Top College Planning

The college application in the high schools in the US is an exciting yet confusing process, a bit overwhelming for both the students and their parents. For our international students, this becomes even more difficult. With approximately 4000 college options in US alone, where do we start?

With the experienced counselors from Azure Education, we help our students to start planning earlier and guide them through the entire high school until they decide on their college of choice. We would do an early assessment when are signed up in their 9th grades so that we don’t miss any potential advantages and make up any shortcomings as soon as possible. More importantly, we make a head start on the process and know what we want, what could be our best fit, and have a plan. We will track our progress and refine our plan along the way, and walk through the admission process hand-in-hand with our students.

 

9th Grade

The goal for 9th grade is to get the process started, students and parents better educated, and a plan formulated. The preliminary activities are listed.

Initial seminar about the process”]
Each student will start a college planning file to follow the entire 4 year”]
The initial info to ask and for students consider include (would help us to narrow down our college list considerably),
i. Goal for college, goal for life, and special interest, etc.
ii. Initial assessment of academic strength and weakness.
iii. Any special talent (arts, sports, etc.) that worth continuing or pursuing in US. Any activity or other participation outside of class interested.
iv. Initial assessment of their English writing and speaking skills.
v. College preference (geographic location, size, etc.), or if any interested school already (for example, you really like to go to Harvard).
vi. Any consideration of your major (or majors, very important factor)


Start a plan”]i. We will have an individual timeline mapped out for each student, so that the students and parents know what’s coming and planned.
ii. We will also have an initial list of colleges (like 30-50, or groups of colleges) to start with.
iii. Initial the actions and recommendations will be communicated, including test prep arrangement, advanced program from Azure, etc.


Initial visit of school counselor with the student”]i. Identify what school services we can take advantage of.
ii. Understanding of classes required for high school graduation.
iii. Understanding of AP class offering and enrollment requirement (take as early and as many as possible).

keep a portfolio of each student to track and progress and maintain record”]i. How are we doing with our test prep (test prep itself extra, or arranged by student or parent themselves).
ii. Class grades and reports
iii. Tracking sheet for extra-curriculum activities. (we will not only ask student to track these activities, but also ask them to write short essay on how they think and what is their thinking approach, useful in the future)
iv. Good communication with the teachers. (you need recommendation letters in the future, so better establish and maintain relationship earlier).

Seminar series to educate and make up weakness”]i. Which tests to take and how to prepare
ii. How to get involved in the society and how to show leadership
iii. Writing skills, especially for standard tests and application essay. (Because of the poor writing skills we saw common in Chinese student, we need to address this as early and as best as we can).
iv. How to formulate writing idea. Make a connection between you (and your activities) and the essay. (we have a lot of past essay topics to practice on)

10th Grade

The goal for 10th grade is to continue the preparation process, and firming up our goals and objectives. The preliminary activities are listed.
Review and recap what we have accomplished so far, and should know better on what we wanted.
i. Goal for college, goal for life, and special interest, etc.
ii. Better idea on what majors to consider.
iii. What you want from your college education, and any special considerations.

Update our plani. individual timeline
ii. list of colleges should be more solid and hopefully smaller.
iii. actions and recommendations.

Visit of school counselor with the student”]i. Be aware of how school’s plan on college visit and college representative visits.
ii. AP class offering and enrollment (take as early and as many as possible).

Continue to update student portfolio to track and progress and maintain recordi. How are we doing with our test prep (test prep itself extra, or arranged by student or parent themselves).
ii. Class grades and reports
iii. Tracking sheet for extra-curriculum activities. (we will not only ask student to track these activities, but also ask them to write short essay on how they think and what is their thinking approach, useful in the future)
iv. Good communication with the teachers. (you need recommendation letters in the future, so better establish and maintain relationship earlier).

More seminar series”]i. How to plan your career, how to use attitudinal tests (for example Meyers Briggs Type) to determine what kind of job is best suited to you.
ii. Introduction to US higher education system and what are the choices
iii. College life introduction from recent college kids
iv. More on writing skills and writing topics

Enroll and take PSAT
First visit of College Fair
Optional college visits”]Some high schools will offer a trip as an option with fees. We will arrange this during winter and spring breaks or early summer if students can arrange to stay here longer. (The college visits in Southern California can be offered for free, but other trips need to be arranged separately with a fee)
have be actively involved in your extra-curricular activities “](otherwise, we need extra effort from this program) hopefully in a leadership role.

11th Grade

Academically, 11th grade is most important period when admission officers look at their grades. During this year, our student should be mainly focusing on taking as many AP classes as possible and getting the best grades possible. In the meanwhile, Azure Education counselors would be doing the heavy-lifting to make sure all other preparations are on track.
Goals and college selection list”]i. First to decide on what majors are considered acceptable, and any special considerations should also be decided
ii. The list of colleges should be narrowed down to 20 or so as soon as possible, so that we can focus our efforts.

Visit of school counselor with the studenti. In order for students to apply these colleges on our list, we have to cross check among
1. class requirements from your college list
2. what you have taken
3. what will be needed in addition
ii. Investigate on school’s plan on college visit and schedule of college representatives’ campus visits. We need to cover as many colleges on the list (a must for the ones you really want to go) as possible, through their high school visit, college fair, our college visits, or you have to at least write or call them. You have to let your interest known.
iii. AP class offering and enrollment (11th grade should be the year with heaviest load of AP classes).

Continue to update student portfolio to track and progress and maintain recordi. How are we doing with our test prep
1. Enroll and take PSAT, and we recommend to take the real test earlier, or at least to have an idea how we are going to score.
2. Tutoring on SAT is needed (outside of this program)
ii. Class grades and reports
1. AP exam in May
iii. Tracking sheet for extra-curriculum activities. (continue the effort)
iv. Start to think about who you would need to write recommendation letters.
v. Start to draft your resume.

Other teaching activitiesi. Seminar and workshop on college application and admission process.
ii. Coaching of interview skills
iii. College Fair
iv. More on targeted essay writing training

recommend students to stay in US for the majority of summer(summer time advice has fees extra)
i. We would recommend for them to pick up a summer job, or an internship, so they can put on their resume.
ii. Perfect time to do their college visits.
iii. Most colleges have the online application material available in August.

12th Grade

Azure Education would provide a full consultation service to walk through the entire admission process for the students during their 12th grade school year.
Final review of student portfolio for deciding making”]i. We should have our test score now, and hopeful good. If not, re-take as soon as possible
ii. GPA and AP classes
iii. Tracking sheet for extra-curriculum activities, resume, and who would write recommendation.
iv. Initial draft or idealization of our essays.
v. Feedback from high school counselors.

Decision on which colleges to apply”]i. Finalize our school list of “backups” (about 2), “target” (4-6), “reach” (about 2).
ii. Decision on “early decision”.
iii. Start to work on “common apps”, and see how many on our list can be covered.

Visit of school counselor with the student biweekly or monthly”]i. AP class offering and enrollment (the college won’t see your 12th grade during admission, but they are very interested that you are continuing taking hard classes).
ii. Communicate to school counselor on our college selection. Make adjustment if necessary.
iii. Work with school on all other matters for college application.

Use a checklist developed by Azure Education and help student step-by-step to finish all the paper work needed to applyi. FAFSA (even we don’t need financial aid, we still need to fill this sheet so that school knows that we can afford the tuition.
ii. Request of transcript.
iii. >>>
iv. Online application with all material ready.
v. Azure Education will help student to do their final review before sending the application.

Work with the student all throughout the application process”]i. Tracking and checking the progress, continuous communication with colleges.
ii. Coaching of interview skills if interview is arranged.
iii. Work with student on financial aid if necessary, apply scholarship if possible.
iv. Making connection to department or professor in your most interested college if needed to.

Making final decisions”]i. Work with student and parents to help them make the right choice once we have some acceptance (or rejection) back.
ii. Arrange interview or college visits if necessary so that we finalize the one to attend.
iii. Notify all schools that accepted you your decision.
iv. Arrange to make deposit, and all other arrangement, for example, housing.
v. Prepare for college, including decision on majors and a roadmap of the following 4 years.