MASTERs Plus Road Map to College: November

by Zena Smith

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For those who followed along on the first leg of our road map to higher-ed, congratulations on making the initial steps toward college enrollment! The road continues through November as we share what this month holds for your student’s journey to college.

November

As you pack away what’s left of October’s tricks and treats, it’s time to make another push on your student’s college application. Whether your student is sending off their application for an early decision or still putting the finishing touches on their standardized test efforts, there is plenty of college prep work to keep you both busy as the cooler weather rolls in.

At School

tutor1Get Feedback on Essays and Personal Statements
With the end of the calendar year approaching, students should be wrapping up their college applications, checking and double checking that all the materials are there, and sending them off to the colleges of their choice. As we’ve discussed in the past, the materials your student includes with their application—letters of recommendation, application essays, and personal statements—often have as big an impact (or a bigger one) on admissions officers as the information in the application itself.

Because these materials provide such an important opportunity to set themselves apart from other candidates, have your student use these final weeks to seek valuable feedback and suggestions about how they may be improved. Of course, you’ve already given them all the help you can, but students can get great feedback on essays and personal statements from academic advisors, guidance counselors, or even teachers. (As a side note: These are the situations that make forming an academic alliance early on all the more worth it—students’ “allies” are usually more than happy to give their two cents!)

Encourage your student to seek this help and not to be bashful in doing so. Almost any teacher who sees your student making a good-faith effort to improve their chances at getting in to college will be more than happy to help out. And the more eyes that see a personal statement or essay before it reaches the admissions office, the better!

At Home

Search for Scholarships
Even after your student has wrapped up their application, it is never to late to seek out scholarships. Many organizations who offer scholarships will not have application deadlines in effect until after the start of the new year, so have your student hit the books and scour the web! The only thing more disappointing than a rejected application is to have yours accepted and realize you cannot afford the tuition.

It may seem like the right scholarship is hard to come by—and often it is—but with enough research, your student can find several scholarships for which they qualify. You just have to know where to look! Begin by having them ask their guidance counselor or academic advisor about scholarships. Many high schools can provide packets with information about a variety of scholarship opportunities. Other places to search include local bulletin boards (more local businesses than you might think offer their own scholarships each year!), websites like Scholarships.com, or on the web pages of their colleges of interest.

Send off as many scholarships applications as you can while there is still time. While you may not receive them all, there’s no harm in trying!

Register for Re-Takes
Unfortunately not every student’s SAT or ACT goes as they planned on the first try. The good news about both these tests is that you can take them again and again until your student’s score looks as they think it should! If the first attempt didn’t leave students confident about the score they’ll be submitting on their college applications, then it’s time to register for the next session (typically offered in December).

For the December 2015 ACT, the deadline is November 6, and for the December 2015 SAT, the deadline is November 5. Don’t miss them, as even a re-take provides a great opportunity to make your student’s college application that much more attractive.

slider_04Submit an Application for an Early Decision
If your student is one of the ambitious few who are looking to receive an early admissions decision, it is time to send off their applications and await a response. The end of the college-application road may have come earlier for your student than most others, but there is still work to do. As you submit your application and wait for the big decision, be sure that your student is keeping up all the right habits of mind that will bring success in a higher-ed classroom. See that your student continues to study and keep their grades up so that they can hit the ground running when they arrive on campus next year.

 

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