Tackling the long, arduous process of applying to college

As the year nears its end and families are preparing for the holidays, college-bound students are in a season of their own: college application and scholarship season.

All of the years of preparation culminate into just a couple of months when students will painstakingly compile their hard work at academics, determination on athletic teams, dedication to community service and passion for extra-curricular activities into lines on applications and words in essays.

Rarely do I speak from personal experience in this column. However, this will be an exception because currently, in my home, we are in college application and scholarship season.

My 17-year-old daughter is a senior in high school, and my evenings have been filled with far too many facts about various colleges around the country — many of which I never knew existed — as she weighs her options.

College applications are not free. Students must make smart decisions about where they will apply for this very reason.

Here are some things we’ve learned during this process:

Public colleges and universities may not always be the least expensive choice. Although I’ve often heard that private colleges can offer more financial assistance, I hadn’t seen it in action until we started plugging in the numbers on their “cost calculators.” We have found that many private colleges will have a lower “net” price than many of the state schools.

Visit schools during a week while students are on campus. We have taken advantage of the unfortunate teacher furlough days by visiting campuses. The colleges are in session, but my daughter doesn’t have to miss school. Seeing students around the campus, studying in the library, chatting over lunch in the dining hall and participating in campus activities gives prospective students a good feel for campus life and culture. We eliminated one school within the first 30 minutes of the tour because the students on campus seemed miserable. My daughter and I didn’t even have to say anything to each other. We both had the same feeling.

It is never too soon for a high school student to begin searching the College Board website, www.collegeboard.org. The College Board is a nonprofit organization that administers many of the college entrance and preparation tests, including the SAT, AP, PSAT and SAT subject tests. In addition, they also have an extensive database of colleges and universities. Students can simply enter what they’re looking for in a college and matches will be listed. I mentioned to my daughter that we didn’t have the Internet when I was doing my college search in high school. Of course, this baffled her — not only because a life without the Internet seems unimaginable, but also because we have lived and breathed the College Board website this last month.

Tour a variety of schools. Public, private, small and large schools all offer different advantages. It’s important for a prospective student to get a “feel” for the type that seems best. My daughter was pretty convinced she was interested in going to a large school. She’s outgoing, independent and likes to stay busy, and she felt that a large campus would be her best fit. Once we visited a small campus, she realized that it offered all of the same amenities as the large campus, and it could also offer her smaller classes and specialized programs.

This is all just the beginning of the college and scholarship application process. In the next column, I will share our lessons in the scholarship search.

— For additional college preparation information or any K-12 education related questions, contact the Naval Base Ventura County school liaison officer at 805-989-5211 or email monica.james@navy.mil.

© 2012 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Print

Comments » Disabled

Lighthouse News Front Page

Lighthouse Info

Commanding Officer

CAPT. LARRY VASQUEZ

Chief Staff Officer

CAPT. SCOTT LOESCHKE

Lighthouse Editor

ANDREA HOWRY, 805-989-5281

Public Affairs Officer

KIMBERLY GEARHART
Ventura County Star - 805-437-0000

Publisher

MARGIE COCHRANE, Ventura County Star

Niche Publications

JOHN GARCIA, 805-437-0365

Advertising

To submit a story

The Lighthouse publishes every other Thursday. All stories and photos must be submitted no later than the Thursday prior to publication. To submit a story or photo request, call the Lighthouse editor, Andrea Howry, at 989-5281 or send an e-mail to lighthouse@navy.mil.
THE LIGHTHOUSE IS PUBLISHED AT NO COST TO THE GOVERNMENT EVERY FRIDAY BY VENTURA COUNTY STAR, OF CAMARILLO, CA. VENTURA COUNTY STAR IS A PRIVATE FIRM IN NO WAY CONNECTED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR THE UNITED STATES NAVY, UNDER WRITTEN CONTRACT WITH NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY. THE LIGHTHOUSE IS THE ONLY AUTHORIZED CIVILIAN ENTERPRISE NEWSPAPER FOR MEMBERS OF THE U.S. NAVY, CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, RETIREES AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE VENTURA COUNTY AREA. CONTENTS OF THE PAPER ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE OFFICIAL VIEWS OF, NOR ENDORSED BY, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, OR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY AND DO NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT THEREOF. THE APPEARANCE OF ADVERTISING IN THIS PUBLICATION INCLUDING INSERTS AND SUPPLEMENTS, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, THE U.S. NAVY OR VENTURA COUNTY STAR, OF THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ADVERTISED. EVERYTHING ADVERTISED IN THIS PUBLICATION SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE, USE OR PATRONAGE WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, MARITAL STATUS, PHYSICAL HANDICAP, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, OR ANY OTHER NON-MERIT FACTOR OF THE PURCHASER, USE, OR PATRON. IF A VIOLATION OR REJECTION OF THIS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY BY AN ADVERTISER IS CONFIRMED, THE PUBLISHER SHALL REFUSE TO PRINT ADVERTISING FROM THAT SOURCE UNTIL THE VIOLATION IS CORRECTED. EDITORIAL CONTENT IS EDITED, PREPARED AND PROVIDED TO THE PUBLISHER BY THE LOCAL INSTALLATION PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE.
An estimated crowd of over 200 private industry professionals gathered at Wednesday’s Industry Forum at the Embassy Suites in Oxnard to hear from high-ranking civilian and military personnel from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Port Hueneme Division about doing business with the Navy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014
MORE YOURNEWS

Facebook Friends