Planning For College

5 Summer To-Dos for College-Bound Students:

1. Continue your College/Career Search: Remember that the goal is to find the college/trade school that FITS YOU BEST(academically, socially, geographically, financially, etc..). Here are some places to search:

Visit a college campus! This is truly the best way to see if a college is right for you

Use www.careercrusing.com or www.bls.gov to find a career that might suit you. Make sure you learn what kind of training is needed to pursue that career.

College websites. Each college has one! Do not hesitate to call a college if you are having trouble finding the answer to your question on their site.

Visit www.collegeboard.org. A great website for general college information and it has a really cool college search tool.

2. Start Scholarship Searching: you may not be eligible for many at this moment, but keep a folder with information on scholarships(and where to find them) that you can apply for in the fall and winter. The more you apply for, the more you can earn and every little bit helps. Here are some places to start:

Create profiles on www.fastweb.com, www.goodcall.com, www.collegeboard.org, and www.scholarships.com. Remember that you should NEVER pay anything to find or apply for a scholarship.

Check out the scholarships offered by the colleges you are interested in. you can find this information on their website under the financial aid section. Often, schools offer automatic scholarships for students who have earned a particular GPA and/or ACT/SAT score.

Keep in mind that Montabella's website has its own scholarship section. When school starts in the fall, any scholarship opportunities that cross my desk will be updated here. Check back often.

3. Get a Job, job shadow, attend a camp, or volunteer: Anything to boost your resume and give you some experience in an area that you are interested in is a good idea. It will also give you some ammo for your essays. To schedule a job shadow, call a business/organization you would be interested in learning more about and ask if they would be willing to let a student spend a couple of hours observing their office. the worst they can do is say no, and I think you will be surprised by how many are willing to help. Getting a job is also a good way to start saving some money for college. Consider opening a savings account at the bank so you will be sure to save instead of spend.

4. Practice Application and Scholarship Essays: You will need these in the fall, so why not get some good ideas written down now? Remember that you can often reuse essays(with little to no tweaking) to make applying easier. If application questions from previous years are posted on your college website, practice those - they are generally similar from year to year. If you cannot find any practice questions here are some common college essay themes:

  • What are your educational/career and personal goals for the future?
  • How have you successfully overcome the challenges/obstacles in your life?
  • What traits do you possess that make you a good candidate for college acceptance?
  • What experience do you have dealing with diversity?
  • Why do you want to go to this particular college/university? Why would you be a good fit there?

Tells us about yourself. Remember that colleges/scholarship committees will have a copy of your grades/resume. Tell them something they do not already know.

5. Secure Letters of Recommendation: This will not be a requirement for all college or scholarship applications. However, even if it is not required, it never hurts to boost an application with a letter of recommendation. Remember that your applications are read by actual people, so anything you can do to make a good first impression will help. You should notify the person you would like to write your letter AT LEAST two weeks in advance. Getting copies of your letters over the summer will save you time later.

Feel free to contact the college advisor with any questions. Have a fun and productive summer.