Consider signing up for this wonderful essay workshop offered every June by the Oregon Writing Project. Students procrastinate most about writing essays. This workshop offers dedicated time in a group of peers with professional guidance to get it done. https://graduate.lclark.edu/programs/oregon_writing_project/events/writing-the-college-essay/
Published in Inside Higher Ed on September 16, 2019
An Open Letter to College-Bound Students and Their Parents
There are few times more exciting to work on a college campus than the start of a new academic year. Across the country, thousands of new students descend on institutions of higher learning, each student with their own talents and aspirations, eager to share their understanding of the world, excited to discover more about who they are and what the world has to offer. Those of us working in college admissions offices are grateful and humbled to watch this happen every fall, as bright, able students begin a journey of discovery as strangers and emerge from the experience knowing more about themselves, each other and the possibilities that await after graduation.
To be sure, the process of starting college, and the application process that accompanies it, can have its moments of anxiety and uncertainty. Applying to college opens students to scrutiny in ways few other events in life do, and the uncertainty that accompanies the college application process can be rife with doubts. The same can occur in the initial few days of the first year of college, or even subsequent years, as students see the academic and social challenges awaiting them, many wondering if they are up to the tasks required of them.
Recent studies suggest more students are experiencing bouts of anxiety, doubt and depression over the transition to college, and life in general, than ever before. Increasing competition for limited spots at some colleges, concerns over the ability to meet the financial demands of college attendance and general concern if the student is heading in the right direction are just some of the factors contributing to this increase. Combined with what other reports see as rising personal and social pressures, it is easy to understand why more students than ever before are looking for reassurance at a time of transition that seems to offer so little of it.
To those students applying to college this fall, we say to you -- we hear you, and we are here to help. Out of the thousands of higher education institutions in the United States -- be it a four-year college or university, a two-year college, or a technical training program -- not a single one runs an Office of Judgment. The purpose of an office of admission is to authentically represent our institution and the experience it can provide. We review each applicant and determine if that student’s talents, goals and interests will be best served by our school, without exceeding our capacity to serve all students who enroll.
It’s been said that no one goes into college admissions because they want to see how many students they can reject. This isn’t always easy for students to understand, especially when there are more qualified applicants than room to admit them. But that is a limitation of the college, not the students. There are many places where you can shine, and the application process give you the opportunity to explore all of them.
Our work with you is designed to nurture and encourage you in every step of the application process, to create a dialogue that allows you to bring forth the best, clearest picture of who you are, what you think about and what our institution can do to help you grow. If your work on an application finds you wondering where to turn for help, support or reassurance, contact us. Helping you is not our job; it is our privilege.
Recognizing that many of life’s challenges aren’t related to college, it is important to realize you also have local support to help you with any issues that may come up in your life. Understanding that teachers and school counselors are often faced with high numbers of students to serve, these professionals have a remarkable track record of stepping up and offering help to students who ask for it. From reviewing drafts of admissions essays, to listening to your plans for the future, to connecting you to other professionals who may offer greater help with other challenges, the educators and support teams of your local schools are here for you as well.
To those students starting their college careers this fall, we say welcome. Our work with your application for admission may be over, but our help in welcoming you to campus and assisting with a smooth adjustment to your new academic home is never over. Our colleagues in other parts of the college, including student services, academic support and the faculty, know there is more to a successful college transition than good grades and a strong classroom experience.
If asking for help feels uncomfortable, know that every student feels that way. It may look like everyone in college is walking around with great confidence, but nearly no one is. College is a new world, with a new language, culture and norms. It’s more than OK to acknowledge that you need some help making sense of this new world, and research shows that’s much more likely to happen if you find a peer or mentor to connect with. It’s also the No. 1 reason you’ll come back for the next semester, and the next year, and graduate. Start with the one person for whom asking feels the least awkward. People who work for colleges are there for one reason -- your success -- and they want to help.
To the parents looking for the best way to promote strong, healthy, autonomous life habits in their children who are college bound, we strongly urge you to play an active role that puts the student at the center of the application and transition processes. The skills needed to complete a college application require the same levels of judgment, organization, collaboration, leadership and initiative that make for a strong college experience. Now is the time for students to refine those skills by practicing them and receiving constructive feedback that allows them to reflect, regroup and try again if necessary.
A regularly scheduled weekly meeting to discuss college application issues in high school and transition issues in college, typically around 20 to 30 minutes, provides a healthy avenue of reliable support and structure your student can count on. There will be ample opportunities to take steps to support your child in this process, but as is the case with almost every parental duty, the vital steps are to listen more than speak and to love the child you have, not the child you want.
Cultural and technological advances have created opportunities for students that were difficult to imagine even a handful of years ago, yet this abundance of choice seems to have brought new levels of hesitation, doubt and stress for many young people. Our work as admissions professionals -- as educators in our own right -- is to do everything we can to clear the field of opportunity of as many of those doubts as possible, and provide each student with the opportunity to realize the very best in themselves, in others, and in the world they will help shape.
Vice president for enrollment management
Vice president for enrollment management and dean of college admissions
Associate vice president and director of admissions
Grand Valley State University
Dean of admissions emeritus
Harvey Mudd College
Vice president, marketing and enrollment strategy
Vice president, enrollment management
Dean of admissions and financial aid
Interim executive director of admissions and recruitment
Michigan State University
Vice president for enrollment management
Associate dean of admission/director of financial aid
Executive director, admissions
Northern Michigan University
J. Carey Thompson
Vice president for enrollment and communications, dean of admission
Director of admission
Texas Christian University
Vice president, enrollment and student success
Vice president for admissions financial aid and enrollment
Union College, N.Y.
Executive director of admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
Associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment
University of Notre Dame
Director of admissions/assistant vice president for enrollment management
University of Oregon
Dean of admissions
University of Pennsylvania
Associate vice president and dean of admission
University of Richmond
Dean of admission
University of Southern California
Vice president for enrollment management
University of Southern Indiana
Senior vice president for student life and enrollment management
Vice president for enrollment
The Oregon Writing Project is offering its annual College Essay Writing workshop. Here are the details:
Session 1 Lincoln High School, June 17 – 21, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon)
Session 2 Lincoln High School, June 24 – 28, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon)
Session 3 Wilson High School, June 24 – 28, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (noon)
Welcome, incoming seniors!
Applying for college or a scholarship in the fall? Interested in developing the skills you need to write a college essay that stands out from the crowd? Why not get a head start and sign up for Writing the College Essay, a week-long summer workshop, where you will
Free or reduced lunch students with school verification: $100
For registration or more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-768-6132
It is very expensive to send ACT or SAT test scores to all the colleges to which you are applying. The good news is that many colleges are accepting self-reported test scores. This means that you can report your scores in a variety of ways that do not cost money. Some colleges will accept the scores you enter on your application. Others will accept scores sent by your school counselor. Others will accept screenshots. The school you decide to attend will require your official scores when you deposit on or before May 1. Be sure to self-report your scores carefully; if you report the wrong scores, schools can revoke your admission for dishonesty. If the school you are applying to is not on this list, contact the admissions officer who serves your area of the country and ask if they will accept self-reported scores.
Students who took the ACT or SAT with a fee waiver are able to send free score reports. There may still be a glitch for low-income students who only took the ACT once, on a school day administration when the school paid for the test. I have heard they are working on finding a solution for this anomaly.
Remember: if you are on free or reduced price lunch or meet other eligibility requirements, please use a fee waiver. It can simplify some other parts of the college application process.
Transitioning to College
Add all of the scholarships you won to your resume under the Awards section. Having awards makes you more likely to win other awards. Check for scholarships at college. Tell your advisors and professors that you are looking for scholarships to reduce your loan burden. Some clubs, majors, etc. offer scholarships.
Log in to your college portal at least once a week. Pay close attention to deadlines and required tasks.
Find out how to apply for work-study jobs. Update your resume.
Find the cheapest way to get books. Make sure you have the ISBN number and the correct edition.
Worldcat.com: check out book from library;have books shipped to college library.
Some libraries have books on reserve that you can use for 2 hours in the library.
Renting textbooks: campusbookrentals.com
Buy Used copies: eCampus.com
Use a digital or online copy: ebooks.com
Check with your professor to see if she/he has an extra copy you can borrow.
If you will take out a loan, you will need to do online loan counseling this summer. It is somewhat confusing. You will have to estimate what you will make when you graduate ($40,000 is a safe amount to use) and you will need to use the exact numbers on your financial aid award, even if you disagree with them.
Read this New York Times article with current college students’ advice for new college students. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/education/edlife/advice-for-new-students-from-those-who-know-old-students.html
You will probably need extra-long twin sheets for you dorm bed. Check with your college.
Open a credit union or bank account if you do not yet have one. Credit unions are usually cheaper (free) and have no fees. Debit cards are helpful, but be careful not to withdraw money you don’t have; there is a big fee for that. Credit cards can be dangerous unless you are a very disciplined person. They do help you build a credit history. If you can buy one small thing a month and pay the bill off before it is due. Late payments are very expensive. If you think you might use a credit card to buy items you can’t afford, please do not get one. Credit card debt is expensive and not fun. Here is a cool website: https://moneysmarts.iu.edu/get-money-smart/index.html
Get your vaccinations! Go to your doctor and get vaccinations required by your college.
Have fun exploring your college’s website. Find out about all the cool programs you might like, hidden away on a web page.
Check out professor reviews on Rate my Professor.
Even if you’re going to a college where you know someone, room with a stranger. You don’t want to lose a friend, just because you are neat and they are messy or you have different study habits.
Practice doing laundry, if you don’t do it regularly.
WRITING THE COLLEGE ESSAY
Welcome, Incoming Seniors!
Applying for college or a scholarship in the fall?
Interested in developing the skills you need to write a college essay that stands out from the crowd?
Get a head start and sign up for Writing the College Essay, a week-long summer workshop.
At the end of the week, you will have revised drafts of two college essays.
Read and analyze college and scholarship essays that rock
Perfect your personal style
Write sentences that sizzle
Draft, revise, edit, and share a college essay that will get you noticed
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Chris Hawking currently teaches at Grant High School. Recently he taught IB and language arts at Rex Putnam High School as well as a college creative non-fiction class.
He also served as a North Clackamas School District instructional equity coach. Chris is an Oregon Writing Project literacy coach.
These sections will be kept smaller (14-16) in order to provide more individual guidance.
2018 DATES Session 1: June 18-22, 9 a.m.–noon
Session 2: June 25-29, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
COST $175, $100 for free/reduced lunch (verified by school)
LOCATION TBA eastside Portland High School
“I was extremely thankful to have a solid start to my essay going into the college application season. I applied to ten schools and was accepted into seven initially.” - 2 0 1 5 P a r t i c i p a n t
“Thanks so much for teaching my son! I loved the essays he wrote and was really surprised by the fishing one. I will absolutely recommend the program.” - P a rent o f 2 0 1 6 P a r t i c i p a n t
See reverse for registration form
OREGON WRITING PROJECT
at Lewis & Clark College
SUMMER PROGRAMS IN PORTLAND
For registration form, contact:Email: email@example.com Fax: 503-768-6045
Questions? Please call Pam Hooten, OWP Program Assistant, at 503-768-6132
Here is a blog post that illuminates course selection in college. This is the most important part of your college application. Concord Monitor
If you don't think college is for you, you might consider apprenticeships in the Trades. The Trades include fields like auto mechanics, HVAC(heating, ventilation and air-conditioning),plumbing, electrical, and construction. Many people go through the typically five year process to becoming a journeyman (sic) by working with the unions affiliated with that particular field. The journeyman title indicates competency and licensure in the field. Often, you are paid at half the journeyman rate of pay while you are studying. Your wage increases as you have more experience. These jobs generally pay a living wage and attract people who prefer to work with their hands and who are great problems-solvers. It's difficult to get into a journeyman position immediately out of high school. Programs are looking for students with a great work ethic and some work experience to prove it. They also like to see that you have done some work activities that demonstrate that you have some aptitude for and enjoyment of the work involved. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Start your own neighborhood landscaping business. Get a job anywhere and ask to help in tasks like re-arranging shelving, or assisting an electrician or carpenter. For some of these programs, the application procedure is just as challenging as the college application process. It is worth taking your time to make sure you have taken care of all the needed details, and have had someone review your work. You need to know how to communicate well in writing and speaking in virtually all fields.
In the Portland area, Portland, Mt. Hood and Clackamas Community Colleges have some classes that also help prepare students to enter these fields. Check out Career Pathways. Oregon Tradeswomen has been supporting women in entering these non-traditional fields for more than twenty years. Check out the Oregon Apprenticeship website.
Here is a great article by an experienced college counselor about who benefits most from the college application process. In my experience, many of my students become overwhelmed by all the essential details in the process, including the financial aid process, particularly in applying to private schools requesting additional documents. Students who do not have parents or counselors who can take the time to help with confusing details or help make sure all questions are answered when calling a college, are at a distinct disadvantage. Many give up. Be persistent. Make sure all your questions are answered. You deserve it! Here's the article: Privilege.
Now that seniors who have applied early have received college admission decisions, it's time for juniors to start considering whether that is a good idea.
Early decision (ED) is binding; you must attend any college that accepts your ED application.If you want to compare financial aid awards, ED is not the application pathway for you except under limited circumstances. Early Action (EA) is not binding. You can apply early and get notified earlier about whether you have been admitted. EA is great if you have completed everything early, talked to your teachers and counselor in September or early October about getting recommendations. It is not good to hastily write an essay, just to apply early. Submitting a sloppy application is not going to help you be admitted or enhance your financial aid award even if you are admitted. EA allows you to wait to decide what college to attend until you have all your financial aid awards, so you can compare your costs. There are six schools that I know who offer Restricted Early Action (REA): Georgetown, Harvard, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford and Yale. Please read their websites carefully. Generally, you can not apply to another school ED if you are applying to their school REA. They also sometimes restrict other EA applications.
For more information about EA and ED, listen to this 15 minute audio with two very experienced and knowlegeable counselors: www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2016/12/22/53975/congratulations-on-your-acceptance-we-debate-early/
Kathy Garrett has been a school counselor for over 30 years, and a college counselor for well over a decade.