Did you know that high school officially begins as soon as a student graduates from 8th grade? Anything they do after that day can be included on their high school resume for college and scholarship applications. Therefore, the summer before freshman year is the perfect time to start planning for college, even if it seems so far away.
Avoid these obstacles…
Flash forward to senior year… Imagine sitting down with your student to help them fill out a scholarship application. Have either of you ever seen an application before? Chances are, if you’re like many families, this is the first time you’ve seen one, and it’s time to fill it out.
Did you know that there would be an entire section for leadership? How about community involvement? One of the major obstacles that students face when applying to college is knowing what information they need to be tracking. If you figure this out senior year, it will be too late to create a competitive application.
The other obstacle that many students face is trying to remember all of the details of their high school activities and achievements. Do you remember all of the times you volunteered? What about the specific dates and number of hours? By starting the planning process early, students can set goals and track and organize their information over four years.
There is no way to know in high school what the perfect choices are to prepare for college, as students frequently change their minds. However, we do not want students to reach their senior year and realize they should have taken the ACT test one more time, or that a scholarship they need is going to someone with more volunteer hours.
The only way to ensure that students don’t miss out on opportunities or scholarships is through proper planning and organization, and this should start the summer after 8th grade graduation.
So how do you prepare?
Setting up an organizational and tracking system is the first step. Getting organized will ensure a student’s college or scholarship applications are complete. This step will ensure that nothing is forgotten or missed. The best way to do this is with a physical organizer.
Use a paper planner
Even though we live in a digital world, the most effective way to keep a commitment to planning is to have that physical component. Applications will require physical copies of letters of recommendation, resumes, cover letters, and other application documents. On top of that, research shows that writing down your commitments and goals by hand will help you accomplish them.
This is where our ScholarPrep Organizer comes in handy. We’ve designed the perfect, organizational system to walk you through the planning process, step-by-step. This isn’t just another book you have to read. Your Organizer will guide you throughout high school. The system is already set up, just plug in your information and track your progress.
The Organizer covers every section that a student will encounter on a college or scholarship application:
- Academics and Testing
- Extracurricular Activities
- Community Involvement
- Leadership Experience
- Honors and Awards
- Work Experience
- Personal Statements
- Letters of Recommendation
What’s inside an Organizer?
For each of these sections, your ScholarPrep Organizer gives you tips to keep you on track and ensure your applications will be complete. Most sections of the organizer also contain a handy storage pocket for easy access to important documents. Saving hardcopies of test scores, letters of recommendation, or community service verification letters will save you time when you need them for your applications.
Tracking all of your information from four years of high school will be less overwhelming if done a little bit each month rather than right before applications are due. Each section of your Organizer includes tracking pages where you can organize and record every detail of your high school experience.
What’s the next step?
Start tracking all of your activities and achievements in these categories. Also, keep in mind that some applications will allow for attachments. A copy of a newspaper article about an extracurricular activity or community service project is a nice addition to any application.
Now is the time to start preparing for college and scholarship applications.
This is the best investment you can make for peace of mind that your child will be prepared when they sit down to fill out applications.