Lesson 0

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By starting this course you’ve taken a first step toward broadening your view for your post-high school life! Each week you will receive a lesson like this one that includes articles, resources, and success stories to help you on your path. This week we have a little bit of everything.

Lesson 1

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The college process can be big and confusing. One of the most important things you can do when gearing up is to gain an understanding of what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. I encourage you to read through the following resources in order to help understand the process and stay organized.

Lesson 2

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Now that you understand the general timeline of the college process (and where you fit in), it’s time to start thinking hard about direction. What’s your plan? What are you trying to accomplish with your college application?

At the end of this lesson you should better understand both why you want to continue your education and where you might want to study.

Lesson 3

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Paying for college can be one of the largest financial burdens a family will endure. Furthermore, much of the documentation out there can get confusing. Though the sticker prices for colleges (especially top colleges) can be eye-watering, these costs are often not what you will actually pay. There are a great number of resources out there to aid you with college finances from loans to scholarships to grants and work programs. With some research and planning, great universities become much more economically attainable.

Lesson 4

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It’s a given that in order to get into a top caliber university, you will need to have great grades. However, it’s important not to confuse this with the idea: “Good grades will get me accepted.” Good grades alone will NOT get you in. When an admissions staff looks at your application, they must judge it holistically. This means they take your extra-curricular activities, personality, test scores, and everything else into account when making their decisions.

Lesson 5

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We all know that grades are important for getting into great schools. But we must remember that colleges judge our applications holistically, and thus we must show them that we do some cool things outside of the classroom as well. Remember that your extra-curricular activities can be just as important as your grades when it comes to getting in!

Lesson 6

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If I put you on the spot by saying, “Tell me about your biggest achievements in the next 20 seconds,” would you be able to do it? I couldn’t. But my resume can! This lesson will teach you to craft a first-class high school resume to be used during the college hunt and the years beyond.

Lesson 7

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Showing that you have others (besides Mom, Dad, and Grandma) willing to speak positively about you adds to the credibility of your personality and application. For example, a teacher might explain how it’s always been clear that you would go into a speaking role because of your eloquence and ability to captivate a large audience, or a coach might detail the way you successfully led a team through a season.

Lesson 8

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The college interview can be one of the most gut wrenching experiences in the college process. Not necessarily because it is particularly difficult or stressful to complete, but because of the anticipation, the unknowns, and the high-stakes feeling that a college interview can impose. With some preparation, we can make these butterflies go away

Lesson 9

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Almost certainly the most tedious part of the college process is crafting the numerous essays required for your applications. Luckily, many colleges accept the common application now, but often there will be a supplement that necessitates an extra thousand words or so. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information online on how to write a wonderful college essay that makes you stand out. Check out these articles to get you started.

Lesson 10

Lesson 10

If you’ve ever been on a vacation, you probably know that no matter how much reading and studying you do, the place you visit will be far different than the mental image you created prior to arrival. The same holds true for colleges. This is why visits are so important.

Lesson 11

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Welcome to the final lesson of the Small Town Top College prep course. I truly hope you have been helped by the information in the lessons, and I wish you all the best with your college pursuits. To close it out, I’d like to leave you with a few more articles and resources to check out.