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Here at
College Connection, we’re hunkering down, ready to offer some sage advice for high school students as they march forward - socially distanced, of course - on their journey to college.

First and foremost, of course, would be to STAY HOME. Help to flatten the curve of the Corona Virus, not only to keep yourself healthy, but to avoid infecting others, particularly the most vulnerable. Socialize online (teens are experts at that) rather than in the schoolyard, at friends' homes, or in the local park. 

With respect to school work, keep up with it. Most school districts will have various aspects of e-learning in place. You are not on Spring Break or summer vacation. DO NOT SLACK OFF. 

For high school seniors already accepted to college, proceed, within the realm of what can be done without visiting campus, as if classes will, in fact, begin in September. Make your college decision. Pay your deposit. Visit your college web portal to complete college-specific requirements. Keep (start?) searching and applying for college scholarships via search engines such as FastWeb.com. Submit the FAFSA (if you haven't already done so). Stay in touch with your high school guidance counselor to make sure all college-ready essentials are taken care of in a timely manner. READ YOUR EMAILS. That's how colleges are most likely to contact you.

For high school juniors, who would now or soon be starting the college application and admissions process in earnest, the good news is that almost everything you have to do at this point can be done online.

That said, here's a "To Do" list of sorts (batteries sold separately :-) to keep high school juniors (and even Sophs and Freshmen, when it comes to searching and applying for scholarships) engaged and on track:

- Create a new Gmail email address, to be used exclusively for everything college. 

- Write all of your logins in a Composition notebook (if you are environmentally friendly, use a decomposition notebook :-) Naviance, Common App, College Board, colleges, scholarship search engines, all have logins. Don't trust them to memory, your laptop, or cell phone, let alone to the Cloud.

- Don't sweat missing the ACT and/or SAT. Many colleges no longer require these tests. Over 800 are already Test-Optional. Most are likely to test requirements given the current situation. Students may be able to take AP exams online from home. Check with your Guidance office.

- Naviance (for those high schools that use it) - (a) Build that Resume (in the About Me section). Every activity, in school and out; every award, honor, citation, and pat on the back; basically, anything you have done during waking hours from the 9th grade on. [Include planned senior year activities as well, even though we are still in the junior year.] (b) Add prospective colleges to Colleges I'm Thinking About under the Colleges tab as you begin to build your college list.

- College Search - Search for and refine your college preferences at collegedata.com. Create an account. Plug in as much info as possible about your interests (academic and otherwise), college characteristics (size, location, housing, etc.), and a list of colleges that would be a good fit, based on the criteria you enter, will be presented. [You may also click on the What Are My Chances tab to get a sense (not etched in stone but better than the Magic 8 Ball) of whether you are on target for any particular school based on prior years' admissions.] Also check out CollegeRaptor.com and The Big Future, for guidance in honing in on your college choices as well as available majors.

- Common App - (a) Create an account at Common App at www.commonapp.org (using your new Gmail email). (b) Begin to work on the Common App main sections.  (c) Add colleges you are interested in via the College Search tool. (d) View My Colleges for each college for deadlines and admissions criteria.  (e) Work on sections under the Common App tab (Profile, Family, Education, etc.). (f) Check out and answer Supplemental Questions for individual colleges as added to Common App under the My Colleges tab. (g) Take a look at, but do NOT work on, Writing Supplements (for colleges that have same), at this time. NOTE: Common App goes "Live" for 2020-21 on August 1. Your info and data will rollover. You may then work on college-specific Writing Supplements, if any.

- Colleges NOT on Common App - 
Visit college websites (typically under Admissions or Prospective Students) to access proprietary applications and/or to ascertain where applications may be found (i.e., Coalition For College). Create accounts. Begin to work on general application profiles only after same become available for Fall 2021 admission, typically after August 1.

- Demonstrate interest. (a) Request information from colleges you are or may be interested in via the college websites, and like/follow colleges on social media. (b) In the fall, sign up and attend information sessions for colleges that visit your high school. [Calendar of college visits, as well as sign up, are typically found on Naviance.]

- Scholarships - Register, complete Student and Parent Profiles, and begin to search for scholarships on fastweb.com. Watch for and read emails, and apply, apply, APPLY! There are literally thousands of scholarship opportunities out there. Most are little more than contests or sweepstakes, with no essays required. Take advantage of FREE money! [The $2000 No Essay Required Scholarshipfor instance, is monthly. Apply now, and again in April, May, June, and so on!] Also check out NicheCheggScholarships.comScholarshipOwlUnigo. Set aside and dedicate time each week to search for scholarships, and, did I mention, apply, apply, APPLY!

- Take A Virtual Tour - You can't visit college campuses, but you can visit colleges you may be interested in without ever having to get out of your pajamas! [Not that you were planning on getting out of your PJs anyway. LOL] Check out these websites:  youniversityTV.comcampustours.comecampustours.com.

- College Essay -  Begin to think seriously about your Common App essay. Jot down ideas and bullet points. WRITE. Keep in mind that regardless of the prompt, colleges want to know who you are, who you hope to become over the next few years, and what, other than your Nintendo Switch and that 72" HDTV, you will bring to campus, and to the community beyond. Aside from grades, scores, and activities, the essay is your opportunity to stand out above the madding crowd, showcasing your character and your personality.

- Keep Guidance In The Loop. Speak with (email, text, smoke signal) your Guidance Counselor regularly to discuss college plans, high school requirements, scholarship opportunities, etc. Remember, your school counselor will be writing that all-important Guidance Report, so familiarity is a good thing!

- Contact us at College Connection. Visit our website at www.CollegeConnect.info. Call us at 516-345-8766. Email us at info@collegeconnect.info. Tweet us @GetCollege. We are always here to help!

- Above all. Stay calm. This, too, shall pass, and will ultimately make for a great story to tell your children and grandchildren (as they roll their eyes, having themselves survived the zombie apocalypse). 

All of this, of course, is but the tip of the iceberg.We could elaborate further on any and all points, and there are so many areas not covered here, both the mundane and the nuanced.

We’re sure you're thinking, "Wow. TMI," right about now. Yes, the process, even when condensed into a single missive, can be overwhelming. That, folks, is what we’re here for. So give a holler with your questions, concerns, and the last known location of 2-ply toilet paper. The initial telephone consultation is FREE.