Updated: Dec 11, 2018
To my upcoming seniors, the next few months are about to be the BUSIEST ones
you have ever had during high school, I can guarantee that.
College applications and deadlines are going to hit you HARD, as well as scholarship ones, so I've come up with some things you can do over the summer to make
your lives easier for the Fall.
For the list I'm about to post below be sure to have an electronic and a physical
copy of them all:
1. Letters of Recommendations
-Member in the community who knows you well
You should only really ever need 2-3 per application. So, having up to three is
great. You want to try to get one from a teacher, principal, and someone that
knows you well in the community, such as a volunteer coordinator for an organization you might volunteer for, or a church leader. If you can get these recommendations over the summer that is great! But it might be hard to get some of these
people to write one during their vacation time, so as soon as school starts
GET ON THEM!
2. Common Essay Prompts
There's no way of knowing what essay questions you will get asked per application, but there
are a lot of common questions that you will DEFINITELY get asked, so just
write them over the summer BEFORE you are piled with work and get lazy.
Heres a few:
1. Personal Statement (look up how to write one).
2. Biographical Sketch (similar to Personal Statement).
3. What are your professional aspirations/career goals?
4. Why this scholarship would impact your education
5. Why should you be awarded this scholarship?
6. Describe a hardship you have faced and how you have overcome it?
7. Why you need help financially? (one source of income, job loss, homelessness).
Keep EVERY SINGLE scholarship and college essay prompt you do in Google Docs, or something because they are all similar. There have been times where I have written essays in 10 minutes because I copied and pasted most of it.
3. Academic Resume
This should include your education history, involvement in school and the
community, community service, work experience, awards and affiliations, and
skills. PLEASE do not hesitate to ask to see an example of mine to compare.
4. Basic List of Involvement
-Work Experience (actual jobs you have held).
-Extracurricular Activities (in school, outside of school).
-Community Service (volunteer work).
This will make things easier when you are applying for colleges and scholarships because you can just refer to the list and copy and paste those to your application. It's also
helpful because you won't have to think of them off the top of your head or forget to include anything.
Some applications might ask for a brief description, so if you want to get started on that you can as well, but it's rare that they do. Be sure to have the name of the organization, the role that you played, (if you did nothing with a title really or held a leadership position, just put "Active Volunteer" or "Active Member"), and the dates in which you were active in the organization (if you are still currently volunteering with them put the start date to "Present".)
5. Scholarship Tracking Sheet
What I did the summer before my senior year with the help of my mentor,
Susel Ramos, is drafted a list of scholarships in my community and state
that I knew was offered every year (Cape Coral Mayor, Red Sox Foundation,
Jackie Robinson Foundation) etc. You want to have a column for the name of the scholarship, the date the application opens up, and the deadline date. You will find some of the deadlines for some of them but others you won't because the application has not come out yet. Just leave an "N/A" in place for the open date.
This will give you a head start in getting organized, as you will be applying for a lot, and don't want to get even more overwhelmed. Having this tracking sheet in place will ensure that you are aware of the awarding dates and deadlines for upcoming scholarships.
6. Stamps & Envelopes
Buy a book of stamps and about 5 big envelopes to start off the year. They
are like $1.50 at Walmart. You want the ones with the lines on them in the
front, so you're able to write in your address, as well as the scholarship's
information to be mailed. You will be mailing scholarships in, especially
for a lot of local ones!
7. Save Money
Things are about to get expensive. You will find yourself having to pay for various fees for both high school and college AT THE SAME TIME! If your parents got you, no need to worry. If you are like me, and you had to have yourself, please do yourself a favor and save some money on the side. You will have to pay for things like your cap and gown, admissions deposit, housing fees, orientation etc. Save yourself the stress, and just save now.
Goodluck on the final chapter of your high school story.
Once again, do not hesitate to reach out to me if you guys have any questions, or need help with anything.
That's what I am here for.