Shopping for colleges                                                 by Patti Brugman                   

         With just two weeks left until Christmas, some students are not only shopping for holiday presents, but for a college to attend! If you’re just starting, you know that the Early Action decisions are about to be sent and the California state school deadline was two weeks ago. You might even be one of the many seniors who wakes up on the first day of winter break with the sudden realization that you haven’t applied to even one college yet! We hear these stories every year.

         Your immediate goal is to find that wrinkled list of college choices at the bottom of your backpack and start your research.  Even though you’re late getting to the process, you don’t need to compound the crime by being sloppy, too. You can do most of your college shopping by visiting college websites. Check out the curriculum, the weather, and the other students. Remember, fifty-percent of your education comes from the kids you’re in class with, so go to Youtube and watch a few videos of the schools. Then check It’s amazing how many colleges have application deadlines after January 1st:  Loyola Marymount, USC, University of San Diego, and Texas Christian University to name a few.

         We hope that you’ve already asked teachers to write recommendation letters for you, but if you haven’t, there are plenty of schools that have both late deadlines and no “L of R” requirement:  The University of Washington, Illinois, and Arizona are a few.

         Even while you’re on vacation, you need to arrange to have your transcript and SAT or ACT scores sent to the colleges you’ll be applying to. Call your school and go on line. Neither document is sent automatically.

         Next, is the application and essay. Some students who are making plans, while also trying to enjoy vacation, will find it easier to apply to schools that use the Common Application. One essay will work for a long list of schools. Check for schools that don’t require supplements. This, indeed, will make your shopping one-stop! 

         How many days are left until Christmas?  How many days are left until all your applications are due?  Both require a list, calendar, and a credit card.  The sooner you finish your college shopping, the sooner you can start your Christmas shopping!  All the best for this Holiday Season.