Seniors: Fall 2018
Develop Your Essay
Not everyone will need to submit a personal statement or essay with their college application. Many public universities rely on your transcript and test scores to make their admissions decisions. Other schools use a holistic review process and will ask for letters of recommendation and a writing sample from applicants. Know what each school requires from you. The Common Application, accepted by more than 750 colleges (including the U of Oregon), has six essay prompts for you to choose from.
These short videos from Khan Academy's College Admissions YouTube Channel offer helpful essay advice from college admissions professionals:
What's Your Testing Plan?
Most colleges ask for an ACT or SAT score as part of your application. What's your plan for taking or retaking the SAT and/or ACT? Counselors have fee waivers for students who qualify for Free or Reduced lunch.
College Letters of Recommendation
The best way to obtain recommendations is to personally ask teachers who know you well if they have the time to write you a strong letter. Many colleges advise applicants to use references from core classes like science, math, social studies and English, but sometimes an elective teacher can effectively describe your academic readiness for college too. Use your best judgment. If a faculty member agrees to write for you, your next step is to connect the teacher to your Naviance account. This enables them to submit their letter electronically from their Naviance account. Next, follow up with a thank you note to the teacher and provide any requested materials (such as a resume or activities list). Please ask for no more than two letters of recommendation from LHS faculty.
Watch the video "How to Request a Letter of Recommendation from a Teacher in Naviance" for step by step instructions.
- To obtain a transcript for college applications, seniors first create a list of colleges in their Naviance Family Connection account (Naviance > colleges tab > colleges I’m applying to). Next, seniors bring a signed, blue Transcript Request Form to the Counseling Center. This form is also used to request a letter of recommendation or Secondary School Report from a counselor.
- Students who need an unofficial or official transcript for any reason other than a college application make their request via an online form. For their security, students must be logged in to their @apps4pps.net account to make a transcript request. It is common to need a transcript for scholarships, internship applications or your auto insurance company's "good student discount."
About the College Application Process
The process of applying to college can be time-consuming, costly and complex as there are multiple tasks to be completed and deadlines to meet. Seniors can expect to submit an application and fee to each school to which they seek admission and to supply supporting documents as requested by the various institutions. Fees can vary from $25 - $100 per application. Fee deferral forms are available from school counselors for students qualifying for the free or reduced school meal program.
Public four-year colleges commonly ask for an SAT or ACT score report and transcript. Typically, private four-year colleges request your high school transcript, SAT and/or ACT scores, an essay or personal statement, a list of extracurricular activities, and recommendations from high school teachers and counselors. Students applying to a conservatory, the type of college offering professional degrees in the fine and performing arts, may be asked to audition in person or via a portfolio or recordings. Military colleges may require physical fitness tests and a recommendation from a Member of Congress or US Senator. Familiarize yourself with each school’s application process, deadlines and requirements as part of your college research.
Hundreds of four-year colleges accept the Common Application and/or the online application provided by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, which can simplify the process of applying for admission. These tools allow you to create one application and submit it to multiple schools. Community colleges in Oregon, sometimes called junior colleges or two-year schools, have a simple online application and do not require test scores, essays or recommendations for admission. Community colleges welcome all who wish to enroll. Scholarship programs at individual community colleges, however, may require essays and transcripts.
The average number of applications submitted by the college bound members of Lincoln’s Class of 2018 was 6.5. Sixty-three of those seniors applied to just one school. Some of these “one and done” applicants were confident, after researching the requirements at public schools like Oregon State University or Western Oregon University, that they would be admitted to the school they wished to attend. Others chose to apply to a selective institution on an Early Decision contract, agreeing to consider just one school in exchange for an early response to their application. If accepted, they are bound to attend that school - if denied, they have ample time to apply elsewhere.
If you are interested in a highly selective institution, studying the academic profiles of previously admitted students can tell you if you are likely to be a competitive candidate. Additional research will help you identify moderately selective colleges that are more likely to admit you. Use your Oregon Career Information System account to look up the schools which interest you. CIS has details about test scores and GPA's of the most recently enrolled freshman class at most US schools. Naviance has historical, self-reported admission data from previous Lincoln HS applicants to many US colleges.