goals, and personal relevance.
Starting a personal statement early is never a poor choice. Whatever your college goals may be, the more you practice your essay and the greater the number of people who read and discuss your personal statement, the more your work is likely to impress an admissions committee.
“My GPA isn’t good enough.”
“I don’t have time.”
These excuses work, except for scholarships that don’t require a good GPA or much time.
Scholarship applications can be intimidating. It’s easy to think you’re not eligible or that there’s a better candidate out there, so why waste your the time and effort? Aside from the fact that there are many scholarships plenty of students qualify for and that a pretty good student is bound to land something, there’s another side to the scholarship story.
Below are four easy scholarships almost any student qualifies for.
1. U.S. BANK SCHOLARSHIP
Are you a United States citizen and a high school senior or college undergraduate student? Then you can win $1,000. Nope, no other qualifications. Just be what you already are.
Each year, U.S. Bank gives away 40 $1,000 scholarships for simply being an American citizen who will be or is attending college. All you have to do is fill out some basic information about yourself and then the applications will be drawn at random.
It takes hardly any time at all, and consider this: If it takes you an hour to fill out the application and you win, you’ve just made $1,000 for an hour’s worth of work. Not bad pay for a college kid.
It truly doesn’t get easier than that.
2. “NO ESSAY” SCHOLARSHIP
Most scholarships come but once a year (and some once in a lifetime). The beauty of the $2,000 “No essay” Scholarship is that it comes once a month and you can apply every single month.
And the application is as easy as can be. In fact, you could have filled it out probably 20 times since starting to read this article. You can only apply once a month, but if you’re a current or incoming college student and know basic information about yourself (name, address, etc.), then you can win $2,000. Winners are drawn at random.
The scholarship, offered through College Prowler, has a deadline at the end of every month.
3. $1,000 WEEKLY SCHOLARSHIP
Even better than once-a-month is once-a-week. Granted, the Zinch.com weekly scholarship is not as simple as merely filling out basic information about yourself, it’s almost that simple.
All U.S. high schoolers and college students are eligible for this $1,000 scholarship. All it requires is filling out a short form about yourself and answering an unusual question in 280 characters or less (similar to the Twitter-standard of characters). The question changes weekly. This week’s question, for example, is: “Greek historian Plutarch once wrote, The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. Explain what that quote means to you.”
You can apply every week, once a week. Have fun with it.
4. SCHOLARSHIP ZONE SCHOLARSHIP
It seems nearly every website wants you to register. It’s not enough to simply use a site’s service from time to time, apparently. But not many sites offer as great a possible reward as Scholarship Zone does.
By simply registering for the website (which requires answering less than 15 basic questions about yourself), you’re automatically entered for the next scholarship drawing of $10,000. You’re really not obligated to do anything after that, though you now get to take advantage of the website’s resources. But hey, are you at least 18 and in college? Then why not take two minutes to apply?
It can take a huge load off your tuition bill.
Don’t let student loan debt unnecessarily pile up. The excuse of not being qualified for scholarships can work for certain scholarships but not for these ones.
Laziness, in this case, can cost you thousands of dollars. Take a few minutes out of your day and rake in that dough.
College freshmen arrive on campus excited, eager and unfortunately already a target for financial institutions.
“People are going to try to sell them checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and countless other products,” said Nick Clements, Co-Founder of Magnify Money.
Which is why Nick Clements of Magnify Money says it’s important for parents to school their kids on some money lessons before they fly the coop. Take for instance, the ins and outs of checking. He suggests shopping around for an account that doesn’t charge hefty overdraft fees since mistakes are bound to happen.
“And unfortunately as college students learn their way into financial responsibility they tend to go overdraft and pay a disproportionate amount of the fees. So you want to have an account that doesn’t charge you $35 for that $6 latte,” said Clements.
Credit cards are another tool that can prove helpful or hazardous depending on how they are used. On the one hand, college is the perfect time to start establishing credit.
“Make one, at most two purchases per month, pay it off in full every month and at the end of your four years of college you could have a credit score in the mid-600s and that could set you up in wonderful stead for going forward,” said Clements.
On the other hand, it’s easy for a student to get overwhelmed with debt and start missing payments and that can have long term implications.
If you plan to send your child money, use it as a learning tool. Schedule deposits and force them to make that money last, a skill that will serve them well when they start earning a regular paycheck.
“A lot of times parents might say, “oh whenever you run out of money I’ll just add money there.” I think the randomness of it or the “I’m in trouble, give me money”, sets up a bad scenario, not just for the parent but later on, that bail out is going to be the debit card, it’s going to be the credit card,” said Chris Dlugozima, Community Relations Coordinator, GreenPath Debt Solutions.
Which brings us to the most important financial lesson a student needs to learn — how to create and stick to a budget.
“If you track your expenses, if you plan accordingly, it’s going to be that much easier to manage your checking account and manage the potential credit card or even the student loan that many of them take out as well,” said Dlugozima.
To that end, students, take advantage of technology and choose an app that will help you stay on top of your pizza money. Oh and since your phone is in your hand, don’t forget to call your parents once in a while.
During their high school career, students may begin to question the importance of a college education. They might find themselves asking, “Why is it important to go to college?” The answer is that, more than ever, attending college provides opportunities for graduates which are not as widespread to those who have not received a higher education.
For many high school students, being able to immediately generate an income after graduation is an appealing thought. They may also be repelled by the rising cost of tuition, and while it is true that a higher education may be one of the largest expenses you will ever face, the importance of a college education has become quite evident in terms of earning potential within today’s economy.
Why Should You go to College?
One important answer to this question is more opportunity. As opposed to generations of the past, high school graduates today are unable to obtain the number of high-paying jobs that were once available. The U.S. has been transformed from a manufacturing-based economy to an economy based on knowledge, and the importance of a college education today can be compared to that of a high school education forty years ago. It serves as the gateway to better options and more opportunity.
There are additional reasons as to why it is important to go to college. When students experience a post secondary education, they have the opportunity to read books and listen to the lectures of top experts in their fields. This stimulation encourages students to think, ask questions, and explore new ideas, which allows for additional growth and development and provides college graduates with an edge in the job market over those who have not experienced a higher education.
The importance of a college education is also accentuated because of the opportunity to gain valuable resources during your tenure. The more connections which are collected during your college career, the more options you will have when you begin your job search. Once you have ended your job search and have started your career, however, the importance of a college education has not been exhausted. Having a college degree often provides for greater promotion opportunity.
So, why should you go to college? The reasoning does not begin and end with the job aspect. A good education is beneficial from many different viewpoints, and while the importance of a college education is quite evident for many high school students, what is often not as clear is how they will pay for that education.
Funding Your College Education
Although the colleges and universities of today carry a heavy price tag, it is of great importance not to let that discourage you from obtaining a college education. While the cost of tuition continues to rise, so too does the number of available financial aid options. Below we will explain why it is important to explore these options before you go to college and the large payoff they often provide.
From local and federal options, to categorical and corporate options, college-bound students have a variety opportunities worth exploring when attempting to obtain financial aid. A common misrepresentation of financial aid packages (e.g. scholarships, grants, loans, work study programs) is that they provides funding for an entire college education. The reality is that most of these packages are smaller and it may take several of them to add up. This is why it is important to explore all of your options before you go to college:
Local options—The people of your own community fully understand the importance of a college education, which is why organizations such as the American Legion, the Rotary Club, the Jaycees, and Boosters chapters offer scholarships for high school students in the area. These organizations are often overlooked and serve as a great resource due to the fact that they have far less competition than national awards. Start your local search by visiting your high school’s career options to see what’s available.
Federal options—The federal government is also well aware of the importance of a college education, which is why they award more financial aid to college-bound students than any other resource. The most important step in obtaining federal aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Follow this link for more information on filing the FAFSA for financial aid.
Merit-based options—Merit scholarships are awarded to students based on academic or athletic abilities, as well as categories such as ethnicity, religious affiliation, club membership, interests, talent or career plans. Learn more about merit-based options by following this link: College Scholarship Money
Corporate options—Corporations are another resource who understand the vast importance of a college education. Every year, corporations ranging from Target to Coca-Cola offer financial aid to thousands of college-bound students. A great way to start your corporate scholarship search is with you or your spouse’s company. Often times, organizations will award the children of employees with scholarships or grants. Follow this link to learn more about college financial aid and grant searches and determine the eligibility of your student.
Understanding the Importance of College Education
If you are still asking yourself why should you go to college, it is important to remember the significant amount of opportunity available for college graduates. The global economy is becoming increasingly more competitive, and in order to give yourself the best chance for a well-paying job, you must first understand the importance of college education.
Attending college provides students with the knowledge and experience they are unable to receive from a secondary education, and finding a way to fund a higher education now can pay off in a huge way in the years to come.
Here’s some interesting new data from Jaison Abel and Richard Dietz of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The vast majority of U.S. college grads, they find, work in jobs that aren’t strictly related to their degrees. See website for more info: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/20/only-27-percent-of-college-grads-have-a-job-related-to-their-major/
The highest paying jobs seem to go to those who paid high tuitions.
According to CareerCast’s 10 Best-Paying Jobs of 2014, seven out of 10 of the highest paid professions are in the health care industry and require advanced degrees. This means that a six-figure salary can often come at the expense of six-figure debt. For instance, general practice physicians make an average of $187,200 a year, but according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the medical school class of 2013 graduated with a median debt of $175,000, and 86% of all graduates left with some debt.
The highest paid salary on the list went to surgeons, who make an average of $233,150 a year; general practice physicians came in second. In ninth and tenth place were podiatrists at $116,440, and attorneys, at $113,530, who also face a lot of education before they can practice.
There were only two high paying jobs on the list that don’t require graduate degrees: petroleum engineers and air traffic controllers, who on average make $130,280 and $122,530 respectively. The report cautioned, though, that “for those who choose a different path [than graduate education] to attain one of the best-paying jobs, be prepared to exchange paychecks for a high level of stress.” It described air traffic controllers as dealing with “some of the most stressful working conditions.”
Despite stressful working conditions, jobs as air traffic controllers are hardly up for grabs. The industry predicts only a 1% growth outlook by 2022. Petroleum engineers, however, can look forward to a 26% growth outlook in the same period. All of the health care professions on the list anticipate growth of 14% or higher. “As baby-boomer doctors … reach retirement, there often aren’t enough new doctors,” explained CareerCast publisher Tony Lee.
Click through the gallery to see the highest paid jobs and the projected growth of each. Go to article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomishavin/2014/08/13/the-10-best-paying-jobs-of-2014/
Passion versus paycheck.
It’s one of the oldest debates when it comes down to choosing a college major. Well, perhaps this chart can help you decide: An infographic by H&R Block shows how much clout your college major carries in the workforce.
According to the chart, recent graduates who majored in social sciences and creative fields like anthropology, film, fine arts and graphic design faced the biggest unemployment rates (about 10-12 percent). Conversely, the top industries for recent graduates were found to be advertising, followed by computer software and finance.
Take a look at the data below and see where your field of choice aligns. If you’re on the brink of choosing your major, don’t worry; there’s still hope for you yet.
Click here to see graphs: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/worst-college-majors-hr-block_n_5455291.html
Now that you’re going strong in your fall semester at college, are you concerned that you might not have enough money to finish out the school year? Here are some things to consider.
Have you submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? You should submit a FAFSA each year you need financial aid for school. If you think it’s too late to give it a shot, think again. While some types of aid can run out quickly, federal Pell grants and student loans are typically available year-round. Contact your school’s financial aid office to find out what types of aid you may still be able to receive, and what’s still available.
You may be surprised to learn that you can actually fill out a FAFSA for the 2014-15 school year up to June 30, 2015. Your college must have your correct, completed information by your last day of enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year in order to meet this deadline.
The quickest, easiest way to file your FAFSA is through FAFSA.gov. There are other websites out there that will charge you for submitting your financial aid application, but FAFSA.gov is free.
Be sure to review your Student Aid Report (SAR). Learn more about the SAR at startwithfafsa.org/category/sar/.
If you need a student loan to help cover school expenses, be cautious about the amount you borrow. Learn how to borrow smart from the start at ReadySetRepay.org.