Here’s to hoping my copious notes from last night’s Applying to College class were effective. I guess I’ll have to refer to my Organization and Study Skills worksheets to put this blog together.
Lots of information from the class! Biggest takeaway, use Naviance with your students and understand things have changed and continue to change!
Now that I mentioned it, let’s talk Naviance. Every high school student in DCSD has it. Once a student has registered with his/her student counselor, this is the sign on to the tool to make the college application process so much easier and organized:
USERNAME: Last name, 1st initial, Middle initial
Password: Your Student ID
Once in Naviance, parents and students can:
- Fill out a career interest profile
- Do scholarship searches
- Sign up for meetings with colleges during school visits
- Complete a personality profile for letters of recommendation
- Use the resume builder
The greatest thing about Naviance is the Supermatch, where a high school student inputs the most important needs or wants of a prospective college and the system searches and provides a list of colleges, which also includes admissions requirements and other areas. It’s a tremendous tool. Go online and play with it!
We also discussed the SAT and ACT. Lots of changes going on with the SAT and in Colorado, the ACT is a mandatory test for all high school juniors. Schools take your highest scores from testing and it is said that retesting usually brings the cumulative score up one point the next time it’s taken.
All Colorado colleges and universities accept the ACT. For the SAT, it is undergoing major changes that will align it more closely to the ACT, including an optional writing test. The last test in the current SAT format will be given in December of this year. So, you may want your student to take it prior to December and again in February, for a comparative test score.
Tests are given six months out of the year in February, April, June, September, October and December.
It’s important to know what tests prospective colleges require students to submit during the application process. Some universities which have specific schools, may require that the prospective student take an SAT subject test for the student’s desired major. There are nine subject tests. Check with the school.
There are many free testing resources online and even at the Douglas County library. High schools offer practice tests so have your student check with the counselor. Douglas County libraries also have practice testing once a month.
For study and practice testing guides, go to any of these sites:
Now, for admissions. The best time to apply is August – October of the student’s senior year. The best protocol to follow is “early action.” This means that you apply early, get your answers early. It is assumed that acceptance rates are higher by following this process. Also, apply for scholarships concurrently with the application for best results. Some schools allow applications the summer before the senior year. Check with each school.
Have your student, not you, call admissions to talk to them about the process, any information on campus visits and have them visit the prospective campuses. Some students may not like the campus once they arrive. Check it out before hand.
About that large college expense…first of all, $13 billion in scholarships are available. Check with your employer or membership organizations. They usually have scholarships available and the competition is low. Did you know there is even a scholarship for the zombie apocalypse? Scholarships are not always merit based so be sure to do some research.
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) offers tuition discounts for going to school in a western state. All Colorado students who attend college in Colorado receive a $1500 credit through the Opportunity Fund for Colorado.
Also, a way to lower cost is to talk to high school counselors about concurrent enrollment. Some students are graduating high school with enough credits to enter college as a junior. Check into each DCSD high school’s concurrent enrollment program and take advantage!
Also, don’t be dismayed by the price tag of private colleges and universities. They usually have more scholarship and grant assistance available.
So, that’s the takeaway from last night’s class. First step, Naviance. If you need further details, let me know. College application is a big deal and, armed with info, you can be successful, and not stressful, in it!