SciCheer Guest Blog Post: Summer College Prep Tips for High School Seniors

Here’s a special guest post from Science Cheerleader, Dr. Felecia Sheffield (a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader with a PhD in Clinical Psychology) aimed directly at incoming seniors!

Summer is the time when we all want to relax and spend our time at the park or on the beach. This is especially true for students who don’t want to think about school or assignments. However, for incoming seniors the summer before senior year should be spent making important preparations to ensure a competitive college admission and possible scholarship and grant awards. Below are several helpful tips.

1. College Entrance Exams: Try to take/retake the SAT and ACT exams during the summer. This will allow one more opportunity to retake in the fall if necessary before college applications are due. High scores are important for college admission and scholarship opportunities.

2. Classes/Missing Credits: Attend summer school if you have failed a class or if you are missing credits to graduate. It is important to try and graduate by June and enter college
in the fall. Students who start college in the spring may be unable to secure on-campus housing and may disrupt course timelines that are sequenced from fall to spring. In addition,
federal financial aid deadlines are non-negotiable and some scholarships may have already been awarded during the fall semester.

3. Start College Search: Use the summer to select all the colleges you may want to attend. Create a table listing each college, location, relevant addresses and telephone numbers and application deadlines. Give yourself plenty of time because some applications may require essays and additional documents.

4. Start College Scholarship Search: Start your search ASAP. Different scholarships request different information. Some scholarships may require essays, letters of recommendation, proof of community service, transcripts, or exam scores. Adhere to all deadlines and get your application in early. Be sure to proofread any written materials. Don’t pay for college scholarship searches. Fastweb.com is a free database that has thousands of scholarships and match you to them based on the information you enter in your completed profile.

5. Letters of Recommendation: Don’t wait until October/November to request letters of recommendation from your teachers, mentors, or coaches. Remember that many of them also have to write letters for your fellow peers and classmates. Ask two months in advance and give reminders. Be sure to provide them with a brief profile summary about yourself, goals, career aspirations and accomplishments during high school. Don’t forget to provide a pre-addressed envelope with college address and sufficient postage included.

6. Volunteer: Complete any remaining community service hours required for graduation. Consider completing more than the mandatory hours in order to be competitive for select scholarships. Remember to request sealed letters of recommendation from all community service programs that you served.

Good luck and remember, the more time you spend preparing on the front end will give you many more college admissions and scholarship opportunities on the back end.

Copyright © 2012, Felecia D. Sheffield. PhD. All Rights Reserved Worldwide in all Media

Thanks or taking the time to share this, Dr. Sheffield!