CLASS OF 2020: SENIOR ADVICE TO JUNIORS WHEN MAKING COLLEGE DECISIONS
These notes are all taken from the emails to me from Juniors who attended and listened to the Seniors
If you're feeling stuck with how to begin the college search, giving yourself some more time helps you to figure out who you are and what college you may want to go to. Maybe do some things that help promote personal growth, for example: finding a job.
Joe used a resource called Verto Education, where they have you attend a semester or two abroad to earn credits. Then they make your application for colleges in their program to apply to.
Use a backup school like a community college that you may want to go to. The ideal number of colleges to apply to is around 5-7. Community colleges and Junior Colleges are a great idea! They can save lots of money and you have a guaranteed admission to transfer into a UC.
To reduce stress regarding the college environment, learn to not give any shits about what other people are doing. Your primary concern is you. People poking and inquiring can stress you out (even your parents), there's no obligation to share what you're doing. Additionally, once you have submitted your applications, it's out of your hands. It's relieving in that sense of nothing past that is your fault.
For college search, Emma had prerequisites for which school she wanted to go to. For her, it was in state, abroad options, and a strong science program. Advises looking for other pathways other than going straight into a four year university. For most of her high school experience, she was sure that she would just go to a four year school, graduate school and whatever. She then discovered Santa Rosa Junior College, where she could take semesters abroad after a semester at community college. It is a great break from conventional school and allows a person to explore more. Try to narrow down your options of college by either location, majors, etc. Explore other options for college: JC study abroad, gap year, etc. SRJC has free tuition (Free tuition vs. Long commute = worth it?)
Max wanted to go to a four year university. Tried to apply to as few schools as possible. Set a safety school and say, "would I rather go here, or my safety school." the fewer school you apply to, the fewer you have to pay.
Logan's biggest piece of advice is to relax and try not to stress about everything. It is a very stressful process and will be intense. Try not to talk about your college application process to other people because it applies extra stress on yourself. The only thing it can do to you is harm you. Don't have other people's work stress you out. Don't focus on what other people are doing. Don't compare how you go about doing things to how others do it. Kahn academy for test preps. Do tutoring sessions for tips and tricks (1-2 hours).
You are the best person to know where you are and when you are ready to take a test.
Drea: One piece of advice from Drea, take a gap year, she didn't have any idea what she wanted to study in college or what she wanted to do then she took a gap year and learned a lot about herself. One thing that can really help is to embrace the idea of not knowing what to do in college. She learned how to do a lot of things in a tech-free place in Guatemala for 5 months.
Mason had a college list of twelve colleges, but realized that he didn’t really want to go to all of them, and chopped his list to five. Having to write something about yourself and not an academic paper is hard, so start early, and make sure you spend enough on your answers.
Sydney was overwhelmed by the SAT process, but decided to buy a SAT Prep book to get comfortable with the test and get used to the format of the test. Getting comfortable with the question format helped her. She recommends visiting colleges close to find out what kind of campus you like. Don't be afraid to look in Midwest and other regions for out of state colleges because they often have more merit from wanting to broaden geographically. Set deadlines for yourself to put a schedule up and make everything more manageable.
Max applied to seven schools with two safety schools. He didn't apply to schools that he genuinely didn't want to go to. In addition to going to campus visits, he talked to Drake alum that went to those schools to get the real experience of going to that school. He says to start being independent now and not relying on friends for help with your application. Use your resources!
Sylvia recommended to do deep research because even if they look the same on paper, there are things that make them different from others. Start in the summer to make the whole application process less stressful. Do not compare yourself to your peers, because everyone will have their own paths.
Mason, Max, Sydney, Joe, Logan, Emma & Sylvia:
- Always have a backup plan, when making a list of colleges.
- Buy an SAT Book(I have already bought It) Study on weekends when done with work.
- Tour schools when you can, try to tour locally. UC berkeley, Stanford, UC Santa Cruz,
- Don’t be afraid to look at different geographically diverse schools.
- Set a few different safety schools.
- Talk to drake alumni who go to those schools, or visiting drake alumni
- Do a lot of research because you will see what you really like.
- Start your applications early
- Do classes that you like, instead of taking all of the AP’s
- Use the resources around you
- Go to the workshops
- Go to a summer senior kickstart
- Considering going to a junior college, and then tr
- Try not to take it in senior years
- Do extracurriculars that you are actually interested in
- Make decisions for yourself.
- Be as happy going to your safety as to your reach
- don't compare yourself to your peers
- Make a back up plan if you don’t get into the school of your dreams”
- Set a few different “safety schools”
- Visit former Drake students on the college campus
- Use Sheila!
- The things that you love best- will be helpful (sports, internships, clubs)
- Be unique!
- When deciding what you want, do a lot of research to seperate schools
- Don’t just apply to schools, apply to schools you want to go to
- Go to college workshops in the spring
- Safety, target, reach
- Take your SATs junior year, take the earliest ones
- Find stuff you’re passionate about
- Don’t overload yourself with extracurricular activities
- Start being independent now with applications because you will be later
- Writing applications requires deep personal aspects, which is different than traditional writing, so talking out loud is a good way to go about writing them.
- Do what interests you, not what you think might look good on an application
- be independent
- Tour schools nearby and find the environment you want
- SF city college
- SF state
- Cal Berkeley
- Saint Mary’s
- Santa Cruz
- Sonoma State
- Santa Rosa JC
- Start Application early and do it a little at a time
- Don’t put it off
- It takes a long time
- Set deadlines for yourself