The college application process can seem like the most stressful time in a student and parent’s life. Especially, if you’re a first generation college student. Students and families without the proper guidance may see the application process as too big of a hassle to deal with. They might feel discouraged from applying because they don’t understand how to complete the essential steps of the process, such as knowing what classes to take in high school, how to sign up for the PSAT/SAT, which colleges to apply for, and the most important of all– how to go about getting Financial Aid and Scholarships (because we all know college isn’t even an option if you don’t have money to pay for it!). All of these things can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be! Usher’s New Look is providing resources that will help make these steps a piece of cake!
On Saturday morning, Atlanta Academy students and parents gathered at Emory University for an incredible session of tips on how to get college ready! Brandi Sabb from The College Board opened up the day with a presentation that walked students and their parents through several topics that are critical leading up to and during the college application process, including:
- WHY and HOW to sign up to take the PSAT. Did you know students who take the PSAT score an average of 133 points higher on the SAT? While the PSAT scores are for practice and not sent to colleges, the PSAT is designed to uncover opportunities for growth and provide targeted feedback to help students improve their skills. The real question is really why not take it??
- Taking AP Classes. Who should do it and why? While AP courses might seem too rigorous, if you are an above average student, taking them can be really beneficial to you! You don’t have anything to lose. Did you know, AP courses on a high school transcript can set students apart in the college admission process? While they can be tough classes, AP classes are often weighted to acknowledge the additional academic challenge and can actually bring UP your GPA. 85% of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission decisions. In addition, taking AP classes can save you money on college tuition. Students who score 3 or better on their AP exams can “test out” of some college courses, bringing the costs down for you! Talk to your counselor about it today.
- Waiving SAT and College Application Fees. The College Board’s Access to Opportunity Initiative is now providing fee waivers for both the SAT and sending your SAT scores to colleges for your application. Students who receive free or reduced lunch are eligible to have their SAT fee waived and can receive up to 4 fee waiving vouchers for sending their scores.
- Using the FOUR OR MORE rule when applying for College. You should always apply to 4 or more schools during the college application process! The College Board suggests applying for at least 1 safety school (A college you’re confident you can get into), 2 Good Fits (Colleges you have a pretty good chance of getting into), and At least 1 Reach (A College that you have a chance of getting into, but it’s a stretch). Did you know, applying to two colleges instead of one makes you 40% more likely to get into a four-year school? Brandi said the biggest thing to remember is to not just apply to the schools all your friends are applying to. She used this clever analogy, “Do you have a better chance of going on a date/to prom with the most asked girl or guy, or the cute girl or guy that no one’s asking?” Hmm…
*FOR Students and Parents— To start mapping out your college application process in a clean and organized way, get helpful tools and resources that will simplify the application and financial aid processes, and answers to ALL your questions, check out BIGFUTURE.ORG!
Once you’re in college, the most difficult part can be learning how to budget your money! After the presentation from The College Board, our friends The Winner’s Circle (TWC), a dynamic group of minority millennial mentors from various companies around the Atlanta area, returned to give our Atlanta Academy youth a lesson on how to write a budget, build credit and invest. Students asked the Winner’s Circle questions like how does credit card interest work? How do you build your credit without a credit card? And at what point can you begin to invest your savings? The students walked away with personal mentors they can call upon whenever they have a question about college, finances, or anything related to navigating through life as a young person! Thank you TWC!