SENIOR COLLEGE APPLICATION KICKOFF 2013

Senior College Application Kickoff 2013

By Tim Munnerlyn
HS Counselor – American Community School – Abu Dhabi


It’s early September and another busy season of assisting, motivating and bribing seniors to complete their college applications on time, is upon us.  Oh, where did our summer vacation go?  Amidst, the buzz of the hallways as students make their way to classes and teachers revving up their courses; high school counselors must find ways to focus their seniors for the important tasks that awaits them during the fall.

Over the years, we’ve offered a Senior College Night presentation to students and parents providing information and answering questions regarding the college application process. This has typically occurred during the second or third week of school. 

 
This year, even though we knew the start of school would be busy, we decided to take a chance and try something new. Last week, we held our first ever Senior College Kickoff Event. The benefits? Not only did we get this conversation started earlier, we avoided conflicts with other school activities, which can distract a senior’s attention.
 

Essentially, our College Kickoff Event was introduced, last spring, to students and families as to give them ample time to prepare over the summer. The plan was to include time in the afternoon for students to work in groups to review the major components of the application process followed by dinner and individual work time.  The evening would be capped off with a counselor led parent/student presentation and a final question and answer session. 
 

The evening was successful because of what we were able to accomplish in one night, during this, the first week of school. By the end of the evening, seniors were able to complete the following:

  • Develop an action plan to share with their counselor during their Senior Meeting

  • Finalize their standardized testing plan

  • Turn in senior “Brag Sheet”

  • Review changes to the Common App and other college application timelines and updates

  • Organize teacher recommendations


Overall, our counseling staff was extremely pleased with the results of our first ever College Kickoff event.  Throughout the evening, students were engaged, enthusiastic and eager to get started.  The quality of questions and comments from both students and parents confirmed they had utilized the summer time to research and prepare. Similarly, at my senior college meetings this week, I noticed students better prepared and ready to move forward with the process than ever before. As our ultimate goal is to have a large majority of student applications completed and supporting documents sent out prior to the Winter Break, this Kickoff event has given us a great head start as compared to previous years.

In the future, we will continue to offer an early College Kickoff Event despite the busyness at the start of school with a few minor tweaks.  This year, we only allowed students enough time to review their specific lists and update them on Naviance. One area of improvement could be to provide more time on active research on specific application requirements for those listed colleges and universities.

At ACS, we love to share ideas, presentations and overall general thoughts about HS counseling and the application process.  Please comment below (and follow us on twitter @acscounselors) to share how you are supporting students during the college application process. Have a great start to another exciting year of HS College Counseling.

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