Jacques Steinberg of Say Yes to Education appeared on NBC’s Today Show this morning with a Back to School College Checklist. Mr. Steinberg suggested your child be on top of the following 5 to-do items. Please check the links to the applications referenced and the Bound to Organize blog posts for further information and helpful tips on how to stay on top of your college application process.
- Begin your Common Application, the online application accepted by almost 800 US colleges and universities.
- Think about your college essay by examining what makes you who you are.
- SAT vs ACT: which test do you plan to take?
- Financing college: Fill out your FAFSA when it becomes available on October 1st and start exploring online financial aid sites to get more information in the meantime.
- Stay organized: Juniors and seniors make a schedule of your deadlines.
Among all the forms you will be sorting through and completing before you go off to college, one you should not ignore is the annual insurance decision form.
All college students must maintain health insurance coverage and most schools require that their annual insurance decision form be competed by a specific deadline. This insurance decision form will ask you to either provide proof of your insurance coverage in order to opt out of the university sponsored plan or require you to enroll in the university sponsored plan and pay the premium. If you do not complete a waiver form by the specified deadline to opt out of university sponsored coverage, you will automatically be enrolled in the university sponsored plan.
Rising seniors, this summer is a very important time for you to get organized and focused on your college application process. Once senior year begins you’ll be busy keeping up with all your responsibilities both in and out of school. So, here are some things to get started on:
- Open, look through and begin filling in your Common App account, if you have not already done so.
- Review essay questions and start brainstorming.
- Research schools that interest you to find out requirements and plan any visits you might like to schedule.
- Determine whether you’ve taken all the required standardized tests and whether you’re satisfied with your scores and register for any additional test (SAT, SAT IIs and ACT) you may want to take.
Rising seniors, write your college essays this summer!
Focusing on your applications and particularly on writing your essays without the simultaneous pressure of schoolwork is a great way to get your college process underway. Then, when fall comes, you’ll be able to focus on school visits, finalizing your list of schools and completing applications while also concentrating on school work.
A few helpful points to consider include:
- Open a Common App account, if you don’t already have one and read the essay prompts.
- Take a look at the websites for schools you’re considering that may have their own supplemental essays.
- Use your essay as a tool to reveal a side of yourself that isn’t evident in your transcript or test scores. You want to give admissions reps a reason to remember who you are and an incentive to advocate for your candidacy.
- Don’t get hung up on the topic you choose. More important is how you relate that topic to your life circumstances. A topic that’s ordinary and everyday can still help tell your own particular unique story if you do it in a thoughtful way.
- Your essay should convey your own voice. It’s okay to seek out help from a proof reader, but make sure your essay is in your own words. Admissions officers want to hear what you have to say, not your parent or teacher or mentor.