August Webinar: College Applications
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August Webinar: College Applications

Good morning educators, thank you
so much for joining us this morning for the first Texas OnCourse monthly
Webinar of the 2019-2020 school year. We’re kicking off our series with the
topic of college applications and we have some very helpful
updates on the two systems that are widely used by
our students in Texas: from Apply Texas and
the Common Application. As you all know, things change each year
with new– each new application cycle. College applications is a highly
requested topic for fall semester and today we have over fifty people
registered for our Webinar. For all of our attendees, you will
receive a follow-up email with highlights from the Webinar and
also a link to access our recording. We also post all of our Webinar content
on our website, which is so feel free to share our Webinar
and any additional resources with your colleagues that will find the
information helpful when working with students and families on college
and career planning. Just to quickly orient you, if you have
registered, you’re already on Zoom and you should be able to see my
screen, here’s just a few tools to change your settings and make sure
you can actively participate during the Webinar. Keep in mind, all of our attendees are
muted to ensure that you can hear each guest speaker and the information
that they want to share, and then we’ll save time at the end
for any questions that come up during the Webinar and you can
add those into the chat box. We’ll make sure to cover all questions,
so just real quickly this is where you can do an audio check on your Zoom screen,
this is where you can raise your hand and lower your hand as a feature,
and then the Q&A, this box right here is where we’ll do questions at the end
and you’ll see it on a slide. And Rose Frezza from our OnCourse team is
going to talk about the questions out loud so you’ll be able to hear those. And you can input questions there
and then change your screen size on the top right corner. So most of the educators that join
our Webinars are familiar with OnCourse, but if you are new to our resources,
we can tell you a little bit about who we are and what we do. Texas OnCourse is a state-funded initiative
designed to improve college and career advising and readiness across the state. We provide free college and career
and military readiness resources for educators, students, and families
that can help your campus and district. As the state’s definitive source for
college and career advising, our ultimate goal is to equip middle and
high school students for postsecondary success. Everything we offer works toward this
ultimate vision which is that all students no matter where they come from
or where they’re headed, have a plan for what’s next. We have all different kinds of free
college and career resources and our academy is widely used across
the state for professional educator development. So today Texas OnCourse has over
12,000 educators that are registered and actively using our academy. Those educators are represented in over
3,000 schools and in over 900 districts. So in the last year we’ve seen some
exponential growth and have heard great feedback from counselors
and advisers in the field. So just to quickly go over
our agenda for the Webinar, we’ll have our guest speakers
and our team do quick introductions and then Samantha Gonzalez from our
content team is going to go over some of our Academy resources from
Postsecondary Pathways. And then David Muck is going to
review some changes to Apply Texas, Meredith Lombardi is joining us from
the Common App and they have refreshed their resources and website
so it looks a little bit different. And then we have Will Collins from
Kingwood High School and Humble ISD to talk a little bit about college
applications best practices and we have some things that we’ll share
and provide some time for question and answer. Just to quickly introduce myself,
my name is Lara Gueguen, I’m Senior Partnerships Coordinator
here at Texas OnCourse. My background is in K-12 counseling
and advising and I work real closely with our school districts and their
implementation of our middle school resources as well as our leader fellows
and counselors that are using the Academy. Samantha?
>>Good morning everybody, I’m Samantha Gonzalez, I’m a program
coordinator here at Texas OnCourse, my background is in college access
and success. And with Texas OnCourse I primarily work with the content
that you see in the Academy and any high school related content.>>Good morning, I’m David Muck,
I’m principal software developer analyst at the University of Texas at Austin. And I’ve been working on developing
and maintaining Apply Texas for UT for the last ten years or so.>>Hi everyone, this is Meredith Lombardi
at the Common App. I am the associate director for
outreach and education here, and I’ve been here a little over
three years and prior to that was a high school counselor with DC public
schools and also outside of Atlanta.>>Good morning,
my name is Will Collins, I’m a high school counselor at
Kingwood High School, this is my seventh year as a school counselor,
four at a high school level, two at the middle school level,
and I did three years at a not for profit in Chicago that worked with
secondary readiness.>>Perfect, thank you to
everyone for joining us. Today’s topic of college applications can
be found within the Postsecondary Pathways in our Academy. And learning modules within our
Postsecondary Pathways fall under the Admission and Application process where
users can earn a badge by completing eight continuing professional education
credits that are approved by TEA. So here’s an example of the different
badges that can be earned within our Postsecondary
Pathways content area. As I mentioned, today our focus is
on the admission and application process, we also have badges in other areas,
entrance and placement exams so including the SAT and ACT information. And we also have badges in Postsecondary
Pathways foundational knowledge and also Postsecondary Research. So the Academy was recently updated this
past summer and looks a little different if you have not signed in recently. And here’s an example of our
layout in the dashboard, so once the learner has signed in
and wants to check their progress and explore our modules, it’s going to
look like this, it’s a little bit different. And once you’ve earned badges within
the Academy, users can access certificates and their badge completion
in many different areas and can keep track and
also print their progress. Many districts right now are using
this tool to show and track professional development hours. Samantha?>>Good morning again. So one of our goals at Texas OnCourse
is to ensure that the Academy includes infographics that you as counselors
and advisers can download, print, and immediately use in your advising
sessions with students and families. So the resources that we would like
to highlight today are the definitions of admission options, Common App
versus Apply Texas and then Common App follow-up. So this first infographic
we would like to highlight is the definitions of admission
options in higher education, this infographic highlights the definitions
of admission options so students are quickly able to identify which college
admission process best suits them. Using this infographic can help prevent
confusion around binding and non-binding admission decisions,
for instance with this infographic, students are able to identify the
difference between regular decision and early decision and also identify their
responsibility for any restrictive plans. So this next infographic is the
Common App versus Apply Texas. This infographic isn’t to show students
that one application system is necessarily better than the other, but rather to
evaluate the characteristics of each application system to determine
which best fits their needs. A student may want to apply to an
institution outside of Texas and may find that the Common App
system suits their needs more based on this infographic. The last resource we would like to
highlight is our Common App follow-up checklist. So another way to support students
through the college application process is ensuring students are following up
and making sure that all the requirements are completed and submitted. Students often mistake that once they
hit submit online, they’re done. This checklist can help students
get through senioritis and meet those deadlines. Letting students know colleges will
communicate missing items or perhaps their acceptance via email
can encourage them to check their emails daily. In each module in the Texas OnCourse
Academy, we’ve generated a number of resources including the infographics
and handouts that you can print and hang up in your office or
hand out to students directly. You can find these resources
throughout each module, but we also have the resources from
the modules we’re discussing today available for you to download
on our Pinterest. Here is a snapshot of the Pinterest
boards for each college application system and the resources.
You can access these boards by visiting: And now I’ll turn it over to David
to share some Apply Texas updates.>>Good morning, we didn’t
have any real major changes, I think the biggest change this cycle
was one of the essay prompts changed, but I’ll go over some of the minor
changes we had this cycle. First a brief history, Apply Texas started
in Fall 1998 just for freshman applicants as a result of a Senate bill passed
by the Texas Legislature. We added other application types in
Fall 2000 and then added two-year and scholarship in 2007. In 2008 we started development
on the counselor suite and released it to a pilot group. And then in Fall 2012 we added FAFSA data. For our most recent completed cycle,
Summer 2018 to Spring 2019 we saw a 2.6% increase. We’ve had steady increases in around
that range over the last few completed cycles. Some of the changes
we made this year, we’re now offering the ability for
applicants to opt out of sharing directory information and that opt out
is found on the certification page right before they submit
their application. A lot of four-year institutions were not
making use of the test scores module and so we’ve made that
module optional now so… institutions can now opt out of offering
that module to applicants. And so, applicants that previously would have
seen that module may not see it now, just for some institutions. Those institutions that are offering
multiple deadlines for a semester, we’re now displaying those
deadlines in date order. We found that a lot of
applicants were having– (inaudible)>>We’re going to do a quick audio
check, David can– we lost you. I see that you’re on,
but I can’t hear your audio. I’m going to check with, Samantha,
can you hear me?>>Yes, I can.
>>Okay. We’re going to give David
a minute to pop back on, I think. (beeping)>>Sorry about that,
I lost connectivity for a second.>>That’s okay, you’re fine.
>>Sorry about that. Like I said, our biggest change was the
essay prompt for essay A used (inaudible) has changed and I’ll share the new–
(inaudible). And then we’ve added some links to FAFSA and test data to both
our submission page and email. And then we also, the last few cycles
we’ve had a lot of applicants have trouble selecting the correct high school code
or inputting an incorrect high school code and so we’ve strengthened some of
our audits when they go and select which high school they attended
and plan to graduate from, and we hope to see a decrease in those
selection errors and we hope that’s really going to help, especially with the
high school counselor suite, get some of those applicants tied to
the correct school more appropriately. I won’t read through this, but this is
the directory information opt out that we’ve now added to
the certification page. And then this is the new essay prompt A,
“Tell us your story. What unique “opportunities or challenges have you
experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped
who you are today?” And then these are some of the links that
we’ve added to the submission page in the email. FAFSA, SAT, and ACT. And that’s all I’ve got– I should also
add that that new essay prompt is only for the 2019-2021 cycle, so
summer– if they’re applying to Summer 2020– sorry 2020-2021,
if they’re applying to Summer 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, that’s when
that new essay prompt will apply. And we open July 1st, a lot of our
institutions open then and quite a few just opened August 1st. And then I’ve also included
two of our email boxes, the first is our general help box
that we offer for applicants, the second, Applytexashsc, that’s geared
more towards high school counselors, those that are interested in using the
counselor suite or that are currently users of the counselor suite. Thank you.>>Thank you, David.>>Alright, so I’m going to walk you
through a little bit of what you can expect to see with the new
Common App, as Lara mentioned, you are going to see some new
colors and a new visual identity, so– and it actually looks a little bit like
Texas OnCourse colors (laughs). But if you want to go ahead
to the next slide, again, always starting with our mission
statements, so Common App is a not-for-profit memberships organization
committed to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Common App has actually been
around for over 40 years, it started in 1941 with 15 institutions,
member institutions and now has grown to just under 900 colleges in our 40 year
membership or lifespan. So we’re just at 897 member institutions
for this 19-20 application cycle, just over 200 of those are public
institutions, we are in all 50 states plus DC and Puerto Rico. The Common App is also abroad,
so for students who are looking for a school where they want to pursue
a Bachelor’s degree outside of the U.S., they can find 63 international
member institutions in 19 countries outside of the U.S. One thing that I’d also like to note
here for those that may not be aware is that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
joined as a member affiliate this past year, so that they have their
scholarship application on the Common App, so students who are doing their
college applications are also able to add the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
if they want to apply for that scholarship as well. And then the Common App
is free to use for students, they can access it at any time with our
account rollover feature so that they can create an account at any time and
their information can rollover from year to year, they do not
have to wait until senior year. Free to use, over 400 members, as you
can see here, have no application fee and then for those that do charge an
application fee, there is a streamlined application fee waiver request process
for any student that has a demonstrated financial need. So, again, if you think about we started
at 15 schools, now at 897, obviously every year there are new
member schools that are joining the membership and so this year,
as in years past, we have a little over 70– I think it’s
approaching 80 now of new member schools for the 19-20 cycle. Those schools are coming
from 30 different states, you know we’re very excited that the
University of North Dakota has joined because that was the one state the
Common App did not have a member institution in and now we can officially
say that we are in all 50 states. You’ll also notice on the right, that’s a
list of some of the public schools that have joined, though not all,
but you will see that UT Dallas and UT Arlington are joining
the Common App this cycle. And here you can see then, you know
where there’s overlap between Apply Texas and Common App for the schools
that are specifically in Texas that are also on the Common App,
here are those 16 schools. And you could also go to
and either go there and then search for schools or if you go to, if you type in “TX” to search by state,
you would get this list of schools and you can actually print out the
list if you wanted to have a printed copy. So just in terms of what we saw last
year with volume in the Common App, on the first-year side, because we have
the first-year application as well as the transfer application, we had
over 2 million accounts created, so 2 million students in the system,
1 million students who submitted at least one application
using the Common App, and those 1 million students
submitted 5.3 million applications. Now on the transfer side, transfer
is about 10% of our volume and so obviously a lot smaller,
372,000 students in there creating transfer accounts,
103,000 unique transfer applicants, and those students submitted
just over 200,000 applications. On the recommender’s side, you know
there are a lot of adults, as you know, who are supporting students through
the application process. So on the first year side, we had
652,000 counselors, teachers, and other recommenders who were submitting
forms and letters of recommendation on behalf of students. Those recommenders submitted 27 million
forms, when you think about the initial school report, the transcript,
the mid-year reports, the letters of recommendation, all of that
together was 27 million forms. And then again on transfer, much smaller
volume, 98,000 recommenders submitting 256,000 forms. Another piece that I think not a lot of
people know is that Common Application joined forces with Reach Higher
in January of 2019. For those who are not familiar,
Reach Higher was an initiative that Michelle Obama started while the
Obamas were in the White House and it was really to help under-
represented students feel empowered about the possibilities of postsecondary
education, whether that’s a two-year institution, a four-year institution,
a credential, military service, but giving them a place to celebrate
and find resources related to going to college. And so these are the different
campaigns that fall under Reach Higher, so Better Make Room, Up Next, the School
Counselor of the Year Celebration, around May 1st, a College Signing Day
celebration, and a Beating the Odds summer summit. These all fall under
Reach Higher and the Reach Higher team now sits here at our Common App
office, it’s been really exciting because they joined in January, which was
right before the school counselor of the year celebration, you know, and then the
big event at UCLA for college signing day and then just a few weeks ago Mrs. Obama
hosted a Beating the Odds summit with students at Howard University. And so we are very excited to have their
team here, we started doing work together in terms of some texting campaigns
to reach out to students and we’ll continue to work together,
know that each of these– particularly like College Signing Day
and Beating the Odds, there are toolkits out there for counselors and institutions
to access if you are interested in doing any type of event locally, whether it’s
at your school or within your community, there are tool kits that you can access
that the Reach Higher team has put together to help you with that. So this is the new landing
page with the new visual identity, we really wanted it to be more inclusive
of the students that we’re serving, so you know we put a lot of time into
supporting first-year applicants, so students coming out from high school
going direct to college, but we serve, again with the transfer
application and with non-traditional students, returning adult learners,
veterans, we really have done a lot of expansion on the website to put more
resources out there and be more inclusive for all students, regardless of where they
are on their educational journey. So one of the things I think is really
neat is the new explore colleges part of the website, there are a lot
more filters out there if you’re looking for schools. So of course
you can go here to look at what schools accept the Common App,
but you can also, now there’s a filter for who offers merit-based aid,
who doesn’t charge an application fee, who will accept self-reported test scores. There’s also a map view that didn’t
exist before so you can actually see, okay, where in the state is this
institution actually located? What city is it near? And then also you can even
print the list of schools– so if you are sitting with a student and
doing a search and it comes up with a result of 12 schools,
you can then hit “Print search results” you immediately have the list of
schools to hand to that student. So really neat, you know I definitely
recommend just going out there and playing around with it because
I think it’s a really great enhancement. Another enhancement on the website is that our member institutions have really
built out their profile information. So it used to just be, kind of,
very generic with you know one image and a little, you know, sentence or two,
now our member colleges have embraced this, they’re putting
different tags on there. And then, so with the tag, you know,
you or a student can actually, again, in this example, let’s say it offers need
based aid, if you clicked on that tag it would then show you other institutions
that have also put that tag on there. They can highlight their academic
programs, institutions have linked in you visit virtual tours,
they have image galleries. So it really gives the applicant more
information about the type of institution and if they see this as a
potential fit for them. Then there’s the plan part of the website
and this is where you can really get some good content and resources and
checklists, this is where you can find new application guides. So there is actually a full first-year
application guide, so a student can go and look at the guide and get more
information about how do I– what do I need to know about filling out
the activities section of the application? They can get that. There’s also a lot more, again, resources
and a transfer application guide. something that we never had in the
past, just being very intentional about having more information for community
college students, again, active military, veterans, returning adult learners,
giving them a place and letting them know that they are also welcome and
wanted by our member institutions. So I’m not going to get into, like,
all the nitty gritty of the application, but I will– what’s changed for 19-20,
but I will say that the big drivers were these four things you see here,
so modernization, accessibility, mobile responsiveness, and then
incorporating the new branding into it. On the righthand side, the improved
workflows, this is where– these are some of the changes, so if you have
been familiar with using the system in the past, we’ve tried to simplify
how a student does the college search within the application, we have made it
simpler for the address look-up and high school look-up, similar to what
David was saying, so that to minimize errors so that students know that they
have selected their correct home address or that they’ve selected their correct
high school that they have attended. We’ve also made some language updates
to the activities section to really call out family responsibilities and
community engagement and that was in response to working
with the Making Care in Common project and the Turning the Tide reports and
letting students know that, again, schools are looking for information
about a student beyond just traditional clubs and
sports and activities. If you hadn’t heard, criminal history
has been removed from the Common portion of the application, so students are no
longer asked that on the common part of the application, it is up to individual
member institutions, if they have a policy or want to ask that ask question, then the
individual school will ask that question of a student. This also means then that
criminal history is no longer on any school report that a
counselor has to fill out. Now that is criminal history, school
discipline is still on the common part of the application as well as
on the counselor forms. And then just some minor changes
with recommenders and FERPA to make it clearer for students,
just some minor language tweaks as well as separating out managing
recommenders versus inviting them. If you can click one more, so this is
what the application now looks like, so again, it has the new visual identity
with the new color palette, this is part of where the modernization
comes in so the functioning of it is still the same, the sections are still
the same, but there’s just some you know a lot of clean up that has
happened with the new application. And then on the right is what you would
see if you were using a mobile device, so we know that students are moving
between devices, so they might be on a tablet for part of it, they might be
on a laptop, they might be on a desktop, they could be on their mobile and so
we have taken that into consideration as we have redesigned the application
so that the experience for the user is easier with the flow and not so much
of pinching and zooming but that it really just adjusts to whatever size
device they’re working on. Essay prompts, you know people always
want to know what’s changed, so for Common App, nothing changed,
students still have access to the same seven essay prompts, including topic
of your choice if that is one that they choose. This is the breakdown you can
see here for this past year’s cycle, also just wanted to comment that
Common App does have integration with Google Drive, so for parts that are
where there’s an upload capability or the ability to grab text for a long answer,
students do see a little Google Drive icon where they can go out
and grab content. So on the submission screen for a student
when they get through with all of their Common App part, they’re at the specific
college they’re going to submit their application to, we’ve now broken out
to make it clearer if something is missing from their application. Instead of just
saying, you know, “You have something incomplete with your Common App,”
now we can actually say, “Actually you have not completed the
family section,” or “You’ve not completed the education section” So, and then a link
so the student can get directly there to answer whatever required
question they missed. You can click one more. We’ve also moved the essay to the
review and submit screen, so again some of our members require it,
some don’t, but for even the schools that do not require it, students still have
the option of uploading it. So that has been moved and then
paid not submitted, so again with the steps, you can see
here the one, two, three at the top, students do make the payment first
before they submit and you can imagine some students pay but then never
actually hit the submit button but we have put an alert
there letting students know, so that they don’t get caught in that. And this is what students see,
they get a nice screen of flowing confetti when they actually hit submit, so they
know for sure that they have submitted. This is part of the, you know, rebrand
which we didn’t get too much into, but one of the words that we are
really trying to emphasize is making the application process more
joyful and so we wanted to, you know, celebrate with students
when they actually submit an application. And students even have access to a
celebrate button, so even though they see the confetti one time, they can
keep clicking on celebrate and they can keep throwing confetti. For you in terms of tools, just a reminder
that students, they invite their one counselor to do their transcript
upload and letter of recommendation and the school report forms,
but students can also invite advisers. So, community-based organization advisers
or parents or the college advisers that are on campus with students,
they can be invited as advisers to help with tracking a student’s
application progress. This is what the dashboard looks like
for whether it’s a counselor or adviser when they’re looking at the application
status versus form status, so this just lets them know how far
a student has gotten with each section of the application. And then students have that ability
to turn on or off application preview, so they can share the full Common App
with counselors and advisers as well as when a counselor or adviser
clicks on the little red college list icon they get the full details for all of the
colleges that a student is applying to. Another piece just so that you’re
aware, so you may be familiar, some of you may be at schools using
Naviance, historically Common App has had an integration with Naviance as
well as with Parchment, but this past year we announced that we would
be expanding out integration services beyond those two partners and so,
starting this year, so August 2019, we now are also integrated with these
additional four partners, so BridgeU, Cialfo, FolderWave, and Maia Learning
and so we’re going to be now supporting students, you know,
for counselors who are using different college software platforms, we have this
ability to also allow them to submit their school forms, letters of recommendation,
from one of these other partners. And then I just wanted to you know kind of
before I transition it over to Will on tips and best practices, in terms of
Common App, if you don’t have a practice applicant account, that’s just a great
way to really know the system. When you go to and
click “Apply,” it’ll ask you, you know, if you’re a student or an education
professional and when you click education professional, it just
creates a practice account for you so you can see and do everything
that a student does. It just really helps with you
understanding how to navigate it so you can inform your students. If you’re a school counselor or you are
not the school counselor but you’re supporting the student, you know,
consider using that adviser role and the ability to use application preview
so that you can see a student’s responses on the application. Our YouTube channel has a lot of
video tutorials out there that are just really quick snapshots
of, you know, here’s again, what you need to know about doing
recommenders in FERPA, or the FERPA release or filling out
a certain section of the application. Our new website has so much content
you know just playing around there, it also has links to our blog there
where we have the updates, the monthly newsletter is a great way
to stay connected so you can sign up for that by just going to
and then the counselors and recommenders section. Common App Ready, which we haven’t
really spent time on today, but that’s just a way for you to get
actual downloadable resources. So, information about what students,
you know, if you wanted a handout for a parent night or you’re going into
classrooms that’s all in Common App Ready. And then, again, we’re on social media
and we’re available 24/7, 365 with support.>>Great–
>>Thanks and I’m going to pass it over.>>So good morning again, I want to
talk to you guys about Campus Best level practices and what we do at
Kingwood High School. You’ve heard some great information
from Common App and Apply Texas and really as high school counselors
our job is to get the message out to students and families about how
you navigate the college process or forming a plan after high school.
And high school counselors, we get the best of both worlds,
we start with the students and develop a high school plan and we
help the students apply to college at the end and really see the finished
product and this is a really exciting time for our students as they’re applying
to college and their goals for postsecondary education are
coming, you know to fruition. And helping them guide them through that. So to get the message out, I mean
we have almost 3,000 students so how, as a school counselor, do you
effectively get the message out? Well it’s not just the counselors, it’s
you know students, it’s the parents, it’s you know community, not-for-profits,
boys and girls club, all together helping students through this process. We use guidance lessons, college nights,
college application workshops, and we have a college room so those
are our main ways of getting the message out to students. So we have four opportunities as
counselors at my school to go into classrooms and do what
we call guidance lessons. So, I’m talking to students about
certain topics so in 12th grade the first guidance lesson we do is
college application, it’s a refresher you should have been applying to
college already or– and we speak to them in 11th grade at the end of the year
about introducing college applications, the information and what you need to
be doing over the summer in order to get ready to apply and then we come
back at the start of 12th grade, do a refresher, talk about if they
need letter of recommendation, how they go about doing that, you
know from a teacher or a counselor, sending, you know their official transcript
at our school, the registrar sends the official transcripts. Although Common App,
the counselor gets an email and we do that with Common App. And then in 10th and 11th grade in
April usually we have college night for students and parents paired with
a college fair, so just getting out the information, bringing colleges to the
school, and we have a college application workshop for students every spring–
the great thing about college application workshops is that students work on
college applications and they can get their questions answered in real time
from an expert from the college. So this is a great way to ensure that
students don’t, you know stumble and not finish their college application
because they had questions and they have to circle back with someone
when someone is there and I can see the effectiveness of the college application
workshop with the number of questions that the representatives
answer students in real time. So that’s been really effective. Another thing that’s really effective
and we get our parents involved, we have a parent that is in charge of
our college room and we have– at lunch every day during the school year,
our students can go to our college room and they can do college exploration,
testing questions, I mean any questions that they have pertaining to college,
they can go to our college room. So at our school we do not have a
counselor that is specifically works with college and career,
we do everything. So we use a number of staff members
and parent volunteers to help, you know, spread the message
of applying to colleges. So, we have an assistant principle that
one of her assigned duties is to be over the college parent nights
that we have, the college fairs, all of the testing, and the AP
testing for college credit, and she’s over the college room as well. We have one teacher that’s designated
to be the contact person for if a college wants to come to our school to speak
with students, so we send all questions about wanting to speak with
students at our school to that teacher. And our parents are involved, parents
are great to involve because some of them have had a number
of kids go through college already so they’ve been through the process
and they can talk to other parents and students about what
they’ve learned in that process. So we have two parents and their
experience and they train other parents who volunteer to staff
our college room at lunch. And counselors are a big part
of success for college. We know that if a student talks
to their high school counselor, they’re more likely to apply
and attend college. So like I said before,
we do guidance lessons. We present at college night
a lot of information that you just heard from Apply Texas and
Common App, and actually last year,
I used this webinar to– I used some of the slides
in my college night so it was great so I thank
Texas OnCourse for having this out here and I don’t have
to travel to you know where Apply Texas is or Common App
is located– it’s right here in the webinar.
It’s very convenient. Letters of recommendation,
we’re happy to do that for students. We’re happy to send transcripts
for students that apply through Common App and send edu,
they just put in our email address, and that’s really convenient so
thank you to Common App for making it easy for counselors to
do our part in that process. We attend college updates,
colleges invite counselors and they tell us about updates
with schools and give us information, give us really good materials
to bring back to share with students and families. And Apply Texas and other schools we send students to our registrar
to send official transcripts. but I know other schools,
they do it through Naviance, so however your school sends
official transcripts, there’s just a process that needs
to be definitely clear to students that’s very important. So this is a college planning overview
that I like to share with the students and it kind of gives them where
they should be in the process. So the first part is exploring
colleges and building your college list. And this is really–I mean it really
starts with exploring college and career. What do I want to do as a career? Is college the best way to go about
doing this? If so, what types of colleges
am I interested in? The best way to do this,
is really online research. I mean it shows what majors
are offered at the college, what’s the admissions requirements,
is it a big school, small school? Taking a college visit,
there’s no better way of getting a feel for a college and exploring
college than actually going to the college and seeing the environment. In Texas, two school days are excused
for students to go to a college visit and it doesn’t count against the
student’s attendance. So, the state of Texas is really
partnering with schools to encourage students to visit college. They get two days in 11th grade
and two days in 12th grade. We tell students that if
they need to do this, it’s related to college
they can do a college visit. College fairs are great because
you have a number of colleges in one area and they send their
representatives and they have information and you can bounce
around as a student, parent and get a lot of questions answered
by someone in person and even get invited to a college visit
and et cetera. We talked about online research,
our college room is great, they help with exploration,
any questions the students have and it’s definitely advantageous to
have one place where it’s definitely designated for college
and after high school. And again, speaking with a
counselor is advantageous for the student to point them in the right direction
to get them that knowledge as well. So most four year universities
you have to–they require an ACT or SAT score and these
ACT and SAT are getting really good at doing pre-tests so 9th and 10th grade
years are a pre-SAT and ACT. So retest, get familiar with the score. There’s personalized test prep,
when they do the practice test and then really in 11th grade,
they should be starting their first actual ACT and SAT
and students should retest. Scores often improve on
the second try. Strengthen your college list. So after you’ve taken your
visits, you’ve got an idea– you got your class rank and
your grade point average after 11th grade. You’ve got your ACT score,
use this information to you know narrow down
the college list. Have some safe schools,
where I know I can get in. Some reach schools where it
may be a reach but you know I’m still going to apply to
those schools. And to just differentiate the list,
there’s so many different colleges out there and just use that information. Use your research and your do diligence
to strengthen that list. And then as our seniors are
doing right now, they’re applying to colleges. So the summer heading into
senior year, get ready to apply for colleges
and scholarship research and scholarship applications
should be something that’s always ongoing as well. Okay so some tips for college
applications, start early. Most applications open by
July 31st. That doesn’t mean that you have
to work on your essay until July 31st. We tell students you can start
over the summer working on the essay and some of these other materials
and their resume, research colleges and their requirements
of programs of study, application fees and there are
application fee waivers as well so you can research that. A lot of materials to gather when filling
out a college application, so if a student is able to get all
of these things then you don’t want– I mean you want to think of all
of your activities, all volunteer work, all honors
and awards. So this shouldn’t be something
that’s just done while I’m going through the application. You should really know–
we encourage students to research so that they have the best college
application forwards.>>Okay, I just want to say many
many thanks to our guest speakers, Samantha from our team,
David from Apply Texas, Meredith from the Common App. Great updates and also Will
for your best practices. I just want to close out on a couple
of additional things we have from one other fellow,
Lynn Hartnett from Corpus Christi ISD and then we’ll open it up for questions. Lynn just provided we like to ask
our fellows on best practices and practitioners for these and so she
just had a few things to share, I’ll just go through them really quickly. Just when you’re doing applications
with students on Apply Texas or Common App, definitely have
your English Language Arts teachers assign Apply Texas at least the
profile and or Common App as a summer project. Because students should review
and even start–create a profile and create a resume which is
something that they can keep throughout the whole college
application process. And to know whether or not
they qualify for a fee waiver and how do use and access those. And then review the essay topics. And then create and save at least
one essay. We’ve had some great updates
on those essays and topics and often that can be a real hurdle
for students that struggle with writing or just procrastinate because they
may not want to get an application, do the essay when it’s required
for an application. Just two more quick pieces of advice. One of our fellows, student advice: “Do you research! You should be aware
some applications have scholarship “application embedded into the application
and for others it is separate” And that is really on a case
by case basis by the institution so that’s really important for students
and families to know when they’re working on these. And then the last one is check
carefully for mistakes. Leaving out important information
like your social security number or important pieces of data
will cause a lot of problems down the road and it’s something
that has to be unraveled because a lot of these are
used for many institutions. So that was just some really
great best practices and updates from everyone involved so
thank y’all so much. I’m going to open it up. Right now, we have just about
six minutes left until we finish the hour to see if you have any questions. Any attendees go ahead and
type those in the chat box, and Rose Frezza can talk about
what those are out loud for any questions for our
guest speakers, you can go ahead and type those. So while y’all are thinking about
any potential questions you may have, I’m going to quickly go over
the rest of our webinar schedule. I do see one question. Sara Simmons, did you have a
question? So Sara’s question is for Apply Texas. Will the opt out of directory info cause
the info in counselor’s suite to change?>>No it won’t. It won’t have any
effect on the counselor’s suite, at least as of right now. The directory info opt out specifically
relates to the information that Texas higher education
coordinating board has and opting out of that means
that they won’t share it with certain entities.>>Great, thank you David.>>We actually do have another
question from Lynn Hartnett. She said, “On the Common App,
I could not find an activities “section instruction sheet. “Is there a specific resource or
handout on that?”>>So that’s a great question,
so one I would say is on the YouTube channel there’s a video
tutorial for the activities section and then in our Common App ready suite of materials so we are currently finalizing some
additional resources and so there is an activities worksheet that’s slated
to go live on Common App Ready. So I would imagine that would
be out there probably by the end of August.>>Great, thank you Meredith. Okay so I don’t see any other
questions right now but we can keep these open. I’m just going to quickly
mention these are the– our webinars. Our monthly webinars are
on the first Tuesday of each month at 10am and we’re also including
some middle school topics here in our schedule. So we’ll talk about the family
guide in September and then this is our schedule through June. With that, if there are no more
questions I want to once again thank everyone for attending. Thank you to our guest speakers.
If you’ve hopped on with us or if you registered for it,
you’ll receive the recording and some highlights from the
webinar so thank you all so much and have a wonderful day.>>Thanks everyone.>>Thank you, buh-bye.

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