Today is the 45th anniversary of the Higher Education Act of 1965. What exactly was this you ask? It was a law signed into legislation on November 8, 1945, by President Lyndon B. Johnson “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” For more information, check this page out. I thought this date was interesting and decided to write about my current experience in researching and preparing college application forms.
I feel like I was a freshman in high school not so long ago. I was never too overly concerned about getting ready for college, even though every year I heard from seniors about the long preparation process and how hard it was, especially finding resources and financial help. I knew my day would come, but it feels like it came pretty past! I have already become a senior trying to navigate this whole college terrain, which seems confusing and daunting at the same time.
Hopefully, those who are preparing to go to college have already completed the research and started applying (to meet early decision dates). Making decisions on which college to attend is a big huge. It took me a lot of time picking which schools were the best for me; my interests and learning needs and wants.
If you haven’t started on your applications or for those who will have to think about this process some time in the future, I wanted to share some advice I think are important to consider. Don’t feel too hurried because you feel like you are behind. Take your time and make smart decisions, because the decision you make will have an impact on your future.
Here are some steps to think about:
1.What are you passionate about? What major are you interested in studying? If you are undecided, that’s fine too, but having an idea about what you want to study can help you narrow down your target schools.
2. Research the colleges or universities that offer the major you want to study. Ask your friends who share the same interests as you about where they are looking into.
3. Once you’ve narrowed down your target schools, find out when the early action and early decision, priority and regular decision due dates are. Prioritize your application process so that you are working to meet those deadlines.
4. Write a personal bio and give it to your teachers and your counselor so they can write you a recommendation letter. Make sure you give them at least 2 weeks to write you one!
5. Fill out a transcript request listing the colleges/universities that you are planning to apply to.
6. Send your ACT/SAT scores to the colleges/universities you are applying to through the ACT/SAT sites. Schools only receive ACT/SAT scores directly from the institution, not from you.
7. Complete your application form. You will either fill out a separate form for a school or a common application form, which several schools accept (make sure you find out if the school does use these common application forms). Usually you are asked to submit two essays. For schools that do accept common application forms, you are allowed to use the same essays.
8. If you are applying for financial aid, remember that you can start applying for FAFSA starting on January 1st.
9. Devote some time to research for some grants or scholarships. This can be after you have finished your application process or while you are preparing.
10. Be organized and meet deadlines. You don’t want wait until the last second and scramble to submit everything.
Although I have just started my application process, I really do feel that this is an overwhelming assignment to complete while going to school, doing extra curricular activities and volunteering. But this is all part of my desire to learn and grow. So it’s not a bad experience. It actually feels like part of “growing up.”
Before closing out this blog post, I wanted to mention something related to colleges and education – the DREAM Act. There are 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools each year. Some have the opportunity to go to college, but many can’t because of various reasons.
This week is a Week of Action for the DREAM Act. Education should be a right, not a privilege. So on behalf of all brothers and sisters who want to learn and contribute back to our society, please make sure you take a moment to call for their dreams. Let’s make sure that years from now, another aspiring blogger will write about the 45th anniversary of when the DREAM Act was signed into law.
Also, if you’re a Los Angeles DREAMer wanting to find out in-state tuition information, read this post by my fellow NOP blogger, Angela. If you’re in Chicago, you can call KRCC to find out more information.
From DREAM Week of Action —
Call Senator Harry Reid at 866-877-5552. Tell him “Hi, my name is ________________. I´m calling to Congratulate Senator Reid for his reelection and to remind him that we will hold him accountable for his promise to bring the DREAM Act for a vote during the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. Thank You!”
Afterwards update your status:
¨I called Senator Reid at 1 866- 877- 5552 and asked him to bring up the DREAM Act for a vote during the 111th Congress. Please do the same.¨