Seniors

  Congratulations, Senior (or rising Senior)! You’ve made it to the final year of your secondary school experience. This year can be a busy one. You may spend the fall trying to improve your GPA. You may take or retake standardized tests. You may juggle Honors, AP or IB classes. And you will apply to colleges (and wait...
 

Congratulations, Senior (or rising Senior)! You’ve made it to the final year of your secondary school experience.

This year can be a busy one. You may spend the fall trying to improve your GPA. You may take or retake standardized tests. You may juggle Honors, AP or IB classes. And you will apply to colleges (and wait on decisions!). While doing some or all of these things, you may have work or family obligations, activities, sports, and senior-year special events.

HigherEd offers lessons to guide, empower and support you. Senior year lessons cover everything from essay prep and financial aid to the very best and most up-to-date application strategies. Our senior lessons also touch on topics highly relevant to stressed-applicants and soon-to-be college students: productivity, accountability and ethics, internet safety + the digital footprint, nutrition, sleep, anxiety, depression, resilience, and mindfulness.

 

Seniors can select from three programs:

  • Private 1:1 counseling: Private counseling and you design the program. Select from any of HigherEd’s lessons or create a program personalized to your needs.
  • 4-day Intensive: For rising seniors who prefer an intensive summer program option. During the 4-day Intensive, you’ll receive counseling about college application strategies, college list development, essay preparation, financial aid, letters of recommendation, and scholarships.
  • 4-day Tune-Up: For seniors who have reserved a place at a college or university. Get ready to ROCK college by developing academic and financial management skills, wellness practices, on-campus safety and security habits, and more!

Private (1:1)

4-day Intensive

4-day Tune-Up

What

Private counseling and you design the program. Select from any of HigherEd’s lessons or create a program personalized to your needs.

4-day intensive program for rising seniors who prefer to “knock out” college advising in a short time period. During the 4-day Intensive, you’ll receive counseling about college application strategies, college list development, essay preparation, financial aid, letters of recommendation, and scholarships. Classes are contingent on a minimum enrollment of 18 students

For seniors who have reserved a place at a college or university. Get ready to ROCK college by developing academic and financial management skills, wellness practices, on-campus safety and security habits, and more! Classes are contingent on a minimum enrollment of 18 students

Who

Students must be currently enrolled high school seniors or have completed their junior year.

Students must be rising seniors (summer before senior year).

Current HS seniors who have reserved a place at a college or university.

When/
Where

Any month of the year. No more than three hours of counseling (two lessons) per week. Sessions are scheduled based on student and teaching counselor availability.

Offered in-person in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo county or via videoconferencing anywhere in the United States.

Oakland June 18-21, 8:00am-4:30pm

Walnut Creek June 26-29, 8:00am-4:30pm

San Mateo July 10-13, 8:00am-4:30pm

Fremont July 17-20, 8:00am-4:30pm

Fremont July 24-27, 8:00am-4:30pm

San Mateo July 31- August 3, 8:00am-4:30pm

Walnut Creek August 7-10, 8:00am-4:30pm

Cost

  • $125.00/hour
  • $545.00 ($18.16/hour)
  • $545.00 ($18.16/hour)

Table of Contents

Private

College Admissions

21st Century Job Skills:

Wellness:

Private

Lesson Title and Code

Description of Lesson

College bound student self-inventory: Know thyself

#CA-1

The College Board believes that a self-inventory helps you plan for college and career. We agree! In this lesson, you will assess your educational aspirations, preferences and interests and learn how to apply assessment results to your college search.

My activity list and admissions profile

#CA-2

The extracurricular record plays an important role in the admissions process, particularly at competitive colleges and universities. In this lesson, you will develop or perfect your activity list and assess its content. No activities, no problem! We'll help you find activities. Too many activities and over-scheduled? We'll help you achieve balance. Later in the lesson, you will develop an admissions profile to see how you match up to the competition.

My college criteria

#CA-3

There are many qualities that create a "college match." Too often, students focus on only one or two. In this lesson, you will develop a list of your desired college qualities (e.g., large, small, urban, rural, in-state, varsity and/or intramural sports programs, student diversity, Greek life, art scene, music majors, guaranteed housing). You will then create a "My top ten college criteria" document to reference throughout your college list development process.

My college list: Part 1, Developing my initial list

#CA-4

There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. and almost two million results for the Google query, “college search.” We scoured the internet to find the best college search tools so you can efficiently and effectively develop your college list. This is the first of three college list development lessons. In this lesson, you consider factors such as rankings, geographic hooks and the concept of the “match.” You will then use two college search engines to begin developing your college list.

My college list: Part 2, Refining my list

#CA-5

This is the second of three college list development lessons. In this lesson, you (a) use search engines to refine your college list, (b) discover the “Western University Exchange,” and (c) conduct personalized college research. Throughout the lesson, your HigherEd teaching counselor will be available to assist you as needed. Students applying to large research and/or state universities will be presented with strategies to employ during their college selection process.

My college list: Part 3, My “short list”

#CA-6

This is the final college list development lesson. In this lesson, you will finalize your college list via a “concentric circle-short list” activity and take advantage of more than one hour of personalized college research with assistance provided by your HigherEd teaching counselor.

My standardized testing toolbox

#CA-7

In this lesson, you will identify what standardized tests fit your needs and review test taking and study strategies. You will also discover the ever-growing list of schools that no longer require standardized test scores for admission. Finally, you will learn (and practice) how to manage test-anxiety.

Choosing a major

#CA-8

“I’ll just put undecided.” Not yet! In this lesson, you will participate in a two-step assessment process to identify potential majors that fit your interests. You will also develop a plan to explore/engage 1-3 of these majors. Why do this? For two reasons. First, it doesn’t hurt to think about academic interests, especially since you’ll likely have far more academic options in college than you had in high school. Second, many colleges want to see how you’ve demonstrated interest in your proposed majors. This activity sets the table for you to do the demonstrating.

Career exploration: Self-assessment

#CA-9

In this lesson, you will reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, favorite activities, and crucible moments (defining life experiences). You will also participate in a brief career-oriented survey and identify career clusters and occupations that fit your interests. But you don’t stop there. Next, you identify people, agencies or companies related to your career clusters/occupations. With this information, you can arrange internships, informational interviews or shadowing opportunities.

Career exploration: Engagement

#CA-10

We believe you discover career matches through engagement, not just talk (or quizzes). In this lesson, you will prepare an interest statement for potential employers. Your interest statement will explain why you want to participate in an internship, summer job, shadowing or other experience. With an interest statement in hand, you will prepare a cover letter and/or a phone script. The only thing left to do is make contact!

Note: Contacting any employer, agency or organization must be done (a) independently and (b) with the permission of your parent/guardian if you are under 18 years of age.

Financial aid basics: Loans, grants, the FAFSA and beyond

#CA-11

In this lesson, you will learn about common college financing mechanisms: loans, grants, scholarships and work study. You will define common financial aid terms, receive tutorials on the FAFSA and CSS, and discover financial aid tips and application money saving practices. Finally, you will assess the financial fit of the schools on your college list. For instance, how generous are your schools’ financial aid packages? How many first-year students have their financial needs met? What is the average financial aid package for first-year students? Ask questions now and be happy that you won’t pay (literally) later.

Advanced financial aid: Net price calculations, financial fit, assessing my financial aid package

#CA-12

During this lesson, you will use your list of desired college criteria and your net price calculations to assess the academic and financial fit of the schools on your college list. You will learn how to (a) assess a financial aid package and (b) protect yourself before taking out a private loan. You may also have time to engage in research tailored to your financial aid or college application needs.

The Essay: What do I write about?

#CA-13

Numbers (e.g., SAT, GPA) are important to your college application, but so are stories. The college essay is the vehicle through which you tell stories that add dimension to your grades and test scores. Your GPA can’t tell a reader what you stand for, what you have experienced or what excites you. The essay can. The essay is your opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee. HigherEd’s essay lessons help you to make the most of this opportunity. In this lesson, you will (a) learn what college admissions officers look for when reading essays, (b) develop an essay-writing timeline, and (c) participate in a series of brainstorming activities to develop and refine your essay topics. By the end of the lesson, you will have two or three “favorites” at the ready.

The Essay: How do I write it?

#CA-14

Admissions officers want to know who you are and what you care about, but they also want to know that you can write clearly. In this lesson, you will develop essay topics and prepare thesis statements. You will then discover essay writing tips related to style, structure, draft-writing and proofreading. By the end of this lesson, you will (a) have prepared thesis statements for one or two essay topics and (b) be familiar with the best college essay writing strategies.

Note: The more competitive the school, the more the essay figures into the admissions decision.

Application strategies: Common Application, CAAS, My application story, and application tips

#CA-15

It takes time, thought, and effort to prepare an impressive application. The next three lessons summarize the most important tips and strategies you need to craft your best application. In this lesson, you will (a) become familiar with the Common Application and the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (CAAS), (b) learn what admissions officers look for when reviewing an application, (c) develop your application story and personal tagline, and (d) review application tips for the demographic and academic portions of the application (e.g., reporting grades and submitting academic products).

Note: Application strategy lessons are relevant for scholarship applications, the Common Application, CAAS portfolios, UC applications and for most private school applications.

Application strategies: Early admission strategies, reporting standardized test scores, and application tips

#CA-16

In this lesson, you will (a) consider the advantages of applying early decision, early action, and regular decision, (b) develop an early decision, early action and/or regular decision strategy, (c) learn how to respond to questions about demonstrated interest, application “flags” and ability to pay, among other areas, (d) understand how to report standardized test scores, and (e) create score reporting strategies for specific schools.

Note: Students not applying early decision or early action and/or not taking standardized tests will be given the opportunity to work on essays or applications (e.g., CSU, UC, CommonApp, CAAS). Assistance and guidance will be provided intermittently.

Application strategies: Your school profile, transcript, Application Submission Checklist, and strategies for waitlist or deferral decisions

#CA-17

In this lesson, you will (a) assess your “school profile,” (b) evaluate your transcript for accuracy, trends, extremes, and legibility, (c) review HigherEd’s “Application submission checklist” and (d) prepare yourself in the event of a deferral or waitlist decision.

The letter of recommendation

#CA-18

Are you who you say you are? What do professionals say about your contributions, skills, and personality? To answer these questions, college admissions officers rely on letters of recommendation. The more competitive the school, the more the letters factor into admissions decisions. In this lesson, you will (a) learn about the purpose of the letter of recommendation and discover the ingredients of a compelling letter, (b) identify who, when and how to ask for a letter of recommendation and (c) create your own “Letter of Recommendation Inventory” to provide to your writers.

Note: Applying to schools that don’t require letters of recommendation? Make no mistake, letters of recommendation are relevant for many scholarships, grant and work-study opportunities. Your high school letters may also come in handy when applying for campus employment or residence life roles.

Scholarships 101

#CA-19

Scholarships can defray your college costs. In this lesson, you will learn about (a) need-based, merit-based, university-awarded and other types of scholarships, (b) the opportunities and limitations of scholarships as a college funding mechanism, (c) the components of a scholarship application, (d) tips for preparing scholarship applications and (e) how to avoid scholarship scams. Finally, you will use reputable search engines and HigherEd recommended resources to engage in a personalized scholarship search.

Short answer questions, additional information and the “Why us?” essay

#CA-20

Short answer essays (under 300 words) can be a decisive factor in college admissions. Don’t blow them off! In this lesson, you will learn strategies for responding to short answer essays and the sometimes dreaded, “Why Us?” question. You will then participate in a college “bucket list” activity to outline personalized, thoughtful “Why Us?” responses. Next, you learn how and whether to use the “Additional Information” section of the college application. Finally, you will have 35-minutes of application prep time to work on essays or applications. Your teaching counselor will be available to help as needed.

Note: Students in smaller sized groups may receive more 1:1 attention.

Note: Students applying to colleges via the Common Application are often required to submit supplemental essays.

Mindset for the high school student

#JS-01

Mindset, referred to as the new psychology of success, is a concept developed by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. In this lesson, you will be introduced to the fixed and growth mindsets. You will evaluate different types of self-talk and create personalized growth mindset statements. Finally, you will develop a growth mindset strategic plan to guide you through whatever comes your way during the admissions process (and beyond).

21st century job skill: Creativity , part 1

#JS-02

Dr. Shelley Carson argues that creativity emerges through deliberate (directed) and spontaneous (undirected) pathways. In today’s standards-based and assessment-heavy education system, students often use their deliberate pathway more than their spontaneous pathway. Consequently, creative time is lost. This lesson invites ingenuity, introspection and innovation. This lesson provides you with a dose of curiosity, wonder and interest in what things are like and how they work. During this time of free play for the mind, you will participate in creative challenges that activate the creative “hot spots” of your brain (e.g., the executive center, association centers). You will have time to write, draw, develop, sketch, and/or think. Throughout the lesson, you will also have access to art supplies and Michalko’s Think Pak brainstorming cards. Classical or jazz music will serve as the backdrop. The only rules? No technology and no talking. This time is to appreciate what gets lost in the “roar.” You could end up with a poem, vision board, project proposal, design concept, blog idea, essay topic…

Note: Parts of this lesson are modified for online delivery.

21st century job skill: Self-regulation

#JS-03

Lou Holtz said, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react to it.” Your reactions are influenced by self-regulation, or the ability to monitor and control your thoughts, emotions and behaviors (McClelland, Ponitz, Messersmith, & Tominey, 2010). The goal of this lesson is to help you become a better self-regulator. In this lesson, you will become acquainted with three minds: wise mind, emotional mind, and reasonable mind. You will assess your stress, anxiety and anger triggers and learn how to use self-regulatory techniques such as positive reappraisal/reframing and self-discipline. Finally, you will use the Transactional Stress Model to evaluate your self-regulation (emotional self-regulation) skills.

21st century job skill: Self-direction

#JS-04

Academic success, especially in higher education settings, requires self-direction. In this lesson, you will define “self-directed learner,” examine the characteristics of a self-directed learner, and assess the extent to which you are a self-directed learner. You will also engage in a performance assessment using the principles of self-directed learning, prepare a learning journal, and develop personalized rules to facilitate better learning and studying.

21st century job skill: Leadership

#JS-05

John Maxwell said that a leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. With outstanding scholastic performance, you may know the way. But going the way and showing the way, whether in college or career, requires more than academic excellence. Going and showing the way requires leadership. In this lesson, you will begin (or continue) the process of learning to be a leader. After participating in a brief leadership challenge and considering your real-life leadership roles (some are more obvious than others), you will analyze your decision-making and interaction patterns through the lens of James Kouzes and Barry Posner’s five practices of exemplary leadership: model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart.

21st century job skill: Critical thinking

#JS-06

The Wall Street Journal reported that critical thinking is a critical skill for young workers. No surprises there. “Critical thinking” appears as a requirement in too many job postings to count. But what is it? In this lesson, you will learn about critical thinking, assess your own thinking processes (including thinking errors), and apply critical thinking skills to a case study. Finally, you will answer four frequently-asked interview questions that probe for critical thinking skills.

21st century job skill: Collaboration

#JS-07

High school and college students remark that they are inundated with group work. This is a good thing because group work requires collaboration, one of the sought after 21st century job skills. In today’s economy, collaboration occurs in-person and virtually, across the table and across the ocean. You need to learn how to collaborate. In this lesson, you will enjoy a fast-paced introduction about collaboration and its place in the 21st century economy. You will then become familiar with collaborative intelligence. Finally, you will participate in and/or analyze on-the-job role plays with fictitious characters who just might be on your team one day! Throughout the role plays, you will have the chance to assess and refine your collaboration skills.

21st century job skill: Creativity, part 2

#JS-08

In 2015, Fortune declared that creativity is no longer optional in the workplace. Creativity, the article contends, went from “nice to have” to “must have.” But what is creativity? And when was the last time you were creative? In this lesson, you will define creativity, identify recent instances when you were creative, and engage in a series of brain dumps. As with the “Creativity, part 1” lesson, you will enjoy Kindergarten-inspired “free play.” During “free play” you will have access to art supplies, Michalko’s Think Pak brainstorming cards, and imaginative prompts. Classical or jazz music will serve as the backdrop. The only rules? No use of technology and no talking. This time is to appreciate what gets lost in the “roar.” You could end up with a poem, vision board, project proposal, design concept, blog idea, essay topic… At the end of the lesson, you will think about what routines in your life facilitate creativity.

Note: HigherEd offers two creativity lessons because we value innovation, imagination, rumination, and design. We believe it’s a service to our students to provide creativity incubators, even if short-lived.

21st century job skill: Communication - Listening

#JS-09

Stephen Covey writes that too often we listen with the intent to reply. Does this sound familiar? In this lesson, you will explore why communication is deeply valued within educational institutions and most industries. You will then participate in a “listening challenge” and other activities that force you to listen or be listened to. You will practice active and reflective listening. Finally, you will identify “listening blocks” that could impede your ability to listen effectively in academic, professional, and personal settings.

21st century job skill: Productivity

#JS-10

Being productive is not just about getting more work done. It’s about having more time for yourself, your family, and your hobbies. In this lesson, you will learn the difference between systems and goals and discover the best productivity hacks on the market. Through a process of elimination based on your needs and goals, you will identify two productivity practices to increase efficiency in your life.

21st century job skill: Accountability and Ethics

#JS-11

C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” This lesson is intended to provide you, a soon-to-be college student, with a practical examination of ethics as it applies to college life. In this lesson, you will consider ethical dilemmas often encountered in college. The dilemmas are premised on research from Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and include topics such as cheating, “study drugs” and handling sensitive roommate issues. Later in the lesson, you will prepare a letter to your parent(s), guardian(s), or a trusted adult. The recipient of your letter is the person(s) who will hold you accountable in college. In the letter, outline your expectations for yourself. How will you behave? What values or ethics will you uphold? How do you want to make this person(s) proud?

Stress management in HS

#W-01

In this lesson, you will learn about the biology of stress and discover how stress affects high school students. You will briefly explore the magic and mystery of the adolescent brain. You will then assess commonly recommended stress management techniques for teens. Finally, you design a personalized stress management practice by selecting from a menu of grounding, coping and self-care techniques.

Study skills, concentration, and memory

#W-02

Knowing how to study is as important as knowing what to study! In this lesson, you will review HigherEd’s Study Skills Guide and complete assessments about your study environment, pre-studying behaviors, and concentration techniques. You will then learn about the human memory, the “Curve of Forgetting” and how you can enhance your memory skills.

Note: Assessments are for awareness-building purposes only. Assessments are not psychometrically-validated.

Reading, writing, and research for high school success

#W-03

Reading and writing are key elements to academic literacy. Think of this lesson as a “reading and writing skills tune-up” before AP English, the SAT, ACT, or your first college lecture. In this lesson, you will review HigherEd’s Reading & Comprehension and Writing & Research Guides. You will practice how to compare/contrast, identify cause and effect, summarize, order, and make predictions. Finally, you will assess how you used the writing process (e.g., prewrite, draft, revise, edit, publish) in a recent writing assignment.

Stress in the college admissions process

#W-04

Stressed out by college admissions process? You are not alone! In this lesson, your teaching counselor will discuss the pressures that may (often) accompany applying to college. The pressures result from anxiety about rejection, competition, finances, and/or application completion. You will learn how former applicants made it through the application process, from making their college lists to submitting applications, from waiting for the admissions decision to experiencing the excitement of acceptance or the disappointment of denial. You will also learn how some colleges, including among the elite, are interested in reducing application-related stress.

My stress triggers, thinking patterns assessment, stress reduction techniques, and stress kit

#W-05

Managing stress is vital to your health (and of course to your performance as a student, athlete, artist, etc.). In this lesson, you will identify your stress triggers. This is a private exercise in which you consider relational, academic, physical, emotional, and other factors that cause stress in your life. Next, you will identify thinking patterns that increase (or decrease) your stress levels. Finally, you will assess or refine your stress reduction techniques and learn about the “stress kits” offered by the University of Chicago.

Mindfulness and meditation

#W-06

Mindfulness and meditation comes in many forms. In this lesson, you will learn about core mindfulness skills, participate in a seated and/or QiGong standing meditation, and select mindfulness activities you would actually use at home and in school. You will also participate in gratitude practices.

Fall seven times, stand up eight: Developing personal resilience

#W-07

Resilience is “in.” In this lesson, you will learn about resilience via brief lecture and self-study. You will then discover which of the 24 core character strengths and virtues you possess, particularly in light of difficulties or challenges you’ve faced. Finally, you will learn and rehearse realistic, positive, and flexible cognitions (thoughts) and become aware of negative, maladaptive, self-hating, I-quit oriented cognitions. During the final part of the lesson, you will prepare “blue-green” statements to calm, inspire and motivate you during times of hardship.

Sleep matters

#W-08

In this lesson, you will explore the science of sleep, study your sleep habits, debunk sleep-related myths, and discover your sleep-hygiene index. You will also identify what components make for your best rest and learn how to sleep even if your college roommate is a night owl!

Depression, suicidality and college students: Aware and not alone

#W-09

In 2014, UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program published research indicating that college students reported the lowest levels of self-rated emotional health in 49 years. Soon after, The Wall Street Journal published a story entitled, “Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College.” HigherEd created this lesson because (a) college students can and do struggle with mental and emotional health challenges and (b) the discussion about mental health should begin before college. In this lesson, you will learn what depression looks, sounds and feels like. You will become familiar with statistics about depression among young adults and discover treatment options. In the final part of this lesson, you will learn about suicide prevention. Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses. You will learn about the risk factors for suicide, how to get help, and if needed, how to help someone else.

Note: This lesson is about building awareness. It is not therapy and does not take the place of therapy.

Anxiety on the college campus

#W-10

In May, 2015, the New York Times described a Penn State study in which researchers found that anxiety had surpassed depression as the #1 diagnosis for college students. Not long after the study was published, many universities issued statements regarding how anxiety (and depression) affects students.

In this lesson, you will develop awareness about anxiety. You will learn the answers to questions such as, Am I the only one who might feel anxiety? What does anxiety look, sound and feel like? How can anxiety be prevented? What are lifestyle practices to reduce anxiety? What are the anxiety treatment options available at college health centers? How does technology (e.g., social media) affect anxiety? At the end of this lesson, you will develop a personalized anxiety prevention and reduction plan.

My digital footprint + Cleaning up my social media profile

#W-11

Admissions officers may Google you. Same for employers or romantic partners. What comes up? Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr? In this lesson, you will reflect on your digital life and assess your knowledge about social media and online security. You will learn how to keep your personal information and devices secure and how to reduce your digital footprint. You will learn about the dangers of online oversharing and develop an awareness of cyberbullying and cyberstalking, including your rights should you become a victim. You will then participate in a Social Media Cleanup exercise. The goal of the exercise is to “clean” your social media presence and increase your security settings. The “cleanup” will be helpful to you as a college or job applicant.

Interpersonal skills for college and beyond

#W-12

People get hired for professional skills and fired for personal skills (Boles, 2014, The Art of Self-Directed Learning). Those with well-developed personal skills are able to understand subtle context, build trust, assess character, and empathize (Boles, 2014, The Art of Self-Directed Learning). Machines can’t do these things and therefore interpersonal skills remain as important as ever. During this lesson, you will learn about interpersonal skills and why they are important. You will then analyze common college-related social and academic scenarios that require managing conflict, adhering to appropriate boundaries, and taking the perspective and maintaining positive relations with others.

4-day Intensive

Lesson Title and Code

Description of Lesson

My activity list and admissions profile

#CA-2

The extracurricular record plays an important role in the admissions process, particularly at competitive colleges and universities. In this lesson, you will develop or perfect your activity list and assess its content. No activities, no problem! We'll help you find activities. Too many activities and over-scheduled? We'll help you achieve balance. Later in the lesson, you will develop an admissions profile to see how you match up to the competition.

My college criteria

#CA-3

There are many qualities that create a "college match." Too often, students focus on only one or two. In this lesson, you will develop a list of your desired college qualities (e.g., large, small, urban, rural, in-state, varsity and/or intramural sports programs, student diversity, Greek life, art scene, music majors, guaranteed housing). You will then create a "My top ten college criteria" document to reference throughout your college list development process.

My college list: Part 1, Developing my initial list

#CA-4

There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. and almost two million results for the Google query, “college search.” We scoured the internet to find the best college search tools so you can efficiently and effectively develop your college list. This is the first of three college list development lessons. In this lesson, you consider factors such as rankings, geographic hooks and the concept of the “match.” You will then use two college search engines to begin developing your college list.

My college list: Part 2, Refining my list

#CA-5

This is the second of three college list development lessons. In this lesson, you (a) use search engines to refine your college list, (b) discover the “Western University Exchange,” and (c) conduct personalized college research. Throughout the lesson, your HigherEd teaching counselor will be available to assist you as needed. Students applying to large research and/or state universities will be presented with strategies to employ during their college selection process.

My college list: Part 3, My “short list”

#CA-6

This is the final college list development lesson. In this lesson, you will finalize your college list via a “concentric circle-short list” activity and take advantage of more than one hour of personalized college research with assistance provided by your HigherEd teaching counselor.

My standardized testing toolbox

#CA-7

In this lesson, you will identify what standardized tests fit your needs and review test taking and study strategies. You will also discover the ever-growing list of schools that no longer require standardized test scores for admission. Finally, you will learn (and practice) how to manage test-anxiety.

Choosing a major

#CA-8

“I’ll just put undecided.” Not yet! In this lesson, you will participate in a two-step assessment process to identify potential majors that fit your interests. You will also develop a plan to explore/engage 1-3 of these majors. Why do this? For two reasons. First, it doesn’t hurt to think about academic interests, especially since you’ll likely have far more academic options in college than you had in high school. Second, many colleges want to see how you’ve demonstrated interest in your proposed majors. This activity sets the table for you to do the demonstrating.

Financial aid basics: Loans, grants, the FAFSA and beyond

#CA-11

In this lesson, you will learn about common college financing mechanisms: loans, grants, scholarships and work study. You will define common financial aid terms, receive tutorials on the FAFSA and CSS, and discover financial aid tips and application money saving practices. Finally, you will assess the financial fit of the schools on your college list. For instance, how generous are your schools’ financial aid packages? How many first-year students have their financial needs met? What is the average financial aid package for first-year students? Ask questions now and be happy that you won’t pay (literally) later.

The Essay: What do I write about?

#CA-13

Numbers (e.g., SAT, GPA) are important to your college application, but so are stories. The college essay is the vehicle through which you tell stories that add dimension to your grades and test scores. Your GPA can’t tell a reader what you stand for, what you have experienced or what excites you. The essay can. The essay is your opportunity to speak directly to the admissions committee. HigherEd’s essay lessons help you to make the most of this opportunity. In this lesson, you will (a) learn what college admissions officers look for when reading essays, (b) develop an essay-writing timeline, and (c) participate in a series of brainstorming activities to develop and refine your essay topics. By the end of the lesson, you will have two or three “favorites” at the ready.

The Essay: How do I write it?

#CA-14

Admissions officers want to know who you are and what you care about, but they also want to know that you can write clearly. In this lesson, you will develop essay topics and prepare thesis statements. You will then discover essay writing tips related to style, structure, draft-writing and proofreading. By the end of this lesson, you will (a) have prepared thesis statements for one or two essay topics and (b) be familiar with the best college essay writing strategies.

Note: The more competitive the school, the more the essay figures into the admissions decision.

Application strategies: Common Application, CAAS, My application story, and application tips

#CA-15

It takes time, thought, and effort to prepare an impressive application. The next three lessons summarize the most important tips and strategies you need to craft your best application. In this lesson, you will (a) become familiar with the Common Application and the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success (CAAS), (b) learn what admissions officers look for when reviewing an application, (c) develop your application story and personal tagline, and (d) review application tips for the demographic and academic portions of the application (e.g., reporting grades and submitting academic products).

Note: Application strategy lessons are relevant for scholarship applications, the Common Application, CAAS portfolios, UC applications and for most private school applications.

Application strategies: Early admission strategies, reporting standardized test scores, and application tips

#CA-16

In this lesson, you will (a) consider the advantages of applying early decision, early action, and regular decision, (b) develop an early decision, early action and/or regular decision strategy, (c) learn how to respond to questions about demonstrated interest, application “flags” and ability to pay, among other areas, (d) understand how to report standardized test scores, and (e) create score reporting strategies for specific schools.

Note: Students not applying early decision or early action and/or not taking standardized tests will be given the opportunity to work on essays or applications (e.g., CSU, UC, CommonApp, CAAS). Assistance and guidance will be provided intermittently.

Application strategies: Your school profile, transcript, Application Submission Checklist, and strategies for waitlist or deferral decisions

#CA-17

In this lesson, you will (a) assess your “school profile,” (b) evaluate your transcript for accuracy, trends, extremes, and legibility, (c) review HigherEd’s “Application submission checklist” and (d) prepare yourself in the event of a deferral or waitlist decision.

The letter of recommendation

#CA-18

Are you who you say you are? What do professionals say about your contributions, skills, and personality? To answer these questions, college admissions officers rely on letters of recommendation. The more competitive the school, the more the letters factor into admissions decisions. In this lesson, you will (a) learn about the purpose of the letter of recommendation and discover the ingredients of a compelling letter, (b) identify who, when and how to ask for a letter of recommendation and (c) create your own “Letter of Recommendation Inventory” to provide to your writers.

Note: Applying to schools that don’t require letters of recommendation? Make no mistake, letters of recommendation are relevant for many scholarships, grant and work-study opportunities. Your high school letters may also come in handy when applying for campus employment or residence life roles.

Scholarships 101

#CA-19

Scholarships can defray your college costs. In this lesson, you will learn about (a) need-based, merit-based, university-awarded and other types of scholarships, (b) the opportunities and limitations of scholarships as a college funding mechanism, (c) the components of a scholarship application, (d) tips for preparing scholarship applications and (e) how to avoid scholarship scams. Finally, you will use reputable search engines and HigherEd recommended resources to engage in a personalized scholarship search.

Short answer questions, additional information and the “Why us?” essay

#CA-20

Short answer essays (under 300 words) can be a decisive factor in college admissions. Don’t blow them off! In this lesson, you will learn strategies for responding to short answer essays and the sometimes dreaded, “Why Us?” question. You will then participate in a college “bucket list” activity to outline personalized, thoughtful “Why Us?” responses. Next, you learn how and whether to use the “Additional Information” section of the college application. Finally, you will have 35-minutes of application prep time to work on essays or applications. Your teaching counselor will be available to help as needed.

Note: Students in smaller sized groups may receive more 1:1 attention.

Note: Students applying to colleges via the Common Application are often required to submit supplemental essays.

4-day Tune-Up

Lesson Title and Code

Description of Lesson

Preparing for the academic transition: Small fish, big pond

#T-01

Congratulations! This transition-to-college lesson is for you if you have been accepted to and reserved your place at a college or university. Time to be proactive! In this lesson, you will learn the basics of academic advising and develop a list of questions to ask your future academic advisor. You will also consider the differences between HS and college academic expectations and decide what you may need to do differently as a college student. The remainder of the lesson is focused on discovering the academic resources available at your future university. Remember, the early bird gets the worm. Take advantage of this lesson to learn what is available so that you can prevent academic frustration and maximize opportunities for growth.

Budgeting and money management for college students: Want versus need

#T-02

In 2015, HigherOne and EverFi conducted a survey of 43,000 college students from across the US. Students were asked about their financial histories and money management skills. After reviewing the survey results, Jillian Berman of Marketwatch.com observed, "The same teens saddled with thousands of dollars in debt to attend college have little understanding of how to put themselves in the best position to pay it back." Continuing, Berman noted that students living on their own for the first time often learn basic financial lessons by "over-drafting on their dwindling accounts to buy a slice of pizza or forgetting to pay a bill and discovering the late fees later."

Soon-to-graduate or recently-graduated seniors: College may be the first time you live away from home, take charge of your academic life, manage your health, well-being, relationships, activities, leisure time, and…finances. In this lesson, you will learn about personal finance, a topic too often ignored among college students.

Personal finance is as important a topic as any. Without an understanding of basic money management, you will be ill-informed to manage a budget and credit card(s) and you may be unable to understand and adhere to loan terms. Such deficiencies in money management lead to financial-related stress that could affect academic performance, physical and mental well-being, and employment opportunities It is too risky to wait to discover gaps in your financial literacy. Discover them now, when there's less on the line.

In this lesson, you will learn how to manage money through budgeting. First, you will learn about the components of a budget and appreciate the difference between a “need” and a “want.” You will then create your own college budget. In the budget creation process, you will evaluate your sources of income as well as your expenses. You will make evaluations given whatever financial information you have regarding your income, loans and the cost of living and other expenses at your future college. As with any budget, if your income doesn't cover expenses, you will decide what expenses need to be reduced or eliminated.

Understanding credit

#T-03

This lesson is an introduction to the world of credit. According to nerdwallet.com, "Debt is an unwelcome guest at the table in many American households. The average U.S. household with debt carries $15,355 in credit card debt and $129,579 in total debt." In this lesson, you will (a) learn how credit and debt work, (b) understand the advantages and disadvantages of using a credit card, (c) consider how to choose a credit card, and (d) learn how to use credit cards responsibly. The goal is for you to develop an awareness of credit that will keep you out of debt or lessen the amount of debt you incur.

Understanding student loans

#T-04

In this lesson, you will learn the basics about borrowing! Through class discussion, personalized activities and case studies, you will learn about payment plans, student loan interest deduction, consolidation, income based repayment, and loan forgiveness. You will also develop an organizational system to monitor your loans.

Saving and investing for college students

#T-05

It's not too early to learn about saving and investing, even if you don't have the money to save or invest! No matter your career path, saving and investing are critical to financial security. In this lesson, you learn about the benefits of saving and investing, the types of investment methods, and the differences between banks and credit unions. You also learn about the stock market. Why does the stock market exist? What are the conditions needed for it to operate? What are the world's major stock markets and stock indexes? Why do shares prices change? How do you buy stock? And what do those huge charts with all the symbols mean? During the lesson, you will participate in investment-related activities and receive investment and savings tips specifically for college students.

Taking advantage of resources at my college health center

#T-06

Colleges and universities have various structures and organizational bodies to provide medical and health care services, including prevention and health promotion services. In a 2013 Forbes article entitled, "How college health centers help students succeed," David Skorton and Glenn Altschuler noted, "Of all the dramatic changes in higher education in recent years, one that goes largely unnoticed is the tremendous growth in the mission, services, and facilities of health centers." Skorton and Altschuler continue "Today, driven by a broader and, in our judgment, better understanding of health and its impact on learning, many institutions of higher education provide much more." It is reassuring that universities increasingly provide services to help you make good (or better) choices about sleep, nutrition, substance use, sex, and stress management. Of course, these life-enhancing and life-saving services are useless if you're unaware of them.

In this lesson, you become aware of the services offered by your university's health center. You'll have time (and privacy) to examine your future college/university’s health center. What services are offered? How much do services cost? If possible, you will learn the names, faces and contact information of service providers. By the end of the lesson, you will know who's where and why!

Why bother doing this? Because too many college students are provided with a rapid-fire, topical overview of health center services during orientation, a time when apprehension, anxiety and excitement make it difficult to retain information. To be fair, college orientation leaders have much to share as they onboard students and therefore it is understandable that they can’t spend hours on one topic. Nevertheless, we believe more time should be devoted to educating students about their university’s health and wellness services. That’s why we developed this lesson!

Realities and consequences: Drinking on the college campus

#T-07

Each August or September, students arrive on college campuses to experience new things and meet new people. Unfortunately, many students also have their first experiences with heavy drinking and its ugly by-products (e.g., violence, sexual aggression, poisoning, brain injury and even death). In this lesson you learn about drinking on college campuses, drinking culture, binge drinking, liabilities associated with drinking, and high-risk time periods for alcohol over-consumption. You will review your college/university’s alcohol policy and discuss case studies about college students’ experiences with alcohol. You will also answer a series of questions about how you will handle exposure to alcohol.

Realities and consequences: Prescription drugs on the college campus

#T-08

Around 1/3 of college students will abuse prescription drugs during their college career. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are Oxycontin, Vicodin, Adderall, and Concerta. The slippery slope to misuse or abuse can start with innocent questions such as, “Can I have one of your ‘stay awake’ pills?” or “Do you have something to help me fall asleep?” In this lesson, you will learn the vocabulary of prescription drugs (e.g., depressant, stimulant, prescription v. over-the counter), recognize the difference between use, misuse, and abuse and dispel common myths related to prescription drugs. You will also learn about dependence and addiction. Finally, you will identify how to protect yourself from prescription drug abuse.

Staying safe on + off campus

#T-09

It is easy to develop a false sense of security when surrounded by academic centers and tree-lined or urban-hip campus environments. However, the fact remains that crime occurs at and around college campuses. While it is unnecessary to become obsessed with potential criminal activity, it makes sense to become familiar with basic safety precautions and to learn about your university’s crime prevention and reporting systems.

In this lesson, you will learn about general crime prevention tips and college-related crime prevention tips. You will then identify crime prevention services specific to your college/university. In the final part of the lesson, you will learn about sexual assault on college campuses. You will review data about campus sexual assault, develop an understanding of sexual harassment (as defined by the U.S. government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and become aware of the myths (and facts) about sexual harassment and sexual assault. You will then learn about the impact of sexual assault (on the victim) and how to prevent being falsely accused. Finally, you will identify your college/university’s sexual assault response resources and services (e.g., reporting options, medical services, counseling, etc.).

Note: Regarding the sexual assault portion of the lesson, attention is given both to the victim and the falsely accused. Sexual assault is known to be grossly under-reported and therefore it is critical to educate women and men about their rights and the people and services that exist to help them in the event that they are victimized. It is also important to build awareness among women and men about how to avoid being falsely accused. For instance, young people must strictly avoid sexually harassing behavior and clearly understand the definition of consent (and how alcohol or other substances can affect one’s ability to grant consent).

Stress in the college admissions process

#W-04

Stressed out by college admissions process? You are not alone! In this lesson, your teaching counselor will discuss the pressures that may (often) accompany applying to college. The pressures result from anxiety about rejection, competition, finances, and/or application completion. You will learn how former applicants made it through the application process, from making their college lists to submitting applications, from waiting for the admissions decision to experiencing the excitement of acceptance or the disappointment of denial. You will also learn how some colleges, including among the elite, are interested in reducing application-related stress.

Mindfulness and meditation

#W-06

Mindfulness and meditation comes in many forms. In this lesson, you will learn about core mindfulness skills, participate in a seated and/or QiGong standing meditation, and select mindfulness activities you would actually use at home and in school. You will also participate in gratitude practices.

Fall seven times, stand up eight: Developing personal resilience

#W-07

Resilience is “in.” In this lesson, you will learn about resilience via brief lecture and self-study. You will then discover which of the 24 core character strengths and virtues you possess, particularly in light of difficulties or challenges you’ve faced. Finally, you will learn and rehearse realistic, positive, and flexible cognitions (thoughts) and become aware of negative, maladaptive, self-hating, I-quit oriented cognitions. During the final part of the lesson, you will prepare “blue-green” statements to calm, inspire and motivate you during times of hardship.

Sleep matters

#W-08

In this lesson, you will explore the science of sleep, study your sleep habits, debunk sleep-related myths, and discover your sleep-hygiene index. You will also identify what components make for your best rest and learn how to sleep even if your college roommate is a night owl!

Depression, suicidality and college students: Aware and not alone

#W-09

In 2014, UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program published research indicating that college students reported the lowest levels of self-rated emotional health in 49 years. Soon after, The Wall Street Journal published a story entitled, “Good Mental Health Away From Home Starts Before College.” HigherEd created this lesson because (a) college students can and do struggle with mental and emotional health challenges and (b) the discussion about mental health should begin before college. In this lesson, you will learn what depression looks, sounds and feels like. You will become familiar with statistics about depression among young adults and discover treatment options. In the final part of this lesson, you will learn about suicide prevention. Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses. You will learn about the risk factors for suicide, how to get help, and if needed, how to help someone else.

Note: This lesson is about building awareness. It is not therapy and does not take the place of therapy.

Anxiety on the college campus

#W-10

In May, 2015, the New York Times described a Penn State study in which researchers found that anxiety had surpassed depression as the #1 diagnosis for college students. Not long after the study was published, many universities issued statements regarding how anxiety (and depression) affects students.

In this lesson, you will develop awareness about anxiety. You will learn the answers to questions such as, Am I the only one who might feel anxiety? What does anxiety look, sound and feel like? How can anxiety be prevented? What are lifestyle practices to reduce anxiety? What are the anxiety treatment options available at college health centers? How does technology (e.g., social media) affect anxiety? At the end of this lesson, you will develop a personalized anxiety prevention and reduction plan.

My digital footprint + Cleaning up my social media profile

#W-11

Admissions officers may Google you. Same for employers or romantic partners. What comes up? Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr? In this lesson, you will reflect on your digital life and assess your knowledge about social media and online security. You will learn how to keep your personal information and devices secure and how to reduce your digital footprint. You will learn about the dangers of online oversharing and develop an awareness of cyberbullying and cyberstalking, including your rights should you become a victim. You will then participate in a Social Media Cleanup exercise. The goal of the exercise is to “clean” your social media presence and increase your security settings. The “cleanup” will be helpful to you as a college or job applicant.

Let the adventure begin.

   

Join us, Senior!