Often Overlooked College Preparation Steps

Studying, practicing and taking the ACT and/or SAT examinations, preparing college admission essays, reviewing scholarship applications and completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are the standard steps students and the parents or guardians complete when they are preparing for college. Following are some additional ideas to consider while you are completing high school and getting ready for college.

Potential College Credit for Prior Learning and Experience (General Education) – Numerous students have work experience as a summer pool lifeguard or a childcare worker. It is common for First Aid and/or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training to be required as part of the job application requirements. Some community colleges will award academic credit for showing proof of completing the required training. This college credit can then be applied towards a program of study. An example is elective college credit for a health course.

Potential College Credit for Prior Learning and Experience (A Specific Academic Major) You may have enrolled in career and technical courses and plan to continue this program of study in college. The high school classwork you have completed may count towards your college degree. Some examples are potential college credit for accounting, automotive, computer assisted drafting, IT programming, web design and construction technology programs. I have seen students eventually transfer these credit hours from a community college to a state university.

Also, for students considering health care college majors, that have already completed all the advanced math and science classes available at their high school, enrolling in a career and technical education course is something to consider. This could lead to practical volunteer or work experience in the field. This is something some nursing school applicants have successfully utilized to give themselves an advantage when applying for limited nursing school seats.

Scholarship Resume – What has the student been involved in since 9th grade at school and in their local community? The basic outline should include honors, activities/community service and awards. After completing the first draft the student should see which list has the most items and which list comes in second and third place. Based upon this review it is recommended that the longest list be displayed on the resume first, then the second and third place outline of events in this order. In addition to following all scholarship application requirements, this is an optional document that students can provide scholarship committees and college admissions officers to provide yet another way to outline their accomplishments.

By Kenneth McGhee, Director DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG) Kenneth.mcghee@dc.gov