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College Corner: Enjoy Christmas break

College1
[/media-credit] Academic counselor Michelle Warkentin gives parents and students tips on upcoming placement tests and things to get done before graduation.

College admissions personnel share tips on what students should do over the holiday

It is the end of the first semester of your senior year and all you can think about is finishing that last final so you can enjoy the long awaited Christmas break. Your college applications are in (at least for your top choice schools) and now all you can do is wait . . . right? Well, yes and no.

As your academic advisor you are probably expecting me to give you a long to-do list, and if that is the case you will stop reading this article right now. Fortunately for you, I hope you will enjoy Christmas break as much as I will be enjoying mine.

However, there are a few things you can do to both mentally and physically to prepare for that important decision you must make by May. By now, I’m sure you are tired of my lecturing, so I asked a few professionals for advice on how to do this.

What is the best advice you could give students to do while waiting to hear back from the college(s)?

Dalia Wardany, Admissions Advisor at UC Davis

After you submit your application, try to put it out of your mind and focus on the rest of your senior year. Stay on top of your coursework and try to finish strong (keep your grades up). Once you’re admitted, we’ll request to see your transcripts and will check that you completed your year with the same rigor and level of performance, for which we admitted you.

Luis Avila, Fresno State Graduate Student and School Counseling Intern

Do community service in the field they are interested so they get a feel of what they are getting into and see if they still want to proceed in the field of interest. I would also encourage them to constantly look at their email to make sure they are updated with the information that colleges might be sending to them. Making sure they meet the deadlines for tests is also important.

Jodi Smith, Associate Dean of Admission at Westmont College

Pray. This is a time to be quiet and allow for reflection of the choice you will make very soon. Spending time answering these questions may help you with the upcoming decision: What would you most like to change about yourself? Why? Can the college you select help you with that? What kind of person do you want the college you select to help you become? What kind of relationships do students have with the faculty?

Encourage your parents to complete the FAFSA as it may open doors of other monies you may qualify for other than academic scholarship. At Westmont we offer money outside of the scholarships based on GPA and test scores. Without submitting the FAFSA, you may lose the opportunity of additional grants, even interest-free loans. — Michelle Warkentin, academic counselor

If your faith is important to you and you are interested in learning how to be a more serious follower of Jesus Christ while growing intellectually, then you would want to consider a Christian college. In a Christian college you will learn to witness God?s hand in all subjects.

Encourage your parents to complete the FAFSA as it may open doors of other monies you may qualify for other than academic scholarship. At Westmont we offer money outside of the scholarships based on GPA and test scores. Without submitting the FAFSA, you may lose the opportunity of additional grants, even interest-free loans.

Do you encourage students to correspond with the admissions counselor from the college or is this discouraged?

Dalia Wardany, Admissions Advisor at UC Davis

You’ll receive admission decisions from the UCs in March. There is no need to or advantage in contacting admissions officers at this point unless you have specific questions or concerns.

Jodi Smith, Associate Dean of Admission at Westmont College (Christian perspective)

Westmont strongly encourages correspondence of our applicants with their admission counselor. Our focus as a ‘counselor’ is that we want to know our applicants beyond the paper supplied for their application; they need to know we view them more than the GPA or test scores submitted for application review.

We attempt to call and every applicant and admitted student to invite them into conversation with us. We want to hear the stories of who you are: what your dreams, fears and hopes are for the future.

This allows us to know how Westmont can be changed by having you as part of our campus. It is an exciting time for our team as we are buried in piles of applications reading the stories applicants share of their life-so-far.

It is important to note that the type and size of the college determine what sort of interaction you will have with the school from now until May.

What should a student be focused on as they enter their final semester of high school?

Dalia Wardany, Admissions Advisor at UC Davis

Remember that wherever you ultimately attend college, you will have to work hard and show initiative to get the most out of college.

Jodi Smith, Associate Dean of Admission at Westmont College

Do not let your grades slip that final semester; we want to see you remain successful before this transition into the amazing college experience. But I would couple the continued attention to academics with celebrating this season of your life with great fun as well. This final semester is a time for building great memories.

Luis Avila, Fresno State Graduate Student and School Counseling Intern

I would have them focused on finishing strong and positive so it motivates going into college with a positive outlook. Also, enjoy your last year as a senior and take in the moment because there is no going back. Most importantly, look into the schools you are interested in and the deadlines for test, financial aid, registering dates, etc. Enjoy the moment.

Although these professionals had some differing advice depending on the college at which they work, there were a few constant reminders:

1) Enjoy this time, you have worked hard to get where you are now.
2) This next semester is going to be full of fun experiences, but it is crucial that you maintain good grades.
3) Also, use this time to reflect on the abilities the Lord has blessed you with. Be prayerful about where the Lord is calling you to go in this next journey of life.

But for now, I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Christmas break spent with family and friends!

Follow The Feather via Twitter: @thefeather.

For previous College Corner’s, check out the Nov. 15 article, College Corner: Stay organized

For more opinions, check out the Dec. 6 article, Campus apathy in need of change, encouragement.

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