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Posts Tagged ACT

The Waiting Game

lysa-85You’ve completed all of your applications; sent them all in months ago, read and re-read all of your essays and completed your SAT and/or ACT testing. You’ve gotten teachers to write numerous letters of recommendation for you, and you’ve tried your hardest to avoid the “senior slump” of spring semester and keep your grades afloat. You’ve already survived FAFSA, and are pretty sure where you want to go to college after visiting all of your choices. The only thing left now is THE WAITING GAME, of anxiety, anticipation, fear, and excitement. You’ve completed all of the above items to receive one single letter, of  hopefully above all… an ACCEPTANCE!

I know how you feel. I could hardly wait to receive my application responses back. I checked the mail almost every day after school in hope maybe one letter would arrive earlier; before the decision date. I checked my email 10 times a day and for months made sure everything had been received by each school due to paranoia. But, you know what, you’ve already worked so hard, and you’re already ahead of so many others by just having applied to college! You are going to be the first or one of the first people in your family to go to college! Now, if you only knew which one, right?

Now is a good time  to relax and consider how you are going to celebrate your first acceptance letter. I remember when I received mine. I’ll probably never forget that day. The first school I was accepted into was Wesleyan, followed by Emory a day later. The letters came early and I couldn’t believe it, when I got home and they were waiting for me on my bed. I opened them and was overjoyed that I had been accepted. I knew at that moment, I was definitely going to college – one of the best feelings in the world! I went out to dinner that night at my favorite restaurant and celebrated being accepted into college. However, you will have to decide for yourself how you’re going to celebrate. But, when you get that first letter, you’ll know that YOU’VE MADE IT , that ALL OF THAT HARD WORK HAS PAID OFF, and YOU ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO YOUR FUTURE!  Best of luck to all of you. My best advice is to celebrate your acceptances and not dwell in that unfortunate letter of rejection that may also reach your mailbox, because I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Don’t be discouraged, and realize that your letter of ACCEPTANCE is on its way!

gobble gobble!

tereza-85It’s already 2 weeks until Thanksgiving and I know most of you high students are looking forward to it because that means a 4 day weekend! I remember thinking that last year and couldn’t wait for it to come.

What I also remember about this time was that I was getting ready to start my college application process and I hope all of you high school seniors are too. If you have not started yet, don’t worry it’s not too late to start.

There are so many colleges out there and some students are probably wondering “Which one do I want to go to? How can I pick?” What I suggest doing is making a list of everything you look for in a college and go off of that. Some sample questions would be:”Do you want to stay close to home? Do you want to be in a city or in a college town? Do you want to go to a big school or a small school? Does diversity in your college matter to you?” and more questions similar to that. By answering a bunch of questions like that can really help narrow down your search and make it easier to pick which colleges you are interested in. I myself answered questions like that to help me narrow down my search because before I did that I was feeling kind of overwhelmed by how many colleges there where and this helped me eliminate some. For questions which you could go either way on like “how big do you want your school?” just apply to both because then you can never have too many options.

I would also suggest to at least apply to 5 schools. Every school will offer you a different financial aid package and different things and like I said before, keep your options open!

Try making a time line for yourself especially when applying to schools that have application deadlines. You do not want to miss an important deadline. Some schools may have rolling admission so there really is not a deadline but it is always better to apply sooner because then it’s more likely you will get a spot!

If you have not already figured out which teacher you would like to write you letter of recommendation it would be good if you made that decision soon so then you can ask that teacher. Also so then they could get started on it if necessary because just how you don’t like doing papers at the last minute, they don’t like doing letters of recommendation at the last minute.

You should probably begin creating a personal statement if you have not already started and I highly suggest you have someone else read it and help you with it! They can help you improve it and make suggestions that you might have not thought of before.

After you have all these things done all you really have left to do is wait to hear back!

To all you freshmen, sophomores and juniors, you can do all of these things too because it is never too early to start college preparation. Of course you cannot apply to college yet but you can have everything ready so that when you are able to apply for college all you have to do is fill out the application because everything else is already done. Also make sure that you take the ACT/SAT and make sure you are prepared for them which means study!

I wish everyone the best of luck and if you need help or have any questions don’t be afraid to ask your parents, teachers, counselors, coaches, or even me! Just leave me a comment after you read my blog.

Do you feel like time is running out?

joseph-85That’s how I felt last year at this time. The leaves were falling off the trees, the air had a bite, and the sun was setting earlier.  The election season was over, and I had spent the last few months putting off thinking about college in favor of work and the campaign.  Fall had come, and it didn’t wait for me.  I had done most of what was expected so far thanks to the guidance from a caring teacher, but I hadn’t even begun to consider what schools to apply to. In fact, all I had really done was take the ACT with writing.  The deadlines were coming though, and I had made sure in advance I hadn’t missed any.

An important conversation that I had with one of my mentors earlier that year left me with an interest in Liberal Arts colleges.  After leafing through a book with overviews of schools throughout the country in the days following the election though, I had a good idea of what institutions interested me.  This is a practice I highly recommend to all of the high-schoolers out there.  In fact, it was the Insider’s Guide to Colleges that first informed me of Occidental College’s existence.  That Oxy wasn’t even on my radar before is important because it shows the importance of broadening the scope of your horizons.

When applying to schools, listen to others but also think for yourself.  What you want is important, and it is your education on the line here.  Many high school students aren’t getting fantastic advice in their schools.  In my case, I was lucky to have it from one teacher and a whole host of mentors outside of my school.  If you feel the same way, I would recommend looking around the other regions of your life for advice.  The internet is a tremendous resource as well, but I recommend using your informed instincts there as anywhere else. Just don’t be afraid of rejection.

Finally, the last bit of advice I have is this: Get your applications done in plenty of time so you can make sure it is done correctly.  I can’t stress this enough.  All the mysterious people you are sending your application to will see are the words in front of them. Make sure that it’s you that they can see, and take the time to be certain. You won’t regret it.

Missing the Big Picture…

seanna-85Personally…the college process was daunting to say the least.  My dad never finished high school…my mom never made it to college.  Throughout school, my main focus had been getting high grades…extracurricular activities…establishing good relationships with teachers and peers…all the “normal” stuff.  When it was time to start applying to college, I had no clue where to start.  I’d done all the ground work, with no idea how to make the rest happen.

“Seanna…I don’t know what you’re worried about…any college would be lucky to have you…”

“You must be really excited…where are you applying…?”

“All that hard work is about to pay off…your mom must be so proud…!”

For months, the constant repetition of things that were supposed to be encouraging and motivating, only made me feel more confused and overwhelmed.   And while my mom was very proud, she was unable to help in many ways due to her lack of personal experience.  Oftentimes, neither of us knew the next appropriate step.

I didn’t realize that college fees could be waived, and that many schools only required either the ACT or SAT.  The prospect of applying for financial aid kept me up at night…I was in the proverbial tunnel with no light at the end.  And although there were plenty of counselors and mentors available to help, I felt that I should already know the answers…that I should not have to ask…

So here’s the big picture that I was missing…and here’s my advice to all those setting out with college applications…

You DO NOT have to know everything…asking questions is more than just okay…it really does help.  The people that offer assistance know what they’re talking about―the right steps to take, and even better…they WANT you to succeed!

Obviously, I did figure out the application process, managed to conquer my fear of financial aid, and even made a final decision!  So here I am, halfway through my first semester, and I realize now that allowing others to help from the start, rather than waiting until I was engulfed in essays and scores could have made the process much easier.

In fact, I’ve learned that reaching out is not a sign of weakness, but instead…a sign of strength.