Take Action!

by Ana Cordero
(Gainesville, Fl, Alachua County)

University of Florida

University of Florida

It is never too early to start! Making sure that you get accepted to the college of your choice is a tedious, long yet exciting process that will be worth it in the end. With the thousands and thousands of students applying to college every day, you want turn your life around and make sure that you stand out from the crowd. Nowadays getting into college is not only about having the best grades and a perfect record. Colleges and universities are looking for a well-balanced person; they want someone who has had a variety of leadership roles, has participated in extracurricular activities, maintains good grades, and possibly has had a job or changed someone’s life one way or another.


To begin with, as soon as you become a freshman in high school, get involved with your favorite sport and/or marching band. Do not forget about the many clubs that you can also join, a few ideas are SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), National Honor Society, The Green Club, etc… The most important thing to remember is to stay involved with all the extracurricular activities that you do all 4 years of high school; this demonstrates that you can commit and are responsible and serious about the organizations.

Moving on, it is also a big advantage if you have been involved with an out of school activity or club for multiple years, for instance Girl Scouts, or a dance group or a church group. Being part of so many different things and being able to maintain high grades gives a good impression to universities and shows them that no matter what obstacles you will be presented with in the future, you will know how to handle it and commit to it, it shows them that you are serious about what you do. Another great idea is to learn another language while in high school, and if you know another language besides your native tongue already, the more languages you know, the better! Do not be afraid to take a chance because it will pay off in the future.

Lastly, make sure that you research the schools that you want to go to and know what each of them offers. Once you know that, pick the schools that best fit you and look up early on, all the requirements that you have to fulfill in order to be an eligible candidate for admission to the school. Start early and whatever you do, do not leave anything for the last minute. Best of Luck!

Read more College Admissions Help from other students and parents who have been through process.


Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Ana for inspiring students to take action to get accepted to the college of your choice. Also remember to work on your FAFSA college financial aid application and include all of your dream colleges on the list. Best of luck to you in college.


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It Isn't Easy

by Daniel Berry
(Detroit, Michigan, United States)

Applying to College - University of Washington

Applying to College - University of Washington

Simply put, applying to college is much easier said than done. There are quite a few things that I wish I had known sooner or simply had paid more attention to when I was in high school.

And here’s the catch; I actually was a good student. I had a 3.5 GPA and an ACT composite score of 28. I participated in after school activities, I volunteered, I tutored, but the one thing that I did not do was take the time to prepare for college. My best advice to anyone is to start early. In fact, there is no such thing as too early when it comes to college preparation.

My entire life, I preferred to take things one step at a time. There was a certain progression to life, a natural order, so to speak. There was elementary school, middle school, high school, and then college. One after the other. The problem is that unlike most primary and secondary educational establishments, college isn't free, and—as I said before—it certainly isn’t easy.

There are a lot of things that high school will stress when it comes to attending college and universities, such as test scores and maintaining a high grade-point average, but usually they tend to overlook such things as actually searching for and applying to colleges and scholarships . Many students (including me) tend to think of college as merely a next step, so they put off looking until after high school graduation. But that’s too late.

Of course, it is important to have high SAT and ACT test scores, but that is only the beginning. The entire process is like applying for a job. My scores represent my resume, my credentials, but it all means nothing if I don’t bother looking for work. And the sooner I search the better. Depending on an individual’s financial situation, some schools offer fee waivers for the application, meaning that it will take little more than the time and effort required to fill it out. Some colleges require personal statement essays or personal information, and my only advice is to be honest. An authentic response is always better than trying to write what the college might want to hear.

Rejection is a part of life. The truth is that often times, the first choice won’t end up being the final decision. It is always a good idea to have a back-up plan. Colleges could say no, or an applicant’s interest is always subject to change. I had my heart set on one place in particular and simply did not take the time to choose two or three alternatives. I did not visit the campus to get an idea about to expect, and, for all intents and purposes, I did not take my decision seriously.

There is only so much I can offer about college applications, but I really wish that I had known these things. Begin the application before high school is over, take the time to look at multiple options, and realize that the best scores in the world are meaningless if there is no application. To this day, I wish someone had taken the time to tell me not to wait, to get a jump on college, financial aid, and even scholarship applications. I wish I had known about back-up options. I wish I had taken my choices seriously. I wish I had known that applying to college would not be easy. It isn’t easy.


Read more College Admissions Help from other students and parents who have been through process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Daniel for sharing your tips about applying to college. You are right, it isn’t easy, but it helps to learn from others. Good luck to you in college.



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Things to Keep in Mind When Applying

by Alexis
(Missouri)

Applying to colleges can get extremely overwhelming, but there are steps students can take to relieve some of the burden. Of course, using your parents, who are college graduates, as means of assistance is abundantly helpful, but what about those students who are the first in their family to go to college? As one of those students, I have learned from my experience of applying to colleges, and have some advice to give to those seeking it.

It is never too early to plan. By the end of sophomore year, it would be ideal to have at least a general idea of where you want your future to go. Do you want to go to a two or four year university? How close to home would you like to stay? What field or fields are you interested in? These answers are subject to change, but you do not want to leave these decisions to think about until the last minute.

Keep your resume in mind at all times. Do not have the attitude of “there is always next year.” Do your best work all year, every year. Colleges are not going to pay attention to that one outstanding semester; they look at your overall performance. Spend the extra half an hour or so studying for that test instead of watching TV and take the ACT/SAT as many times as you can to get your best score because that acceptance letter will be worth it. Have the same attitude with extracurricular activities; do not leave adding clubs, sports, and community service until your senior year. Colleges like involved students, so be proactive in adding proof of that to your resume.

Ask for help. Being the first in a family to go to college is overwhelming, but if you ask questions, your parent/parents, or family members can help you do the research to answer those questions. Your school counselor is also more than helpful to answer questions about applying to college. They can tell you what steps to take and give you advice on how to enhance your resume.
Pay attention to deadlines. This is important. Write down application deadlines somewhere you will see them every day, and do not leave them until the last minute or even the last week. Whether it is an admission or scholarship application, finish and submit it as soon as you can. The same goes for filling out the FAFSA, do not wait to complete it. Organization is the key when it comes to deadlines.

The internet is your best friend. If you need an answer to questions about any part of the college admission process, I guarantee you can find the answer online, but if you cannot find the answer, you can find contact information to admissions counselors that can answer you. The internet has been a reliable tool to for my mother and me to learn about the college admission process, and has given me the knowledge to be able to share my tips to those who need them.

Read more tips on College Admissions Help from other students and parents who have been through the college admissions process.



Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Alexis for sharing your Things to Keep in Mind When Applying to college. Best of luck to you.


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