Much Ado About College: A Q&A About College and Senior Year Featuring Ms. Dawson

College applications are finally over. So now, most of us honestly just want to kick back and relax until the end of our senior year rather than work, because we had more than enough of that when we were juniors. Unfortunately, it’s way too early to relax. There’s more to do in addition to financial aid and keeping up your grades – there’s AP scores to remember to send, college student portals to sign up for and check consistently, and scholarships you have to keep an eye out for. It’s overwhelming, and at this point you may be close to grabbing your laptop or phone and vigorously utilizing your Internet search engines, perhaps even combing through College Confidential forums in order to figure out what you need to prioritize or even just what to do in the first place. Or you already have. The forums themselves have mixed responses and the whole process can be confusing, but no need to fear! Ms. Dawson, GGHS’ College Counselor, is here to clear the air and answer your questions along with others that you may have not even thought about.

Q: Do senior grades matter?

A: Some schools actually request that they see your 7th semester transcripts.  I know a lot of the time, seniors kind of get relaxed senior year, but you really can’t do that because these schools will base your admittance off of your 7th semester. I’ve seen students let their grades slip, even in one class–for instance, let their grades slip to a D–and the school has every right to rescind the admission, and in some cases, when the grade is a even a C.

Q: How important is it to sign up for the student portals?

A: If you want to find out if any of the schools (including community colleges) you applied to need anything from you, such as a 7th semester transcript, most of the time they will notify you through their student portal. They should have already emailed you your student ID number and have a student portal ready for you after you applied. That’s where you check your to-do-list. Otherwise, they’ll notify you through email.

Q: How often do I need to check the student portals?

A: In addition to your email, you need to check each individual portal often. Personally, I would check Monday, Thursday and Friday – the beginning and the end of the week. I know it’s time-consuming because students do have many portals to check, but you should check it, at the very least, once a week.

Q: When should I send in my AP scores?

A: College Board states that you should send your AP scores no later than July of your senior year. The most cost-effective way is to send your scores to the college you are admitted to when you take your last AP exams, because then you can send the scores to the college of your choice for free. If you decide to wait, it will cost a $15 online fee.

Q: Where can I find scholarships to apply to?

A: There’s a scholarship list on the school website on the Guidance page, under General Information. You can use other sites, such as scholarship.com, cappex, and fastweb, which are excellent scholarship resources as well. In addition, if you are starting to receive acceptances, turn them into the Guidance Office, because by doing so you will be put into the running for a scholarship that applies to both 4-year-bound and community-college-bound students. All you have to do is turn in your acceptance letter and they can make copies of it here, or if it’s in an email, print it out and give it to guidance.

Q: What should seniors focus on now besides grades, since applications are over?

A: Currently, seniors should focus on applying for FAFSA and the DREAM Act – just financial aid in general. Be sure to turn in that blue Cal Grant sheet form as soon as possible! That’s free money for you right there. Other than that, check your portals because if any colleges need anything regarding your financial aid, they’ll let you know. After you submit your financial aid, everything is basically done – it’s just a waiting game until you find out if you got admitted or not. For community college students, after you submit your financial aid, you can go ahead and start applying for community college. Once May 1st comes, four-year students will have to make their decision.