NRC/GT Running Head
- This publication may be copied and distributed without permission. Electronic reproduction is not permitted.
- Reproduced from: Wright A. L., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (1993). Helping gifted children and their families prepare for college: A handbook designed to assist economically disadvantaged and first-generation college attendees (RM93201). Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

NRC/GT is funded under the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Program Act
Note to Readers . . .

Helping Gifted Children and Their Families Prepare for College: A Handbook Designed to Assist Economically Disadvantaged and First-Generation College Attendees

Avis L. Wright
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius

Center for Talent Development
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois

About the
Authors . . .
Avis L. Wright is the coordinator of a technical assistance project sponsored by the Center for Talent Development of Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. She has fifteen years experience in career development and college planing with economically disadvantaged students and has served as a special project-state liaison for vocational education where she worked with counselors from all of the Chicago Public High Schools. She has appeared at state and national conferences and led numerous professional development seminars for guidance counselors. Avis Wright has just completed Knowledge for College, a three volume college planning activity and resource guide for high school students.

Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and research scholar with the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern. Dr. Olszewski-Kubilius has written many research articles about gifted children and their families and is currently interested in talent development for gifted women and economically disadvantaged students. She has initiated and directed several funded projects aimed at providing academic enrichment and college counseling services to economically disadvantaged gifted students in the Chicago Public Schools. She is currently a contributing editor to the Roeper Review.

A special
note to
teachers . . .
As educational professionals, we all realize the importance of early and proper preparation for college study. As we approach the 21st century, students will find the world of college admissions to be competitive, intricate, and filled with rules, regulations, and timelines! For some students and parents, it will be difficult to keep up with the demands of college planning and preparation. Teachers and counselors will be in greater demand as college-bound students realize the need for information, assistance, and support.

In response to this need, this resource was created to assist high school juniors and seniors and their parents prepare for the college admissions and financial assistance processes. It is especially designed for students who are academically prepared for and qualified to attend college but who have limited experience or exposure to higher education, because the students may be the first individuals in their families to attend college. It is also intended especially for students who might delay college or believe it is beyond their reach because their family is economically disadvantaged. This booklet will attempt to identify and explain assumptions, terms, and procedures associated with applying to college or financial aid; give helpful tips to parents and students; highlight resources which can lend support and assistance; and will also provide a checklist designed to chart those activities critical to the admissions process.

As you can see, this resource takes a look at college planning and preparation from step A to step Z. Every effort has been made to touch upon important concerns and typical questions. In whatever setting, view this publication as another valuable resource to assist you in your effort to provide continued quality services to college-bound students!

A note for
parents and
students . . .
This is a very exciting time in your lives—one of exploration, discovery, discussion, critical thought . . .

So, often planning for college becomes a stressful experience . . .

This resource is here to tell you that this need not be so!

Up-to-date information, convenient resources, adequate technical/moral support, and open communication are key elements to a successful college admissions process. On the pages which follow, you will find a step-by-step guide to the activities and timelines that are needed in order to apply for college and financial aid. The tips and resources are identified so that you will have an idea of what to do and how to do it!

But remember, this is just one resource—you have many more available to you—high school teachers and guidance counselors. These educational professionals have the knowledge and expertise that will be of great use to both of you! Keep in close contact with them: meet with them regularly and encourage your parents to speak with them often!

Happy college search!!!


Table of Contents


Academic Awareness

The College Search


Preparing for College

The College Admissions Packet

The Admissions Essay and Interview

College Costs

Financial Aid

The Admissions Offer

Housing and Meals

Your Support System


Why is it important to know yourself before you begin to apply to colleges?
What do you need to know about yourself and how will this affect your college search efforts?
How can parents best help their college-bound child discover more about himself or herself?

Colleges vary on many dimensions including, size, make-up of the student body, location, and programs of study available. It is important that you choose a college that is right for you, that is a size and location that you will feel comfortable in, that has the right mix of students and the right course of study for you to prepare for a chosen career. If these things are "right," your chances of succeeding academically are improved. Choosing a college is a process of matching you and your needs and capabilities with a school.

Before you begin the college planning and preparation process, you will need to gather some basic information about yourself:

  • What types of subjects, activities, and jobs do you like? Which ones you do not like?

  • Which skills and abilities do you possess? What do you believe are your strongest areas? Your weakest?

  • What are your values? What is most important to you? Very important? Unimportant?

  • What are some of your future school and career goals? What do you see yourself doing in five or ten years?

  • What kinds of environment do you prefer? Big cities? Small towns?

Taking time to examine your strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes, and interests will provide you with the necessary information to choose a college and a major course of study. Another way to gather information is to talk to friends and family and seek their perceptions about you. A third way is to take interest inventories given by your counselor.

Parents While students spend time exploring their inner selves, parents and significant others can make a special effort to supply much needed feedback and emotional support. Making a special effort to reinforce lines of communication by offering observations and guidance when appropriate, working with the students on self-exploration activities or identifying a person who can help the student identify abilities and interests can be crucial during this initial phase of the college planning process.

  • Ask your guidance counselor to help you take interest inventories and other tests that will identify your skills, scholastic abilities, and values.

  • Talk with family and friends. Ask them about their efforts to learn more about themselves. Who was influential in their lives? What do they identify as your strengths and special characteristics?

  • Keep a diary—write down your thoughts and feelings about yourself, school, daily activities, and your future. This will help you to know yourself better and identify goals and interests.

  • Spend time thinking about those things you like to do, how you spend your time, what interests and motivates you, what you value most in your life, and what kind of life-style you would like to have.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Talk to your student about interests, goals, strengths, and weaknesses.

  • Ask the guidance counselor about the things that you can do to help your student discover more about himself/herself.

  • Encourage your student to try new experiences, meet new people, and explore new careers. Discuss these experiences with him/her.

  • Encourage the use of self-awareness inventories through school. Make it a point to discuss the results.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources Interest Inventories
The Self-Directed Search by John Holland
Harrington & O'Shea Career Decision-Making System

Skills and Abilities Tests

California Occupational Preference System

Values Inventories

Allport-Lindsey Study of Values

Self-Discovery Books (found in local libraries, bookstores)

Choices (for young men), Changes (for young women)

Computer Programs (self-exploration activities)

Ask your guidance counselor if your school has SIGI (Educational Testing Service), DISCOVER (ACT) or a similar program

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Visit your guidance counselor and ask about taking interest inventories, skill tests, and values inventories.
_____Share the results of the interests and values inventories with your parents.

Back to the Top

How will a college or university evaluate me as a candidate for their school?
How important are high school classes, GPA , and test scores to the college admissions process?
How important are extracurricular activities to college admissions?

Most students set aside their junior and senior years of high school to plan and prepare for college. But, by this time, it is too late! (See Appendix B for a calendar of college planning activities.) Colleges look at the entire high school transcript to get a picture of a student's academic efforts. Years one through three show:
  • the student's ability to adapt from middle to secondary school
  • the type of program the student undertook (rigor of courses, honors, AP)
  • the kind of courses taken (subject matter: difficult? easy?)

Admissions officials at colleges and universities will use indicators of academic performance from all years to make an admissions decision. Most colleges and universities will issue an offer of admissions contingent upon the receipt of final transcripts from high school, so every course and grade in each of the four years of high school is important!

The grade point average and class rank reflect classroom performance. A grade point average (GPA) is determined by the number of classes taken and the grades awarded. Usually a grade of A receives four points, B is worth three points, C is worth two points, D is worth one point, and an F is worth zero points. High schools differ in the number of points they award to grades. Certain schools award higher points to honors or advanced placement courses. The higher the grades, the higher the grade point average. A single low grade can minimally affect an already high GPA and, will have a marginal effect on an already low GPA. Obviously, if receiving low marks becomes a habit, the effect on a GPA can be disastrous!

Class rank compares a student's academic performance to those of his/her classmates. It is determined by grade point averages. Admissions officers use this index to get a better picture of your abilities in comparison to others who are in the same environment.

Extracurricular activities are important. Participation in school or community-sponsored clubs, sports or special projects can illustrate skills and abilities that cannot be seen on a transcript. Important skills such as leadership and public speaking can be hidden, as well as abilities related to sports, chess, writing, computer and data management, and dance. This information will round-out a student's academic profile for admissions officers. For some of the most academically selective institutions, special skills gained from participation in an extracurricular activity may distinguish a student from many other equally qualified applicants.

It is important for you to become aware of these indicators of academic success that colleges and universities will use to evaluate you as a candidate for their school. You should understand how these indicators are computed and where you stand on them in relation to other students in your school and other students who will be applying to the school you are interested in.

  • With the help of your guidance counselor, do an evaluation of your academic profile to date. What courses have you taken? What are your grades? What is your GPA and class rank?

  • Set some goals for yourself if your GPA, grades, and/or class rank need improvement.

  • If you are not included in any or very few extracurricular activities or community sponsored events, investigate the possibilities now.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Keep track and monitor grades and test scores.

  • Become an active participant in your child's academic progress. Monitor homework. Attend school events that your child is involved or interested in. Talk frequently with your child about the importance of high school classes and a positive attitude towards school.

  • Make a special effort to be direct, supportive, a good listener, and non-judgmental when communicating with your child. Listen (really listen) when your child discusses school!

See Appendix C for additional activities.

_____Visit your guidance counselor to discuss your academic profile. Identify your class rank and grade point average.
_____ Create a file to store school, church, or other memorabilia (e.g., report cards, awards, certificates of participation, and products of activities such as the class newspaper).

Back to the Top

Where do I find information about colleges and universities?
How can I obtain a college catalog? An admissions packet?
What ways, other than a college catalog, can I get information about colleges I am considering?

There are hundreds and hundreds of colleges and universities. It will be a difficult task to decide which ones to apply to and (eventually) which one to attend. However, the task becomes much easier when you begin with an organized information collection process.

This part of the college planning process requires that you spend as much time as possible collecting and reading information on various colleges and universities of interest. You should develop and utilize a system to keep track of facts, characteristics, programs, and services you are interested in.

Parents Family and friends (especially parents) can help students by sharing facts and experiences about the colleges and universities with which they are familiar. (See Appendix C for additional parental support activities.) They can also assist students in requesting and collecting materials. Telephone inquiries and requests for materials can become tricky for students since most admissions offices are open during school time: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A parent who has the opportunity can help the student by making calls on behalf of the student.

Finally, parents can also support their college-bound student by coordinating campus visits. Although the student can make arrangements for a tour and admissions interview, parents can make those related to transportation, lodging, and time. And, as with this entire process, parental prompting to stay on the task of gathering and reading information is crucial to this phase!

  • College directories give a brief profile of the academic institution: campus description, outline of programs and services, enrollment figures, costs, and contact information. They may be viewed at local school and public libraries, your school counseling office, purchased by mail, or through larger bookstores. (See Appendix G for specific titles.)

  • Attend college information nights and college fairs. Your school guidance counselor will know about these. Representatives from many colleges and universities will be available to tell you more about what their college has to offer and to answer any questions you may have. (See Appendix F for a list of sample questions for admissions representatives.)

  • Visit social service agencies and community organizations (e.g., local Urban Leagues, libraries) that provide college counseling. (Your counselor can help you to identify these.) There you will find catalogs, viewbooks, videotapes, and other materials. Although their selection may be limited, you will be able to gather information which may prove useful.

  • Visit your school guidance office—most have an area set aside to display college information. You will also find announcements of upcoming college rep visits, college and financial aid nights, and special college preparation workshops.

  • Call colleges and universities to ask that an "admissions packet" and "catalog" be mailed to your home. (See Appendix E for helpful a telephone technique.) An admissions packet will likely include a college overview, recommendation, application, and other similar forms. The catalog will give you specific details that the admissions materials may not include. If a financial aid application is needed, be sure to ask for one. Not all colleges include financial aid applications in the admissions packet.

  • If you choose to write for the materials, be sure to specifically request admissions information. Mention the term you would like to attend (such as Fall, 199- or Spring, 199-) as well as your major (some majors require additional admissions paperwork). (Appendix D features a sample request-for-information letter). Be sure to give your complete mailing information.

  • Some institutions will also offer a videotape highlighting the campus, programs, and student services. Ask about it. This is especially helpful if you need an additional perspective of the college.

  • Get a box and create a file system to organize the information you receive from colleges and universities.

  • Finally, talk to friends and family to find out what they know about specific colleges. They may have first-hand facts or word-of-mouth information that could affect your opinion of the college.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Help your child as he/she investigates different colleges and universities. Maybe you know of friends or family who are in some way connected to the school that your child is interested in attending.

  • Encourage your student in his/her efforts to collect admissions applications and information. Periodically, check with your student to ensure that she/he is contacting the institutions.

  • Urge your student to read the materials and share information with you.

  • Remind your student to store college information in a special file!

  • Volunteer to coordinate a trip to visit a college. Schedule time, transportation, and lodging, while allowing the student (under your supervision) to arrange an appointment with the admissions office for a campus tour, classroom visits, and an admissions interview.

  • Be an active participant in the visit, noting attractive features to discuss with your child later.
    Note: Parents are not included in the student interview. However, upon completion of meeting with the student, admissions officers will spend time with parents.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources College directories and handbooks (see Appendix G for more information)
Peterson's Guide to Four-Year Colleges
Profiles of American Colleges
Lovejoy's College Guide
Peterson's Guide to Colleges with Programs for Learning-Disabled Students

College catalogs (local libraries, school counseling office)

College Fairs/College Nights (ask your counselor)

College representative visits to high schools (ask your counselor)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Develop a list of 10 or 20 colleges and universities that interest you. Send letters or call requesting information and admissions/financial aid materials.
_____Create a log which will identify when you contacted or when you received materials/correspondence from a college.
_____Schedule visits to colleges and universities under consideration. Attend college fairs.

Back to the Top

How do I decide which colleges to apply to? Then, how do I decide which one to attend?
How do colleges and universities differ? Which characteristics of colleges are most important to me?

A Common Decision-Making Strategy:
- Name the problem.
- Think of all the options. List them.
- For each option, think of all the reasons for and against that option.
- Choose the best solution.
- Try that solution.
- Decide if it was a good choice or not.
- Make a new plan if it is needed.

. . . something similar happens in the college planning process.

College selection is just one of many important decisions made during a lifetime. Due to the wealth of information, the task of deciding upon a college or identifying a major can be challenging.

That is why it is important for you to take time to identify those characteristics you are looking for in a college. Every college bound student should create a list of should have's and should not have's in order to gain a clear picture of what he/she is looking for in a college. This will make the decision-making process easier.

Identify and list
the ideal
you would
like to see
in a college
or university
Consider the following:

large campus?—typically has many services and facilities such as athletic facilities or computer labs.
small campus?—allows for more close personal contact with students and faculty.
located in an urban area?—has many opportunities within the community, such as employment, cultural events.
town? rural area?—quiet environment, secure, and safe.
far from home?—chance to feel independent, higher cost for travel.
close to home?—easy to get home on the weekend.
live on campus?—allows you to experience the college social life more easily; adds costs to college fees.
commute to campus?—cuts costs, may not experience the college scene.
good student support services?—counseling, a writing center, student groups, minority support groups.
student body?—Is it diverse, how many minority students attend?
strong faculty?—Are courses taught by professors or graduate students? Do the majority of faculty members hold advanced degrees? Are there opportunities to work with faculty on research?
availability of special opportunities and programs?—Can I study abroad? Earn a combined B.A./M.A.? Are there programs that combine work opportunities with study? Are there support programs for students who enter early?
quality of programs?—Is the school known for its undergraduate science program or humanities program? Do students who receive undergraduate degrees in specific programs get accepted into graduate school?
cost?—What is the tuition? How many students receive financial aid?

colleges to
consider to
apply for
  • Review all materials you have on each college. (If you do not have enough information or if it is not the information you need, call the college to request supplemental materials.)

  • Compare the attributes of each college with your list of ideal characteristics. List all the reasons you like or dislike the institution.

  • Read over the list and eliminate those schools in which you have no interest or do not meet many of your characteristics.

  • Review the remaining schools; make sure these schools are of definite interest to you. Arrange for an on-campus visit and/or a discussion with a college admissions officer. Discuss with your parents and guidance counselor your list of prospective schools.

  • Decide if these colleges are good choices. If so, apply for admission. For reasons of practicality, always apply to at least one college or university within your state and to one that you feel you have a good chance of admittance.

  • Turn your list of college features into a checklist to highlight these characteristics:
    • Leave a space so you can make a check mark beside each characteristic that a prospective college has.
    • Also leave a space for noting special features and comments.

  • Become familiar with the manner in which you make decisions. Are you comfortable with the way you currently make decisions? Will your current decision-making method work for college selection? If not, look closely at the model shown above or ask your guidance counselor for assistance.
See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Become familiar with the ways in which your student makes decisions. Help him/her to be more deliberate in his/her choices and eliminate poor reasons for choosing a college such as where friends are going.

  • Let your student know that you are available for open, frank, and objective discussions about possible colleges and universities. Support the student's decision.

  • Try to reduce your child's feelings of pressure that comes with decision-making by stressing the significance of risk-taking in making educated guesses and informed decisions.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources Self-Discovery Books (books about decision-making)
College Guide Books -
  • 200 Most Selective Colleges (ARCO Publishers)
  • The Public Ivys: A Guide to America's Best Public and Undergraduate Colleges and Universities (Penguin)
  • Choosing A College: A Guide for Parents and Students (Harper and Row)
  • Choosing A College: The Students Step By Step Decision-Making Workbook (Gordon Porter Miller)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Develop a checklist of college characteristics you would like to see in a college. Begin to use this list to evaluate the colleges and universities you have selected.

Back to the Top

What can I do to be better prepared for college?
How can I make myself a more attractive college candidate?

Colleges and universities look at your entire high school record when evaluating you for admissions to college. Here are some things you can do to enhance your college profile.
  1. Take the right courses. You should be taking 4 or 5 academic subjects each year. Your transcripts should reflect courses of increasing academic rigor and depth. If course titles do not reflect the content or academic challenge of a course you have taken, collect a course description, and request that they are included with your transcript. (Recommended course sequences for various content areas for bright students are available from The Center for Talent Development of Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.)

    Take Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams. These are college level courses that are taught at your local high school through which you obtain high school credit and possibly college credit. In May of each year, you can sign up to take AP exams and if you score well (typically a 3 or above on a scale of 0 to 5) you may receive advanced placement in college or college credit. AP classes can help you accumulate college credits before entering college thereby reducing the time you have to spend in college (and reducing college tuition as well). The AP Program is sponsored by the College Entrance Examination Board.

  2. If you are not participating in any extracurricular school activity or community clubs, join one. Be actively involved. Holding an office in a school club, organizing a school event, working with or helping other students can be impressive on your college application and provide content for a college application essay or interview. Colleges and universities will look for evidence of commitment and acquisition of skills rather than a list of many activities. Choose extracurricular activities that will develop needed skills such as debate.

  3. Prepare for college entrance examinations, the SAT and the ACT. These tests measure your academic ability and potential to be successful in college. In the Fall of the 10th or 11th grade you will take the preliminary college entrance exams, the P-ACT (Preliminary ACT) and the PSAT-NMSQT (The Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test-National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). These will give you a preview of the exams you will take for college entrance.

    If you plan to attend an enrichment or summer program, you may be required to report P-ACT or PSAT-NMSQT test scores. Check with the program's director or your guidance counselor for more information.

    In your senior year of high school, you will register for and take the ACT and/or SAT. The SAT currently consists of two sections, the mathematics (SAT-M), the verbal (SAT-V), and the Test of Standard Written English (TSWE). Scores on SAT-M and SAT-V range from 200 to 800 points and scores on the TSWE range from 0 to 60. In the Spring of 1994, a revised version of the SAT will be introduced. It will consist of the SAT-I Reasoning Tests and the SAT-II Subject Tests. The ACT is a content-oriented exam that has 4 sections, mathematics, science reasoning, English, and reading. Scores are reported on a scale of 1 to 36 with 36 the highest.

    There are courses to prepare for these tests. However, they can be costly. Some school districts offer preparation courses, as do community organizations such as local chapters of the Urban League. Your school guidance counselor is the best resource for prep courses. Also preparation books, 10 SATs or 5 SATs, Cracking the System, Peterson's SAT Success, are available from most bookstores. Your guidance counselor will also have copies of these available in the guidance office. The best way to become familiar with the exams is to take several practice exams. It will increase your confidence at least.

  4. Take achievement tests. These are one hour multiple choice exams that test a student's knowledge of a subject. Colleges and universities may require a certain number of them (mathematics, science, English). You should take them at the end of any course or required courses in which you have been very successful (completion of several years of a foreign language with good grades).

  5. Hone your study skills.
    Improve your ability to tackle academic challenges.
    Note-taking: Highlighting or the T-Notes method
    Learning different ways to study different subjects
    Ask your guidance counselor if a class or special workshop is available to you in school or if there is someone who can work with you on learning different study skills.

  6. Enhance basic skills. Improve basic academic skills such as comprehension, writing, speaking, understanding, and using numbers. Do this through taking challenging courses and asking for special help or tutoring from teachers if needed.

  7. Use your summers productively. Your college application can be enhanced by demonstration of participation in special summer programs, particularly competitive ones. You can gain valuable knowledge and skills in these programs. There are special guides (see Appendix G) that summarize these programs, including The Duke University Talent Identification Program Educational Opportunity Guide, Northwestern University Center for Talent Development Educational Program Guide and other resources such as the Summer On Campus: College Experiences for High School Students by Lovin. Many of these programs have financial aid available for students who cannot afford them. (Appendix G lists special educational programs.)

  8. Participate in contests or competitions to demonstrate your interest, motivation to achieve, and competence in a subject. There are many such contests including: The National Mathematics League Competition, Math Counts, The National Chemistry Olympiad, The National Science Olympiad, The Westinghouse Talent Search, and The Young Writers Contest. Ask your teachers for specifics about competitions and contests in their content area.

See Appendix G for a partial list.

Good grades/
lousy test scores
or good test
scores /low-
If your academic profile is uneven, address it directly. When you talk to college representatives, tell them about your specific situation and ask how it will be viewed by admissions officers. Try to get a teacher or counselor who is familiar with your academic performance and knows you very well to explain the reasons for your performance and to describe your academic strengths in a letter of recommendation. Include a letter with your explanation in your application. If your academic performance falls short in an area, highlight your strengths. Use other means to demonstrate your competence in that area (such as through a special project you completed, a job experience, or summer program experience).

Good grades/
test scores and
If you have exceptionally good grades and test scores and have taken advanced courses early, you might want to consider entering college early. This may sound scary but may be a realistic option for you if you have exhausted all the advanced courses in your school. Some colleges have special programs for students who wish to enter early. These include Simon's Rock, part of Bard College in Great Barrington, MA; The Clarkson School of Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY; The Early Entrance Program at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA; the Program on the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA; The Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton, TX; and the Early Entrance Program at California State University. (See Appendix H for more information.)

  • Investigate the possibilities for ACT or SAT test preparation.

  • Take courses that are challenging. Colleges and universities look not only at your course grades but the course content. Select courses that will help you develop skills you may be less confident about, such as public speaking. Make every course and every activity during the next two years enhance your college profile.

  • Investigate summer program opportunities.

  • Consider participating in a contest or competition in your area of strength.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Become aware of the courses your child has taken so far. Sit down and plan with your child for the next two years.

  • Help your child identify some extracurricular or community activities to become involved in.

  • Find out your child's P-ACT and PSAT-NSMQT scores. Encourage him/her to prepare for these exams.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources College Bound: The Student's Handbook for Getting Ready, Moving in, and Succeeding on Campus (The College Board)
Countdown to College: Every Students Guide to Getting the Most Out of High School (Zola Dincin Schneider and Phyllis Kalb)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Make an appointment with your guidance counselor to find out about test preparation courses and skill enhancement programs in your school.
_____Examine your high school coursework to determine your competitiveness for college admissions.
_____Continue to add to your file of academic and extracurricular activities.
_____Find out how to register for achievement tests.
_____Apply for a summer program.

Back to the Top

Are there any special tips on completing an admissions application?
There are so many pieces to the admissions packet, how can I keep from losing portions of it? What happens if I misplace an item? How can I be organized about this process?
After I submit the admissions packet, what next?

Completion of the college admissions packet is essential to being admitted to a college. The completed packet will be a reflection of your academic ability and character. So, it is very important that you take great care in the completion and submission of admissions documents!

Although admissions packets vary by college, most include: an admissions application form, forms for recommendation letters, a return-reply postcard, and a form requesting transcripts.

Problems occur when:

admissions documents are missing
admissions documents miss the application deadline
the admissions essay is not your best effort
the wrong documents are submitted (for example, SAT scores are sent instead of ACT scores)
the application is messy
instructions for completing and mailing the forms are not followed

For the admissions packet:
  • Request admissions materials early. Depending on the mail service used by the college, materials may take up to two weeks for delivery Also, items may be mailed separately. Applications may be mailed in a smaller envelope; bulkier items such as catalogs may arrive later.

  • After admissions materials have been reviewed and application deadlines noted, materials should be placed back into the original envelope or in a file folder. Keep all documents together!

  • On the outside of the envelope, write the last date you will be able to mail the application to the admissions office. Don't forget to allow 3 to 5 days prior to the deadline for delivery.

  • Create a notebook where you can keep track of:
    • the dates when you received the admissions packets, completed them, mailed them.
    • the dates when you submitted test scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters to the admissions offices.
    • the dates when you received the colleges' confirmation of receipt of your materials and offers of admissions.
    • the date you mailed your response to the offers.

For completing the application form:

  • Before you begin to complete the application, read over the entire form carefully. Make sure you understand the questions and in what space you are to write your response.

  • If you have the opportunity, use the application to highlight your school or non-school accomplishments and explain any discrepancies in your performance (a low grade or an uneven performance).

  • Be sure to use complete sentences, write clearly, and try not to use abbreviations.

  • Think—really think about your responses before writing. Every question on the application is there for a reason; take special care in answering.

  • Be neat. Unless told otherwise, use black ink to complete the application form. Print do not write.

  • If possible, make a copy of the application and write your answers on the copy before writing on the actual form. This will allow for mistakes without the worry! It will also allow you to see how the application will look once all responses have been inserted. If an answer is too long or written in an inappropriate space, you will be able to make adjustments on the actual application.

  • Some applications will ask that you write a short passage. Always create an outline and develop a rough draft on paper before writing on the application. When writing a short passage, be sure you understand the question/topic. Take time to think about your response—the points you want to make, examples you would like to use, and the overall impression you would like to leave the reader.

For obtaining college references:

  • Identify teachers, counselors, and other professionals whom you would like to use as references for college. Ask them if they would write a college recommendation letter or complete a form on your behalf. This takes time. Don't assume this task is the only item on their list of things to do.

  • Be respectful. Ask for your references early. Let them know your timelines; give them the necessary forms and reply information (addresses).

In general:

  • Follow directions! Some colleges have special instructions for submitting recommendation letters, transcripts, test scores, and admissions forms. If not filed according to directions, your application could be disregarded.

  • Allow plenty of time for college entrance exam scores to be received by your prospective college(s). Test results can take up to six weeks.

  • Don't forget the application fee—never send cash. Purchase a money order or get a personal check from Mom or Dad.

  • Check all admissions documents carefully before mailing! Check spelling, grammar, appearance, accuracy, and content.

  • Once all documents have been mailed to the admissions department, you will probably receive a card or letter in the mail which will say that all of your materials have been received and when you can expect a decision. If you haven't heard from the admissions office after four weeks, contact them.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Help your student find and purchase a calendar where he/she can write important admissions dates and deadlines. Consult it often—you can remind him/her of upcoming deadlines or activities!

  • Serve as a reader for your student's admissions essay. Share constructive criticism; question vague statements; correct grammar; look for good transitions and consistency.

  • Serve as an overall troubleshooter. Whenever there is a problem or question, offer your assistance to find a solution. (Don't take over—just be there to help!)

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources College Planning Books
College Planning for Gifted Students (Sandra L. Berger)
Handbook for College Admissions: A Family Guide (Thomas C. Hayden)

College Application Tips Books

Do It Write: How to Prepare a Great College Application (G. Gary Ripple)
College Applications Step By Step (ARCO Publishers)

College Planning Computer Programs

College Planner (The College Board)

Admissions Essay Manuals/Books

Essays That Worked: 50 Essays from Successful Applications to the Nation's Top Colleges (Boykin Curry & Brian Kasbar)
On Writing the College Application Essay (Harry Bauld)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Secure admissions packets from prospective colleges.
Read over all materials. Keep admissions forms separate according to college.
_____Chart deadlines on calendar. (To serve as a reminder to you!)
_____Make copies of the admissions application form to practice on before writing your responses on the actual document.
_____Complete admissions documents. Chart dates of completion and mailing on calendar.
_____Order transcripts to be sent to prospective colleges. Final transcripts should be sent to the school which you have decided to attend as soon after graduation as possible.
_____Contact and deliver recommendation forms to those who have agreed to serve as a reference for you.
_____Discuss your application activities with your parents and counselor. Keep them informed about your progress.

Back to the Top

How do I prepare for the admissions interview?
How important is the essay and the interview to the admissions process?
What does the interview and essay say about a student's academic character?

A writing sample and in-person discussion will give the admissions department a picture of the real you. These two activities will highlight attitudes, skills, and abilities that cannot necessarily be revealed by an application, transcripts, test scores, or recommendation letters.

The essay will demonstrate your ability to express your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in writing. Admissions representatives will evaluate the use of grammar, vocabulary, and written expression. They're not only interested in what is said but how it is said.

The interview will allow the admissions officer to observe you and to get to know you better. It will give you the opportunity to obtain more specific information about the college or university. All of this is to ensure a proper fit between you and the college.

Admissions departments have a basic idea as to the type of student they wish to attract. The writing sample and interviews allow the admissions team to make a more informed decision.

  • Attend college fairs and talk to college representatives there and those who visit your school (see Appendix F for a list of questions to ask). Practice giving information about yourself and asking for information about the school. This will help you feel more comfortable talking to the interviewer.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Encourage your student to share his/her college application essays with you. Be supportive and listen as your student develops ideas to write about.

  • Encourage your student to talk about his/her college plans, future goals, plans for study, etc. This may help your student to feel more comfortable talking about these topics to others.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources Campus Pursuit—How to Make the Most of the College Visit and Interview (G. Gary Ripple)
Behind the Scenes—An Inside Look at One Selective College Admissions Process (Edward B. Hall)
College Admissions Face to Face: Make the Most of Interviews and Campus Visits (Seven Locks)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Schedule interviews to any colleges/universities you are interested in.

Steps to a
  1. Prepare yourself to write
    Do you feel comfortable?
    Do you have the necessary writing elements/materials?
    Are you ready to write? Do you really want to write?

  2. Read the essay question carefully
    Make sure you understand what you are writing about. Take a day or two to think about how your life experiences relate to the subject.

  3. Write down points you would like to make in the essay
    Write down all points, opinions, facts, questions, stories, or examples which come to mind.

    Think about what the college stands for, the type of students it attracts, how it views education. Can you site points that connect your experience, grades, and skills with the mission and nature of the college?

    Don't worry if the sentences are not complete or in logical order. Don't worry about grammar at this point. Just concentrate on putting your thoughts in writing.

  4. Create an outline for the admissions essay based on the points you listed in item 3
    Organize the points you'd like to stress into an outline.

  5. Look over your outline to make sure it's complete
    Add any thoughts or examples missing from your list of points.

  6. Look over your outline and list of points
    Create a first draft.

  7. Look at what you've written
    Add any points about your academic ability or character you've missed or forgotten.
    then . . .
    Cut and paste sentences and thoughts as you think they should be organized within the essay.
    then . . .
    Re-write the essay.

  8. Check the essay for spelling and grammatical errors
    Incorrect spelling
    Misused modifiers
    Proper use of verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions
    Weak sentences
    Unclear phrases
    Vague descriptions
    Confusing descriptions

    then . . .

  9. Read over the essay, asking yourself the following questions
    Does the essay answer the question without rambling, being vague, or too wordy?
    Are your main points clear?
    Are all of your main points addressed?
    Did you check for mistakes? Is the essay error-free?
    Does the essay give a clear, honest, and positive picture of you?

    If you are satisfied with the essay . . .
    Measure to see if it will fit within the space allocated for it within the admissions form.

    If it fits, re-type (or re-print) the essay on the form. If it does not fit, read the application to be sure that you should continue on another sheet of paper. If the application does not suggest using a separate sheet of paper or the reverse side of the application for the continuation of the essay, a little more editing is needed.

  10. After re-typing, make a copy of the essay for your records
    It'll come in handy if the school asks you for an interview. You can use the comments shared in the essay to prepare for possible interview questions from the admissions staff.
Reminder: Make each essay personal. It may take more effort—but it will be worthwhile in the long run. The more direct the essay answers are to the question, the better. Admissions offices frown upon general essays or those designed for other schools. They do know the difference!

Is important because . . .
it shows your genuine interest in the college/university.

Adds to your knowledge . . .

by providing valuable information about the school's academic philosophy, and admissions policies.

Can be helpful to the admissions process . . .

the admissions department will have the chance to meet you and view all of your special personality characteristics that make you a strong candidate.

Can hurt your chances for admissions . . .

if you come across in a negative way, such as appearing rude, laid-back, or uncomfortable with faculty and staff. These and similar behaviors could seriously harm your chances for acceptance.

Will highlight personal characteristics . . .

academic promise, independence, motivation, verbal skills, overall personality, values, sense of humor, emotional maturity level, interest in the school, integrity, energy, leadership capability, stability, extent of preparation for the college visit, confidence/self-esteem, originality.

What to do when first meeting the interviewer . . .

  • shake hands firmly.
  • have a pleasant facial expression.
  • introduce your parents or anyone else who accompanied you to the campus.
  • sit when and where the interviewer asks you to sit! (Remember, the interviewer has to get a good look at you.)
  • sit in a natural position—not too tight or too relaxed. Also, be careful of any nervous habits, such as finger movement, knee shaking.
  • answer questions in a normal tone and volume, with appropriate eye contact.

The interviewer's questions . . .

After a few minutes of general conversation, the interviewer will begin his/her questioning. Answer to the best of your ability and don't be afraid to say "I don't know" or "Let me think about that question for a minute. . . ."

Typical questions that you may be asked . . .

  • Are your college test scores in line with your academic ability?
  • How would you describe your best friend?
  • What do you want to learn while here at ABC University?
  • What are your career goals and objectives?
  • If you had to convince someone that your major is worthwhile, what would you say?
  • Are you satisfied with your academic history?
  • What are the most recent books you've read outside of school?

Questions to ask the interviewer . . .

  • What are the current issues on campus?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the university?
  • What percentage of students who attend the college or university go on for graduate degrees?
  • What is there to do on-campus for fun?
  • What kinds of support services are available to students? (tutoring, special study skills, workshops, etc.)

Saying good-bye . . .

  • After all questions have been asked (by both you and the interviewer), ask about your chances for admissions. This will give you some idea of the college's response to your request for admissions.
  • Interviewers may also take a few moments to recap the interview with parents and answer any questions.

The interview B's . . .

  • Be on time.
  • Be neat and nicely dressed.
  • Be able to state facts about the college.
  • Be prepared to ask questions related to your admissions.
  • Be sure to answer questions to the best of your ability.
  • Be ready to talk about your previous academic performance (bring unofficial transcripts, information on test scores, etc.)
  • Be yourself—relax!

Back to the Top

How are tuition costs computed?
Are you required to pay all of the of tuition before classes begin?
Can my tuition be charged to a major credit card?
Are there payment plans?
Besides tuition, what other college costs are there?

Tuition = the cost to attend classes at a college or university.
Tuition does not include housing, meals, or any other miscellaneous fees charged by the college.

Tuition costs can be quoted in a number of ways:

  1. By credit hour
    For example: The cost to attend ABC College is $76.32 per credit hour:
    This means: For every credit hour a student takes, he/she must pay $76.32.
    So, if Mary registers for 12 credit hours, she will need to pay $915.84.
  2. By the term
    For example: The cost to attend ABC College is:
    $915.84 per semester for a full-time student.
    (a full-time student is one who is registered for 12 credit hours or more)

    Part time students will pay less.
    For example: Students registered for 7—11 credit hours,
    will pay $575.00 per semester and students registered for less than 7 credit hours, will pay $76.32 per credit hour.

  3. By a student's year of study
    Note: This method usually calls for juniors and seniors (upper division level) to pay a higher tuition rate than first-year and sophomore students (lower division level).
    For example:The cost to attend ABC College is:
    $915.84 per semester for an Upper Division Full-Time student or $815.84 per semester for a Lower Division Full-Time student
    A full-time student is one who take 12 or more credit hours.
    Tuition costs would be lower for part-time students.

Generally, for most colleges and universities:
Classes are held for either:16 weeks (a semester) or12 weeks (a quarter)
 Semester System  Quarter System
Full-time, regular load of classes:4 or 5 classes  3 classes
Full-time, heavy load of classes:6 or 7 classes  4 classes
Part-time load of classes:2 or 3 classes  1 or 2 classes

The number of credit hours reflects the amount of time spent in class. For example: If Jane Doe is taking a 3 credit hour class, the class will meet 3 hours a week during that semester or quarter. (See Appendix A for more information about course loads during a term.)

Paying Fees

Common fees that universities and colleges charge to students:

Insurance:Some schools require students to show proof of current health insurance. If a student has none, the school may offer an insurance package for a fee.

Library:Fee for use of the library

Charge for use of the computer laboratory

Parking:Fee for on-campus parking (But first-year students beware. Some colleges do not allow first or second year students to have cars on campus. Check with your housing manager.)

Charge for past due tuition and fees payment

Charge for registering for classes beyond the time originally scheduled for registration

Breakage:Fees to cover the cost of replacing laboratory glassware and equipment (for lab students)

Recreation:Fee for use of the student center or recreation building

Other major charges if you live on campus:

Housing:The DORM (or similar type of college-sponsored housing)

Meals:The FOOD (often comes in the form of a plan—19 meals a week or 21 meals a week)
Note:Housing fees and meal plans are usually charged separately. Larger schools will have several housing units and meal plans to choose from; costs will vary for each plan, too!
Colleges and universities do not expect the student to actually pay the entire cost, but do expect the student to be responsible for the cost. Responsibility means making sure that all bills are paid on time.

Most colleges prefer that students pay in full at the time of registration, but this is not always possible. Therefore, payment plans have been developed by some academic institutions which will allow fees to be paid in two or three installments during the term. Keep in mind: at registration, you may need cash for partial payment of tuition, housing, meals, and special fees. For specific information on extended payment plans, contact the bursar's office of your prospective college.

Visa? Mastercard?
Yes, some schools accept charge cards for tuition and fee payments. Check with the bursar's office to see if your college does!

If you opt for an extended payment plan, take special care to pay on time.

  • Read the college catalog to determine the cost to attend your prospective school. Identify:
    tuition costs for full-time study
    fees (lab, recreation)
    housing costs
    meal costs

  • Speak with your parents to identify strategies to save for future college expenses. Begin a savings plan for college if you have not done so already.

  • Explore financial assistance as an option for paying for college:

    merit scholarships which are financial awards given to students who have exceptional grades

    need-based scholarships which are financial awards given to students who need financial assistance in order to attend college

    loans which are monies borrowed from financial institutions in order to attend college

  • Ask your guidance counselor, college bursar officer, or financial aid counselor for more information on college costs and payment plans.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Read over all financial materials sent by the prospective college.

  • Discuss the family financial situation and options for paying college expenses openly with your student.

  • Identify your responsibilities as a parent regarding your child's college expenses.
    Are you ultimately responsible for your child's tuition?
    Can you be held legally responsible for past due charges?

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources College catalogs
Directories/general reading materials on college costs
College Cost Book published by The College Board

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Identify and begin a savings plan.
_____Refer to the catalog of your prospective college to identify all possible costs.
_____Contact the college's bursar's office to identify possible payment plans.
_____Discuss financing options with your parents. Seek their advice.

Back to the Top

What is financial aid?
How do I apply?
What are the different kinds of financial assistance?

Financial Aid is monetary assistance from private or governmental sources to pay college expenses.

Most students who go to college receive some kind of financial aid.

Some sources of financial assistance include:

The United States government
Your state
Corporations and businesses
Social service organizations
Academic, athletic, and student services departments of colleges and universities
Alumni associations

What are the major kinds of financial assistance?

  1. Scholarships and Grants are monetary awards given to students to defray college costs. Some are awarded according to the student's need for financial help. Others are given to encourage students to study in a particular field, such as music, sports, English.

    The most popular federal scholarships and grants programs are:

    The Pell Grant: For the Pell Grant, study is limited to 5 to 6 years and can be used with the first bachelor's degree only. The grant is commonly used as the basis of a financial aid package (often combined with other financial aid awards).

    The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): The SEOG is typically awarded to students demonstrating exceptional need (with priority given to Pell Grant recipients). Eligible students can receive up to $4,000 per year. There is no guarantee that eligible students will receive funds. Awards depend on the availability of funds deposited in the college's SEOG account. Funds are disbursed according to the college's own schedule.

    College Work Study: This federal program allows students to hold part-time jobs in order to earn money for college. Students can earn at least minimum wage, are paid by the hour, and assigned positions on or off-campus. The number of hours worked per week is determined by the college's financial aid administrator.

    The funds described above are not to be re-paid.

  2. Loans are funds borrowed from banks and other financial institutions. They have to be repaid. The major types of loans are:

    Perkins & Stafford Loans: These are low interest educational loans. There are restrictions on the amount which can be borrowed and this varies according to the type of loan. Loans are made by a lender (bank, savings and loan, credit union). Students can borrow only the cost of tuition and fees minus the previously determined family contribution and other financial awards received.

    PLUS and SLS: PLUS is a loan program for parents to help pay for their child's college tuition. SLS (Supplemental Loans for Students) is a loan program for students who borrow to cover educational costs. Both are offered by banks, credit unions, or savings and loans associations.

    Unlike the Stafford Loan, PLUS, and SLS loans are not based on need. However, a credit analysis will be made prior to approving the loan. PLUS loans are distributed to parents in a one-time transaction by the lender (in the form of a check). SLS loans are sent to the college. One must begin repaying PLUS and SLS loans within 60 days of the last loan disbursement (unless a deferment has been approved). There are no grace periods for PLUS or SLS loans. Check with your financial aid officer for specific details.

How can a student identify agencies and organizations that offer scholarships and grants?

There are many books and brochures (see Appendix G) which will outline the names of financial aid sources, contact information, scholarship/grant award criteria, instructions on how to obtain more information, and details outlining how to apply. To find more information on resources for financial assistance, consult your school library, local public library, high school guidance counselor, and attend college fairs and financial aid workshops. Seek information on scholarships and apply for as many as possible. You can accumulate a series of small scholarships and awards and possibly cover all of your college costs. Be aggressive about applying and allow plenty of time to complete applications.

How to apply
for financial
  1. To apply for financial assistance, you must complete a student needs analysis form. This is a form which collects information about you and your family's financial situation. This information will be placed in a computer database system so colleges can tap in and gather a student's information. College financial aid officers use these facts to determine eligibility for financial assistance and the amount and kinds of awards a student receives.

    The most common student needs analysis form is The Free Application for Federal Student Aid which can be obtained December through Spring from your guidance counselor. Many colleges will also ask for additional information. Companies like the College Scholarship Service and the American College Testing Services offer forms that supply more details about a family's financial status. Consult the college financial aid officer of the school you wish to attend to identify which forms to complete.

  2. Complete financial aid forms supplied by the college/university. Some institutions have their own forms. These forms may require additional documentation and may have different deadlines from The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Be sure to read all instructions carefully!

    Another reminder about deadlines: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be mailed on or immediately after January 1st. Forms mailed before this date will not be processed! Mail these forms as close as possible to January 1st.

  3. Once a student needs analysis form has been submitted, the student will receive back a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR repeats all of the information printed on the student needs analysis form.

    The student will be asked to review the information.

    If the information is correct, copies of the SAR should be mailed to the colleges where you have applied.

    If an error is seen, the student should correct and return the entire SAR to the processing company that will then correct and return it to the student. Once all the information is correct, the form can be mailed to the prospective colleges.

    Once the college receives the SAR, the financial aid officer will analyze the information in order to determine a student's eligibility for a financial award.

  4. After the college has received your SAR and analyzed it, you will receive a letter detailing a financial aid package. A financial aid package (your monetary offer) may include a mixture of scholarship, grant, or loan monies and/or work study. However, not all of these may be offered.

    For example,

    Susie may be offered a $2400 scholarship, $800 in work-study, and a $2000 loan. Whereas, Mike may be offered a $1000 scholarship, a $500 band scholarship, and a $2000 loan. Both attend the same school and have similar tuition costs. It all depends on your financial situation.
  5. Finally, once an offer of financial aid has been made, a student needs to accept or decline the award in writing. This will allow financial aid departments to determine the amount of dollars that have been secured by prospective students, the amount that has been offered to prospective students and the amount of dollars that are yet available to be awarded.

    Financial awards are usually on a year-to-year basis.
    So, it is necessary to re-apply through this process each year!

  • Gather needed financial information, including your parents' income tax return filed during the January of your senior year of high school. If you filed a return, your information will be necessary. (If the tax return has yet to be filed, you may use estimated figures.)

  • Secure financial aid forms from your high school guidance counselor. Read carefully. If you have any questions, contact your guidance counselor.

  • Research the various types of financial aid to see which one(s) you're most likely to qualify for.

  • For private scholarships and grants:
    • Identify the type of award
    • Request information about the award as well as an award application packet
    • Apply for the award; wait for a response; accept or decline the financial offer

  • For federal scholarships and grants:
    • Complete a student needs analysis form
    • Send copies of the SAR to prospective colleges
    • Wait for a response; accept or decline the offer

  • Keep lines of communication with parents open. Let them know of your efforts to secure financial aid. Seek their advice. Get them involved.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Explore financial aid options with your child.
    • Learn about the financial aid process
    • Gain an understanding of where to find grants, scholarships, and loans
    • Assist your child in applying for these awards
    • Become familiar with the College Work Study Program

  • Make your income and tax information available for financial aid forms. Encourage the student to complete and mail all forms on time.

  • Participate in financial aid workshops designed specifically for parents. Call your child's guidance counselor to ask when they will be held.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources College/University Catalogs

Computer Programs

Peterson's Financial Aid Service (Peterson's)
FACT: Financial Aid and Counseling Tool (ACT)

Financial Aid Resources

College Blue Book: Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Loans published by Macmillan Publishing Company, NY
How To Find Out About Financial Aid: A Guide to Over 700 Directories (Gail Schlachter)
The As and Bs of Academic Scholarships (Priscilla S. Goeller)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____Ask parents about current family financial status.
_____Learn about the different types of financial aid (grants, scholarships).
_____Learn where to apply for scholarships, loans, and grants.
_____Gather financial aid applications (from school, scholarship/grant sponsors).
_____Keep parents involved by sharing with them financial aid information you've received.
_____Gather income tax information.
_____Complete and mail financial aid applications and student needs analysis forms.
_____Correct SAR (if necessary); or mail SAR form to prospective college.
_____Keep track of all financial aid offers.

Back to the Top

I've been accepted!
Now what???


. . . you've received a letter. You have been accepted for admissions to ABC University for the Fall term.

The letter

will welcome you to the institution;
may discuss reasons why you were admitted to study (your strengths and attributes);
will ask that you accept or decline the offer by a certain date;
may identify preliminary registration dates and housing information (with details to follow later);
may ask for final transcripts and other related documents by a certain date.

It's time to decide . . .

  • Remember that list you created when you first began looking for a college? The one where you identified all of the attributes you were looking for in a college or university. Use it again now!
    considerations: small, large, urban, suburban, rural, two-year, four-year, quality of programs, student support services, financial aid, placement of students in graduate school, etc.

  • Review that list—making sure the college or university has the attributes you are looking for.

  • Next, look at the institution more closely:

    • What are your feelings about the college? Do you really like it?
      Do your feelings have anything to do with your friends attending/not attending the college?

    • Are you satisfied with the faculty, class size, types of student services, and variety of courses that are offered?

    • How do you feel about your program of study (college major)?
      Do the courses seem challenging?

    • Do you think the courses will prepare you for a career?
      Does the college match your academic abilities?
         (i.e., competitive college for students with above average scores)
      Do you have other offers?

    • Is this college/university the best over the other institutions? If not, can you accept the differences?

    • What about cost? Are tuition and fees affordable? Has financial aid been awarded? Is there an opportunity for work-study or part-time employment?

Take time to consider the offer. If it helps, ask guidance counselors and teachers for advice. They may bring up points you have not thought of. Open up (not close up) to parents and your guidance counselor. Keep them abreast of what offers have been received, your thoughts, and inclinations. Ask and consider their opinions. But, form your own opinion!

. . . You've decided

When you reach your final decision about the offer, discuss your decision with your parents. This will enable them to help you as you begin to prepare for your college future.

. . . You respond

Spend time creating a polite and brief letter to the admissions office to let them know of your acceptance or rejection of their offer. Most schools request that you let them know by a certain date. If no date is listed try to notify them of your decision within three to four weeks of the offer.

  • Devote adequate time toward the consideration of the offer. Include others in your decision but reflect on it yourself, alone.

  • Be clear about the characteristics you are looking for in a college. Choose a college for the right reason—not because a friend goes there or because someone talked you into applying. Make a choice according to your own values, interests, and goals.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Be available for your student. Try to be as objective as possible. Give opinions and suggestions in a positive, non-threatening tone.

  • Stay calm. Encourage the student to stay calm. This is a trying time. Be understanding and supportive.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources Specific information about a college or university—for informed decision-making

College/University Catalogs

Computer Programs

College Explorer (The College Board)

College directories/general reading materials

Peterson's Guide to Four-Year Colleges (Peterson's)
Lovejoy's College Guide (Monarch Press)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____When an offer arrives, note reply deadlines; notify your parents and counselor. Place correspondence in the folder for that college.
_____Create (or find, if you've created one previously) a list of attributes you would like to see in a college. Compare the attributes of the college which extended the offer to ones on your list.
_____Seek advice from your parents and counselor. Continue to think.
_____Make a decision.
_____Discuss final decision with parents, guidance counselor.
_____Respond to the college in writing. Tell them of your decision.
_____If you have chosen a college, create a new file to keep future mailings from the college. Date, read, respond, and file all correspondence.
_____Try to respond to all other offers in a timely and polite manner.

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Where will I stay?
How will I eat?
Are meals and housing included in my tuition? Does financial aid take care of this?

Unfortunately, some students are so concerned about applying for admissions and financial aid, that they forget about housing and meals. Once an offer of admissions is extended, you will receive information about college-sponsored residential services. (See Appendix A to learn about registration and additional information that may accompany residential information.)

Depending upon the institution, there may be applications for housing and meals. Brochures explaining options and costs may also be included. Every effort to honor your first preferences in housing and meal plans will be made. However, depending on availability, your second or third choice may be assigned.

<< Rule of Thumb >>      Do not delay sending in these forms! It may cost you your first choice!

A small deposit may be required to secure housing or meal plan arrangements.

Most financial aid packages cover partial or full costs of housing and meals. Consult the residential manager, financial aid officer, and bursar officer for facts.

a few facts
housing and
meals . . .
Students are usually given several choices of on-campus housing facilities. Some colleges and universities have dormitories set aside for specific majors (such as a dorm strictly for music majors, or one for business majors).

Some institutions offer co-ed dorms, on-campus apartments, or sorority/ fraternity housing.

Housing fees are charged by the term (semester or quarter).
It is very hard (if not impossible) for first-year students to get a single room.

Don't forget, most students living in a dorm share a bathroom.

The Housing Contract
  • will outline the rules and regulations to be observed while living in the dorm.
  • will identify the dorm and room assignments.
  • will highlight the length of stay in the dorm, when a student can check in and check out, information about availability during holidays and costs.
  • is a written agreement between the student and the university about living arrangements.


Meal plans come in a variety of packages. Charges are applied according to the number of meals you purchase. Some colleges offer:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (7 days a week)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (5 days a week)
Breakfast and Dinner (7 days a week)
Breakfast and Dinner (5 days a week)
And the options can go on and on. It all depends on the college or university!
The Meal Plan Contract
  • will outline the number of meals per week purchased
  • will state where the student may take the meals (which dorm? student union?)
  • will state which meals can be served (breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner?)
  • will indicate the hours the meals will be served
  • will give general rules and regulations of the meal plan program

Like the housing contract, the meal plan contract is a written agreement between the student and the university regarding meal services. Housing and meal plans require a contract which is signed by the student and charged to his/her account.

  • When housing and meal information arrive, read it carefully. If several options are offered, identify where the differences lie; then choose.

  • Discuss with your parents and guidance counselor your housing and meal plan decision.

  • Complete all housing/meal applications and contracts in a timely fashion.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • As housing and meal materials arrive, review them with your college-bound student. Discuss options.

  • Look over all applications and contracts before your student mails them to the college.

  • Be aware of any deadlines the contracts may have. Remind the student about deadlines as they approach.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

Resources Housing and Meal Plan brochures from various colleges and universities

General reading material

College Comes Sooner Than You Think!(Jill M. Reilly and Bonnie D. Featherstone)
College 101 (Ronald T. Farrar)
Letting Go, A Parent's Guide to Today's College Experience (Karen Coburn and Madge Treeger)
Handbook for College Admissions: A Family Guide (Thomas C. Hayden)

See Appendix G for additional titles.

_____As housing materials arrive, read them carefully, noting differences in options, and the application deadlines.
_____Involve your parents and guidance counselor in your quest to select a dorm and meal plan. Ask their opinion.
_____Make a selection. Inform parents.
_____Complete all applications, sign contracts as directed. Ask parents to check them over.
_____Make copies of all contracts before mailing. Keep copies for your personal file.

a few thoughts
life . . .
Yes, you will have to share a bathroom.
Maybe, first-year students can have cars on-campus (depends upon the college).
Yes, you will be on your own; but, no you won't be able to do everything you want to do.
Yes, you will need to be on a budget.
No, there is no laundry service.
. . . and there will be a resident manager on premises at all times (to make sure rules are followed).
Living away from home is exciting. But, it can be a difficult period of time as well. There are many adjustments:
living with someone you do not know
living in a strange city
living with a number of people—some who are different than you
sharing private facilities
living under new rules, responding to a different authority figure . . . and the list continues.

Speak with others who have gone away to college. Ask them about their good and bad dorm experiences.

Think about some of your habits. Are they annoying? Can you alter them if you need to? Are you patient? Flexible?

Think about it. You'll need to take a serious look at YOU—before you leave for the dorm and meet your new roommate.

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I need a tutor!
I'm having a problem in class—I don't understand what's going on!
Work study? What's work study? I haven't been assigned a job!

. . . College staff persons who can give you:

answers          counseling          information          advice          service

. . . when you need it!

There are many problems a student can encounter while on campus.
Who can help?

Questions about financial aid, college Work Study Program, financial aid applications
Office of Financial Aid

Need help passing a course? Need a tutor? Information on note-taking, test-taking, and study skills
Academic Support System

Questions about admissions. Receipt of records, transcripts, application materials. Initial registration information
Office of Admissions

Account information, account balances. Tuition and fees charges. Cashier's office, cash personal checks
Bursar's Office

Problems with a college department. Problems with an instructor. Where to find help with a problem. Services are not being provided.
Student Services Department

Problems in the dorm, dorm emergencies, not adjusting to campus environment
Residential Manager

Need someone to talk to? Non-college related problems/situations. Stress? Fear? Anxiety?
Student Counseling Office

What course do I register for next term? How do I drop a course? How do I add a course? Does this course count toward graduation?
Academic Advising Center

Books, paper, special class materials, school supplies . . .
Campus Bookstore

Medical treatment, flu shots, colds, allergy problems, upset stomach . . . Health problems
Health Service

  • Read the college catalog to identify which of these services are offered by your prospective college. Become familiar with the kinds of services each support unit provides. Ask the admissions officer for information on how to contact these services: location, hours, fees.

  • Create a list (unit, location, hours, contact numbers) for future use.

  • When a challenging situation arises and you realize you need information, support or assistance, don't wait until the situation gets worse. Seek help right away.

See Appendix B for additional activities.

  • Explain that everyone (at one time or another) needs support and/or assistance and that it is not embarrassing to ask for help. Explain the importance of knowing where to turn if help is needed.

  • Become familiar with the student support services offered by your student's prospective college. Learn of the extent of their services. Advise your student to visit these offices and to create a phone directory listing. Ask for a copy of this listing for use in emergency situations.

See Appendix C for additional activities.

_____Read the college catalog and speak with admissions officers to gather a list of student service departments, the type of services they provide, their office hours, and telephone numbers.
_____Place this list in a visible place in your dorm room.
_____Give a copy of this list to your parents (for their information).
_____Don't be afraid to contact these sources for support. Don't wait until a situation gets out of hand!

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Appendix A

You've settled in the dorm and
sat through all of the introductions, speeches, tours, and instructions given
during freshmen orientation . . .

Now it's time for REAL COLLEGE—
yes, you've heard about it . . .
read about it . . .
now, it's time to do it!

Your college experience will probably begin with the unassuming, all-telling placement exams!

Most colleges and universities require incoming first-year students to take placement examinations in the areas of English (comprehension and composition) and mathematics (math, algebra, geometry).

These are not pass/fail tests.
They only measure your knowledge so that you can be placed in the proper college class.

In every academic department, there is a wide range of college classes, starting with basic level courses. Some students require additional study in important areas such as English and mathematics in order to successfully attempt college study. Other students come in with advanced preparation and may be able to skip introductory level courses in a subject (e.g., if they have taken 4 years of a foreign language in high school). Your college or university may require that you take placement exams in several areas including English, mathematics, and foreign languages.

Registration can cause stress and anxiety. Registration is usually held over a period of two to three weeks. However, first-year students are often given the golden opportunity to register early (before the rush and all the classes are filled).

During this time, consult the course bulletin (the booklet which lists all of the available classes), select the classes you wish to take during the upcoming term, complete the registration process, pay your tuition and fees, pick up your class admit cards and get your campus ID card. Sounds easy?

It is, really! It's just that the lines are usually long, people are sometimes grumpy, classes fill up quickly and (thanks to the computer-age) there can be glitches in the system which will temporarily halt your registration journey and send you to a department to clear up a matter before you can continue. Once the problem is cleared up, you're ready to go back to the registration point where you left off—but (as expected) at the rear of the line.

The purpose of registration is to sign up for classes. Before we talk about how many and what types of classes, let's explore a factor important to this process . . . credit hours.

In college, when you talk about classes, you don't say:

"I have one year of math remaining" or "I have taken two years of Spanish"

. . . instead, you would say:
"I have six hours of math remaining" or "I have taken twelve hours of Spanish"

Classes are thought of in terms of hours, not years, for which you receive credit for the time and effort you spend in class. The term, credit hour represents the number of hours you spend in a specific class each week for an entire term.

Special Note: Credit hour is a general term. There are two more specific terms that you may find: a semester hour is the number of credit hours taken during a semester (a semester is 16 weeks long), a quarter hour is the number of credit hours taken during a quarter (a quarter is 10 weeks long).
Credit hours are important for a number of reasons: the number of credit hours taken during a term may determine:
  the amount of tuition to be charged
<< most colleges charge tuition by the credit hour >>
academic status
<< full-time=12+ credit hours a semester, part-time=11 credit hours or less >>
academic level
0-29 completed credit hours
30-59 completed credit hours
60-89 completed credit hours
90+ completed credit hours
As for selecting classes . . .
 here are a few things to learn, before you start!

Whether your school operates on a quarter or semester, four or five classes a term is usually considered full-time. Anything less is considered part-time. Four or five courses may not seem like a full-load, but remember, for every hour you sit in class, you may need two more to study. Homework and library study can take a great deal of time.

Classes may be offered during day, afternoon, and evening hours. Depending on your college's resources (faculty, space, budget, etc.), students may be able to choose from several time slots. It may be possible for you to arrange all of your classes on three days a week—or two days a week—or morning classes only, or evening classes only. Many possibilities exist.

Advisors will be available to help you select your classes. These are special academic counselors who are aware of all the courses and tests students are to pass in order to be eligible for graduation. Their job is to keep you on-course, taking the right courses.

Advisors will tell you about the different types of courses:

general education coursesApproximately 12 courses in five basic areas (English, math, science, humanities, and social science) are required for graduation. The purpose of general education requirements is to give you exposure to a wide range of topics.

major course of studyThese are courses that are offered within your major. Some colleges require that you pass a certain number of basic courses and examinations before you continue on to intermediate and advanced coursework.

electivesThese are the remaining courses, ones that are not needed for your major or to fulfill general education requirements but are taken for credit. Some students use electives to study another subject area in depth. Depending on the number of hours and the types of courses taken in this subject, a college may recognize this area as a minor or double major.

Some colleges and universities may provide a schedule that will list the courses and suggested time frames for students to use as a guide to graduation. Information about general education classes, elective hours and other college/university requirements can be found in your college catalog.

Dropping or
adding classes
once you have
Unlike high school, you can drop and add classes in college.
Maybe the time or day of the class is not working out, or you've discovered you don't like or need the class for graduation.
For whatever good reason—you will need to visit the registrar's office to pick up a form which is to be signed by the instructor, you and your advisor (procedures may vary from college to college). Think carefully and discuss this action with your advisor before initiating this move.

Your college catalog will have information about dropping and adding classes, too!

Finally—just for clarification,

A counselor is usually someone who helps you with your personal problems that are not school related.

A college advisor is someone who helps you with class scheduling and other school related situations and problems.

Remember, support, information, and service is always nearby—whether it is the registrar's office, the counseling center, the residential manager, or your academic advisor.

Have a great time exploring and learning!

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Appendix B

Calendar for
High School
Juniors and
College Planning Calendar—Junior Year


  • Register through your counselor for the P-ACT and PSAT/NMSQT which will be administered in your local area, usually in the Fall.

  • Talk to your counselor about taking inventories to identify your career related interests and abilities.

  • Check with your counselor to review your college profile. Make sure your courses meet college requirements and prepare you for your anticipated major in college. Investigate and get involved in extracurricular activities or community clubs, if you are not already.


  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT and the P-ACT.

  • Remember that your junior year is the last full year of high school that a college will look at before making an admissions decision.


  • Continue to explore colleges. Write to the colleges for information and catalogs. Develop a list of ideal college characteristics.

  • Try to develop skills that will qualify you for jobs at better wages and enhance your profile.
    For example: learn typing, develop computer skills, enhance interpersonal and communication skills.


  • Many colleges have college preparatory programs for seniors. Consider applying for a special one next summer. See your counselor for suggestions.

  • Talk to teachers, graduates from your school, relatives, and people in your community about the colleges they attended.

  • Prepare for the college entrance examinations, ACT, and/or SAT. Ask your counselor about test prep courses or use a test prep book.

January and February:

  • Start lining up a summer job or a summer program to attend.

  • Start learning about college costs and financial aid. Investigate financial aid possibilities.

  • Check deadline dates for special scholarship competitions.

March and April:

  • Ask your counselor about obtaining SAT or ACT test fee waivers, if needed.

  • Make sure your parents have a copy of their federal income tax return in a safe place so that you will be able to use the information if needed to apply for private scholarships.

  • Register for the May SAT. Send test scores to prospective colleges. (Ask your counselor about fee waivers.)

  • Register for the June ACT. Send test scores to prospective colleges. (Ask your counselor about fee waivers.)

May and June:

  • Take the SAT.

  • Discuss your college choices with your counselor.

  • Read college catalogs carefully for information about scholarships and grants that come from the college's own funds.

  • Take the ACT.

College Planning Calendar—Senior Year


  • Finalize the list of colleges to which you want to apply (usually three to five). Your selections should include at least one that you feel will definitely accept you.

  • If you have not received them already, write to the colleges for applications for admissions (to The Director of Admissions) and financial aid (to The Director of Financial Aid).

  • Remember that college admissions committees put a lot of weight on your overall high school average, college entrance examination scores, extracurricular activities, class rank, and recommendations from your high school. Keep evaluating your college profile.

  • Register to take the ACT or SAT over again if your scores are not as high as you would like. Prepare for them before you take them a second time (see your counselor for advice). Send test scores to prospective colleges.

  • Schedule college visits for schools that you are interested in.

  • Search for scholarships from local community groups and other organizations.

October and November:

  • Submit applications for admissions and financial aid.

  • Spend time composing carefully thought out answers to questions on applications, especially those that call for a composition of some kind (e.g., an autobiography). Compose several drafts before writing a polished neatly typed essay. Get someone to proofread it.

  • If you are seriously considering a college and you have not sent them your SAT or ACT test scores, contact your guidance counselor. Additional fees, forms, and time are required for to send additional colleges your scores.

  • Take the ACT, if you haven't already. (Ask your counselor about fee waivers)

  • Take the SAT, if you haven't already. (Ask your counselor about fee waivers)

  • Ask teachers and counselors for letters of recommendation. Make sure they are aware of all deadlines and mailing procedures.

  • Submit applications for private scholarships/grants.


  • Visit any colleges you've applied to that you haven't seen. College visits give you lots of information and help you to decide which schools are right for you.

  • Register for SAT Achievement Test if required by colleges you are applying to.

  • Check to see if you have done everything necessary for admissions and financial aid.

  • Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Check with your counselor and teachers to see that letters of recommendation and transcripts have been sent.


  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Take the SAT Achievement Tests.

  • Continue to search out and apply for scholarships and grants.

February and March:

  • Ask colleges about summer programs for freshmen.

  • Ask your counselor about summer college preparation programs in the community.

  • Have your mid-year grades sent to the colleges that require them.

  • Register for May SAT, if necessary. Send test scores to prospective colleges.

April and May:

  • Most colleges notify you of their admissions and financial aid award decisions in April.

  • Bring your letters of acceptance and/or rejection to your counselor as you hear from the colleges so s/he knows your status and will be able to assist you. Also, share this information with your parents.

  • Keep your counselor informed as you receive your financial aid packages.

  • Make a decision about accepting admissions and the financial aid package after you and your parents clearly understand what you are being offered.

  • See your counselor or call the college admissions or financial aid office for help regarding any questions about admissions and financial aid.


  • Send final high school transcripts to your prospective college.

  • Stay in touch with your selected institution to make sure everything is in order.

  • Continue to keep your counselor informed.

  • Get a job and save as much as you can for your college expenses.

  • Read all the material that your college/university sends you. Send in signed contracts for housing and meal plans. Complete health forms if needed.

July and August:

  • Prepare for college. Begin collecting things you wish to take with you. Begin planning your courses for the Fall term.

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Appendix C

Calendar of
Activities for
Parents of
High School
Juniors and
Calendar of Activities
for Parents of Juniors
  • Encourage your student to create a list of characteristics s/he prefers in a college.

  • Assist him/her to construct a list of schools to research and possibly visit.

  • Assist in the travel arrangements/coordination of campus visits, calls to obtain college catalogs.

  • Target private organizations and corporations which offer merit or need-based scholarships. Identify what is needed to apply for a scholarship.
    Make sure you are aware of scholarship application deadline dates!

  • Assist your college-bound person in the registration process for college entrance exams: ACT and SAT.

  • Establish a family calendar—maybe one of those large wipe-off plastic ones. Place it in a strategic place in the home. This way, everyone (not just the student) can be reminded of important testing, admission, and financial aid dates.

  • As college catalogs and admissions materials arrive, review them with your student. Some families create a log to chart all incoming materials and to identify which ones are the most appealing.

  • Be sure to review all college entrance exam scores with your student as each set of scores arrive. Note how they compare with other college-bound students across the nation and with admissions standards of their prospective colleges.

  • Continue to contribute to your college savings plan!

  • Keep informed about college fairs held in your community. Your student's guidance counselor will have up-to-date schedules and locations. Try to attend these events with your student. Identify questions he/she should ask the college representatives. Target admissions materials that should be picked up from the display tables. Take time after the fair to discuss the student's impressions and the significance of the event.

  • Continue to review your family's financial status. Remember, next year you will be completing and filing student needs analysis forms (financial aid forms). You will need to have some idea of your income as it relates to contributing toward the cost of tuition.

  • Meet with your student's guidance counselor to see what areas of support your student needs at this stage of college preparation efforts. Get advice on strategies to improve communication and understanding during these trying, yet exciting, times.

Calendar of Activities
for Parents of Seniors

In the Fall

  • Assist your student as he/she begins to finalize a list of prospective schools. Monitor the decision-making process; allow the student to process information independently. Aid in establishing criteria and evaluating characteristics. Take care to let the student take charge and assume primary responsibility for this activity.

  • Attend college fairs, college nights, and special college planning workshops.

  • Ensure that your student requests admissions packets from their prospective colleges early. It takes time to complete application forms, secure teacher/counselor recommendation letters, transcripts and file college entrance examination scores.

  • Check to be sure that your student has registered for the college entrance examinations deemed necessary by prospective college(s).

  • Remind your student that the earlier exams are taken, the earlier the scores will be reported. The later the test, the more likely the scores will not arrive in time for his/her application to be considered by the admissions department.

  • Take steps to ensure that the scores have been reported to the proper colleges and universities.

  • Remind your student to request that transcripts be sent to each university.

  • Remind your student to ask for letters of recommendation.

  • Continue to examine your family's financial status. Discuss this openly with your child.

  • Help your student actively search for financial aid. Encourage your student to contact those foundations and organizations that award scholarships and grants and apply for those that are most appropriate.

In the Winter

  • Assist your student in the completion and submission of student needs analysis forms. Free Application for Federal Student Aid and other similar forms should be submitted at the beginning of the calendar year. Any forms submitted before January 1 will be returned to the student. These forms will ask for your income information. If you have not completed tax forms, most of these forms will allow you to estimate your income and tax contributions.

  • Continue to monitor and assist your student in his/her efforts to submit admissions applications and to chart acceptance/rejection responses from the colleges. Encourage your student to "touch base" with persons who have agreed to write recommendation letters. Advise your student to monitor timelines to ensure that deadlines aren't missed.

  • Monitor the progress of the mailing of transcripts.

  • By now your college-bound young person should have received an SAR (Student Aid Report). If the form is correct, it should be mailed directly to the college. If it is incorrect, new information should be sent back to the financial aid form agency. Contact your student's guidance counselor for more direction.

In the Spring

  • Aid your student as he/she receives offers of admissions. Encourage your student to discuss college fears and dreams with you, guidance counselors and teachers. Support the student as much as possible during this critical time.

  • Remind your student to prepare letters of acceptance and rejection to be sent to the academic institutions which offered admissions. Encourage the student to send letters as soon as a decision has been made.

  • Join the student as he/she considers and decides upon the terms of the financial aid award package offered by the institution.

  • Help student to enhance test-taking, study and note-taking skills. Stress the importance of these skills when tackling college-level study.

  • Remind your student to send final transcripts and any other requested documents to the admissions office upon completion of his/her senior year.

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Appendix D

Request for
  • Identify the mailing address of the admissions office and the financial aid office.
  • If you have the name of a contact person, address the letter to him or her.
  • Type or neatly print the letter and envelope. Your handwriting may not be as readable as you think!
  • Write in clear, complete sentences. Never use slang. Avoid abbreviations.
  • Remember, this is a letter requesting information—not a letter of application. Don't include unnecessary information!

Try this format:

Your Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number


Admissions Office
University Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Admissions Officer:

First paragraph: Tell something about yourself and of your interest in the institution.

Sample wording: In my efforts to learn more about various colleges and universities, I ran across a brief profile of your school. The description interests me and I would like to learn more. Currently, I am a senior at Perkins High School in Chicago, Illinois with a grade point average of 3.2 and rank 23 out of 112 twelfth-grade students. I am considering a major in mathematics and have solid grades in the math courses I took in high school.
Second paragraph: State what materials you want; which term you are applying for; and, a request for any other specific information (i.e., your major). Identify where you want your materials sent: your full name, complete address, city, state, and zip code. Thank the reader for his/her time and efforts.
Sample wording: I would like to request all necessary documents to apply for admission and financial aid in the Fall, 199_ term. I would also like to request a copy of your most recent catalog and program information related to the field of mathematics.
Please send the materials to: your name, street address, city, state, zip code.

Thank you for your assistance.


Your signature
Your name in print

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Appendix E


A request for admissions materials

Identify the telephone numbers of the admissions office and the financial aid office. If you have a contact person for either of the offices, ask for her/him.

Keep a pad of paper and a pen or pencil nearby. On it list: the materials you are requesting, the date, the time you called and to whom you spoke. Keep it handy to jot down any information or referral numbers that may be given to you.

Be sure to ask when you can expect to receive the materials. (Understand, this is an approximate timeline!)

You can expect a conversation like this:

Admissions Office:Hello, admissions department.
Student:Hello, I would like to receive your most recent catalog, admissions application, and financial aid packet.
AO:Fine. Is this for our winter quarter?
St:No, I'd like to be considered for the Fall term.
AO:Thank you. May I have your address?
St:Yes, Mary Smith, 23515 Lyons St., Valencia, California 91355.
AO:I've got it. We'll put it in the mail.
St:When do you think I'll receive the package?
AO:In about 10 days.
St:Thank you.

You may need to dial another number to order a financial aid packet. Some schools handle admissions requests and financial aid requests separately.

Be sure to give your complete address. This includes: directions (North, South, East, West), apartment number, and zip code.

Be clear and specific!

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Appendix F

Questions for

Here are a few questions a student can pose to college admissions representatives.

  • What is the average class size for freshmen courses? (i.e., English 101, Math 101, Introduction to Psychology . . . . .)

  • Are most undergraduate courses taught by graduate students or faculty?

  • What is the average distance between buildings? (Is the campus large? Is it spread out?)

  • Do you offer a program of study in my major __________________________ ?
    (fill in the blank with your college major)

  • Do many students in my major go on to graduate school? Which institutions?

  • Who helps students select their courses?

  • How do students get around campus? Walk? Bicycle?

  • Do classes meet daily? Alternating days (M, W, F or T, Th)?
    How long is each class?

  • Do most students live on-campus?

  • On the average, how many students are assigned to a dorm room? Do they share bathrooms?

  • Are meals served within the dorm or in a centrally located facility?

  • Are freshmen required to live on-campus? Can they have cars?

  • Are there telephones in each room?

  • Do you have to be accepted for admissions before you are awarded financial aid?

  • On the average, how much of the actual cost of attending the school does financial aid typically cover?

  • What is the deadline for applying for financial aid? When will students know about award decisions?

  • Does the school have a payment plan to cover tuition and fees balances?

  • What are some of the unique qualities about the college?

  • What academic support services are offered to students?

  • What student groups are available on campus?

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Appendix G



1993 Educational Opportunity Guide. A Directory of Programs for the Gifted
Available by writing to Duke University, Talent Identification Program, 1121 West Maine Street Suite 100, Durham, NC 27708-0747

Northwestern University Center for Talent Development Educational Opportunity Guide
Available by writing to CTD, Midwest Talent Search, Northwestern University, 2003 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208

Program Opportunities for Academically Talented Students, February 1993
Available by writing to Center for Talented Youth, Publications Resources Services, Johns Hopkins University, 2701 North Charles, Baltimore, MD 21218

Rocky Mountain Talent Search. Educational Opportunity Guide
Rocky Mountain Talent Search, Bureau of Educational Services, University of Denver, MRH 114, Denver, CO 80208

Summer on Campus: College Experience for High School Students
Shirley Levin
College Board Publications, Department J45, P.O. 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

Summer Opportunities for Kids and Teenagers
Peterson's, P.O. Box 2123
Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

Recommended Course Sequences in Academic Subjects for Talent Search Participants (brochure)
The Center for Talent Development, Northwestern University, 2003 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208

and Activities
This list was taken in part from the 1993 Educational Opportunity Guide which is available from Duke University, TIP Program, 1121 West Maine Street, Suite 100, Durham, NC 27708-0747


Achievement Awards in Writing, Promising Young Writers Program
National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801

Arts Recognition Talent Search (ARTS)
National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, 100 N. Biscayne, Suite 1801, Miami, FL 33132

National German Examination
American Association of Teachers of German, 112 Haddontowne Court, #104, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

National Speech Tournament
National Forensic League, P.O. Box 38, Ripon, WI 54971

National French Contest: Le Grand Concourse
American Association of Teachers of French, Box 1178, Long Beach, NY 11561

ACC/NTCL, National Latin Examination
National Junior Classical League
American Classical League, P.O. Box 95, Mt. Vernon, VA 22121

National High School Oratorical Contest
American Legion, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206

National Language Arts Olympiad, National Social Studies Olympiad
National Olympiads, Box 477, Hauppauge, NY 11788-0477

Time Education Program and Mobil Student Writing Contest
Time and Smith-Corona Student Writing Contest
Communications Park, Box 800, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549

The Scholastic Writing and Art, Awards
Scholastic, Incorporated, 730 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Young Writers Contest
Young Writers Contest Foundation, P.O. Box 6092, McLean, VA 22106

Young Scholars Awards
National Endowment for the Humanities, Room 316, Division of Fellowships and Seminars, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20506


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, United States Department of Education, NASA, 1420 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary Schools
Executive Director, MOES, 125 Merle Avenue, Ocean Side, NY 11572

National Engineering Aptitude Search
Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS), 1420 King Street, Suite 405, Alexandria, VA 22314-2715

National Mathematics League Competitions
National Mathematics League, Southern Regional Office, P.O. Box 9459, Coral Springs, FL 33075

Test of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science Teams
Junior Engineering Technical Society, 140 King Drive, Suite 405, Alexandria, VA 22314-2715


Duracell/NSTA Scholarship Competition
National Science Teachers Association, 1742 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009

National Chemistry Olympiad
American Chemical Society, Education Department, 1115 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

United States Physics Team for the International Physics Olympiad
American Association of Physics Teachers, 5112 Berwyn Road, College Park, MD 20740

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
Academy of Applied Science, JSHS Office, 4603 W. Concord, NH 03301

National Science Olympiad
National Science Teachers Association, Box 5477, Hauppauge, NY 11788

Science Olympiad
Science Olympiad, 5955 Little Pine Lane, Rochester, MI 48306

Westinghouse Science Talent Search
Science Service, Incorporated, 1719 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

College Planning
Books, Computer
Software, and
Guides, Handbooks, Directories

Barron's Profile of American Colleges
Barron's Educational Services, 250 Wireless Boulevard, New York, NY 11788

The College Handbook
College Board, 45 Columbia Avenue, New York, NY 10023-6992

Comparative Guide to American Colleges (Harper & Row)
James Cass & Max Birnbaum
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

The Complete Guide to Canadian Universities (Self-Counsel Press)
Kevin Paul
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

The Fiske Guide to Colleges (Times Books)
Edward B. Fiske, Amy Stuart Wells, and Bruce Hamond
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Peterson's Guide to Four Year Colleges
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

Guide to the Universities of Europe (Facts On File)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Index of Majors
The College Board, P.O. Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

Jewish Life On Campus: A Directory of Resources for Jewish College Student
Prepared by The B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Lovejoy's College Guide
ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

Peterson's Guide to Colleges With Programs for Learning Disabled Students
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

Peterson's Competitive Colleges
Karen C. Hegener, Editor
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

Peterson's Guide to Two Year Colleges
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

Profiles of American Colleges
Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788

The Public Ivys: A Guide to America's Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities (Penguin)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

200 Most Selective Colleges
ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

General Reading

Behind the Scenes—An Inside Look at One Selective College Admission Process
Edward B. Wall
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

The Black Student's Guide to Colleges
Barry Beckham
Beckham House Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 49, 77 Ives Street, Providence, RI 02096

Campus Opportunities for Students With Learning Differences
Judith M. Crooker
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Campus Pursuit—How to Make the Most of the College Visit and Interview
G. Gary Ripple
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Campus Visits and College Interviews
Zola Dincin Schneider
The College Board, P.O. Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

Career Connection I: A Guide to College Majors and Their Related Careers (JIST, Inc.)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Choosing A College: A Guide for Parents and Students (Harper and Row)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91 P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Choosing A College: The Students Step by Step Decision-Making Workbook
Gordon Porter Miller
The College Board, P.O. Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

College 101
Ronald J. Farrar
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

College Admissions: A Handbook for Students and Parents
ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

College Admissions Face To Face: Make the Most of Interviews and Campus Visits (Seven Locks)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

College Applications Step By Step
ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

College Appli-Kit: The Complete College Application System (Random House)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

College Bound: The Students Handbook for Getting Ready, Moving In, and Succeeding On Campus
The College Board, P.O. Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

College Majors and Careers: A Resource Guide for Effective Life Planning (Garrett Park Press)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You!
Steven R. Antonoff and Marie A. Friedermann
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

College Planning for Gifted Students
Sandra L. Berger
The Council for Exceptional Children, 1920 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091-1589

College Planning Search Book
American College Testing Program, Iowa City, IA 52243

College Survivalv ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

College Time Tracker
ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

Counseling Software Guide
Garry R. Walz, Jeanne C. Bleuer, Marilyn Mazi
American Association for Counseling and Development, Alexandria, VA 22302

Countdown To College: Every Students Guide to Getting the Most Out of High School (Macmillan)
Zola Dincin Schneider and Phyllis Kalb
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Do It Write: How To Prepare A Great College Application
G. Gary Ripple
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Essays That Worked: 50 essays from Successful Applications to the Nation's Top Colleges
Boykin Cuony and Brian Kasbar
Mustang Publishing, New Haven, CT 06050

50 College Admission Directors Speak To Parents (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

The Freshman College Companion (videocassette VHS) (Human Relations Media)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Getting In
Paulo de Oliveura and Steven Cohen
Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 1 West 39 Street, New York, NY 10018

A Guide to One College Admission Process
Steven C. Munger
National Association of College Admission Counselors, 1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 430, Alexandria, VA 22314

Handbook for College Admissions (A Family Guide)
Thomas C. Hayden
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

How To Prepare for College
VGM, National Textbook Company, 8259 Niles Center Road, Skokie, IL 60077

I Am Somebody: College Knowledge for the First Generation Campus Bound
Anna Leider
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

I Wonder What College Is Like? (Messener)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Inside College: New Freedom, New Responsibility
Henry C. Moses
The College Board, P.O. Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

Insider's Guide to Colleges
Yale Daily News, St. Martin's Macmillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

Major Options: The Student's Guide to Linking College Majors and Career Opportunities During and After College (Harper-Perennial)
Nicholas Basta
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Majoring in the Rest of Your Life (Noonday Press)
Carol Carter
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

On Writing the College Application Essay (Harper and Row)
Harry Bauld
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Peterson's Guide to College Admissions: How to Plan Your Admissions Strategy and Get Into the College of Your Choice
R. Fred Zuker and Karen C. Hegener
Peterson's, Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123

Preparing the College Application Package: Lovejoy's College Guide (videocassette, VHS)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

The Right College
ARCO, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Order Department, 200 Old Tappan Road, Old Tappan, NJ 07675

A Student's Guide To College Admissions: Everything Your Guidance Counselor Has No Time To Tell You (Facts On File)
Harlow G. Unger
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

What to Do Until the Counselor Comes
S. Norman Feingold and Shirley Levin
College Bound, Inc., 6809 Breezewood Terrace, Rockville, MD 20852

The Winning Edge: The Student Athlete's Guide To College Sports
Frances and James Kellpatrick
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Writing Your College Essay
Sarah Myers McGinty
The College Board, P.O. Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886

These materials are available through your school counselor

A Guide to the College Admissions Process
National Association of College Admissions Counselors
NACAC Publications/Media Suite 430, 1800 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314

Facts About American Colleges
National Association of College Admissions Counselors

Parents Guide to the College Admissions Process
National Association of College Admissions Counselors

Selecting the Right College
National Association of College Admissions Counselors

Chronicle Occupational Briefs
Chronicle Guidance Publications, Monrovia, NY

Map of Two and Four Year Colleges
National Association of College Admissions Counselors

Computer Software

College Planner
College Board, 45 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023-6992
Apple and IBM Cost: $29.95
Program includes calendars, checklists, personalized database system, prints customized letters.

College Explorer: 1992 Edition
College Board, 45 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023-6992
Apple and IBM Cost: $89.95
Identifies a college profile based on 600 possible college features, also contains information on 2700 colleges and universities.

Choosing a College Major the Micro Way
Career Development Software, Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802
Apple and IBM Cost: $59.00
Systematic approach to selecting a college major. Also shows how hobbies and interests can help identify a college major.

FACT: Financial Aid and Counseling Tool
American College Testing Program (ACT), Educational Services Division, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243
Apple II+, IIe, IIc, IBM PC, XT, PC jr. Cost: $125.00
Program shows how to estimate college costs, how need is determined, addresses family contribution factors and identifies the steps necessary to apply for financial aid.

Peterson's Financial Aid Services (FAS)
Peterson's Guides, Inc., Department 1423, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08543-2123
Apple IIc, IIe, IBM-PC Cost: $195.00
Estimates need, family contribution, analyzes aid at selected colleges, identifies government, private and college need and non-need aid.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Applying for Financial Aid: A Guide for Students and Parents
ACT Student Assistance Programs, P.O. Box 168, Iowa City, IA 52243

The A's and B's of Academic Scholarships, 14th Edition
Deborah Klosky, Editor
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

The Best Buys in College Education
Edward B. Fiske and Joseph M. Michalak
Times Books & Random House, New York, NY 10022

College Blue Book: Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants and Loans
Macmillan Publishing Company, 866 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022

College Check Mate: Innovative Tuition Plans That Make You a Winner
Deborah Klosky, Editor
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

College Cost Book
The College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, NY 10101

College Grants from Uncle Sam: Am I Eligible and For How Much?
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

College Loans from Uncle Sam: The Borrower's Guide That Explains It All
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

College Money Handbook: The Complete Guide to Expenses, Scholarships, Loans, Jobs, and Special Aid Programs at Four Year Colleges
Peterson's, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08540

Directory of Financial Aids for Women, 1991-1992
Reference Service Press, 1100 Industrial Road, Suite 9, San Carlos, CA 94070

Directory of Financial Aid for Minorities
Reference Service Press, 1100 Industrial Road, Suite 9, San Carlos, CA 94070

Don't Miss Out: The Ambitious Student's Guide to Financial Aid
Robert and Anna Leider
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Earn and Learn: Cooperative Education Opportunities Offered by the Federal Government
Joseph M. Re
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Financial Aid for College Through Scholarships and Loans: FACTS
Elizabeth Hoffman and Richard House
FACTS, P.O. Box 208, Wellesley Hills, MA 02181

Financial Aid for the Disabled and Their Families
Reference Service Press, 1100 Industrial Road, Suite 9, San Carlos, CA 94070

Financial Aid for Higher Education 1980-91 Catalogue
William C. Brown Company, 2460 Kerper Boulevard, Dubuque, IA 52001

Financial Resources for International Study
Peterson's, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08540

Financing College Education: A Handbook for Students and Families
Kenneth A. Kohl and Irene C. Kohl
Harper & Row, 10 E. 53rd. St., New York, NY 10022

The Directory of Athletics Scholarships (Facts On File)
Alan Green
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Financial Aid Financier: Expert Answers to College Financing Questions
Joseph M. Re
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Financial Aid for College Bound Athletes
Marlene Lazare
ARCO, Prentice Hall General Reference, 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Financial Aid Officers: What They Do To You and For You
Donald Moore
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Financial Aid to Illinois Students
Illinois State Board of Education (serial), Springfield, IL 62708

How to Beat the High Cost of College
Claire Cox
Dial Press, New York, NY 10023

How to Find Out About Financial Aid: A Guide to Over 700 Directories
Gail Schlachter
Reference Service Press, Los Angeles, CA 90012

How to Pass the National Merit Scholarship Tests
ARCO, Prentice Hall General Reference, 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

How to Pay for Your Children's College Education
Gerald Krefetz
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Industry Aid to Education
John H. Watson
Industrial Conference Board, New York, NY

The International Scholarship Book: The Complete Guide to Financial Aid For Study Abroad (Prentice Hall)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91 P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Leider's Lecture: A Complete Course in Understanding Financial Aid
Robert and Anna Leider
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Lovejoy's Guide to Financial Aid
Robert Leider
Monarch Press, New York, NY 10023

Meeting College Costs
College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, NY 10101

A National Catalog of Scholarships and Other Financial Aids for Students
Oreon Pierre Keeslar
W. C. Brown, Dubuque, IA

The American Legion, Dept. S, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46202

The 1992 College Money Handbook (Peterson's Guides)
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91 P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

The Official College Entrance Examination Board Guide for Financial Aid For Students and Parents
Elizabeth Suchar
Simon and Schuster, New York, NY 10001

Peterson's College Money Handbook 1989: The Only Complete Guide to Scholarships, College Costs and Financial Aid
Peterson's Guides, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08540

The Scholarship Book (Prentice Hall)
Daniel J. Cassidy
Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Room CG91, P.O. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802

Scholarships, Fellowships & Loans
Norman Feingold
Bellman Press, Cambridge, MA 02141

The Student Guide - Five Federal Financial Aid Programs
U.S. Government Printing Office
Free from: Consumer Information Center Dept. 513N, Pueblo, CO 81009

Student's Guide to Scholarships and Loans
The National Association of Secondary School Principals
1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091

The Student Loan Handbook
Lana J. Chandler
Betterway Publications, White Hall, VA 22987

Top Dollars for Technical Scholars: A Guide to Engineering, Math, Computer Science and Science Scholarships
Clark Z. Robinson
Octameron Associates, P.O. Box 3437, Alexandria, VA 22302

Winning Money for Colleges: The High School Student's Guide to Scholarship Contests
Alan Deutschman
Peterson's Guides, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08540

You Can Win A Scholarship!
Barron's Educational Services, Great Neck, NY 11022

Your College Education—How to Pay For It
Sarah Splover
Messener, New York, NY

Your Own Financial Aid Factory: The Guide to Locating Money
Robert Leider
Peterson's Guides, P.O. Box 2123, Princeton, NJ 08540

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Appendix H

The Early Entrance Program (EEP) at California State University is modeled after the early entrance program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Its goal is to provide a vehicle for full-time college study to the extremely high achiever in the age group of 11 to 15 years. The Cal State program provides a year-long transition period in which the student takes one or two college courses at the University while still attending his/her regular school. To qualify for the program, students in the seventh or eighth grades (older or younger students are considered), must score around the 95th percentile on either the verbal or math component of a nationally standardized test given in their school. They must take the Washington Pre-College Test and achievement tests normally given to juniors and seniors. They must also be in good standing in their schools. Students are ordinarily admitted during the summer quarter under the auspices of the PACE program (Pre-Accelerated College Entrance). They take two or three regular courses during this quarter and must earn a B average if they wish to enter the EEP. During the following quarters throughout the year, students continue to take several college courses each quarter. At the end of the year, students are evaluated for admissions. Once in the program, students receive some additional support from a counselor and via some specially designed social activities for EEP students. For more information, call the EEP office at 213-343-3387.

Simon's Rock College is a small college in western Massachusetts designed specifically for high school aged students. It is a fully-accredited, four year, co-ed liberal arts college open only to students who have not yet completed high school, most leaving after the tenth or eleventh grade. Admissions criteria are the same as those on which regular college admissions is based: application, essay, transcript, personal recommendation, and SSAT, PSAT, or SAT scores. Tuition is comparable to the cost of prestigious prep schools with the difference that students are eligible for regular, need-based college financial aid from the federal government and Simon's Rock. Simon's Rock is financially and administratively tied to Bard College which is located in New York, 50 miles away. Although students may take courses on the Bard campus, Simon's Rock is a self-sufficient college and community. Simon's Rock offers a bachelor of arts in six areas: Arts and Aesthetics, Literary Studies, Natural and Environmental Sciences, Quantitative Studies, and Social Sciences. Students who develop specific interests that might be better met at a larger school may elect to complete the Associate of Arts degree in two years at Simon's Rock and then transfer. Simon's Rock recognizes that younger students are still in the process of developing intellectual interests and skills, and therefore, encourages a broad base of studies prior to specialization in particular field. The school currently has about 300 students. For more information, write or call Sharon K Pinkerton, Director of Admissions, Simon's Rock of Bard College, Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230, 413-528-0771

The Clarkson School was founded in 1978 as a special division of Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY. The Clarkson School's Bridging Year offers a unique transition between high school and college for students who are ready to enter college a year earlier than is typical. The school admits a select group of talented students each year who have completed grade 11 and have demonstrated high interest and excellence in their academic work. Students complete a full year of college level studies while arranging to satisfy their few remaining requirements for a high school diploma. The student body is diverse and the class of 1990 had 56 students from 22 states and 4 foreign countries. The Clarkson school has its own residential facilities and its students use all of the facilities and resources of Clarkson University. Each Clarkson student receives a Zenith desktop computer to use for homework and laboratory assignments. Students in the Clarkson School may remain at Clarkson University or apply to other colleges and universities. Students have attended the finest colleges in the country with full credit given for their year at Clarkson. For more information, contact Donna Mills, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, The Clarkson School, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, 13676, 315-268-4425.

The Early Entrance Program at the University of Washington, a program of the Halbert Robinson Center for the Study of Capable Youth, is designed for students with exceptional academic capability who are in junior high or middle school. It has been operating since 1977. The EEP program is appropriate for students who are not yet 15 years old, who consistently score in the very top ranges on standardized ability and achievement tests, who have an outstanding school achievement record, and whose educational needs will not be met in the school they are presently attending. To apply, students take the Washington Pre-College Test which is administered by the Center staff. Students who qualify for further consideration (i.e., scores must be equal to the top percentages of high school students who enter four year colleges in the state of Washington) must send transcripts and recommendations. Family interviews are used to determine the appropriateness of the program for students. Students enter the EEP program through the Transition School, a condensed college preparatory school that prepares them for the coming challenge. Typical Transition School enrollment is 12 to 15 students. While in the Transition School, which is a full time program, students take special courses in math, literature, writing, history and physics, college courses and programs in tutorial skills such as study skills. Students must live in a family setting. Following successful performance in the Transition School which includes earning at least 5 credits of University work, students become full time college students in the University. EEP students continue to have the support of the EEP program staff during their college years and access to EEP facilities which include a lounge, kitchen, study space, and a personal computer. For more information, contact the Halbert Robinson Center for the Study of Capable Youth at the University of Washington, Githrie Annex II, NI-20, Seattle, WA, 98195, 206-543-4160.

The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin College is a residential program offered to young, academically talented women. The program is highly selective and prospective students are evaluated for admissions on the basis of transcripts, scores on national standardized aptitude tests, essays, interviews, and recommendations. Students may enter the program at any time after completing the freshman year of high school. PEG students pay the same fees as full time Mary Baldwin college students. The College offers need-based financial assistance to PEG students, as well as a variety of innovative plans for payment. PEG course work is part of an individualized, integrated curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree, PEG students generally receive their BA within four years. Students are encouraged to pursue alternatives for achieving academic credit such as independent study followed by examination, individual tutorial, specially designed small group courses, and accelerated pacing of existing Mary Baldwin offerings. PEG students have access to the same facilities and equipment that are available to other Mary Baldwin students. PEG students who enroll as high school sophomores spend their first year on campus in a supervised residence hall designated exclusively for PEG students. In their second year, students move on to a campus residence hall, but a member of the PEG staff lives with the PEG students. During their third and fourth years, students live in regular campus housing. For more information, call or write PEG, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA, 24401, 703-887-7039.

The Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science was created by the Texas Legislature in 1987 to provide an opportunity for gifted and talented students with particular interests in math and the sciences to concurrently complete their last two years of high school and first two years of college. It is located on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Students enter the Academy after their sophomore year. Approximately two hundred students from throughout Texas are admitted each year. Admission is based on SAT scores, teacher recommendations, parental support, a student essay, grades, math diagnostic test, and a personal interview. Students take regular university classes with other university students for which they receive college credit. Academy students live in a specific residence hall with a supervisory live-in staff. There is a full range of extracurricular activities available to them and they have access to all University of North Texas facilities and resources. Upon completion of the program, students will have completed two years of college and can finish their undergraduate education at the University of North Texas or transfer to another university. For more information, call or write, W. T. Brady, Director, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, P.O. Box 5307, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, 76203, (817) 565-3032.

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