Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
Bell Ringer
What are you looking for in a college? Select which answers best describe your ideal college:
The more students the
Medium-Size School
I like schools big, but
not too big.
Small School
I prefer a smaller
campus where I’d know
most of the students.
Not sure
Open to anything
A City School
It’d be great to go to a
school in a big city.
A Suburban School
I want to be near a city
but not in downtown
College Town
I prefer smaller towns
that are mainly college
Not sure
Open to anything
I want to stay close to
I’m thinking of a school
in my home state.
I denitely want to go
to school out of state.
Not sure
Open to anything
Community College
I want to start at
the local community
college then transfer to
a 4-year college later.
Technical School
I know what I want to
do for a career and a
technical college is the
best t for me.
4-Year College/Univ.
My goal is to go to
a four year college/
Not sure
Open to anything
Know My Major
I know my career goals
and I’m only applying to
schools with my major.
Might Switch Majors
I’m not sure what I
want to do yet, so I
might switch majors.
General Education
I’m more interested
in getting my general
credits and will worry
about a major later.
Not sure
Open to anything
Community College
I plan to save money
on tuition and go to
a community college
In-State College
In-state schools are
less expensive than
out-of-state or private
Private or Out-of-
I am not worried about
the price of tuition
and/or I plan to get
Not sure
Open to anything
(check all that
I’m an artist or actor
or something similar
and need specific
I’m all about sports and
plan to be involved in
sports at school.
Learning Disability
I need special
accommodations and
Not sure
Open to anything
(check all that
Sports &/or Greek
Life Definitely want to
go to the “big games”
and/or be part of a
I want a campus with
students similar to and
different from me.
Dorm Living
I want to live in campus
housing – at least for
freshman year
Not sure
Open to anything
Ideal College Inventory
Handout 4.4.1
Module 4 Preparing for College and the Workforce Copyright © 2017 School-Connect®
College Visit Tips:
Go while school is in session (not during the summer, a holiday or a weekend).
Call the admissions ofce to ask about taking a campus tour, observing a class, and meeting with current
Check your high school’s policy about missing school for college visits .
Try to nd someone you may know at the university for more info about college life
(e.g., a high school alum or friend of a friend).
If a college requires or recommends a student interview as part of the application, try to schedule
the interview during your visit.
Consider making an appointment with the college’s nancial aid ofce.
If you’d like to speak to a specic teacher or department faculty, ask the admissions ofce if they can
arrange a meeting.
If you cannot schedule a campus visit, try an online virtual tour (e.g., www.collegiatechoice.com,
The college application process includes a lot of details. Use this outline to help
navigate the process and set goals and deadlines.
STEP 1: Identify College Interests and Goals
Complete the Ideal College Inventory (Handout 4.4.1).
Consider your long-range personal and career goals (School-Connect Lesson 4.2: Setting a Long Term
STEP 2: Research College Options
Talk to your school’s guidance/college counselor. Make an appointment in 11
grade to get to know your
counselor better and to start talking about college options.
Web search college options (e.g., www.bigfuture.collegeboard.org, nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator, www.
usnews.com/education, www.naviance.com)
Use Handout 4.4.4 to organize info about your college choices.
Decide on 8–12 colleges you want to apply to.
Be sure to include “safety,” “target,” and “reach” schools.
Attend college fairs (see www.NACACnet.org for options).
Visit colleges for more information.
STEP 3: Start Filling Out College Applications
For each school, print out and review the application requirements. (Many schools may direct you to
the Common Application website at www.commonapp.org.)
Start working on each aspect of the application:
a) Personal Contact Info
Check with your parent/guardian or school counselor with any questions.
b) SAT and/or ACT Standardized Tests
Begin studying for and taking the tests in 10
and 11
Try Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.com) for test prep.
Handout 4.4.2
College Applications Step by Step (page 1 of 4)
Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
Plan to take the test(s) at least twice.
If you’ve taken AP or SAT Subject tests, include the results in your application.
Be sure to research what schools you’re applying to before the ACT/SAT so
the testing companies can automatically send your scores to the schools. If you
identify schools later, it can cost at least $12 to send your scores to each school.
c) Ofcial Transcripts
Ask your high school’s main ofce for your school records.
Before you ask, have which schools you are applying to and their addresses/contact info.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Your school will get a lot of transcript requests, so give them plenty of
d) College Application Essays
Good news! The whole next lesson—Lesson 4.5—is all about writing meaningful and memorable
college application essays.
As you research college applications, keep track of their essay prompts on Handout 4.4.5: College
Application Essays Organizer.
e) Letters of Recommendation
Check the letters of recommendation requirements for each school. Most require recommendations
from one or two teachers and a guidance counselor.
Choose teachers who know you well and whom you enjoyed learning from in the last year or two.
Ideally, ask your teachers/counselor for the letter during the spring of 11
In a nice folder, provide your teachers/counselors with:
1) A list of schools you are applying to, and their deadlines
2) A summary of your personal goals and high school accomplishments (e.g., activities, awards,
leadership, rst generation college student, top 10%)
3) Instructions for submitting the letters online and/or stamped envelopes addressed to the
colleges’ Ofce of Admissions.
4) An unofcial transcript (optional)
Be sure to send your teacher/counselor a thank you letter (letters of rec. take a lot of time)
f) Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities can include in school and out-of-school activities.
Quality is more important than quantity. It is better to show deep, meaningful involvement in one or
two activities than surface involvement in lots of activities.
Describe any leadership roles you were involved in.
g) Awards and Accomplishments
Accomplishments can include academics, athletics, arts, community service, employment
recognition, etc.
Describe how many people were competing for the same position (e.g., 2
place among 25
College Applications Step by Step (page 2 of 4)
Handout 4.4.2
Module 4 Preparing for College and the Workforce Copyright © 2017 School-Connect®
h) College Interviews
Some schools may recommend or require an in-person interview.
School-Connect Lesson 4.9: Interviewing Effectively will provide practice and
tips in college and job interviews.
Schedule the interviews well in advance.
i) Special Circumstances
Include in your application and/or essay any signicant hardships (e.g., physical, nancial, learning
disabilities) that may have affected your high school records.
If your parents or close family members are alumni (attended that school) note it within your
j) Special Requirements
Some colleges (particularly in the arts) may require a portfolio of past work.
STEP 4: Research Financial Aid Options
Talk to your family about how to pay for college.
Start by asking your parents to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will
help your family determine the “Expected Family Contribution” (EFC) based on your household income and the
federal aid available.
Talk to your high school guidance counselor about any local scholarships or state aid that may be available from
your high school, community and/or state.
Think about ways to earn and save money yourself.
Research subsidized and unsubsidized college loan options. Subsidized loans have signicant benets.
Search online scholarship databases for scholarships you may qualify for (e.g., special talents, goals, or interests).
Consider special circumstances scholarships (e.g., child of military, rst generation, cancer effects, future
See the next page – Handout 4.4.4: College Financial Aid Options – for local, state, and federal resources.
College Application Tips:
Create an email account specically for your college searches. You may get a LOT of marketing emails (aka
“junk mail”) in the future.
Try Khan Academy online SAT test prep (www.KhanAcademy.org).
Ask for ofcial transcripts in October of your senior year.
Ask teachers/counselors for letters of recommendation spring of 11
Think about ways to demonstrate leadership and other character strengths in your apps.
Many colleges report searching the Internet or social media for additional information about students. Be
careful to maintain a positive online presence.
Write “thank you” notes to anyone who helped you with your application, and keep them updated when you
hear back from schools.
Submit all nancial forms
EARLY. Many are rst
come, rst served.
Handout 4.4.2
College Applications Step by Step (page 3 of 4)
Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
Recommended Resources:
Go to your high school college/guidance counselor with any questions.
Consider meeting with a local community college admissions ofce to ask questions about transferring
classes to four-year colleges and application recommendations.
Go to The College Board website for lots of current and insightful info (www.collegeboard.org).
Talk to older students who have gone through the process.
Read College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step By Step by Robin Mamlet & Christine VanDeVelde
© 2011.
STEP 5: Check, Double Check – Then SUBMIT J
Before submitting your application, ask a parent, mentor or counselor to read over your
application. Look for:
Spelling or grammar errors
Incorrect or incomplete information
Content errors (referencing the wrong school)
More ways to include your accomplishments
Print out your application before you push the SUBMIT button (in case an online feature doesn’t work and does
not save your information)
If you have any questions, call or email the college admission ofce directly. It helps to respectfully get to know the
admissions ofcers and shows initiative to contact the ofce yourself rather than having a parent call. Be careful not to
ask any questions that are already clear in the application instructions.
College Applications Step by Step (page 4 of 4)
Handout 4.4.2
Module 4 Preparing for College and the Workforce Copyright © 2017 School-Connect®
Look near and far for nancial aid options. Start at the center of the circle within your family and community then think
about state and federal resources.
Recommended Financial Aid Websites:
U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid: studentaid.ed.gov
Education Resource Organization Directory by state at: www.ed.gov
Scholarship searches: myscholly.com, naid.org, fastweb.com, scholarships.com, and collegeboard.org
College Financial Aid Options
Handout 4.4.3
Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
College Name
City, State
Campus Relevant
Range &
Room &
Board $
Letters of
+pros -cons Early Reg.
Make multiple copies of this handout before you start
lling it out. You are going to need additional copies.
Handout 4.4.4
College Application Organizer
Module 4 Preparing for College and the Workforce Copyright © 2017 School-Connect®
(O/R = Optional or Required)
College Name
(application website)
Prompt #1
Prompt #2
Prompt #3
Prompt #4
Make multiple copies of this handout before you start
lling it out. You are going to need additional copies.
Handout 4.4.5
College Application Essays Organizer
Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
Aid Ofce
$ Cost
Room &
$ Cost
CSS Pro-
Merit Aid
Need Blind
*Some schools may not require a CSS Prole or offer Merit Aid. If they don’t, write “NA” for “not applicable.
Other Aid Opportunities:
ship De-
Range of
Scholarship Requirements Due Date
Make multiple copies of this handout before you start
lling it out. You are going to need additional copies.
Handout 4.4.6
College Financial Aid Organizer
Module 4 Preparing for College and the Workforce Copyright © 2017 School-Connect®
School Name:
Admissions Ofce Contact Info:
Relevant Majors:
GPA Range:
Percent of student applicants accepted:
Tuition $ total:
Early Application Deadline:
Letters of Recommendation Deadline:
College Essay Topics:
School Website:
SA T &/A CT Range:
Room & Board $ Estimate:
Early Application Deadline:
School Interview Deadline (if applicable):
CSS Profile Deadline (if applicable):
Need Blind? (Yes No )
Financial Aid Ofce Contact Info:
FAFSA Deadline:
Merit aid deadline:
Other financial aid options and deadlines:
Work study available? (Yes
No )
Transcript sent
Letter of Recommendation sent
Letter of Recommendation sent
Letter of Recommendation sent
Essays completed
Application submitted
SAT and/or ACT score sent
FAFSA Form submitted
Financial aid forms completed
Interview scheduled (if applicable)
Other requirements:_______________________
Other requirements:_______________________
College Application Organizer (per school)
Handout 4.4.7
Copyright © 2017 School-Connect® Preparing for College and the Workforce Module 4
Bachelor’s Degree (also referred to as an Undergraduate
Degree) – Most colleges/universities award a “bachelor’s
degree” when the student completes his/her required
coursework and graduates.
Class Rank – a measure of how a student’s GPA compares
to other students in the same graduating class (e.g., “Top
10%,” “Top 25%”)
“College” vs. “University” – The terms “college” and
“university” can both represent four-year post-secondary
schools. The main difference between the two is that
universities usually include four-year undergraduate
degrees and graduate degrees, whereas most colleges do
not have graduate programs.
Common Application – Many colleges/universities use the
“Common Application” system, a basic college application
that can be used for multiple schools. See www.
commonapp.org for more information.
Core GPA – is the grade point average (GPA) of core
classes (e.g., math, English, science, social studies) not
electives (e.g., sports, arts).
CSS Profile (also known as the College Scholarship
Service Profile) – is a more detailed financial aid
application than the FAFSA and is required by some, but
not all, colleges/universities.
Early action – Some colleges/universities offer “early
action” deadlines (usually in November), by which
students submit their full application before the regular
deadline (usually in December or January) and receive
their acceptance status earlier than the regular deadline.
If accepted, the student does not have to commit to
attending the school. See “early decision.
Early decision – Early decision is similar to early action,
but if the student is accepted to the college/university, it
is a binding agreement and the student must attend that
school. Early decision applications are only prudent if it is
denitely a “rst choice” school.
Essay prompt Most colleges/universities require essays
as part of the application. Essay prompts are the question
or statement to be addressed within the essay content.
FAFSA or Federal Application for Federal Student Aid
The form to be completed to determine a student’s
eligibility for federal nancial aid, which is based primarily
on the student’s family’s annual income and assets. See
fafsa.ed.gov for more information.
Final Report – Some colleges/universities require
students to submit their final transcripts and discipline
records at the end of their senior year in high school. A
slip in grades, attendance, or discipline records
could jeopardize college acceptance status.
First-Generation – is a college applicant whose parent(s)/
legal guardian(s) did not complete a college bachelor’s
degree. If an older sibling completed a bachelor’s degree,
the applicant would still be a rst-generation college
Graduate Degree – Universities that offer advanced
degrees (e.g., master’s or doctoral degrees) award
graduate degrees upon completion. Students must nish
their undergraduate coursework before beginning a
graduate degree program.
Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) – Can
include students of all races but primarily serves African
American students. Many HBCUs were formed after the
American Civil War to offer graduate and undergraduate
degrees for Black Americans.
Liberal Arts or Liberal Education – Refers to colleges/
universities with a focus and core curriculum that includes
classes in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and
Merit Aid or Merit-based Aid – Scholarships, grants, and
discounts that colleges can award to admitted students
without regard to nancial need. Merit aid may be based
on specic achievements (e.g., academic, athletic, artistic)
or other characteristics (e.g., demographics).
Use this glossary to help answer any questions about unfamiliar terms and phrases.
Application Fee Waivers – Income-eligible students
may be able to waive or reduce college application fees
and related ACT/SAT fees. Check The College Board
(collegeboard.org) and/or the college directly for more info
about fee waiver options.
Glossary of College Application Terms (page 1 of 2)
Handout 4.4.8
Module 4 Preparing for College and the Workforce Copyright © 2017 School-Connect®
Need-blind vs. Need-aware Admission – Colleges/
universities that do not consider a college applicant’s
nancial needs when deciding admittance use a “need-
blind admission” policy. Other schools that use a “need-
aware” policy consider nancial aid needs as part of the
admission process to ensure they have enough aid to meet
the needs of all accepted students.
Recommendation Letter – Many college/university
applications require recommendation letters about the
applicant from a teacher and/or guidance counselor. Some
colleges/universities also require teachers/counselors to
complete a brief survey about the student rating his/her
overall abilities.
Rolling Admissions – Some colleges/universities offer
a wide timeframe rather than a specic deadline date
for students to submit their application and receive
acceptance status.
SAT/ACT College Codes – Each college has a different
SAT and ACT college code number. SAT and ACT scores
will be forward to the colleges based on the college codes
submitted by the applicant.
School Report (SR) – Includes information about the
student’s class rank, GPA, academic courses, attendance
rate, and an
y discipline incidents. It may also include
letters of recommendation from the counselor and/
or teachers. The SR is part of the college application
requirements and is usually completed by a high school
guidance counselor.
Subsidized Loan – if an applicant qualifies based on
FAFSA information, the U.S. government pays for any
interest accrued during college and gives a loan grace
period after college graduation.
Specialty schools – Primarily offer degrees in
undergraduate and graduate programs that focus on ne
and performing arts (e.g., Juilliard School), business, or
engineering [e.g., Massachusetts Institute for Technology
Technical School or Tech Schools – Are typically schools
that offer two-year degrees in specic employment-
preparation skills such as computer technology, culinary
arts, and health care.
Undergraduate Degree (also referred to as a Bachelor’s
Degree) – is awarded when a student completes his/
her four-year college/university coursework and
Unsubsidized Loan – Unlike subsidized loans, the
government does not supplement interest accrued during
Waitlist – Colleges issue “acceptances,” “denials,” and
“waitlists.” Students waitlisted may be accepted later
if other students already accepted or ahead of them on
the waitlist choose not to go to that school. If waitlisted,
denitely call the school and tell them how/why you
are interested in attending that school and ask when
the waitlist applicants will be notied about acceptance
Weighted vs. Unweighted Grade Point Average (GPA)
– W
eighted GPAs include an extra point on a 4.0-point
scale for honors and advanced placement classes. Using
an unweighted GPA system, an “A” is worth a 4.0 and a “B”
is worth a 3.0. With a weighted GPA system, an “A” in an
honors/AP class is worth a 5.0 and a “B” is worth a 4.0,
Work Study – Students can get “work study” jobs on
campus and the U.S. federal government helps pay their
work study salary.
Handout 4.4.8
Glossary of College Application Terms (page 2 of 2)