High School Juniors: You Need a Relationship with Your Counselor

No Comments 08 November 2017

Junior year of high school is the most important of high school. Your high school counselor can guide you through this vital year. Here are a few reasons to build a solid relationship with your counselor.

Picking classes. You obviously need to fulfill certain requirements, but with the help of a counselor, you can select classes that fulfill those requirements and impress colleges. Your counselor will know exactly what a college wants to see on your transcript.

College selection. Unsure where to go to college? Your counselor can help with that. He or she will be familiar with your academic performance and have a general knowledge of what plenty of colleges out there are looking for.

College questions. When the time comes to apply to college, you are bound to have questions. This is especially true if you are a first-generation student. Your counselor has been through this multiple times and they have seen almost every situation out there. Rely on them for help.

Scholarships. As long as your College Greenlight profile is up-to-date, we will continue to match you with scholarships. A second resource doesn’t hurt, though. Your counselor can help you find local scholarships.

Mentorship. Everyone can use an extra support system during the college application process. Your counselor can be that person for you. They understand this process and the stress that comes with it. Don’t be afraid to go to your counselor for help.


Tips for Getting a Letter of Recommendation

No Comments 06 November 2017

When you apply for college, you should submit letters of recommendation, typically from a teacher, employer or mentor. A mentor or teacher can write a great letter of recommendation. Here are some tips for getting a letter of recommendation.

Follow directions. This might seem like a given, but make sure you follow all instructions before submitting a letter of recommendation.

The letter should clearly state your strengths. Make sure the person who writes your letter understands why you deserve a letter of recommendation. Also, make sure the writer of the letter states how long they have known you. Before you submit the letter, make sure it clearly states why you should attend a certain college or university.

Be prepared. Submit a resume to the person writing your letter of recommendation. This will speak to your academic experience. Meet with the person reviewing your resume in person to focus on what you are fighting for.

Focus on a particular college. Talk to the letter writer about a particular college you are applying to. Encourage them to talk about your specific ability to succeed at a college. Even if the letter comes off as a bit more specific, ask your teacher or mentor to focus the letter on one aspect of your academic life.

Stay positive. Make sure to emphasize your positive traits for why you belong at a college. Make sure your letter writer focuses on this throughout your letter. Specific positive remarks help you stand out.

Avoid clichés. No one wants to read clichés in your letter of recommendation. Make sure the person writing your letter avoids phrases such as “hard worker” or “exceptional student.” The letter should have specific reasons, with examples, for why you deserve a spot at a specific college or university.


Is Senior Year too Late to Plan for College?

No Comments 01 November 2017

If you realize your college dream a little later than others, don’t worry. You can plan for college as a high school senior. Here are some tips for how to do that:

Check out college application dates. Sure, some colleges have November 1 deadlines, but there are plenty out there that have late deadlines. In fact, many colleges have January, February or May 1 deadlines. You might find a college that has rolling admissions deadline.

Take an admissions test. Before you consider applying to college, you need to take the SAT or ACT. The SAT has a test date December 2 and the ACT has a test date December 9. Colleges sometimes accept applications without test scores and allow you to send them later, but it’s smart to register as soon as possible. College Greenlight offers resources for free SAT prep and free ACT prep.

Do extra preparation. Use your remaining time in high school to spruce up your resume. See if you can squeeze in some honors/AP classes, volunteer experience and extracurriculars.

Remember, a gap year is a perfectly acceptable way to spend your next year. You can use that time to prepare for college applications for the next academic year.

Admissions, Scholarships

How to Write a Great Personal Statement

No Comments 24 October 2017

Sometimes, college and scholarship applications ask for a personal statement, which is sometimes called a personal essay. This is an opportunity to introduce yourself. You share your academic and professional goals in a personal statement.

Here are some tips for writing a memorable personal statement:

Read directions. This might be a given, but be sure to read the prompt. And after that, read the prompt again. If a committee sees careless mistakes within your personal statement, they will be less likely to take you seriously.

Tailor each personal statement to the specific college or scholarship. Every college and scholarship is different. Do research and see why each particular program or award interests you. Talk about how your previous academic experience would make this a good fit.

Be yourself. This is the committee’s chance to meet the real you. They want to hear about important moments in your life. Write about your talents, passions and other ways you spend your time. Show the committee what helped you to become the person you are today.

Show diversity. Why are you different than the other students applying to this college or scholarship? If you are a first-generation or low-income student, this is a great chance to write about that experience. How did you overcome those hurdles and how will this college or scholarship help you to achieve your dreams?

Find an editor. Poor spelling and grammar detract from a personal statement. Find someone you trust to look at it before you submit it. Ask your editor if the flow of the personal statement works and if it accurately represents who you are.


Why Applying Early Is Your Secret Weapon

No Comments 12 October 2017

Applying early to the college of your dreams could be the key to being admitted.

It’s no secret that more prestigious colleges such as Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University are more difficult to get into than other colleges. When you apply to these institutions, you are up against applicants with near perfect grades, test scores and GPAs. According to The Washington Post, “acceptance rates have plummeted at the most competitive colleges as the number of applications has increased.”

That might seem intimidating. But what colleges like this aren’t sharing is a chunk of the spots in their incoming freshman classes are filled by early decision applicants.

Colleges across the board are reporting higher number of early applications than last year. In March, it was released that American University accepted 82.6 percent of its early decision applicants – that breaks down to one third of the incoming freshman class.

Anna Donahue writes “in the past, early decision acceptance rates have ranged roughly from 85 to 89 percent. This is a much higher acceptance rate than the university’s overall acceptance rate, which dropped to 25.7 percent last year.”

The admissions process, however, favors wealthier students, as they are more likely to pay for higher tuition amounts. “The biggest group of students graduating from high school in the decades ahead are those from the lowest income levels,” The Washington Post reported.

All institutions, prestigious or not, will have to adjust their process to accommodate this growing segment of students.

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