Great (Mostly Free) Resources for Helping Juniors Develop Their College Lists

This is the time of year to help high school juniors begin to develop their college lists. Research shows that many students, especially those who will be the first generation in their family to go to college, develop lists based on what they have heard from friends, where their teachers or counselors have attended, or where they have visited. While many counselors and their students with access to Naviance can use the program’s college-matching resources, there are many of us who need free or cheap resources to help high school juniors with their college research. Let’s start with online resources… I’m First Under-represented students can join I’m First. They register and get access to colleges that are actively recruiting them and even offering them scholarships. The site also provides general encouragement for students to apply to college. First Lady Michelle Obama has provided one of the site's newest videos on getting a college education. College Navigator The … [Read more...]

Finding the Fit: Driving Into the Future

Leading up to the first week of November, my college counselor stayed after school with me to push me towards finishing application supplements. The week before the first of November forced me into essay-writing overdrive. Honestly, I had only started my QuestBridge partner school applications at my college counselor's urging. I imagined on October 22 I would find out I had become a National College Match Finalist. Instead, on October 22, I began a fourteen day trek to finish the required materials eight schools needed. I hardly slept that week, trying to concentrate on the supplemental essays and financial aid forms as best I could with school. Needless to say, I would never go back in time to experience my sleep deprivation. It was so physically and emotionally draining to put everything together. It has been a reflective process for me. I have learned so much about myself, my dreams and how they relate to my plans. However, what I found most difficult to learn about myself is … [Read more...]

Finding the Fit: Lizzie Bennett

In all my seventeen years, I knew January first as the start of a new year, but this year there is a whole new layer to that. Almost all my college applications are due on the first day of 2014 and it’s been a whole month of frantic writing. Common App claims a position as one of the most viewed pages and there can never be enough hot chocolate. Although I started writing my personal statement last summer, there’s nothing like a good old clock to appear next to colleges on the Common App to really boost productivity. The tree is decorated, lights strung, and presents wrapped, but I spent this Christmas in my pajamas racking my brain for ideas about something noteworthy -- ordinary, but meaningful -- that happened in my life. The most important thing to do is research the college fully. Friends asked why I wanted to attend this university or that college and I realized I didn’t know enough to give them a convincing answer. After spending a couple hours thoroughly searching the … [Read more...]

Finding the Fit: 24 and Overboard

I took a deep breath when the clock struck 12 and 2014 began.  I knew that this year would be different.  Besides the fact that I'm turning 25, which is scary in its own right, the spring would bring news of where the rest of my life was going.  School for the fall had been another adventure. Working on the school newspaper as an editor and a part-time job left little time for a social life.  As the days flew by and the weeks seemed to disappear, I knew that the deadline for applying to colleges was fast approaching. Thinking back to the days in early October... So far I have gotten a parking violation, spilled coffee on my math book, and have wanted to run away only twice. #WIN I thought we were supposed to get wiser as we get older? The only thing I've gotten is a 60% on my first math assignment. At this rate, I'll be writing about transferring for the next two years instead of one. However, now that I have had my math melt-down, it's time to research something more … [Read more...]

Finding the Fit: Lizzie Bennett

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a large college in possession of a good rating must be in want of a student. Although Mrs. Bennett urged Lizzie to marry every time they met at the breakfast table or sat together knitting, my mother has been talking to me about college practically forever.  College was an evaluation of her parenting, just as Lizzie’s unmarried status was for Mrs. Bennett. What my mother failed to realize was the fact that more than 4000 amazing educational institutions exist in the United States, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Picking colleges is much like finding a boyfriend: it requires communication, patience, and a lot of honesty. I don’t know how many of us would want to go on a blind date without knowing anything at all. What if you have nothing to talk about? What if you guys have completely different backgrounds? What happens if he was searching for someone with a love for collecting toasters, Thoreau, and technology--and you’re not … [Read more...]