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Scholarship Gold Consulting- Helping students prepare for college and compete for scholarships
                                             Elizabeth Hartley, coach/consultant/author 
June 2016- The annual "to do" list edition!
Vol 2, Issue 1


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"College Wise


 a free monthly newsletter by Elizabeth Hartley,  



The Annual To-Do Newsletter! 


Hi College Bound friends!


In addition to the monthly newsletter, I like to send out a separate breakdown of the action items students need to know throughout high school.  Following this guidance will help equip them to have the options and opportunities for college they want when the time comes.  Enjoy!


Have a great summer!    Elizabeth Hartley



Seniors- Here is Your To-Do List!







Are you a bit overwhelmed with what lies ahead?  Use these tips to make sure you're covering all your bases. If you need more help, consider attending the Senior Year Essentials class on Aug 27th in SC or on July 23rd in GA. (Details under the Events tab of www.Scholarshipgold.com. 


1-    Create a list of all of your extracurricular activities, academic awards, sports awards, athletic endeavors, leadership roles and community service from 9-12 grades.  Also write down the dates and scores from your SAT, ACT, AP and SAT II tests.


2- Find and print the Admission requirements for each school you're pursuing

(Letters of rec, SAT/ACT/SAT subject tests, 2 vs 3 years of languages, transcripts, mid-year report, FAFSA, CSS/Profile, essays)


3- Get organized- Have a file folder for each school you're pursuing and note on the outside your login, deadlines and a checklist of what that school needs from you (from #2 above).  Inside the folder keep any correspondence from the school, any brochures from them, confirmation pages of your application submission and more. 


4-   Decide which deadline you want to meet for each school- Early Action, Early Decision or Regular Decision.  Be careful! Early Decision is legally binding. Note this deadline on each folder.


5-  Create Logins and passwords for each school and write them down.

6-  Decide if you'll use the Common App for any applications- If so, get a login & password on CommonApp.org any day after Aug 1st.  Don't know if your schools use the Common App? Go to CommonApp.org and look at the list of Member Colleges.  As of this year, NC State is joining the list of schools who use this application. 


7-  Have a talk with your parents about your list of colleges and make sure you're covering some state school choices as well as some private schools where you might get some good scholarship funding. Most students apply to 6-8 schools while high-achieving students often apply to more. 


8- If you need to boost your SAT or ACT scores to improve you chances of admission and/or scholarships, register at least a month in advance and take your prep seriously, whether it's through a class, tutor, book or online source.


9-  Complete your applications. You can work on an app and save it for later.  Just don't hit "submit" until you're sure it is complete and free of errors.


10-  Make sure each application is complete and error-free before submitting.


11- Have great essays-  Essays give them an impression of your personality and intellect. If you need help with your essays, consider attending the Essay Writing workshop on Aug 27th in SC or July 23rd in GA.  

12-  Parents need to complete FAFSA in October of your senior year & send to all the schools you're applying to, regardless of whether you've heard that you're accepted. Do this on www.fafsa.ed.gov, not fafsa.com.


13-  Once you believe a school has received everything they need, call to confirm that your file is complete with them.  Some schools allow you to check that info online through a "status checker" but most do not.


14-  If you are waitlisted to a school you really want, send them an update with any new accomplishments or grades that may help them review your file.  Don't just resend what they already have.  Include a letter stating why that school is an ideal fit for you and how you may be an asset to the campus. 


15-  Once you commit to a school, notify the other schools of your decision. You have to accept or decline the offer no later than May 1st.


16- Important!-  Write thank you notes to all of your recommendation writers and to anyone else who helped you through the process.  Thank them for the role they played in this important next step in your life and let them know where you decided to attend.  

Hopefully, this list will give you the guidance you need to navigate the coming months but if not, come to the workshops on Aug 27th, mentioned above.  Go forth and conquer!
Juniors- Here is Your To-Do List!







There is a great workshop for Junior Year Essentials on Aug 20th in Lake Wylie SC.  Consider attending that if you want a real jump start on your junior year!  (Sign up under the Events tab of www.Scholarshipgold.com.)


Take the PSAT/NMSQT-   Registration is in the early fall of your Junior yr. through your guidance dept.  Don't miss it!  Go to www.collegeboard.com for tips and a free practice SAT test.  Prepare for it as if it were the SAT, using books, online resources and even classes if needed.  A strong PSAT can translate to automatic full rides at many good schools.  Homeschoolers will need to take this through a school that will allow them to sit in. Note- This year's PSAT will reflect all of the changes that will impact the SAT in March. Even if you've taken it in past years, be prepared for this to be a very different test.


Narrow down your college choices.  Research the admission stats for your favorite 5-8 schools.  Choose 2 that are "safe" schools, 2 or 3 that are good fits and 2 that are "reach" schools.  You can buy an annual report through US News & World Report in bookstores which provides admissions stats for almost all colleges and universities in the US.  Also use www.nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator as you look into schools.  Personally tour as many as possible. Tour has many colleges as possible this year!


Attend College Fairs and Financial Aid nights-  Right now, knowledge is power so use every opportunity to get all the information you can and to build relationships with your prospective colleges.


Confirm your schedule for the next 2 years, making sure to keep a challenging but manageable schedule.  What AP classes can you take?  Dual credit?  These really help strengthen your transcript and your gpa.

Standardized tests- Think you prefer the SAT? Consider taking it at least twice before it changes in March. Then, if you think you still want to pursue higher test scores, consider switching to the ACT.  If you're not crazy about the SAT, consider just focusing on the ACT throughout the year, aiming to get 2-3 ACT tests completed by the end of June.


Spend your summer wisely.-  Choose activities that are challenging and enriching.  Governor's school, educational travel, volunteering and internships are all good choices.  Pre-college camps at various universities can also be a great choice.


Research scholarships you want to pursue.  What opportunities are available at each of the universities in which you are interested?  Do they require nomination by your school?  If so, provide a list of your interests to your counselor.   
Freshmen and Sophomores- Here is Your To-Do List!




If you haven't attended the College Bound Essentials workshop, consider coming to the one on Aug 20th in Lake Wylie, SC.  Access it through the Events tab of www.Scholarshipgold.com .


Get your academic game plan-  Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your college plans and lay out a plan for your high school career.  Take a challenging but

manageable course load.  Don't be so aggressive that you max out your subjects your junior year and have little left to create a strong schedule your senior year.  Stay strong in the core classes and make sure to get 4 credits each of English and math, 3 credits each in history and science.  Make sure you get a fine art and one credit of Govt/Economics before graduation. Have at least 2 years of a foreign language, 3 is even better since more schools are now requiring it.   Find out which AP courses and dual enrollment courses are offered at your school and factor those into your plan.


Get disciplined and organized in managing your time and assignments-  Maybe you've always been a student who can sail through without a lot of organization or effort.  Prepare for that to end.  Develop a dependable time management system, using a planner or smartphone calendar (especially if is syncs to an internet based calendar for backup), in which you track all of your assignments, tests and other commitments.  Create your good habits now.


Plan your activities at school-  Look into what extracurricular activities are offered in your high school and decide which ones you can pursue without sacrificing your grades.  Don't hop around to every club.  Pick some activities you can truly enjoy and grow in, not just ones that will look good on paper.


Plan activities outside of school, especially volunteering-  Volunteering is important in its own right.  It can also provide a way for students to demonstrate their commitment to their community or special causes about which they feel strongly.  There is an emerging genre of scholarships available to students who have demonstrated a passion for serving. 


Be creative- Whenever possible, look for ways to discern an unmet need and take the initiative to meet it.  Such an effort shows leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit in addition to your desire to serve others.  (For example, rather than volunteering to deliver meals on wheels, which is admirable, how much more would it say about you if you negotiated a program with local grocery stores to donate certain items on a regular basis that could be used for meals on wheels to expand their services.)

Set up your scholarship search profiles-  Set up a profile on Scholarships.com and/or SchoolSoup.com to search for independently awarded scholarship. Set a goal to apply for one a month, just to get the experience and hopefully bank some awards before senior year!

Look for ways to have meaningful summer experiences-  Go on mission trips with your church, volunteer at a camp for disadvantaged children, pursue an interesting internship.  Do something that will reflect your interests and passions. 


Start exploring colleges/universities you might like to attend.  Try to visit them while students are still on campus to get an authentic "feel" for the school.

Look for ways to find leadership roles.  Pursue leadership roles that actually mean something and aren't just empty titles.  Become a leader on your sports team, in your youth group, in a club or anything else that strikes your interest.  It just needs to be meaningful to you. 


Elizabeth Hartley                 

Scholarship Gold Consulting                                         


 HartleyGold@yahoo.com                                                  www.ScholarshipGold.com 

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