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Senior Year 101: #1 Get Organized!

Updated: Jun 18

First, congratulations for making it this far! I know the excited, yet nervous feeling, because I've ushered FOUR children through their senior year of high school and into college. Three are graduates (one from Biola Unive

rsity and two from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) -- one with a master's degree (Biola U.) and one working toward one (Kansas State). The youngest is a junior at UC Berkeley. Combined they won over FIFTY scholarships.

I am also a high school academic advisor and senior English teacher. I well know the ropes of the college and financial application process. For many years now I have organized and taught a College Night and a Financial Aid Night. I take students every year to many college campuses for tours and college fa


irs. And I have guided my students through the process, so that about half of the graduates from our poor, small, isolated high school in the California Sierra are accepted into four-year universities, twice the state average in California.

While I do not know the answer to every question, I've learned a lot along the way. My students have gotten into many universities, including Stanford University, USC, UCLA, Colgate University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Williams College, along with many other universities over the years.

It is my desire -- my passion -- to see young people achieve their dreams, be those a university education or that of a technical school. I assume that's your desire, too . . . so I have created this blog that will continue throughout the school year. Each Monday I will have a short tip about what you (st


udent and parents) can be doing to move toward your dream. So, enough of me -- now on to YOU . . .

The first thing you need to do is to get organized. You will need to get the following items, so that you will not be overwhelmed by disorganized paperwork.

1. A file box. This can be an inexpensive cardboard one, an accordian file with a handle, or a plastic file box -- whatever you think will hold all your materials. Let me suggest a larger-sized plastic file box with a handle.

2. Hanging files with plastic label holders (optional). If your box is a large cardboard box, you will need at least a dozen of these.

3. A box of at least 50 file folders. You will need one for every college and every scholarship (my youngest completed more than 60 scholarship applications).

4. A good-sized calendar to mark down deadlines for college applications, scholarships, and financial aid.



Now . . . find a central location for keeping these materials -- a CLEAN desk in your bedroom or a corner of the kitchen counter. It is important that both the student and the parents stay on top of deadlines. Meeting deadlines creates opportunities that otherwise are lost. You don't want to look like that girl pictured above, right?

Go ahead and ask questions below, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability or refer you to another source that can. Also, subscribe to this blog, so that you'll get notices when I post.

So, get organized . . . and I'll see you next week!


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