Applying to College

Registering for the September ACT

If you're planning on taking the ACT on September 21st, remember:  August 23 is your last day to register before incurring late fees. Thanks for the heads up Todd Weaver! If you're taking the SAT, you've got some time. September 6th is the deadline for registering for the October 5th SAT sitting. Remember, there is no need for students to take both the SAT and ACT. Virtually all four-year colleges now accept either test. Famliarize yourself with both tests and take the one with which you feel most comfortable.

Valerie Velhagen of Albuquerque's Eldorado High School is Counselor of the Month

Valerie Velhagen thought she would be a professor or a lawyer like her father. But some time off before graduate school -- working in her father's law office and studying for the LSAT -- lead her to take a different path. Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a long way from Brooklyn, New York, where Velhagen was born and raised. But after graduating from Massachusetts' Brandeis University with a BA in English and Pennsylvania's Duquesne University with a Masters in a program centered on existential/phenomenological psychology, Velhagen, now the College and Career Readiness Counselor at Albuquerque's Eldorado High School, made her way from New York's largest borough to the city on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Rick Clark, Director of Admission, Georgia Institute of Technology

Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Institute of Technology joins us this month to answer five questions about one of the country's leading public research universities. GT or Georgia Tech, as it's known, opened its doors in 1888 with two buildings -- one for classrooms, the other housing a foundry, forge, boiler room and engine room. It was the culmination of a plan spearheaded by two former Confederate officers to found a school that would move the south from an agrarian past into the industrial age.

And we're back...

It's so long to summer and back to school for us! This month we'll be bringing you insight from Director of Admission Rick Clark of the Georgia Institute of Technology, advice from high school counselor Valerie Velhagen on what juniors and seniors should be doing right now, and the next installment of The Transition from High School to College from educational counselor Jane McClure. And coming up we'll have more restaurant recommendations for your college visits -- and drop-offs -- in the Gourmet Guide, a new round up of experts every month answering "The Question of the Moment" -- from "When Should I Start Testing?" to "Why is College So Expensive?" -- and -- Coming Soon! -- podcasts with deans of admission from around the country.

And later this month, we'll have a completely revised chapter on the new Common Application available as a pdf right here on the site! Great guidance for students and counselors on completing the latest version of the electronic application.


You Can't Go Home Again and Learning to Cope: Stages 7 & 8 in The Transition from High School to College

The transition from high school to college, particularly for students who leave home and live in campus residence halls, is a challenge for nearly all students. However, some students find it more daunting than others.  Experienced counselors, both in high schools and on college campuses, have learned to recognize the stages that most students go through, beginning at the end of senior year, through the summer after graduation, and continuing through freshman year of college.  But most students have only a vague idea of what this transition will be like and are therefore stunned by the challenges they encounter.  First generation students, in particular, are likely to encounter surprises because their parents, having not attended college, haven’t had discussions with them about what to expect.

Juniors: Resources for Kickstarting Your Essays this Summer

We strongly urge you to have at least your Common Application essay in good shape before senior year begins. Fall of senior year is a busy time and writing your essays while attending school is like adding a class to your schedule. Summer provides the luxury of uninterrupted time to reflect and write. Here's some advice to kickstart your essays over the coming summer months -- from a suggested reading list that we hope will inspire to some excellent step-by-step guidance on the new Common Application essay prompts.

Finding Your Voice in the Essay:  A suggested reading list of first-person essays.

The Real Topic of your Essay is You: One strategy to help you find a topic.

What are colleges looking for in the essay?

Great essay advice from the deans at Vanderbilt, Chicago, University of Illinois and more.

Pushing the Right Brick for Diagon Alley  Writer and independent college consultant Irena Smith on getting started -- and getting personal -- in the college essay.

A Summer To Do List for Graduating Seniors

Your decision is made and you know where you're headed next fall. But there are still a few things you need to be aware of over the summer in order to insure the transition to campus goes smoothly. Here's one last checklist for you:

• Follow up on any remaining financial aid details.

• Look for summer mailings from your college about housing, orientation, course selection, and other subjects. If you will be away for a significant part of the summer, be sure the college knows where to send your mail, or arrange for your mail to be forwarded. A response from you may be required.

• Make your first payment on time.

• Complete the summer reading assigned by the college.

• Pack for college. Have a wonderful freshman year!

So that's it -- we're out of advice for you. But we will point you in the direction of our excellent move-in advice for college freshmen, which you will find here. Check it out. It will save you -- and your parents -- from back problems, heat exhaustion and repeat trips to the electronics store for cable cords.