Letter: Some advice for college bound high schoolers
To the Editor:
This is an Open Letter to Middle Park High School Seniors:
Hello, I am a Colorado native and a part-time Granby resident, currently residing in Houston, Texas. I read with much interest, the recent Sky-Hi article “The Class of 2016 Looks to This Year and Beyond” (Aug. 28). I am not a college counselor, nor am I an expert on college admissions, but I am an active and educated mother who has been through the college admissions process the past two years. I have a daughter who is a sophomore at CU Boulder, and a son who is a freshman at Colorado School of Mines.
Both applied to several schools, in-state and out-of-state, and some very generous scholarship offers followed. Beginning freshman year of high school in Houston, my husband and I were advised and generously prepped, by three very savvy college preparatory counselors, one of whom had previously worked for Harvard University on the admissions end. I can truly say that it was all a whirlwind, but we learned much throughout the mayhem of junior and senior year.
First and foremost, there are three categories of colleges – “reach, target, and safety” schools. Your reach schools would be colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, etc., the so-called “Ivies”. These elite “highly selective” schools and others in this category have become very difficult, if not impossible, to get into. Target schools, (step it down a notch) are certainly considered “selective,” but one may stand a better chance of getting in, or at least being deferred to the wait-list. Your safety schools are pretty much a sure thing. If all else fails, you will definitely be going to college with a safety school in mind.
My advice to you seniors (and juniors as well) is: Do your homework! Research your prospective college choices on-line. Peruse their websites and take notes. Use helpful tools such as Naviance and Cappex.com. Have a look at the “Scattergrams,” which show the likelihood of admission into your university, based on ACT/SAT scores, and GPA. If you haven’t done so already, plan your college visits accordingly, preferably during the week, when school is in session and students are out and about. Make sure that you have a good feel for the campus and the community. Can you picture yourself there for four years?
Lastly, be realistic. If you are a “home-body,” then going to college out-of-state may not be for you. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket. Definitely apply to one or more “safety schools” in the mix, crank out some fantastic, well-written essays, and pay close attention to details and deadlines! Keep in mind that it is not to late to “re-test.” Do attempt to improve your ACT or SAT score. Since you are off on Fridays, spend some additional time on “test prep,” or possibly tutoring, to boost your score. Aside from admissions, this can make you eligible for a larger scholarship. Overall, maintain a strong and consistent GPA.
Also, don’t be a stranger to your high school adviser, and do confer with your parent(s), and listen to their input and advice. At the end of the day, finances (and financial aid, if necessary) play a big part in this daunting college process. Good luck to all!
My final word: For those of you who desire an “Ivy League feel” not far from home, then take a look at OU (The University of Oklahoma) in Norman, just outside Oklahoma City.
You will be pleasantly surprised – great school, friendly students, gorgeous campus, Big 12 football, excellent scholarships, and one quintessential college town.
Colorado State University ‘82
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