Welcome Minds Matter NYC Class of 2019! As you head into the summer, and prepare for your amazing summer programs, we also wanted to remind you that college applications are right around the corner.
Because of that, Senior Program starts about 5 weeks earlier than Sophomore or Junior programs – this year, that’s Saturday, September 8th. Additionally, your college advisors will be reaching out to you over the summer, so check your email and make sure you respond. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have any questions about the upcoming year, college lists, college visits, or anything else about the college application process, or what you can be doing now to prepare.
- Colin Thibadeau/Nick Catero (Kathleen’s Team) – firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- April Daley (Mai’s Team and Jane’s Team) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katrina Butt (Karly’s Team and Sara’s Team) – email@example.com
- Chiraag Kapoor (Stanford’s Team and Mallory’s Team) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Alison Pincus (Stephanie’s Team and Bisma’s Team) – email@example.com
Before the first session, please email your College Advisor with the following:
- Your final junior year report card or transcript. Make sure it has final grades for your entire junior year, both semesters, as well as regents scores.
- Your scores from any SATs or ACTs you have taken – please do not send these to colleges yet. Please share only “real” scores, as opposed to PSAT, PreACT, or diagnostics.
Please also review and complete the following over the summer:
- Senior Program Kickoff Checklist – a few questions to review with your parents, guidance/college counselor, and mentors.
- Register for CUNY, SUNY, and Common App accounts.
- Add your College Advisor as an Advisor on your Common App Account – Instructions Here
We will be reviewing your college lists over the summer, but in the meantime, you should be thinking about and working on the following:
- Visiting Colleges
- Demonstrating interest
- Common App Essays
- SAT Registration
- Teacher Recommendations
- Other Scholarships
- Fee Waivers
And here are some resources to help start you off
The best way to get to know a college is to visit it! We encourage you to try to visit as many schools on your list as possible.
Many colleges offer a variety of programs that can help you get to campus for a visit. Often, they’ll fly you in for an overnight or weekend stay, or help pay for other forms of transportation to and from campus.
IMPORTANT – these programs can be competitive, and often have application deadlines over the summer
Please follow the link below, for a comprehensive listing of “fly-in” programs and their deadlines. Don’t see a college on the list that you’re interested in? Contact their admissions office to find out what they can do to help!
An increasingly important factor in college admissions decisions is demonstrated interest. Colleges like to know that you’re applying because you actually want to go there, and many colleges track all the ways applicants show they actually want to go there.
Now is the time to start demonstrating interest in colleges on your list
Here is a list of some simple, easy things you can do to start demonstrating interest:
Sign up for the mailing list
Make sure to open and read every email a college sends you. This requires checking your email every day, including your spam folder.
See above. Colleges keep track of everyone who visits their campus, and if you visit and like it enough to apply, this is a clear indicator that you’d really like to go there.
Take a virtual tour
If you can’t visit, many colleges offer virtual tours on their websites.
Sign up for an interview
Many colleges offer interviews as a part of the application. Make sure to sign up for one. If you can’t make it to campus, ask them if they can arrange an interview via Phone or Computer. When deciding between two similar applicants, they may be more likely to select one who wanted to be interviewed. And don’t forget the thank you note!
Attend a local information session
College Admissions officers travel extensively, and most will be visiting the New York area this fall. Find out where they’ll be, and if they offer a public information session, sign up and attend!
Don’t be afraid to contact admissions offices directly to find out more about ways to visit, their local travel schedules, or any other information. Every bit of contact you have with them counts as demonstrated interest.
Common App Essays
The summer is a great time to start working on your college application essay! The essay is a chance to tell the admissions office all about you – who you are, what’s your story, what makes you someone interesting, that would contribute something to that college’s community.
Below are this year’s Common Application essay prompts. Start brainstorming now! Talk to your mentors and TLs too, they may have some great ideas for topics.
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
- Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
- Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
You’ve probably already taken the SAT, at least once, and don’t really want to think about it again. But it’s important to take it at least twice. The next two dates are August 25th (register by July 27th), and October 6th (register by September 7th).
SAT Subject Tests:
Make sure to research which of your colleges require SAT Subject Tests. If any do, don’t forget to register for those too. Take tests in your best subjects, and in subjects whose classes you’ve most recently taken.
Last, some students find that they do better on the ACT than the SAT. If you can find the time, sign up and try it out! You don’t have to report the scores, but you may find you do better with the ACT.
If you haven’t already, start thinking now about which teachers you’ll ask for recommendations in the fall. Ask teachers who you have a good relationship with, who know you, and who can speak to your many talents and your distinct personality. If possible, ask two teachers in different subject areas – maybe one in math or science, and one in English, Social Studies, or Foreign Language.
Questbridge is a highly competitive college match scholarship program, which seeks to connect the highest achieving, under-represented students, with some of the country’s most selective colleges and universities. Winners receive a full scholarship, including room and board. And yes, Minds Matter students have won Questbridge scholarships in the past, including one in three of the last four years.
The application process is very rigorous, and is due in September, not long after we begin Senior program. If you think you meet the profile, you should start working on your application as soon as possible, so you are ready to submit it in the fall. More information below:
In addition to college applications, we ask all Minds Matter seniors to apply to at least 5 outside scholarships. Some of the best of these scholarships have early deadlines, beginning over the summer, and continuing through the fall. Make sure to start doing research now, and check your email for updates from the Senior Program leaders on upcoming scholarship deadlines.
Some resources for searching for scholarships:
Scholly – Scholly is an app for searching for scholarships. We will give you an access code in the fall, if you do not already have one.
College Greenlight – https://www.collegegreenlight.com/
Fast Web – http://www.fastweb.com
FinAid – http://www.finaid.org
Scholarship Database – http://www.free-4u.com/
Zinch – http://www.zinch.com
School Soup – http://schoolsoup.com/scholarship-directory/
College Application and standardized test fees can add up! Fortunately, there are resources out there for getting fee waivers, to help pay for those costs.
Start by talking to your guidance counselors, who can help provide you with fee waivers through your schools, for both SATs and your college applications.
More information here.