Below is a checklist of some of the things that juniors and their families should be thinking about, discussing and doing over the next few months.
Start talking! Now is the time to start conversations about the next steps after high school. It is important to start “getting on the same page” regarding realistic expectations and hopes.
This is the right time for parents to honestly discuss financial capabilities and how much they can contribute towards their college education. It is important for the student to know how much you can contribute so that they can look at college with realistic eyes.
Remember that financial aid can bring the cost of a college down, so don’t only look at the Sticker Price, but consider financial aid options as well. Parents can get an estimate of what federal aid they might be eligible for at the College Boards EFC Calculator. You can also look at college websites to find out about institutional aid as well.
Learn More About Yourself! This is a really important semester to invest energy in learning more about your academic and social needs. This will be important to help make the transition into college a successful transition. Do you know what you want to study? Do you know what kind of learning environment will be best for you? Do you know what type of location you want to experience college in? Do you know what extracurricular activities you want at your college? Do you know what type of services you will need to succeed academically?
This is a process that may be difficult for many students. I am here to help you. Through assessments and meetings, I can help juniors discover their gifts, talents, college needs and academic goals.
Work hard in your classes! Your junior year is the most important year in your application process. This will be your last semester of grades that will be sent with your applications. Study hard (especially in your academic courses), get extra assistance for the classes you are struggling with, participate in class, and challenge yourself. Also remember – your junior class teachers will be the ones that will fill out your academic references – so get to know your teachers, work hard and be respectful.
Also make sure to select your senior courses thoughtfully. Continue to challenge yourself and take as many Honors, AP and/or IB classes (balance is important – only take as many as you can be successful in). If you received any poor grades, summer will be an important time to retake classes.
Testing! Do you have a testing schedule? Do you know if you are stronger in your ACT or SAT test? Now is the time to be taking your ACT and/or SAT tests so that you do not need to take them during your senior fall semester. Also, do you plan to take any SATII tests? It is important to make your plans now so that this Summer and Fall you can give more energy and time in your applications (not tests).
College Visits! The Spring Semester is the perfect time to visit colleges. Take advantage of Ski Weeks and Spring Breaks. I recommend visiting a few different types of colleges. If you can’t get out of the area, there are a lot of colleges in Southern California — go visit a UC School, a State School and a Private school. Visiting colleges will help you build a strong application list.
Summer Plans. What are you planning to do this summer? Are you going to take summer courses? Have you thought of participating in a summer program? Colleges are looking for you to show intellectual vitality and curiosity. Your summer plans can strengthen your admissions profile if you plan wisely.
Wolf College Consulting is here to help you… let us know how Wolf College Consulting can be part of your college planning process.
Seniors — some of you might be done with your applications, but don’t forget to write thank you cards to those that filled out your letters of recommendation forms. Wolf College Consulting recommends that you do the following when you write your thank you cards:
- The obvious — Thank your teachers, counselors, or pastors for taking the time to write the letters of recommendations to your colleges.
- Another Thank You — Thank them for the ways they have encouraged you, helped you and challenged you. Be specific.
- Keep them posted — Tell them that you will keep them posted as you hear from your colleges. It will really excite them if they hear you were accepted to a school that they wrote a letter to.
- The future — Tell them that you are excited about making the transition to college and tell them they played a key role in preparing you for college success.
- Optional — Add a gift card or a small gift to thank them (this can also be for Christmas too). They will really appreciate it! Remember this is optional and not a necessity.
Wolf College Consulting hopes that you are enjoying the Holiday Season!
As application season has officially begun, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the application deadline terminology. Below you will find information about deadlines and Wolf College Consulting tips.
Early Action – this deadline allows students to apply early (typically in November) and also receive an early admissions decision – acceptance or denial (typically in December or January). This deadline is non-binding which means if accepted you are not required to attend. You may apply to multiple early action colleges. I typically encourage all of my students to mostly apply Early Action for two reasons: typically colleges accept at a higher yield for Early Action applications and some colleges only give academic scholarships to students that apply Early Action.
Early Decision – this deadline allows students to apply Early Decision to ONE college (typically in October or November). Students who apply Early Decision are bound to attend that college if accepted (also known as a “binding” decision). You may apply to other colleges, but only ONE Early Decision. If you are accepted to an Early Decision college, you are required to withdraw all other applications. I only recommend applying Early Decision to a college if you are sure it is your #1 Choice and you are prepared financially for that college.
Early Action Single Choice – to make it confusing there is another “Early” deadline. This deadline allows your to apply early to ONE Early Action Single Choice college, but it is non-binding. You may apply to other Early Action colleges and you are not required to withdraw your applications if you are accepted to the Early Action Single Choice college. If a college offers this type of deadline and it is one of your top colleges, this can be a great option.
Regular Decision – this deadline is typically in January and most notifications are sent by April. If a college also has an Early Action deadline, I first recommend applying Early Action, but some colleges only have Regular Decision deadlines. This in a non-binding application.
Rolling Admission- some colleges do not have a specific deadline and instead have a rolling admission policy. You can apply at any time (typically until May 1 or when they run out of space). When you apply you typically hear back from the school within 2-4 weeks. For Rolling Admission schools, I still recommend applying as early as possible for scholarships and to give you time to make decisions, register for classes, etc.
Please contact Wolf College Consulting if you need help understanding the application process. We are here to help!
It’s that time of the summer … it’s half way over and we are all realizing that the school year is going to begin sooner than we think. Parents and Students… this is a great time to start reviewing your extracurricular activities outside of the classroom. Wolf College Consulting is here to help.
Many students try to involve themselves in too many activities. Others do not find meaningful activities that will give them the skills and passions that colleges are looking for. And, others focus too narrowly on sports and do not have a strong resume outside of sports activities.
Below are some extracurricular activities colleges love to see in your admissions profile:
· Student Government or ASB
· Debate Team, Mock Trial
· Academic Teams: Math, Business, Environment, etc.
· The Arts: Music, Theatre and Visual Arts
· Diversity / Multicultural Clubs
· Community Service
· School Newspaper
Overwhelmed at this list… do not be. You cannot participate in all of these extracurricular activities and colleges do not expect you to. What is important is to show commitment, leadership, passion a growth. But remember… colleges would like to see 4-6 different types of activities on your resume – not just sports. Wolf College Consulting is here to help you discover what extracurricular activities might be best for you. Let us know how we can help.
Summer Time is a great time to relax, enjoy time with friends and family, have fun, build your college resume and prepare for college. Wolf College Consulting has some great tips on what to do this summer.
1) Participate in interesting activities: Summer is a great time to act on your interests, passions and goals. You can do this through internships, volunteer work, clubs or paid positions. Try something creative and productive that reflects your area of interest. For example — if you want to be a doctor, see if you can get a filing job in a doctor’s office, or see if you can volunteer for Red Cross… There are so many great options that can not only help you build your resume, but you can have fun at the same time.
2) Visit some college campuses: Although summer is not the ideal time to visit a campus (due to classes not being in session), sometimes it is your only opportunity to visit campuses. If you are going on a family vacation, plan to visit some campuses near your vacation destination (or on the way). Visiting local colleges is also a great idea. Even though classes are not in session, there are always students working on-campus — make sure to talk to them and ask some questions about the campus community.
3) For Rising Seniors — start your college essays, build your resume and start your applications. Many applications go live on August 1, but you can still start your essays, resumes and academic recommendation requests before the applications are online — just check with the school to make sure their essays have not changed since last year.
4) Study for the SAT/ACT exams — The summer is a great time to focus your studying on the SAT and ACT exams. There are great online and book resources that can be very helpful.
5) Read, Read, Read… Reading is the best way to improve vocabulary and prepare for standardized tests. While reading, make sure to have a dictionary handy for unfamiliar words.
6) Contact Wolf College Consulting to see how their services can help your college planning and application needs.
- Make sure you are staying on track to graduate on time. All high schools have different requirements, make sure you are registering for the classes needed to graduate from your high school.
- Make sure you are taking classes that meet college entrance requirements. For California students, I recommend that all students follow the A-G requirements that are required for the UC and Cal State System. Most private schools also want you to follow the A-G Requirements. Note — when it says “recommended,” I strongly recommend that you do it.
- Take at least 5 solid academic courses. Those include courses in English, Science, Math, History, Social Science and Foreign Language courses.
- When choosing electives, consider taking potential career applicable courses. For example, if you are interesting in Counseling, take a Psychology course; if you are interested in being an art teacher, take an art class; if you are interested in a Communications Major, take Journalism. There are many elective classes that can show colleges that you are not only interested in pursuing a certain major, but you also have the skills to be successful in that major.
- Most schools prefer to admit students who have multiple talents, diverse perspectives, and who also show commitment. Taking 4 years in a language can be a great option for some students (if they can do well in the class); playing sports for all 4 years can show commitment, responsibility and ability to work on a team; taking an Art course shows that you have a unique talent; being on ASB shows that you have leadership skills.
- Only take AP/IB and Honors courses if you can be successful in that class. Colleges would like to see that you are taking a rigorous course load, but more importantly they want to see you succeed in it.
If you would like some extra guidance in helping you pick your classes for the upcoming fall, contact Wolf College Consulting, we would be happy to help.
Juniors – if you are interested in playing sports in college, now is the time to register with the NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Centers. Early registration promotes positive planning and involvement. Coaches will be able to learn more about you and your athletic skills — without registering, they may never find you. Wolf College Consulting would love to help you create your special sports resume as well. Let us know if we can help.
Register for NCAA Eligibility at: www.eligibilitycenter.org
Register for NAIA Eligibility at: http://www.playnaia.org/page/faqs.php
This past weekend I traveled down to San Diego to visit Point Loma Nazarene University and University of San Diego. It was a beautiful day with perfect sunny weather. Check out my facebook page facebook page to see pictures and find out what Wolf College Consulting has to say about the campuses.
USD Campus and Point Loma Campus pictures:
Today Wolf College Consulting visited the University of Redlands Campus. Check out this interview with students about why they decided to attend U of R and why they love it.
Also check out my Wolf College Consulting facebook page and search University of Redlands Photos to find out more information about my visit.
It’s that time of the year … The Holidays are here and it’s time to start thinking about financial aid! As the 2012 year is approaching Wolf College Consulting wanted to give you information to prepare you for the next step in the Application Process – Applying for Financial Aid. Below you will find some important information:
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – http://www.fafsa.ed.gov
- Every student that desires to receive financial aid from the federal government, state government or institution, must fill out the FAFSA (Note some institutions require additional financial aid forms, like the CSS Profile. Make sure you contact the financial aid offices of your institutions to find out what forms are needed)
- You cannot start filling out the FAFSA for the 2012-2013 year until January 1, 2012
- It is recommended that you fill out the FAFSA by February 1, 2012 (as some institutions give priority to students that fill out the FAFSA by that date)
- To prepare for the FAFSA, you can use this worksheet (typically FAFSA updates this form by early December, but it has not yet been updated for 2012-2013). Most likely the questions will not change for 2012-2013. It will still help you prepare for the FAFSA.
- Forms you will need to fill out the FAFSA – W2 Forms, Bank Statements, Tax Forms (including IRS Form 1040, and additional tax forms may be needed). Note if you do not yet have your updated W2 forms or tax returns you can estimate them by using last year’s forms. Later you can update your FAFSA when you receive your official documents.
CAL GRANT –
- Some of you may be eligible for the Cal Grant. Only 2 documents are needed for it – GPA Verification form (filled out by the high school guidance office) and the FAFSA. Note – Parents make sure your child has requested the guidance office at their high school to fill out a GPA Verification Form
- YOU MUST FILL OUT THE FAFSA BY MARCH 2, 2012 TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CAL GRANT
The Financial Aid process and be stressful and confusing. Wolf College Consulting would enjoy the opportunity to help make it less stressful. Let us know how we can help you!