Top 5 Prep Activities & Scholarships

This is a continuation of Dayna’s questions from yesterday. I’ll be answering one or two questions per day, as you guys ask. If you want more or less, let me know!

What are the five most important things that colleges are looking for, i.e. extracurricular activities, leadership, etc?

Now this is a tough question, and the answer can change based up certain variables. Is the student applying to an Ivy League school or a local community college? Does he want to go into computer science or pursue a liberal arts degree? The answer to these questions are vital in determining what the individual schools are looking for. However, all that aside, there are certain things that every student can do in order to best prepare himself for admittance to the top colleges and universities.
1. Grades. No matter what school or program a student is applying to, his grades will matter.
2. Test scores. Since most colleges and universities see home-schooled students as not taking an objective curriculum compared to their public or private schooled counterparts, standardized test scores are even more important than grades.
3. Public service. Schools want to see that a student has been involved and is giving back to the community.
4. Extra-curriculars. Just as important as the others, colleges want to see that a student is well rounded and not one-dimensional. Whether it’s sports, music, 4-H, Scouting, etc. extra-curriculars are extremely important.
5. Letters of recommendation. Most universities require 2-3 letters of recommendation from a non-family member. Remember those extra-curriculars and public service activities? That’s where these letters should come from.

What is the easiest way to find out about scholarship money and apply?

Each school has their own institutional scholarships, so it’s best to check with them to see what they offer and the qualifications. Fast Web is a great resource for outside scholarships and grants. Also, filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the best option to see what your family qualifies for in both federal and state aid.

Any other suggestions? Please weigh in if you have other suggestions or resources.

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