By Mason Leonard - Fall Mountain Regional High School
Ever feel like applying to college is like floating in space? Completely alone with zero guidance?
On Thursday October 23rd 2015, I got a little bit more direction. I had the honor of joining an online Webinar with NextGenVest, the Money Mentor for every student, called “How to Pick & Pay for College”. At first I was skeptical as to what this program was about, though the incredibly helpful and candid College Fellows quickly convinced me this is a community I needed to get involved in. In this webinar, the College Fellows were very helpful in various aspects regarding college and how to get there successfully.
One of the main focuses of the discussion was what questions students should ask colleges when applying or being interviewed. The CollegeFellows provided various answers including: questions about financial aid, average careers from graduating classes, the day-to-day life of a student on campus, etc.
Another topic the College Fellows spoke upon was advising us about scholarships. They told us that there are many online scholarships, merely a Google search away. They mentioned other media options as well such as chegg.com and an app known as Scholly. As a high school student, options such as these granted by my CollegeFellows, has certainly eased the tension and stress of searching for scholarships.
“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
The Ideal Process for Applying to Colleges
The college essay and how to being writing it was yet another helpful topic brought up by the College Fellows. The majority of them provided responses focusing on writing a precise moment in the writer’s life that they found important, then expanding to the essay topic from there.
In doing so, due to the lack of time the essay reader has for the write-up, the writer provides a passionate but concise moment in their life they find most important to attract the reader’s attention. As opposed to most every essay written where the writer answers the question plainly, providing a minute time in the writer’s life will not go unnoticed due to it’s unique qualities.
As opposed to smashing our computers when application processes come, NextGenVest College Fellows guided us with their best advice in the time we had allotted with them. A valuable take-away for me, was that was that all standardized tests (SATs and ACTs), should be done by the end of the summer before senior year to avoid a ton of stress.
Know How to Market Yourself
Another useful point NextGenVest College Fellows noted was that we needed to market ourselfes in college essays and applications. We need to present ourselves in a way that conveys a "theme", or a set of interests that can be easily understood through a variety of activities and academics in high school. Tie your activities, interests, and sports together into one story.
NextGenVest seems to be a purposeful program and amazing global community - there was even a student on from Beijing on the webinar! I am very excited to contribute to NextGenVest’s mission and continue to learn from amazing students. Every student needs a NextGenVest Money Mentor!