Prepare for College, Resources

Community Based Organization Spotlight: 10,000 Degrees

No Comments 20 January 2017

10,000 Degrees is a community-based organization dedicated to achieving educational equity. This organization, located in San Rafael, CA,  aims to support low-income students who demonstrate a need for access to higher education. Participants leave this program poised to impact their communities and the world.

Every 10,000 Degrees participant comes from a low-income household. Ninety percent of students are first-generation, and 84 percent of participants are people of color. The organization offers multiple programs to provide college accessibility.

One program is the 10,000 Degrees Institution. This four-day program is open to rising high school sophomores and juniors from Marin or Sonoma County, Calif., who demonstrate financial need. Participants receive a crash course in college life during The program; they live with a roommate, learn how to choose a college and pay for tuition. They also receive tips for succeeding on the ACT/SAT.

After attending the program, participants automatically become a part of the 10,000 Degrees Year-Round Program. A 10,000 Degrees college advisor guides students through the college application and financial aid processes.

10,000 Degrees has prepared 18,700 students for college. These alumni often return to assist the 6,200 students and families that 10,000 Degrees serves each year. 10,000 Degrees students also receive $14.4 million annually in financial aid. Each student receives an average financial aid package of $16,000 each year. The aid does not include loans and does not need to be paid back.

Students served by the organization are annually awarded $2.6 billion in scholarships. The 10,000 Degrees Undergraduate scholarships are open to students who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must be enrolled in a program full time toward their first associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or teaching credential for the 2017-2018 school year.

10,000 Degrees offers a number of undergraduate scholarships. The majority are open to students from Marin and Sonoma County, Calif.. A few, however, are open to students from the Bay Area.

Apply for the 10,000 Degrees Institution by March 2.

Prepare for College, Resources

Winter Break Checklist

No Comments 26 December 2016

The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here – it’s winter break! A time for catching up with friends and celebrating the holidays with loved ones. This is also a great opportunity to get a head start on college applications. Here are some suggestions for how to spend your time over break.

Search for scholarships. Is your College Greenlight profile up to date? The more information you give us in your profile, the more scholarships we can match you to! While you’re on break from school, this is a great time to go out into your community to look for local scholarship opportunities. Community scholarships may be smaller in award amount, but those amounts add up! Visit places like your library, local businesses, and your community newspapers to get started.

Find volunteer opportunities. Academic excellence is vital in college, but it is not the only thing schools want to see. Colleges are looking for well-rounded students to add to their student body. A great way to show this is by volunteering in your area. Colleges value students who are active citizens in their community. A shelter, a local chapter of a national organization, or your church are great places to look for volunteer positions.

Go on college visits. Are you interested in any colleges fairly close to home? Winter break is a great time to check out these schools! While students will not be on campus at these times, it is still valuable to visit. You’ll be able to get a feel for the campus and have questions answered by various members of the college’s staff.

Write college application essays. A good essay will take a lot of thought and time. For those applications due in the second half of the school year, winter break is a great time to gather your thoughts and start writing those essays. If you take a few days to develop an idea, plan out your essay, and then compose, as opposed to doing it all a few days before your essay is due, you will likely see better results!

Work on your Greenlight Scholars Application. Use winter break to make sure your Greenlight Scholars Application is in tip-top shape! Clean up your social media accounts. Make sure there’s nothing on there you wouldn’t want a college admissions counselor to see. Take the time to reflect on the colleges you’re interested in to see if there are any other colleges you should add to your list.

One suggestion for your winter break – relax! Recharge your batteries and finish out the school year strong!

Prepare for College

Summer Melt Checklist: Get To College This Fall!

1 Comment 14 June 2016

Did you know that anywhere between 10%-40% of students who are intending to go to college—that have even been accepted and paid their deposits—still don’t make it to campus in the fall?  This happens for many reasons, one being that even though you’re accepted, there is still a bit of work to do before actually making it to college.  First-gen students are particularly at risk for this phenomenon (which is often called “summer melt”) for a number of reasons including lack of knowledge, preparation, and loss of support from their high school counselors.

We’ve developed this helpful checklist to keep seniors from “summer melt” and get them onto the campus of the colleges that will help them succeed.  Whether you’re working with a counselor from a community-based organization or you are doing it on your own, we recommend you use these steps as a guide to help you stay on track. Keep in mind, depending on your situation and the college you’ll be attending, the checklist may be a little different form student to student.


Commit to a college and hold your place.

After you’ve carefully considered important factors like academics, financial aid, and campus culture, make your decision as to which college to attend in the fall. Send in your acceptance letter, deposit, and any other materials the college requires. This might include housing forms, a separate financial aid acceptance letter, or other materials to make sure you’ve got a spot in the fall.

After you’ve accepted a school’s offer, it’s also a good practice to let other colleges you’ve been accepted to know you won’t be attending.  This helps out students are on the school’s waiting list, and allows a school to disperse your share of financial aid to other students.


Sign up for any special programs for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students in the summer.

Depending on your college, there may be special programs that allow first-gen, low-income and underrepresented students the opportunity to experience the campus and learn more about certain support systems the school offers. We highly recommend students who qualify for these programs to attend them,  so check with your college to see if any are available.  These are often free, and in some cases you’ll get to head to campus early or get preferential housing.


Familiarize yourself with the course catalog and create a list of classes you’re interested in.

Each college will have a course catalog, or list of courses that are offered each semester. Your first year, you may have a lot of required classes to take, but coming up with a strategy as to how to tackle them can help you out in the long run.  Some students prefer taking all their hard classes early, while others prefer to ease into college and take just one or two difficult classes per semester.

Additionally, depending on the type of school you’ll be attending, the demand for popular classes or certain class times may cause them fill up quickly—come up with backup class lists so you’re not stuck with holes in your schedule.


Plan ahead for your transition to campus.

Whether you’re living on or off campus, or even if you’re staying at home, transitioning to college involves planning ahead. If you’ll be moving, prepare for any financial obligations involved such as transportation or stuff for your dorm or apartment.  If you’ll be commuting from home, things like parking passes can be more expensive or difficult to get than you might expect.

Other than finances, figuring out when you’ll be able to move into your campus housing, what you’ll bring, and other logistics can help get you ready for your shift to from high school student to college student. If you’re living on-campus, ask your college’s housing offices for any packing checklists or other resources they may have for first-year students making the move from home for the first time.


Sign up for and attend first-year orientation.

Orientation is one of the most important—and usually required–steps to getting to college. When you sign up, you’ll usually get to choose from a few different dates and sometimes you’ll have to pay an orientation fee that covers the costs of meals and an overnight stay.  For other schools, orientation coincides with on-campus move-in days.

At orientation, you will get a tour of campus, participate in social events, and meet other students as well as your advisors, staff and faculty. You’ll also do things like get your student ID, get financial aid office information, and learn more about the campus culture.  What’s most important for many students, however, is that you’ll probably also sign up for classes at orientation.

Don’t “melt” this summer, get yourself to campus! Following these steps is just the beginning—make sure to check with your college and any counselors to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to successfully become a first-year college student in the fall!

Prepare for College

7 Tips for Picking the Right College Major

No Comments 13 January 2015

We love this infographic from Walsh University. If you’re college bound this fall and are still unsure what your major will be, take this advice to heart!

Seven Tips for Picking the Right College Major

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