Make Your College Search Productive!

The college application process is just around the corner. Summer is the time to prep for the SAT and ACT exams in the fall. Consistent timed practice sessions and identifying incorrect responses with an understanding of why your answers were incorrect are the key to improving your score. Check out our website for a list of recommended preparation resources found on our book list page: http://www.yourjourneytocollege.com/Books.html 
Don't forget to check colleges at www.fairtest.org for a list of schools that place less emphasis on testing scores for admission. 

Summer is also a time to apply for scholarships and there are many available! On our Products page, you will find a comprehensive scholarship article outlining internet resources as well as relevant books. We highly recommend The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2016:  (http://www.ultimatescholarshipbook.com) which contains thousands of up to date scholarship resources with application links. While applying does take time and dedication, it can pay off! You can also check out www.meritaid.com for specific scholarships available at colleges you are applying to. 

We also recommend using this summer to outline an essay or two and create some drafts. The essay is an important part of the application and can either make or break a candidate. Read through our essay advice at: http://www.yourjourneytocollege.com/uploads/YJTC_The_College_Essay.pdf

Don't forget to create a comprehensive activity resume that will outline your strengths, interests and talents! Participation in community service activities is highly recommended. Check out: www.longislandvolunteercenter.org for organizations that are looking for volunteers on Long Island.

Contact us if we can be of assistance with the upcoming process! We offer           comprehensive packages which are outlined on our website as well as hourly services.

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Websites for Parents

There is a lot of information available about college planning however it can be overwhelming. Below are some helpful college planning websites for parents:

Campus Security Statistics, US Department of Education
http://ope.ed.gov/security A direct link to reported crimes at over 6000 colleges and universities.

Saving for College - www.savingforcollege.com offers a comprehensive list of state-sponsored college savings plans, also known as 529 plans, for families of all income levels.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities - www.HBCUConnect.com provides free information and services for HBCU students, parents and faculty and serves as a cohesive link for colleges.

Education Resources from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute -www.chci.org provides a directory of internships, fellowships, and scholarships for Latino youth.

Scholarship and Financial Aid Scams - www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0082-scholarship-and-financial-aid-scams The Federal Trade Commission shows students how to identify fraudulent programs.

Information for students with learning disabilities - www.ldonline.comprovides an overview of what to look for in a college, how to prepare your child and identifies colleges with good programs.

Career development sites: Here are two useful resources:
www.nycareerzpne.org has a free career assessment and links to research on specific careers
www.careeronestop.org A US Department of Labor job search site.

Applications Do's & Don'ts

Here are some tips for students who will be filling out college applications this summer. The Common Application becomes active on August 1st, so get ready!
Applications Do's & Don'ts:
Do:
Make sure there are no spelling errors at all on your application. (Make sure your name is spelled correctly; errors have happened)
Answer every question completely and thoroughly.
Highlight your strengths and talents so you stand out from the crowd.
Be selective about who you ask to write your recommendation; make sure they know you well and give them information to draw from. Waive your right to see this information as that decision is noted at the college level.
Complete all optional sections of the application, including essays.
Submit earlier rather than later: watch deadlines carefully.
Choose an appropriate email address for correspondence with admissions officials.
Watch content you post on social media sites: this may be investigated.

Don"t:
Omit information or provide incorrect information on applications.
Forget to attach a comprehensive activity resume that showcases your accomplishments outside of the classroom.
Procrastinate and begin to work on this information at the last minute. It will be reflected in your application.
Submit a poorly written essay; this is an integral part of your application.
Portray a picture of someone you are not; you should be looking for the right fit for you!
Forget to complete supplemental applications if required; scholarship and honors programs may entail a separate application as well.

Check out our comprehensive list of do's and don'ts at:
http://www.yourjourneytocollege.com/uploads/YJTC_Applications_Dos___Don_ts.pdf

Good luck!

Extra-curricular Activities Matter

Getting involved in extra-curricular activities is important for many reasons. These experiences allow high school students to meet other individuals who share similar interests and they may develop new friendships this way. Exploring new venues could lead to interest in a career path for a student as well. Listing activities, both in and out of school, is part of the college application and students can create an activity resume that is included with their application. It is a positive factor when there are activities to list, such as clubs, sports, special talent areas, employment, or volunteer experiences. A substantial listing could positively sway a decision. Admission officials want students on their campus who are active and involved; a student who is active in high school is more likely to make contributions to the college community. 

Encourage your child to remain active in areas they enjoy.Remember to keep a list of all activities from grade nine on. Keep in mind that it is preferable to show dedication and commitment to a few areas than have a listing of many areas that reflects little investment.


Check out this site for a comprehensive listing of Long Island volunteer opportunities: www.longislandvolunteercenter.org



The College Essay



The college essay is the part of the application that students often dread and procrastinate about however, it is an integral part. It is also one that needs a significant amount of time and attention. The essay is the chance for applicants to showcase aspects of themselves which define who they are and to show what sets them apart from other students. The essay will provide an opportunity for the student to highlight their values, strengths and talents as well as show what matters to them. They are given the opportunity to show what experiences they have been affected by as well. The essay should reflect the applicant's strongest attributes and passions. It should be well-written, creative and error-free.

Here are some tips for writing an essay that stands out:

Be yourself and be authentic. Misrepresenting yourself will not benefit you in finding a school that is a good match. In addition, admissions counselors are adept at reading between the lines and sniffing out inauthentic writing. The "voice" of a seventeen year old differs from that of an adult. Although your essay should be grammatically correct and error-free, make sure the words and content are your own.

Make sure to highlight what will set you apart from other students: This is not a time to brag, but it is not a time to be shy either. Show, rather than tell, through a creative avenue what you will bring to the college campus. Admissions counselors are looking to create a diverse campus community. What will you contribute?

Dedicate time to the process of writing an exceptional essay. Don't procrastinate; revise, revise & revise!

Make your essay interesting for the reader. Admission counselors read tons of essays. Let yours stand out by writing a creative story that captures their interest, while demonstrating who you truly are.

Ask for opinions from parents, relatives, counselors or teachers and listen to the feedback with an open mind however, the decision on what the essay should consist of should be yours.

Some other tips:

Don't ever plagiarize.
Try removing the first and last paragraph and see if it looks cleaner.
Humor is subjective and can be misconstrued; use it carefully.
Don't be wordy; get your point across in a concise manner.

Enjoy the process and view it as your opportunity to find a great match!

Websites for College Planning

College research can be overwhelming. There is a wealth of information available and sometimes it is hard to know where to look. Our consultants have compiled an exceptional list of on-line resources to assist with college planning and research. We have listed sites that provide information on topics such as: resources for students with disabilities, information for athletes, SAT & ACT preparation, planning tools and organizers, college fairs and tours as well as scholarship and financial aid advice. Check out the list at:

http://www.yourjourneytocollege.com/Website_Resources.html


College Costs

A recent Newsday article shared that a survey conducted of the nation's college freshmen  found the percentage of students attending their first-choice college is at the lowest level in four decades. Students and their families are becoming more mindful of college costs and are shying away from taking out exorbitant loans. The survey conducted by UCLA found that while more than three-quarters of those who started college were accepted to their first choice school, only about half of those decided to attend. Cost is increasingly become a predominant factor in college decisions.

Prospective college students need to carefully compare college costs, including room and board, books, travel expenses, and spending money. The first tuition bill that arrives shortly after making a deposit can be a rude awakening for many. Look carefully at your college list to make sure it includes "financial safeties". Although the prospect of researching colleges can be exciting, do not get swept away by the process and disregard college costs as part of the picture. It is important to have a candid discussion within the family early in the process about this. Don't forget to look for "no loan" colleges — ones who have made a commitment to reduce student loan debt. In addition, consider premier public universities in and out of state. You can also compare merit aid rates at colleges and see if you qualify for scholarship money.

Below is a useful government site that helps you compare college statistics such as merit aid percentage and estimated cost of attendance based on income:    http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/