As college application season is upon us, high school students must prepare for the next step in their academic lives. However, high school students must balance and manage college applications with grades, extracurriculars, and sports.
Besides researching colleges online or receiving advice from upperclassmen, there is no way for students to receive factual information about colleges and college applications. Although there are many books, websites, and people who say things about colleges, you can never be sure that they’re true. There is no cookie cutter for how to get into your dream school. However, several high schools provide programs dedicated solely to help college-bound students with their applications.
Some schools, such as Van Nuys High School, specifically have a counselor and office that high school students can take advantage of. The college office specifically covers almost every crook-and-nanny of college. The college counselor provides waivers for standardized tests, such as the SAT reasoning tests, SAT subject tests, and ACT tests. College offices also contact hundreds of colleges in the United States to ask them to talk to high school students who show interest in their school. The college visits are very interactive and informative, as a representative from each school comes to answer the students’ questions about grades, test scores, campus life, and financial aid.
Other college readiness programs also include Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), which is an educational program created by the United States Department of Education. It is designed to encourage students to start early in their preparation for college. According to the LAUSD website, GEAR UP is used to “raise the aspirations of low-income, traditionally underrepresented students and their families to ensure persistence in college and preparation for lifelong learning.”
As our society is becoming increasingly tech-savvy, college counselors also use smartphone applications, such as the “Remind” app, which allows teachers to directly contact and send messages to students. The application allows teachers and counselors to inform their students about future scholarships, college visits, test registration deadlines, and information about college application workshops.
Students have expressed their appreciation for these college preparation programs. Jeehyun Kim, a senior at Van Nuys High School, told JSR, “Coming from a low-income family of immigrants, college readiness programs, such as GEAR UP, and the college office help me in my preparation for college,” said Jeehyun Kim, a senior at Van Nuys High School. “Many times, I find that I’m not aware of the opportunities available to me, and these programs inform me so that I have more chances. Writing applications, knowing which colleges to apply for, preparing for standardized tests are difficult, and I really take advantage of the aid that these programs offer me.”
As high school juniors and seniors stress about college, they should remember that their college office and counselors are always available and easily accessible to them.