College On The Brain


Ayni Mohamoud, Editor

Its College season for seniors and the pressure is on to meet deadlines in order to be ready for acceptance letters and financial aid packages.

For seniors, many different factors that come into play when making a plan with counselors and family members.

According to Cathy Singer, College Access Counselor, “students have to keep track of those different things while maintaining their grades in classes.”

One change for seniors this year is on the prompts on the personal insight questions (required with the UC application). They used to be just two questions “that were vague and students would just write all over the place. The new prompt is eight questions and students get to pick four they [wish] to answer,” explained Singer.

Here are the top ten things seniors should keep in their calendars for the college application process.

1.FAFSA (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

FAFSA is the way to help pay for college if your family cannot pay for tuition, books,etc. FAFSA allows low income students to get money from the federal government to pay for things like tuition. The FAFSA deadline is March, but applying earlier is recommended.

  1. UC Personal Insight Questions

The University of California schools include these insight questions that are a get- to- know- you writing assignment. Currently, there are eight questions and students get to pick four to answer. Remember not to use the maximum words-350. The insight questions will be included within the UC application.

  1. University of California Application

The UC application opened up on Oct. 1, 2016 and closed on Nov. 30. Although students were encouraged to submit their applications on Nov 1. Students needed to make sure to go over there insight questions before submitting them to the application.

  1. California State University

The CSU application also opened up on Oct. 1, 2016 and closed on Nov. 30. The CSU app did not require any essay or insight questions, making it a bit easier to complete than the UC app. Make sure to have out transcripts to input the right grades.

  1. SAT

College applications may be done and submitted, but there are still chances to retake the SAT for a better/higher score. Though, for many schools the last SAT to be taken was in November, anyone hoping to improve should take the December or January Test.

  1. ACT

Similarly, the ACT can be retaken and should be taken as quickly as possible. Although applications are submitted, there are still ways to send those scores to the colleges students have  applied to.

  1. ACT and SAT Prep Classes

Helix is trying to help students carve out that time to study, Singer said “Students tell me they want to study, but don’t have the time to. That’s why we created a five- day SAT and ACT prep class leading up to the week of the tests.”

  1. Recommendation Letters

For some colleges, a recommendation letter is required in the application. For some schools the deadline is further away, others not. For any teacher recommendation letters, Naviance is the way to get the message to them. After asking a teacher at least two weeks in advance, send them an email through Naviance.

  1. Educational Opportunity Program

provides assistance through mentorship, academic programs, financial assistance, counseling/advising, and other campus support services to those who are first-generation college students, and/or from low-income and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

The EOP application is required in only the CSU application, for the UC app only a simple worded response is needed. The EOP for different CSU schools have different deadlines. Two recommendation letters are required to complete the app.

  1. Keeping Up with Grades

Yes, senior year grades do not count for the UC and CSU applications, but staying on top of grades is required in order to keep a spot in any schools that you have already been accepted to. It’s very easy for a student to lose their spot in the school if they do not pass every class.

Seniors, keep up- to- date with colleges and anything going on with applications, keep pushing through this last year and see you on the other side.