September 2011 - Posts
It was a busy week in terms of college events. Monday started out with two meetings with representatives from UMASS Dartmouth and the College of Saint Rose, and Wednesday a representative from Champlain College. There were a number of other college reps who came during the week, and still others to come in the next few weeks, but these are the three that I met with so far. When representatives come to school, it is a great time to meet with the colleges that interest you and ask questions about the school, campus life, dorms, a particular major, etc. You will likely be given brochures, contact cards to fill out, and even the rep's personal business cards so you can e-mail them if you have any further questions or want to request an interview.
Thursday night my dad and I attended a college application workshop held by Gateway's guidance department. This was a very informative presentation that gave advice and instructions for submitting college apps. Students and parents who attended the workshop got important information about the application process. A few things that were covered included a checklist of documents that need to be submitted (the application itself, a personal essay, 2-3 recommendations, your high school transcript, and your test scores from the SAT or ACT), application deadlines, the difference between Early Decision and Early Action, and several other things people need to know about the process. I recommend that students and parents about to start the application process attend any workshops or presentations put on by the guidance department.
By the middle of junior year, I started receiving 10-12 pieces of mail a week from colleges all over the country. Many prompted me to schedule a campus visit, so off I went. I've visited three colleges so far, but you should visit as many as you can if you are interested in attending because it is a great way to get a candid, casual feel of the place you may be living for two, four, or more years, instead of the formal feel of the college website or brochures.
Most schools will have an open house day or weekend when you and your family can come for campus tours, application seminars, and interviews with admissions counselors. They usually take place in the spring, when students are still on campus for classes; students usually lead the tours as well, so it is a great time to ask questions about the college from people who are attending it.
Eleven days into the school year and it's time to start preparing (for many students) for a second round of SATs. Typically students take their first SATs in May or June of their junior year, and again in September or October of their senior year in order to better their score.
Personally, I was very happy with my score from the first time I took the SATs in June, so I won't be taking it again. I think the reason I did so well was because I studied. People wonder, how can you study for a test as big and long as the SATs?? Well, it sounds impossible if you are studying questions and answers, but you really want to pay more attention to the way questions are worded, the type of question, and what it is asking you to do.
I studied using Kaplan's 700 page SAT Prep book. The book gives pointers and instructions on how to answer questions and what to look for, and included four practice tests (which really made up most of the 700 pages).
When you take the SATs, don't forget or miss the deadlines for signing up and for payment, because you will be charged extra for signing up after a certain date. To sign up and find dates, times, locations, and prices for the test, go to www.collegeboard.com.
"OH, MY GAWD... WE'RE SENIORS!" a classmate yelled out in disbelief as our first day of senior year came to a close. And a week later it is still a bit of a challenge getting used to being the highest grade in the school. I keep expecting to see students from last year's graduating class in the hallways, in classes, and in the cafeteria.
This is the year that many students will be thinking about, planning for, and applying to colleges. Students should be making a list of colleges to apply to, scheduling campus visits, filling out paperwork for financial aid and scholarships, and filling out applications.
College fairs are a great way to start your list of colleges to check out. You can meet representatives from colleges, ask questions, and get a general idea of what the school is all about. You have to decide early on about what kind of college you are looking for. Think about what is important to you- the size of the school, the student/professor ratio, and most importantly the cost and location. I always ask about how big the college is and where it is located, because I don't want a very big school like UMASS or a location like New York City. If the school has what you want, definitely ask for more information by either e-mail or post. If nothing about the college really appeals to you don't ask for more information, because you will be getting a lot of mail that you will just end up throwing out or deleting anyway. I receive on average ten pieces of mail from different colleges a week that I didn't ask for more information.