I remember often calling my mother during the summer and complaining how bored I was. She worked outside the home and would spend precious time talking with me. Then she’d ask me to vacuum or dust. Not what I wanted to hear. Back them we didn’t have all the activities and camps that are part of the summer landscape now.
Summer’s a great time to work on college planning. Students aren’t typically as heavily scheduled as they are during the school year. That’s not to say they’re not busy, but there is usually more flexibility. Remember, college planning doesn’t start in high school. Here’s a list of college planning activities:
1. Search the Internet for colleges. College Board’s Big Future is a great site to start. Look at the different types of schools around – large enrollment vs. medium or small; urban, rural, or suburban; private or public; close to home or far away; certificate, two-year, or four-year to name a few. Create a list. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/
2. Develop a resume. Yes, students need resumes. It’s doesn’t have to be extensive but list activities – school, community, church, jobs, and volunteer activities. Update the resume every six months to year. Why? If a student waits until his junior or senior year to write a college resume, it’s hard to remember everything – like that science fair award in 6th grade. The resume doesn’t have to be formatted – it’s just for you at this point.
3. Start working on college application essays. Visit the common application site for a list of sample essay ideas. Pick one or two to work on during the summer. This is especially important for students in high school. Why? Writing is rewriting is rewriting is rewriting. Thoughts that are well-developed and thought through take time. Admission counselors often read hundreds of essays over a few weeks. You don’t want your essay landing in the so what pile. You want it in the smaller, shining star pile. http://blog.commonapp.org/category/essay-prompts/
4. Develop an expertise in something – sports, music, community, politics, journalism, business, science, blogging, or math. Find something you enjoy, pursue it, and practice. Why? Colleges want students who excel They are looking for a well-rounded class – filled with students having varying areas of expertise. Well-rounded students are not what competitive colleges seek.
5. Prep for entrance exams – the SAT, ACT, or both. Both College Board and ACT have free and low-cost options for test prep. Look at test questions. Practice answering questions. Best piece of advice – practice testing under timed conditions; both tests are timed. Even if you’ve taken a timed test at school, it’s likely not as fast-paced as ACT or SAT. Experience test fatigue – sitting for a mind-numbing four hours to test. Ugh! www.act.org and https://student.collegeboard.org/
6. Visit a college campus. It doesn’t even have to be the college you plan on attending. Catch the college’s vibe. Yep, every college has a unique feel. Go to the student union and grab a cup of coffee or bite to eat. Soak up the environment. Does it feel right or make you shutter? Listen to your gut. Visit every college you can within fifty miles. Make it a family event. Compare one college to another. You’ll soon start to understand what works for you.
7. Start investigating scholarships. Yes, there are thousands of scholarships out there and deadlines come early. You will have to do something for most of them – applications, essays, activities – most don’t give away money for nothing. Get a jump on what you need to do. Again, Big Future is a great place to start. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search
8. Occupational research. Figure out how careers relate to college majors. Investigate by reading what’s on the web, ask people about their jobs, and see if you can shadow someone doing the career you think you might like. Take an interest inventory and look at jobs based on interests. There are over 12,000 occupations in the world and new ones are invented while others become outdated. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ Occupational Outlook Handbook Online
9. Work on areas of weak academic content. This could happen through summer camps, tutoring, or online on your own. Use the summer to catch up. Visit Kahn Academy to start. https://www.khanacademy.org/
Remember – stay active during the summer. College planning is a process. Spend five hours a week on college planning during the summer and you’ll be far ahead of most students. The more thoughtful you become about what you want, the more likely you will have a successful experience. That’s what college is about – learning new information and learning how to find your place in the world.
Blogging on college planning at http://www.CollegePlanCoach.com
Sign up for newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bm9DdX – Common sense information for parents, students, and educators
Kira’s books on college planning athttp://www.amazon.com/Kira-Janene-Holt/e/B006Q9ZCZ2 Educational discounts available for purchases of 20 or more copies.
Please sign up for my newsletter! The link to the sign-up form is http://eepurl.com/bm9DdX. Also, please share with others who could use the information.
I didn’t set out to write with a theme of online/non-traditional learning options but it happened. Writing can be like hopping in a car and driving without an end in mind yet being happy with the location upon arriving. Of course, I used to random drive when gas prices were lower.
So here’s information about ways to attend college that don’t cost as much as a house mortgage. I don’t think these options are for every student but will benefit those students who are highly motivated and take charge of their own learning. They are options worth knowing about so that you can investigate if any seem like a good fit.
Here’s my truth about online learning. You don’t have to agree. Online learning will change higher education in the next twenty years more than higher education has changed in the last one hundred years. Online learning will be great for some colleges – those that innovate while other colleges will likely close their doors as technology outpaces the services they provide. Brick and mortar schools will never go away. There are many students that will need the support that real, live, in-person teachers, counselors, and administrators offer in a way that can’t be obtained over a computer. Technology is changing education and puts the student in the driver seat in ways never before seen. That’s exciting and helps students become wise consumers of higher education.
MOOCs vs. Traditional Instruction: Which is Best for College Prep? http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/moocs-vs-traditional-instruction-college-prep-aid-high-school-students-930544864#sthash.ooL3fLmg.dpuf (MOOCs = Massive Online Open Course) Why choose a MOOC over traditional education? Use both. MOOCs can reinforce what’s being taught at school, explain material in a different way, enhance the curriculum, and expose students to courses not offered at their high school. I’ve heard of some MOOCs experimenting with giving certificates of completion. I once took a MOOC – targeted to international students wanting to attend college in the states. MOOCs are one way education will continue to change.
MOOC alert – I’ll always define educational words that people assume everyone knows. What’s the deal with MOOCs? MOOCs – some of the nation’s best teachers from the best colleges (think Harvard, Yale, Stanford) have put their classes online and anyone can take them for free. Nice! You get the knowledge but no college credit (that will change). Tens of thousands sign up for classes so there’s no one-to-one teaching but people still learn from the best. The good news is there’s experimentation with certificates of completion for students who do the work. MOOCs will continue to evolve.
Pay for Classes You Pass! Arizona State University Offering Online Freshman Class for Free
Speaking of experimentation with MOOCs, Arizona State University has become a leader in online learning innovation. Students can take general freshmen classes and decide if that want to pay for credit after finishing the course. That’s the kick the tires before you buy of college credit. While I don’t advocate this approach to education for those students who may need lots of support, those who can work independently well might want to investigate. Want to learn more? https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/04/23/arizona-state-edx-team-offer-freshman-year-online-through-moocs
Another Free College Tuition Option – Want to Attend College in Germany?
Germany is not charging tuition for international students attending colleges in their country. WoW! Don’t pack your bags yet, remember there are costs of travel involved as well as language issues. Attending college in other countries is not the same as college in the U.S. Again, I would say this option is for motivated, highly independent students. Me, I had a beautiful golden retriever named Cyrene in college that I never could have left to study abroad. This article addressed language and travel but please investigate if this seems like an option for you. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/get-a-free-college-degree-passport-required/
Would You Believe Someone Earned his MBA in Five Months?
Yep! Western Governor’s University is a fully accredited online university with a competency-based learning model. Competency-based means that when a student demonstrates class knowledge, the student passes and moves on to another class. This friend worked on his MBA eighteen hours a day to move through his program fast – but his MBA cost him under $5000.00. Western Governor’s University is online. They only offer degrees in four areas – Business, Education, IT (Information Technology), and Nursing. Want to check out WGU? http://www.wgu.edu/
FREE SAT Prep
I love the word free. Free! Free! Free! How about you? Do you like free? Kahn Academy and College Board have partnered to provide free test prep for the SAT. Yahoo! I love this as it helps level the playing field for test prep. This URL allows you to link to the current version of SAT or new SAT. Remember, it’s changing in March 2016.
Opinion alert – The new SAT will look more like the ACT. Did you know many of the test developers bosses moved from ACT to College Board to work on the new SAT? How do I know? I worked at ACT for 18 years and know some of the folks that went to work for College Board. College Board even opened an office in Iowa City (ACT headquarters). Why is this important? I think with the new SAT, preparing for one test will likely help prepare for both SAT and ACT. This will work more for the test content than test structure – timing and such. Will have to wait to see what curriculum people say in terms of test questions. For students taking both SAT and ACT after March 2016, I would really like to hear what they think.
Are You Being Recruited by a Coach?
I ran across this article today and thought it was a good one to share. I remember going to a session on college athletic recruiting at a conference and being surprised by what the coaches shared about recruiting athletes. http://usatodayhss.com/2015/recruiting-column-are-you-really-being-recruited
Visit my website https://CollegePlanCoach.com where I blog about college planning if you haven’t had enough college planning information. I also post my newsletters there. Drop me a note. Let me know if you have questions about college planning. If you have questions, other people have the same question. Let me know if you’d like me to spotlight a particular college. Tell me what you like about the college – especially if you attended and can provide an insider’s view.
Kira’s Books http://www.amazon.com/Kira-Janene-Holt/e/B006Q9ZCZ2 is where you can find my books on college planning:
Cookbook for Getting Your Kid to College – now in Spanish.
Coaching Your Kid to Success: Helping Tweens & Teens Score College, Career, & Life Skills
Designing a College Plan Unique to YOU
I provide educational discounts to schools, associations, and non-profits when ordering 20 or more copies. Contact me at KiraJaneneHolt@gmail.com if I can help.
1. Your kid needs to lead his/her college planning process. As a parent, your role is to assist and support, not do it. The more information you have that is accurate and current, the better able you are to assist your kid. Rumors run rampant.
2. There are many college readiness professionals who are ready, willing, and able to assist. There are also people wanting to part you from your hard-earned money. Stay aware, and know that if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Don’t pay for services that can be free.
3. College planning starts in elementary school with awareness of the importance of studying (why school is important) and career investigation. The pace picks up in middle school and again as high school freshman. Decisions start during the junior year. Don’t wait!
4. Beginning the college planning process during your kid’s senior year means there is little time as college deadlines are quickly approaching. That said many students don’t start thinking about college until their senior year. Don’t panic – there is time!
5. It’s okay to expect your kid to contribute to the finances of his education. Every family has different needs and expectations. The path the neighbors took with their kid and college may be very different from the path you will take with your kid.
6. Don’t rule out private schools because their cost may be more than a down payment on a home. Many private schools offer aid and their costs become comparable to that of a public school. Use college net price calculators.
7. Know that there are plenty of good schools out there that are not among the most competitive schools in the nation or state. The key is finding one that “fits” your kid’s needs.
8. Understand that your kid will NOT be classified as independent for financial aid purposes until he/she is 24 or a college graduate. This means your income will be considered. You and your kid will complete a Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) as soon as you can after January 1 of senior year.
9. Be mindful of deadlines. These include college admission testing, college applications, and financial aid deadlines. A college may have a different application deadline from its financial aid deadline. Deadlines are hard. Look at it from the school’s perspective – if your kid can’t make those deadlines, will he turn in his homework on time? Keep records of deadlines!
Sign up for my newsletter, College Plan Coach, at http://eepurl.com/bm9DdX
Welcome to my first newsletter. I hope it provides information that will be helpful to you, your kids, or your students. I’ve tried to keep it to the point because your time is precious and I don’t want to waste it. Please let me know if there is information you would like me to research and share. I’ll do my best to make this meaningful for you. Please share and invite others to join the newsletter.
High School Athletes – Tips for Scholarships
What steps do high school athletes need to take when looking for college scholarships. I think his article provides common sense advice for all students seeking ability scholarships. Great resource for counselors to share with students, coaches, and parents. Of course, there’s a football picture on the article but the advice holds true for all sports. http://usatodayhss.com/2015/college-recruiting-rules-of-engagement
Top-Ranked High Schools in Nation – US News
Want to see if a high school in your area is one of the top-ranked high schools in the nation or state? Just as US News ranks colleges, it ranks high schools too. Could be important for people considering changing schools or to those thinking about applying to a charter school. Helpful too for those moving over the summer. What I like is the overview of each school – a little glimpse of what makes it special. http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools
How College Majors Develop
Thinking about college majors? Not everyone knows what they want to study in college. That’s okay! Truth is new majors and occupations arise when there’s a need. Twenty years ago nobody would have thought retirement planning would be a business specialty; it is now! When there’s a need, colleges create programs. It won’t be long before we see colleges across the nation offering retirement planning as a major or specialty within business programs. Read about this new program. http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2015/05/14/retirement-income-certified-professional-becomes-a
SAT Changes Spring 2016
You’ve probably already heard that The SAT will be changing in Spring 2016. Want to learn more about the changes? https://www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/sat/redesign That’s what College Board has to say. Every college prep firm (people pay to have students prepared for ACT/SAT) is advising students to skip the first two or three administrations of The SAT. They suggest testing prior to the change or take the ACT instead. Why? While College Board has been planning for the new test, that doesn’t mean first administrations will be a smooth process – testing or grading. Test prep companies don’t want their clients included in the mistakes that could be made. The new SAT will look more like the ACT anyway, and every college will take either ACT or SAT. It’s up to you.
Searching for Colleges – Big Future = Best Resource
Speaking of College Board, have you looked at their college search site, Big Future? It’s a dandy with great college planning information. I want students visiting trusted sites to search and learn about colleges. Why? College planning is one of those places where Internet sharks are out to take students and parent’s money. It’s important to use sites that can be trusted. College Board delivers The SAT College Entrance Exam. They’ve been around a long time and work with colleges to provide sound information. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/
Spotlight on Grinnell College https://www.grinnell.edu/ located in South-central Iowa. What I like about Grinnell? If accepted, they work hard to meet all financial need (1.8 billion in endowment = rich school)
- About 1,600 students;
- 9:1 student-to-professor ratio;
- 7th nationally in the percentage of Ph.D.s per graduate;
- 38 majors and interdisciplinary concentrations;
- 25% domestic students of color;
- 200+ student groups – 0 fraternities and sororities;
- 40% of Grinnellians complete a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP);
- 13% international students;
- 500+ course offerings;
- More than 50% of Grinnellians study abroad;
- 500+ events, lectures, performances, and symposia per year;
- 20 NCAA Division III varsity sports;
- 51% of Grinnellians hold an advanced degree 10 years after graduation;
- Individualized curricular planning and advising;
- No core requirements beyond First-Year Tutorial;
- Independent majors are possible;
- Strong commitment to social responsibility;
- Consistently ranked among the nation’s best liberal arts colleges
- $1.8 billion endowment supporting academic programs and student life.
Download the free Kindle App
Download the free Kindle App from Amazon on phone, tablet, or computer. Why? You can download free books and read on the device you use the most. Would you believe I read on my phone under the covers at night? I don’t want to wake hubby or dogs. I can learn how to make websites, newsletters, or read articles on college planning and readiness for free. I let you know when I’m giving away my books as well as point you to books you can download on college planning https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=pd_sl_9ns220msf3_b. Here’s the secret – some books are only free for 1 – 5 days (that’s all Amazon allows) so you have to act fast.
Kira’s College Planning Website
Visit my website at https://CollegePlanCoach.com where I blog about college planning if you haven’t had enough college planning information via this newsletter. Let me know if you have a question about college planning. If you have a question, other people have the same question.. Let me know if you’d like me to spotlight a college or send me a college spotlight if you’re a recent graduate. Tell me what you like about it – give us an insider’s view.
http://www.amazon.com/Kira-Janene-Holt/e/B006Q9ZCZ2 is where you can find my books on college planning. I provide 50% educational discounts for schools and non-profits when ordering 20 or more copies. Contact me at KiraJaneneHolt@gmail.com if books are of interest.
Share the news – forward the newsletter so others can sign up at http://eepurl.com/bm9DdX
Ever read a solicitation for a donation that moves you? This letter moved me. I’m not sure if it’s more great news and you can send a donation if compelled. It’s the most positive letter I’ve received as long as I can remember. The author focuses on the work Urban Prep High School is doing and the achievements their students have made. In terms of college planning, Urban Prep seems to be doing it right. I took out the Click here to learn more or make a donation but left the author’s email address. What do you think?
I am incredibly proud to inform you that for the sixth consecutive year, 100% of Urban Prep graduates have been admitted to college. We made this announcement during Urban Prep’s College Signing Day assembly where our 260 seniors, all Black males and mostly from low-income families, publicly declared their final college choices; thereby making a collective promise to see their talents and hard-work to and through college.
Urban Prep’s graduating seniors have amassed over $11 million in scholarships to attend over 180 different colleges including Amherst, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Howard, Kenyon, Morehouse, Northwestern, Princeton, Williams and the University of Illinois. Urban Prep’s Class of 2015 set new records as one senior was accepted into four Ivy League colleges and the class has more recipients of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship than any school in Illinois.
In the face of obstacles in their lives and the overbearing story of failure that looms over young Black males, our students are changing the narrative from one focused on negativity, to a narrative in which academic achievement, intellectual prowess, and college-bound prospects are the new norm. Urban Prep students’ accomplishments are not a fleeting whisper, but rather an enduring roar, drowning out the din of doubt and despair about the future of young Black males in America.
This is what happens when we dare to speak new words of and for our children. This is what happens when we are our Brothers’ Keepers. This is what happens when we change the narrative. This is what happens when–with your continued support–We Believe…100%.
Tim King;Founder & CEO
Urban Prep Academies
420 N Wabash, Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60611
312-276-0259, ext. 1111
Sign up for Kira’s newsletter on college planning at http://eepurl.com/bm9DdX