Research College Entrance and Applications
Now is the time to really dig into your college research (if you haven’t already started).
It is important that you understand the entry requirements for all of the universities or colleges that you are interested in applying to as they can vary from state to state. You also should begin looking at the applications to ensure you are aware of what you need to accomplish early senior year. Each college within a university may have its own additional GPA or test score requirements. Meet with your counselor or career center team to discuss what you plan to major in so they can help you be on track.
Your College Search: Begin with Your Major/Career in Mind
Hopefully, you have had a chance to hear from at least a few college/career representatives either through sitting in on formal presentations or visiting a table display during lunch. When trying to figure out where your studies will take you after high school, start with your end goal in mind. College is not the end goal, it is a path to a career. There are a number of college search engines you can use to help you decipher the best course of study to get you to the career you desire.
College Fair or Tours
Attend a college fair or request a campus tour!
Attend the NACAC College Fair (National Association for College Admission Counseling) at the Phoenix Convention Center! Don't miss this opportunity to meet with representatives from hundreds of colleges throughout the nation.
Attend the Mesa Public Schools College Fair – this annual event allows you to meet college reps, and learn about out of state, in state and community college programs and campuses. Over 100 colleges, and high school programs are represented at the Mesa Public Schools College Fair.
College Fair Tips – Use these tips from NACAC to make the most out of the experience.
Why should I pre-register? Provide your information one time through a simple, online registration page instead of dozens of times on prospect cards at each college table.
Review In-state and Out-of-state University Entrance Requirements
It is important that you know what the entry requirements are for all of the universities you are planning to apply to.
You don’t want to find out too late that you don’t qualify. Take the time to look up each university/college and check their undergraduate entry requirements. Double-check your high school transcript and course requests for each year to ensure you are on track in meeting these.
Gather These Items Before Applying
Here are a few things you should gather before beginning your college applications:
- HS Transcript - If applying in-state, you will use this as a reference when self-reporting your grades.
- Dual Enrollment Transcripts- If you have taken any dual enrollment classes.
- Résumé/List of Activities & Awards
- Standardized Test Scores (ACT/SAT)
- Application Fee or Fee Waive
- Personal Statement or Essays*
- Letters of Recommendation*
*= depending on college or program
Personal Statements & College Essays
A well-written personal statement/college essay can make the difference between being admitted into the university of your choice, obtaining a scholarship or not receiving it.
Your personal statement or essay is your chance to show what is unique about you and to get the admissions or scholarship committees’ attention. It is worth taking the time on this, so don’t delay, start writing this today.
For tips on what goes into a good personal statement, check out these resources:
College Essay Guy - Free Guide to Writing a Personal Statement
Article: 9 Essay Writing Tips to ‘Wow' College Admissions Officers – usatoday.com
Article: How to Write the Best Personal Statement - GoingMerry.com
Letters of Recommendation
You may need letters of recommendation for university applications, scholarships, or reference letters for employment. Plan ahead!
The best practice is to give your recommender at least a three weeks notice before it is needed. Here is a form you can fill out and provide to your recommender with information to help them.
Free/Reduced Lunch Application – for More than Just School Lunches!
Free and reduced-price meals are available to families who qualify. If your family chooses to apply, please fill out a Free & Reduced Meal Application.
Did you know that if you qualify for assistance through the National School Lunch Program (NLSP), you may eligible to receive fee waivers for the SAT/ACT exams, some College Applications and fee reductions for AP Exams?
From the College Board:
"The College Board fee-waiver service assists qualified, economically disadvantaged students who plan to take the: SAT/SAT Subject Tests/PSAT/NMSQT/AP Exams. A student must be either enrolled in or eligible to participate in, the National School Lunch Program (NLSP) in order to receive a fee waiver. Schools participating in new federal programs such as Community Eligibility may not be able to use the NLSP criterion to identify and verify individual student fee-waiver eligibility. However, several other criteria or indicators can still be used to confirm eligibility for fee-waiver benefits."
For more information, please speak with your Counselor.