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How to Self-Advocate for Yourself

Senior year is a blur of deadlines, requirements, and decisions. You are bombarded with multiple tasks that all push for your attention at once. If you don’t take control, this process will overwhelm you like it has many others. Students will often reach out to counselors and even their parents for help. However, it is of the utmost importance to understand that you are your own best advocate.

Take a moment to think about the size of your senior class. The truth is, your high school counselor is probably overwhelmed. He or she has to support you and all of your classmates. With that in mind, there are things that you can do to make sure you get the help you need. First, don’t wait to be summoned by your school counselor. Make an appointment and have a list of questions, topics, or requests ready to go over. Your list should definitely include your class rank, GPA, test/application fee waivers (if applicable), and recommendation letters, just to name a few. Pro tip: If you do need a recommendation letter from your counselor (or anyone really), provide a cheat sheet with a list of your extracurricular activities. This will give there commender a way to really personalize your recommendation and ensure that you will get a standout, non-cookie-cutter letter.

Beyond the admissions process, most families are anxious about the financial piece of the puzzle. While you can only do so much about your parents’ income, you can control your ability to qualify for merit aid scholarships. Study hard and retake each test as many times as your colleges of interest will allow. Don’t know when the cut off is for sending test scores to each of your colleges? Call the admissions department and ask.

Besides that, make a point to find out if there are businesses in your city that offer scholarships. Go to your public library and ask the librarian for a list scholarships offered locally. You can also try city hall. Typically there will be a listing of job openings in your city as well as a list of different organizations that meet at city hall. This could lead to more scholarship revenue for you if those organizations just happen to offer scholarships. Also, ask your parents. Perhaps their employer has a scholarship that is open to dependents of employees. Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Best Buy, and McDonald’s have all offered scholarships in the past to students in their communities. Don’t be afraid to ask any restaurant or business if they are offering a scholarship. You might be surprised.

As always, organization is key. If you are a procrastinator, don’t just rely on due dates to get things done. Set reminders for start dates! This hack has saved me from multiple assignments piling up at once and is a great skill to master before going off to college. Coaches get it. We are former (some current) students, athletes, band members, choir members, part-time workers, etc. We know how tough it is to wear as many hats as you do. Get a planner, set reminders on your phone, get a dry erase board or a desktop calendar to make note of when you plan to study, fill out applications, and write essays.

Lastly, remember who is here to help you Monday through Friday long after your high school is closed and counselors are gone for the day. Coaches are on your side and dedicated to your success. We can review your applications, essays, resumes, FAFSA, CSS Profiles, and award letters. Use us. We can help you finish senior year strong and ready to transition to college life. Ready to be a freshmen again?

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