Stay on Track

Checklist for this Week, November 5, 2012

For freshmen and sophomores

  • One important task for you this week — get involved! There are several organizations in your community that need your help, especially during the busy holiday season.

For juniors

  • Your focus at this time is to try to figure out what you are looking for in an "ideal" college. For example, think about the size of the campus, the number of students, the location, the types of programs the school offers, and the cost of attendance.
  • Check with your library or counselor, and see if they have a computer program or website available that lets you choose options to search for schools. Some of these programs can compare schools side by side and offer other features to help you in your selection. Visit AIE's "Choosing a College" page for more college search advice.
  • Focus on what is most important to you — choosing the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make. Although you should consider the opinions of counselors, teachers, and family members, the decision ultimately is yours.

For seniors

It's normal to be fearful or worried about writing college admissions application essays. There are several things you can do to help you compose a good piece of writing.

  • Make your essay personal; the best essays reflect you and your personality.
  • Give your essay a purpose. As you write, make sure you are writing about one of the topics you were given.
  • Proofread very carefully. Use all the tools available to you, including spell-check and grammar check. Get a teacher, counselor, or family member to review your writing as well.

For parents

  • Now is a good time to have your child assist with community activities. Volunteering for a local religious organization, nonprofit organization, or other program gives them an opportunity to learn about giving back to the community.
  • Volunteering is an important part of college and scholarship applications. Most committees want to see some of these activities in a student's background; they are an essential part of becoming a well-rounded individual.
  • Consider involving the entire family in an activity. Volunteer to go together one evening to serve food at a soup kitchen, prepare meals for the elderly, or assist with childcare activities. These activities bring families closer together and allow you to recognize the important role you play in each others' lives.