• Junior Follow Up #3 (June 9, 2020)

    Strange times indeed.  The pandemic threw a monkey wrench into so much this spring, so I am hopeful that, as we wind down, you will have time to review the information here in a calmer state of mind.  Many of you attended the college workshops we presented virtually and are getting organized.  Hopefully, you are heeding the advice of the seniors to stay calm and take the college application process one step at a time.  Rest assured that, if they apply wisely (a couple of reach schools, a couple of safety schools, and the majority of schools in the probable admit zone), there will be a place for everyone in college admissios next year.  That being said, there is still some uncertainty as to how to best manage the college search/application process.  Have no fear!  I have organized the sequence of support in a logical manner to help ease you through this process with a maximum of organization mixed with feelings of calmness and joy. Here is a quick overview and some to do’s for you:

    • Letter of Recommendation Packet  - This is a great first step.  Finish this packet and turn it in to me NOW if you plan to use the Common Application and/or apply to private colleges. Please type your answers and send them to me in an email (no pdf docs, please). If you can't think of an answer to one question, that's ok.  Move along and answer as many as you can.  Parents can send me a separate email with any specifal qualities, talents, activities or interests that they feel should be highlighted in my letter.  
    • In March several students joined the workshop where we developed values that will drive the search process.  Templates to develop your own are easy to personalize.  Find them at the bottom of this page of notes under 'March Workshops with Sheila.'
    • Continue to develop the list of schools you are interested in applying to and attend virtual college workshops and visits over the summer (see college websites for details), then start writing college essays.  Use Naviance to develop and save your list of colleges. Drop me an email if you have questions.  
    • If you missed all of the workshops and feel too overwhelmed to start on your own, sign up for 'Senior Kickstart' with Lisa Neumaier (under Youth, Academic).  The Kickstart program is terrific!  It is a four-session summer program in August designed to get you through the college application and essay writing in one quick burst.  This program is offered through Community Education. Students enter the fall semester with their college applications either complete or well under way.  It is highly recommended by Drake students. 

    Testing advice to maximize zen feelings:

    • Lucky You! Many, many colleges have decided, in the wake of COVID, to go either test blind or test optional for the Class of 2021 (that's you).  Take the SAT and/or ACT with writing ONLY if you are applying to colleges that require it.   You may be able to alleviate a bunch of stress and time by only applying to those schools (UC and CSU are test optional next year). 
    • Take SAT Subject exams if possible and if required by the colleges on your list.  The subject exams are required for highly competitive schools and some majors within the UC system.  Check Naviance or the college websites for details

    Some advice from past Seniors and Graduates:

    • The NUMBER ONE piece of advice is START EARLY!!!  As in NOW
    • Start your college essays/personal statements early and continue to work on them over the summer – at least one or two drafts.  You will begin these at the May workshops
    • Stay organized – have ONE folder where you keep your important dates/deadlines/passwords
    • Apply to a diverse group of schools
    • Visit colleges – the summer break is an ideal time (do as many virtual visits as possible and set up 1:1 Zoom meetings with admissions reps)
    • Contact former Drake students who attend the colleges that interest you (email Ms Neumaier for names of students who may be attending the colleges you are interested in)
    • Discuss finances with your parents.  Evaluate options based on several factors (i.e., location, academics, finances, culture, etc.).  Ms Souder has some Financial Resource Information on her website
    • Read your emails frequently (go to Naviance and re-read the emails from Ms Neumaier - tons of great info)
    • Do not share your list of schools with anyone other than your parents and siblings (and maybe your dog).  Ask your parents to do the same.  This will help you and your family steer clear of the Marin Mania around college applications
    • Set up your weekly appointment with your parents (Saturday morning Mickey Mouse pancakes and hot cocoa?) to discuss your college search process and any support you need 
    • Thank your parents for their support in what is often a very hectic time in your life.  They are reminding you about deadlines because they love you
    • Do your best, and do what you are curious about, not what your friends say colleges will like
    • Just breathe
    • Oh yes, and START EARLY!  DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!  Begin your college essays over the summer.

    Try NOT to compare yourself to others.  Remember that you are unique because there is only one you! This is your journey.

    A few other ideas:

    • You may want to peruse the COLLEGE APPLICATION GUIDE with your parents for great ideas and resources.  This guide has a wealth of information and will NOT be printed (go Green!  Save a tree)
    • Please read Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, by Frank Bruni (or at least my synopsis of it).  This book saves so many families from undue stress


    • Please review the JUNIOR PARENT WORKSHOP as it will help you to be a great support to your student in the busy senior year fall season.
    • Please send me a separate email (with your students name in the subject line) sharing the qualities, talents, curiosities and achievements that you want to make sure I am aware of when writing my letter of recommendation.  


    An admissions decision from one university is not a life verdict.  

       Attend a school where your curiosity will be neither tamed nor limited. 

          College is not the end of your journey.  It is a learning experience.

             There is no map!  Be engaged.  

                Don't buy into the college admissions mania.

    Updated by Sheila Souder on 06/09/2020.