For high school juniors, getting ready for college is already stressful. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and the process can put a lot of strain on students and their families. Fortunately, there are resources you can access from home to make the most of this uncertain time.
Strategies for College Prep at Home
Stay Focused on School
Junior year grades are often the most impactful for college admission counselors reviewing your transcripts. Make a list of the challenges you are facing in completing schoolwork and, next to each challenge, pencil in a possible solution. Fulfillment Fund offers a list of helpful resources for navigating COVID-19, including food assistance and free internet access so that you can focus as much of your energy on school as possible.
Choose Challenging Courses for Senior Year
Colleges want to see that you are continuing to challenge yourself and not developing a case of “senioritis.” With all of the uncertainty right now, it might be tempting to look for an easy “A,” but you should make up your senior schedule with courses that will help you learn and prepare for college work. Be sure to take advantage of Fulfillment Fund’s guide to online learning resources for high school students to keep your skills sharp.
Connect with Counselors and Teachers
Your counselors will be a powerful resource for you to gather information about potential colleges, scholarships, and applications. Your teachers can also help you with coursework and will need to write you letters of recommendation for your applications. Don’t hesitate to send out emails asking for advice, homework help, additional learning resources, and letters of recommendation.
Study for the SAT/ACT
Many colleges are waiving standardized testing requirements or making them optional. Watch the Princeton Review YouTube channel for updates on testing and college admissions and make sure you’re prepared to sit for the test. Khan Academy offers free test prep online so that you can use your time at home to study. Remember that Fulfillment Fund offers ACT and SAT fee waivers so all you have to worry about is studying.
Review Your Resume
Start building your resume for college applications by making a list of your accomplishments to date. What clubs and activities are you involved with? What honors and awards have you received? Keep a running list of achievements over the next year and update your resume regularly so you don’t forget anything.
Connect with Colleges Online
You can still get the experience of a campus visit through a college’s website. Many schools offer virtual campus tours and online chat with a student ambassador so you can get an inside scoop on what college life is like. Use CollegeBoard’s search tool to look for colleges that may interest you.
One of the biggest causes of college prep stress is figuring out how to fund your education. CollegeBoard offers a Scholarship Search tool, and your college counselor can help you identify scholarships for which you may be eligible. Fulfillment Fund also offers Scholarship Application Support so you can access all the funds available to you.
Many schools use the Common Application, and others post their applications online. Most will ask you to submit a resume, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Others will ask for a writing sample or other examples of your work. Look at how the applications frame these requirements and use your summer to develop drafts that you can easily revise and send off next year.
Read As Much As You Can
Reading is a great way to manage the anxiety associated with college preparation and COVID-19. It also helps to keep your brain active and expand your vocabulary as you prepare for testing and advanced coursework. Public libraries offer free access to e-books, so you can get lost in a book for a while.
Take a Breath
Navigating college preparation can be stressful. If your family is experiencing illness, grief, and job loss on top of all of this, you may be feeling understandably overwhelmed. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and there are resources out there to help you, especially through Fulfillment Fund Las Vegas.