College Application Process
- TEST: Take the PSAT (in October)
- VISIT: Visit College Campuses
- COURSES: Meet with High School Counselor to determine courses needed for college
- STUDY: Begin thinking about what you want to study
- LIST: Create a list of top colleges to attend (w/ backup options)
- TEST: Take SAT/ACT/COMPASS test in Spring
- NIGHTS: Attend financial aid/college admissions nights in your area
- VISIT: Continue visiting College Campuses
- TEST: Take the SAT/ACT/COMPASS test in Fall (to better score)
- APPLY: Apply to colleges by deadlines (between Dec. and Mar.)
- FAFSA: Complete the FAFSA in January
- SCHOLARSHIPS: Search for Scholarships and apply
- CHECK: Continually check email/mailbox for college/financial aid letters
- ACCEPTANCE: Confirm college acceptance
1. Check the websites for the schools to which you have decided to apply. Carefully read the admission policies and directions.
2. Take the SAT or ACT. All Washington colleges will take either test. Have your scores sent electronically by the test agency.
3. Complete the college online application, or neatly and accurately complete the paper application for the college to which you are applying. ) Many private schools now subscribe to the Common Application (www.commonapp.org) and encourage completion online. Check each school’s website or the Common Application website to find out. Common application subscribers prefer that all parts of the application are submitted electronically.
4. Transcripts, class rank, and high school official information requests: (Should come from either Running Start or your Home-Based learning records.
Tips for Completing Your Application
• Online or paper application? Most colleges prefer the online application as it speeds up their admission process.
• Retain a copy for your records. Colleges and the U.S. mail sometimes lose things.
• Thank those who assisted in the application process or wrote letters of recommendation for you. A thank you note is appropriate. Be sure to keep a copy of the recommendation in your files.
Some colleges will require you to write an essay as part of your application. Admissions officers want to know more about prospective students than statistics and dry facts. Essays are an extremely important part of the admission process simply because they are the most personal piece of the application. Be sure your essay is personal and not generic. The reader wants to know YOU better. You are writing for a purpose; you are trying to convince either an admissions officer or a committee that by virtue of your merit (academic achievement, athletic prowess, leadership interests, etc.) they should admit you to their college. In order to accomplish this, present yourself as clearly and fully as possible. Your personal essay should be dedicated to expounding your good qualities and achievements. Committees and admissions officers are impressed with personal growth and individuality. If you think that cannot possibly mean you, think again! You are not the same person you were one, two, or three years ago. You have matured. You probably have more family and/or work responsibilities, and you have probably become more involved in your academics and extra-curricular activities. If this weren’t true, you probably wouldn’t be thinking about attending college, and you wouldn’t be reading this now. So, think positively and brainstorm with your family and friends. Don’t worry whether or not what you have to say is important enough to catch someone’s attention. If you are writing about something that you truly care about, it will be interesting and worthwhile.
Things to consider when proofreading your essay
- Does your introduction capture the reader’s attention?
- Are you consistent in your verb tense?
- Are you clear and coherent?
- Are you concise enough to adhere to limits of length?
- Have you checked for grammatical and spelling errors?
- Does the essay present you as you wish to be seen?
- Did another person check your essay for errors?
- Would you remember your essay if you read 200 others?
- Does your closing paragraph present you as you wish to be remembered?
- Could your essay be about anyone other than you?
As you progress through your college search, you will have many questions. It is critical that you talk to people who can answer these questions. You won’t necessarily find answers to all the specific questions you have in books or on the Internet. Use the people resources that are available to you. Who are these people?
- College and Career Readiness Counselor- We spend a good deal of time reading, attending conferences, and otherwise educating ourselves on the latest changes in college admissions. Make an appointment, and we’ll either answer your questions or try to point you in the right direction.
- Parents and Family – Family members that have previously attended college can be a wealth of information, particularly on specifics of colleges that they’ve attended.
- Teachers – They’ve all attended at least one college. Talk to your teachers about the schools they attended and learn from them about their college experience.
- College admission representatives – College representatives frequently visit our school to talk with our students about the colleges they represent. Pay attention to the bulletin for information about these visitations and sign up in the Counseling Center to attend. Ask questions about admission policies, student satisfaction, campus safety, special programs, or whatever you’re curious about. Feel free to follow up with letters or phone calls to the college representatives. The National College Fair in October is another terrific opportunity to talk to college admission representatives. Our school sponsors a field trip to the College Fair each fall; again, pay attention to the bulletin in late September for information about this opportunity.
- Recent graduates – Former students that you know can be an excellent source of information. Many of them return to the area around the holidays and are eager to talk about their college experiences.
One of the most important things you can do to learn about a college is to visit the college. Even though people tell you a certain place is great and the glossy magazine photos make it look fantastic, it may not turn out to meet your vision of the right place for you. There are many stories about students who have gone to college and had a miserable time because the college “personality” didn’t match their own personality. Often it turns out that these students didn’t take the all-important step of visiting the school first before committing to attend. Start your college visitation schedule by visiting some nearby schools. By visiting Eastern Washington University, Spokane Falls and Spokane Community College, Gonzaga, Whitworth University, and Washington State University, you get a good sampling of schools that are big, small, public, private, urban, rural, expensive and inexpensive.
Summertime is often the most convenient time for you to visit colleges, and you can get a baseline for what a school looks like. However, the best time to visit is when the school is in full session, and you are able to talk to students, professors, admission counselors, and others on campus. Try to schedule a visit at this time if at all possible, so you can get a better feel for the campus. Most schools have campus tour programs scheduled on a regular basis. Be sure to call ahead at least two weeks to find out what kind of visitation program a school has and to schedule your visit. Often times when you call ahead, arrangements can be made to visit specific classrooms, talk to professors or people in the admissions and financial aid offices. If possible, schedule an overnight visit, so you can get as much information as possible about campus life, facilities, food, special programs, resources, and the people that attend there. Most of all, be sure to find ways to talk to the students. Campus tours are usually led by students; don’t hesitate to ask them questions about the school.
Take your parent(s) or guardian(s) with you when visiting. They will need to know as much about the place at which you might spend four years as you do. Your parent(s) or guardian(s) will likely observe some things that you miss and will ask some questions that don’t occur to you. When your visit is over, you will have someone to compare notes with and discuss the virtues and shortcomings of the college you saw.
Questions to ask other students at the college you are visiting:
- What do you like most about this college?
- What do you like least about this college?
- What are the classes like? Are most of them large? How many small classes have you been in?
- Who teaches the classes? Professors or graduate students?
- Can you talk to the professors outside of class time easily?
- Do students spend a lot of time studying? Where do they study?
- How is the food? Where do most people eat?
- What do students do on the weekends?
- Is it better to be part of the fraternity/sorority system or to live in the dorms?
- Is it easy to make new friends here?
- Do a lot of people go home on the weekends?
- Are sports a big deal here? Do a lot of people go to the games?
- Do many students have cars? Is it easy or difficult to park?
- Additional questions? (Come up with some of your own before you visit. REMEMBER…There are no wrong questions to ask!)
- Get the name of a contact person at the college/university so you can contact them later if necessary.
Click here for our handy college tour checklist.
- Go to the FAFSA website
- Click on "PIN Site" located near the center-top of page
- Complete your PIN information (choose a 4-digit number you can remember such as your birth year or last 4-digits of your social security number)
- Go back to FAFSA website then click on "Start Here"
- Complete all information
- Should receive an email from FAFSA to update your tax information by simply using the "IRS Data Retrieval" button
TEC will be partnering with The Community School to offer financial aid nights this year! Dates TBA
Read & Research
Bryant/TEC is full of information available for you to read before or after school, during lunch, or any other free time you have. Resources are available on practically every college related topic including college selection, testing, financial aid, scholarships, essay writing, and more. We also have catalogs and bulletins from several colleges and universities for your perusal. Listed below are the titles of some of the more useful books we either have here, or that you can purchase at a local bookstore.
· Barrons Essays that will get you into college
· Barrons How to prepare for the SAT I
· Choosing the Right College
· College Cost & Financial Aid Handbook 2011
· College Guide for Parents
· College planning for Dummies
· College Board 10 Real SATs
· College Board College Handbook
· College Board Bood of Majors
· Getting Financial Aid
· Insider’s Guide to College Admissions
· Peterson’s Guide to College Visits
· Peterson’s Handbook for College Admission
In addition, here are some very helpful websites:
There are many places to find information. The web is a fantastic option with an incredible amount of information. Remember most colleges and universities also have an abundance of information on their sites.
Community College Listings
- Community Colleges of Spokane
- Spokane Community College
- Spokane Falls Community College
- Institute for Extended Learning
- Bellevue Community College
- Big Bend Community College
- Cascadia Community College
- Centralia Community College
- Clark College
- Columbia Basin Community College
- Edmonds Community College
- Everett Community College
- Grays Harbor Community College
- Green River Community College
- Highline Community College
- Lower Columbia College
- Northwest Indian College
- Olympic College
- Peninsula College
- Pierce College
- Seattle Community Colleges (District VI)
- Shoreline Community College
- Skagit Valley Community College
- South Puget Sounce Community College
- Tacoma Community College
- Walla Walla Community College
- Wenatchee Valley Community College
- Whatcom Community College
- Yakima Valley Community College
Military Contact Information
Air Force – Master Sergeant Brenda Lourdeau
10925 N. SR2, Newport Hwy
Army - Sergeant First Class Jessy Todd
10925 N. SR2, Newport Hwy, Ste. 4
Coast Guard - AET1 Alan Aggson
11516A E. Sprague Ave.
Marines – Gunnery Sargeant Grainger
Navy- Petty Officer Ken Hoffman
Tests & Assessments
Most every college requires an admission test score as part of the admission selection process. Students are advised to take either the SAT or ACT test or both beginning in their junior year. Please read below about admission testing and become familiar with the testing requirements of the schools to which you may apply.
ReadiStep is a middle school assessment, taken in 8thgrade, that measures skills students need to be on track for college success. It provides insight into students’ academic progress and also equips educators with tools they can use to make informed decisions in the classroom. It is the first step in the College Board’s College Readiness Pathway that includes PSAT and SAT. Together these assessments measure a progression of skills and help schools make targeted interventions.
PSAT / NMSQT
This is a slightly shortened version of the SAT and is offered in October each year for high school juniors. Sophomores are allowed to take the PSAT provided there are enough test booklets and space available. Studies indicate that taking the PSAT will slightly improve SAT scores simply because you will be familiar with the directions and type of questions. More important for juniors, the PSAT is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship (NMSQT) pool. You must score in the top 1% to qualify, and these are excellent scholarships. Taking the PSAT in your sophomore year will help identify areas of weakness in time to work on them before taking the PSAT as a junior.
The SAT is one of the two commonly accepted admission tests. In addition, many national scholarships may require an SAT score. The SAT measures language, writing and mathematical skills and your ability to analyze information and apply information to understand various problems. You receive a Critical Reading (CR) score, a Writing (W) score and a Math (M) score. The average score on each section is 500. The SAT is administered at Olympic College. Please refer to the chart below for test dates. You must sign up 4-5 weeks in advance, and you must take the test at least six weeks before your chosen college’s deadline for receipt of your test scores. To register for the SAT go to the College Board website, www.collegeboard.com. Our school code for registration purposes is 481195. There are many study guides available to help you with the SAT. Check in the Counseling Center if you need further assistance.
Some colleges, especially highly selective ones like MIT, require the SAT II Subject Tests (the University of California schools also require SAT II tests). Tests are administered covering the following content areas: English Literature, mathematics, world history, U.S. History, chemistry, physics, biology, and foreign languages. Generally, you are only required to take 2-3 subject tests. You must register separately for the SAT and SAT II. You cannot take them on the same day. Check in advance with the colleges you are interested in to see what their SAT II policies are. Registration for the SAT II is also done online on the College Board website.
The ACT is a four-year college admission test covering: English, reading, mathematics, and science reasoning. An optional writing test is also available. An average score on the ACT is 21. The ACT is quite similar to the SAT, but it will provide you with scores in content areas other than English and math. You must sign up five weeks in advance, and must take the test at least six weeks before your chosen college’s deadline for receipt of your test scores. Register online for the ACT at www.actstudent.org.
The PLAN is a shortened version of the ACT and is administered only to sophomores. The PLAN helps focus test preparation to improve ACT scores and provides an estimated range of ACT scores. It also provides a status check of academic preparation for post-secondary education and supports meaningful high school course selection for your junior and senior year. In addition, the PLAN includes a career interest inventory. The PLAN (only for sophomores).
Important Items to Remember about Tests
*Be sure to find out what tests your college of choice requires or pick up the test Registration Bulletin and Free Sample Test Questions and Tips in the Counseling Center at least six weeks before the test date. Complete the forms and send them to the respective testing company before the deadline or register online. Include your social security number and our school code number (481195) for the ACT, SAT and SAT II tests. Your Registration Bulletin will give you code numbers for the college(s) you want your scores sent to. If you have not yet decided, you may have a sealed score sent to you to be forwarded to the college by you using code number 1000.
*Most colleges now require that SAT/ACT scores be sent to them directly from the test agency rather than from the high school
For more information on the SAT, the PSAT, or ReadiStep you can visit http://www.collegeboard.com. The College Board is the only source of practice tests created by the test maker according to proprietary new SAT specifications. The online SAT Test Preparation Center gives students the convenience of reviewing test directions, sample questions, and a full length test from any computer with Internet access. The SAT Preparation booklet includes test directions, sample questions, and a full-length new SAT.
Click here for a scholarship list
There are literally hundreds of scholarship opportunities for students going on to college and technical schools. Scholarships come from a variety of resources including colleges, the military (ROTC), corporations, employers, private donors, foundations, service clubs, churches, unions, and community groups. Scholarships may range in value from $50.00 up to “full ride” four-year scholarships. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, but they may also be awarded for athletic ability, financial need, a special talent, community service, membership in a particular group, or a combination of many factors.
Scholarship Application Process
- Pick up a Scholarship Newsletter in the Counseling Center. Read over the eligibility criteria and due dates carefully. If you see a scholarship you to want to apply for, pick up the application from the file folder on the scholarship desk or, in some cases you can apply online.
- Complete the application carefully. Use black ink or type the information if possible. Presenting yourself well on the application is the first step to winning a scholarship.
- If the application requires transcript and /or test scores, obtain them from the proper person
- If the application requires letters of recommendation from teachers and/or counselors, be considerate by requesting these at least two weeks before they are needed.
- Keep copies of your letters of recommendation, so that when other scholarship opportunities arise, you will have them available.
- You must mail your own scholarship application.
- Check early, check often, and pay attention to deadlines!
While there are many opportunities, one should not count on scholarship money to finance their entire college education. Scholarships are a good way to supplement the costs of college but rarely do they ever cover the entire expense. We strongly encourage students to pursue applying for scholarships, but also caution people to remain realistic. Scholarships are generally very competitive, and the applications require some effort and hard work. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of GPA, test scores, recommendations, participation in extra-curricular activities, and enthusiasm. Most of the hard work must occur long before you ever pick up your first scholarship application.
Beware of Scholarship Scams!! There are many private scholarship search services available to student. However, almost all of these services come with a fairly high price tag. The Federal Trade Commission is presently investigating a number of these private companies for fraud. Generally, these services offer money back guarantees of helping students win scholarships, but make the criteria for getting a refund nearly impossible to achieve. Check with your counselor before signing up with any of these services.
SENIORS...If you want Bryant to send a weighted transcript in addition to your regular transcript to a college, please email SaraDuv@spokaneschools.org and let her know which college you want a weighted transcript sent to.