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Back to school: Making senior year count for college

Posted Monday, August 22, 2005

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With college less than one year away, this year’s seniors have a lot on their plates. In addition to strengthening their academic skills and preparing for life post high school, they have to make a lot of important decisions -- the first of which is deciding where to apply for college. With thousands of postsecondary institutions from which to choose, students often need help narrowing down their choices.

Sallie Mae, the nation’s number one paying-for-college company, offers numerous resources on preparing and paying for college through its College Answer Web site at High school students and parents will find information on high school curriculum requirements for the majority of colleges; what goes into selecting a college; tips on getting and completing college applications; profiles of colleges; financing a college education; and more.

“Senior year is action packed,” says Martha Holler, Sallie Mae spokesperson. “If students haven’t done so already, now is the time to narrow down college options and get serious about their postsecondary education.”

A list of “To Do” items can help students stay on track. Some suggestions for organizing a list include:

* Determine what is required at each school, including the application fee amount and acceptable payment method.

* Create a list of tasks associated with each school's requirements (e.g., getting the correct number of recommendations and writing the required essays).

* Assign a begin date and determine a target end date for each task.

* Check off each task as you finish it.

* Keep copies of everything you submit.

* Keep all your information organized in a filing folder, box or cabinet.

When it comes time to select a college, experts say the key is to choose wisely. Instead of relying on college brochures, college-bound students and their parents should research their choices using the Internet, high school guidance counselors and current students or alumni who have attended the school.

“The rule of thumb when applying for college is to make three choices: a dream school; a school you have a good chance of being accepted to; and a safety-type school where you likely would be admitted,” says Holler.

The bottom line: No matter how tempting it may be to take a mental vacation during one’s senior year in high school, it’s far more beneficial to use the time wisely and focus on what needs to be done to prepare and pay for college.

For more information on the going-to-college process, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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Back to school: Making senior year count for college
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