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College Guidance for Juniors
Your Last Chance to Make A Huge Difference

April 21, 2016
Andy EricksonHello Andy!

Meredith’s final opportunity to make a significant difference on their college application is approaching over the summer. If Meredith has any gaps to fill in their extracurricular experience, this is it. You have 3 months to get these filled to create a complete and well-rounded story about your passions, interests, and the issues that are important to you.
The strength of your story and how you tell it is the backbone of getting into your top choice schools at the lowest cost. Everyone will get into college. It’s just a matter of which one and how much you’ll pay. Once you are in (a factor of academics and extracurriculars), creating a compelling story, finding colleges that care about this story, and aligning your story with the college’s mission get you the scholarship money to make that top choice school more affordable.

AP exam dates are approaching in May. If Meredith plans on taking any AP exams, make sure to schedule these with your AP coordinator now.
What We Sent To Meredith
If Meredith is signed up to get the CollegeTicket Guidance emails, this is what we sent to them today. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Building Your Strongest Resume – This Summer Is Your Last Opportunity
You have about 4 months before you begin work on your college application. Summer is near and it’ll be time to relax a bit and spend time with your friends. It’s also your last chance to make a significant difference on the story you tell about yourself in your college application.
Login to CollegeTicket and take a look at your activities resume. Review the experiences you’ve included and think about the two or three topics that are truly meaningful to you. If you’ve done volunteer work with, say, the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, foster kids, and homeless families, you might decide that mentoring and tutoring inner-city youth is a key part of who you are. If you served as a student council officer; spent a summer in Washington DC interning for a member of congress, non-profit, or lobbying organization; and played a part in a Model UN, part of your story will be your interest in politics and the political process.

How Will You Tell Your Story?
Once you’ve identified the 1, 2, or 3 stories that help define what truly matters to you, take a deeper look at those stories. Talk with your parents about the kind of story you want the college admissions office to understand about you. Role-play with them. Ask them to play the part of the college, then talk to them about why these stories matter to you and why they should matter to the college. Does your story line up well with the mission statement of the colleges you want to attend? If not, maybe you should look for other schools to add to your shortlist.

What Is Your Story Missing? 
As you talk through your story think about what’s missing. What experience could you add to your story that no other student will have? Where are there weaknesses or gaps in your story? And what can you do over the summer to fill in these gaps to truly stand out in your college application?
You’ve probably covered the obvious experiences, and so has every other kid who serves inner-city youth or is interested in politics. Start to do some research into how the organizations manage their services – the behind-the-scenes boring day-to-day activities necessary to run any business. These are the experiences that most kids avoid if they are thinking about them at all. And like it or not, this becomes your opportunity to truly stand out when the college admissions counselors talk about your application.

Completing Your Story 
What can you do this summer to add an experience that strengthens the core of your personal story that no other student will have on their college application? Identifying that experience, and finding a way to add this to your story, is the single most important thing you can do to prepare for the college application. If working with inner-city youth is part of your story, ask the organizations you volunteer with if you can participate in a quarterly board meeting. Ask the chairperson on the board if you could take them to lunch and ask questions about how to measure the effectiveness of the organization – what makes them successful, and how do they know? Work with the managers to develop volunteer schedules. Sit with the marketing department or fundraisers as they develop advertising and fundraising materials to send to donors. These are the sorts of activities that will make your story complete in an amazing way. Most other students will not pay such close attention to rounding out their story in a way that the colleges care about. You’ll stand head and shoulders above in the college admissions process.
Then make sure you get this experience on your CollegeTicket activities resume, and get your resume in shape for your college applications.
On Another Note - AP Exams
On another note, you’ll want to finish your year strong. If you’ve taken AP courses make sure you get in touch with your AP coordinator to get scheduled for the May exams. You don’t want to miss those.

As always, you can contact me at with questions that we can answer in a future newsletter. 

Have a great week!

Andy Erickson
President and Founder, collegeticket
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