The Art of Applying to College: How to Prepare Your Child For Successful College Admission

Finding the right college for your child is a process that begins before your child enters high school. Below are questions, with brief answers, that you should have in mind as you consider your child’s education. After the questions, you will find a quick guide to preparing your child with 21st Century skills. Please reach out to me at Raising Black Scholars if I can answer any questions for you.

1.When should my child and I start thinking about college prep? If your child is interested in STEM, they need to be in Algebra I, preferably by 7th grade, 8th grade at the latest.  Even if your child is not interested in STEM, 8th grade students should be on the path to write at a high level and on a college prep/honors/AP path.

2. What classes must my child take? It is best to have at least Calculus by senior year, AB Calculus if possible, BC Calculus is better.  AP Classes are becoming necessary for college admission: if offered at your child’s school, they should take them. Your child should take Chemistry and Physics if possible; 4 years of a foreign language; if your child wants to attend the UC schools in California (i.e. Berkeley and UCLA) they will need 1 art class.

3.  Testing: PSAT, National Merit, AP vs IB vs Dual Enrollment, SAT vs ACT, SAT II Subject Tests, College Placement Exams 

4.  Financial Aid: FAFSA, CSS, grants, loans, merit; “Ivy” tuition assistance for those making under $60,000 and $125,000, 529 college savings programs

5.  Affirmative Action, Sports & Legacy

6. Types of Schools: State Schools, Honors Programs, Private, Ivy, Public Ivy, HBCUs for liberal Arts vs STEM, 3-2 programs, Overseas (Canada and the United Kingdom)

7. Finding a School: College visits, demonstrated interest, college fairs

8. Timing: Early Decision, Early Action, Rolling Admission, Regular Admission, Instant Decision, College Fair Admission & Scholarship Offers, Fall Fly In programs

9.  Should my Child Take a Gap Year?

10. May I have a copy of the Naviance reports for the school for the past 5 years? https://www.naviance.com/solutions/parents-students


21ST CENTURY SKILLS THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR EVERY CHILD’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TOOL KIT

Communication

Reading – All children must be able to read chapter books by 3rd grade. Many children are able to do this by the end of kindergarten. Enroll in Honors classes in Middle School, AP or IB Classes in High School

Writing – 5 Paragraph Essay, Long Form Essays, Research Papers, Thank You Notes, Resumes, Cover Letters. Enroll in Honors classes in Middle School, AP or IB Classes in High School

Public Speaking – School Presentations, Oratorical Contests, Debate, Drama, High School, College and Job Interviews, Job Presentations, Grammar

Vocabulary – Read books, news, history, nonfiction, dictionaries, encyclopedia; flashcards

Self-Advocacy – Teachers, University Professors, TA’s, Advisors, Employers, Peers

Foreign Language Study – Spanish, Chinese and French are the most useful

Problem Solving and Analytic Thinking

Math in a Minute – all children must memorize + – x / up to 12 by 3rd grade
http://www.madpractice.com/
http://www.rudolphacademy.com/math-worksheets/1-minute-timed-math-worksheets/ https://www.math-drills.com/

Math Progression to get into college
7th grade – Algebra I
8th grade – Geometry
9th grade – Algebra II
10th grade – Trigonometry
11th grade – Calculus
12th grade – AP Calculus (AB or BC)

Science Progression to get into college
Biology, Chemistry, Physics
These 3 classes are usually offered in 9th, 10th & 11th grade then they are offered again at the AP level, starting in 10th or 11th grade. Take the AP level if possible

Computer Science, Coding, Information Technology, Security Clearances, the Scientific Method, Philosophy, Chess

Collaboration
Academic group projects
Theater
School Newspaper
Sports
Public Service – Many schools now are looking for “kindness”

Leadership
Student groups
Sports Teams
Scouting
Church

Creativity
Art – Museums, especially the free museums in the DC region
Theater and Dance
Creative Writing
Architecture – The National Building Museum, The Smithsonian


Financial Literacy

All children must be able to divide their money into savings, philanthropy, discretionary spending. They must be able to calculate tips (percentages). They must know how to save in 401(k) plans, IRAs (traditional and Roth). They must be able to balance a checkbook, negotiate a salary, and understand a mortgage. They must understand debt and it’s uses and pitfalls. They must understand the value of various college offers and weather to incur student debt.

Helpful Websites

Getting Into College
Raisingblackscholars.com Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
MIT’s “What To Do In High School” http://mitadmissions.org/apply/prepare/highschool

Summer Enrichment
Raisingblackscholars.com Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
College Prep Program at APL http://www.collegeprepprogram.org/
Black Girls Code
Girls Code

A Look at Black Student Success
Identifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions

A Look at Black Student SuccessIdentifying Top- and Bottom-Performing Institutions

All About the Historically Black Engineering Schools
http://resources.ccgmag.com/hubfs/Publisher/BEYA/AMIE%20Brochure.pdf?__hssc=76922954.1.1491490635736&__hstc=76922954.993204ec3025039e5d96c2d3fabbad9d.1491490635735.1491490635735.1491490635735.1&__hsfp=3046343549&hsCtaTracking=45881ff3-b813-4a9c-9b9d-ff9beada1ccc%7C14c4652a-a248-49f0-9460-78b64ad55f12

Free Test Prep
https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
http://www.lsac.org/aboutlsac/pressreleases/khan-academy-lsat-prep

15 Quick Tips for a Better ACT Score
https://www.admitsee.com/blog/15-quick-tips-for-a-better-act-score?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#9335042-tw#1490194099317

This free tool, College Abacus, allows students and researchers to easily compare hundreds of schools’ net price calculator results.
https://collegeabacus.org/

Is Your Pre K – 12th Grade Child On Track?
http://www.parenttoolkit.com/

Don’t let Application Fees Keep You From Applying To College

Don’t let Application Fees Keep You From Applying To College.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Don%E2%80%99t+let+Application+Fees+Keep+You+From+Applying+To+College.&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS504US504&oq=Don%E2%80%99t+let+Application+Fees+Keep+You+From+Applying+To+College.&aqs=chrome..69i57.385j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Helpful Articles

STEM Education in 2017: Are Today’s Kids Prepared to Be the Future of Silicon Valley?

http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2017/03/kids-future-silicon-valley

Students join coding craze

Students join coding craze



10 Things All Kids Should Be Taught in School

10 Things All Kids Should Be Taught in School

Ignored Potential: A Collaborative Roadmap For Increasing African American Women In Engineering

http://www.nsbe.org/getattachment/News-Media/NSBE-News/ignored-potential/NSBE-Ignored-Potential-Whitepaper-2-27-17.PDF.aspx

Do not let your children opt out of or be left out of AP and Honors classes.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/investigations/bs-md-school-segregation-series-howard-20170325-story.html

A parent’s guide to AP classes
http://www.latimes.com/local/education/community/la-me-edu-a-parent-s-guide-to-ap-classes-20150922-story.html

Honoring Giftedness in the Black Community

Honoring Giftedness in the Black Community

Why Talented Black and Hispanic Students Can Go Undiscovered

Gifted programs across Washington leave out black and Latino students — but Federal Way is one model for change
http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/gifted-programs-across-washington-leave-out-black-and-latino-students-except-in-federal-way/

Freeman Hrabowski’s Four Pillars of College Success in Science

http://sheblindeduswithscience.tumblr.com/post/47894077495/freeman-hrabowskis-four-pillars-of-college

Opportunities Abound for Those Studying Engineering
Computer engineers, whose work underpins every aspect of modern life, are in great demand.
https://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2017-03-17/opportunities-abound-for-those-studying-computer-engineering

This Private College (and Many Others) Are Allowing Low Income Students to Attend For Free
http://blog.lowincome.org/2017/04/washington-college-full-ride-tuition-to-low-income-students.html#.WOZcERLyugR

More Public Colleges Start Tuition-Free Programs

Some low-income students who qualify for Pell Grants may be able to go to college tuition free.
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2017-03-08/more-public-colleges-start-tuition-free-programs?src=usn_tw

8 Colleges that Cover Full Tuition for all Enrolled Students

8 Colleges that Cover Full Tuition for all Enrolled Students



For Low-Income Students, Public Colleges Are The Ivy League For Economic Mobility

http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2017/03/23/public-college-low-income-advancement-rich-barlow

How to Con Black Law Students: A Case Study


University of Virginia Study Shows Black Students Thrive With Demanding Teachers

https://www.jbhe.com/2017/03/university-of-virginia-study-shows-black-students-thrive-with-demanding-teachers/

College Student Creates A Mobile Directory Of 600 Books That Prioritize Diversity

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kaya-thomas-we-read-too-app_us_58dd1361e4b08194e3b7b05b

Why I Chose a Historically Black College



The Entire Senior Class At This Predominantly Black School Applied To College

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-entire-senior-class-at-this-predominantly-black-school-applied-to-college_us_58de67fbe4b05eae031f28cf?bat9qggtjaj1m26gvi

This student got into 11 medical schools—here are her top 4 tips for staying focused

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/29/top-4-tips-from-a-student-who-got-into-11-med-schools.html

Your kid’s middle school grades aren’t great? Here are some tips from a teacher and mom.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/03/30/your-kids-middle-school-grades-arent-great-here-are-some-tips-from-a-teacher-and-mom/?utm_term=.da1c4acb6e17

Divide between black football players and black students a concern to both

http://www.espn.com/blog/ncfnation/post/_/id/115496/the-divide-between-black-athletes-and-black-students-a-concern-to-both

The 21 Most Valuable Career Skills Now

http://time.com/money/4328180/most-valuable-career-skills/

At College, a Guided Path on Which to Find Oneself



George Mason, NOVA partnership could revolutionize the transfer experience

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/george-mason-nova-partnership-could-revolutionize-the-transfer-experience/2017/04/03/f48345d2-148b-11e7-9e4f-09aa75d3ec57_story.html?hpid=hp_local-news_gmupact-820pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.284fbbd42bb4

Recruitment Fairs – Making a First Impression!

https://www.premedstar.com/recruitment-fairs-making-a-first-impression/

As Advanced Placement Tests Gain Popularity, Some Colleges Push Back

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careersandeducation/as-advanced-placement-tests-gain-popularity-some-colleges-push-back/ar-AAmXr6o

MONEY’s Best Colleges MONEY determined which of the country’s roughly 1,500 four-year college and universities deliver the most value – that is, a great education, at an affordable price, that helps students launch promising careers.

http://new.money.com/money/best-colleges/rankings/?xid=homepage