Category Archives: Applications

Setting up your College Greenlight account

In case you missed the Junior College Knowledge class this week, here are the instructions on how to set up your College Greenlight account. Start at, and then follow the Prezi embedded below.


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Filed under Applications, Nicholas Academic Center, Research

Don’t Panic

But the deadlines for college applications are approaching.

This does not mean that you should stop reading this and go submit your application.

This does mean that you should:

  • Gather your transcripts.
  • Have a trusted college guidance counselor offer feedback on your personal statement(s) (not the day before, but now).
  • Ask your counselor and teachers for letters of recommendations (before you write their information down. If you need guidance, check here)
  • Carefully fill out your application and have a trusted college guidance counselor review for common mistakes.
  • And then click the submit button.

So now that you have been reminded, don’t procrastinate! The online applications will get more and more crowded as the deadlines get closer. If you’re applying to California State University (CSU/Cal State) or University of California (UC) schools, word to the wise: the website will crash frequently during the final days.

And if you need a reminder on the application sites: CSU, UC, Common Application (for many private colleges and universities). If the school you are applying to can’t be found here, Google is your best friend. Find the school’s website and look for their “Apply” tab/button/page.

Again – Don’t Panic. But do get a move on. The worst rejection from a college or university is the one you give yourself by missing the deadline.

So get your app in gear and get ready to submit!

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Filed under Applications, Cal States, Common App, CSU Mentor, Nicholas Academic Center, Seniors, UCs

HOWTO: Send SAT scores to colleges/universities

You have been asking how to send your SAT scores to your colleges, and we have heard!

Here’s how to do it:

1.)    Go to the College Board website, click on SAT (at the top, on the left)
2.)    Click on Send Scores on the right-hand side
3.)    You’ll be prompted to sign in, so do so 🙂
4.)    Choose your colleges from their search tool
5.)    Add the schools you want to send scores to
6.)    Click on order scores.

HELPFUL HINT: If you’re applying to California State University schools (a.k.a Cal States a.k.a CSUs), send your score to California State University Mentor [NAME OF CAMPUS].  They’ll send scores to all the CSUs you applied to. DO NOT send them to a specific CSU campus. It has to be the MENTOR one for all of the CSUs to get your scores in 1 go.


Filed under Applications, Cal States, Nicholas Academic Center, SAT scores

The Cover Letter

You may have run into this term for internships and scholarships and jobs you’ve applied for. These 2 words show up in the required document list without any other instructions or suggestions from the organization requesting said letter as to what is should look like or include.

Well this is the post that will give you an idea of how to approach this most important of documents for all future job applications.

The first thing to keep in mind is that a cover letter is a letter. It is a business letter in form, but it is still a letter written to people, not machines. Make sure you write an actual letter, otherwise you come across as disrespectful to the people you’re writing to, which will not help your endeavor.

You also need to remember this is the one place you have to explain what you’re writing about.

If you’re writing this letter to ask for money, you will want to introduce yourself briefly. And you want to make sure that you include the dollar amount you are requesting. Along with that, you may want to include the total amount you are covering and other ways that you are coming up with that money. You will definitely want to include how you would use the amount of money you are requesting. No one wants to give money to someone and feel like the money went to something they didn’t want.

If you’re writing this letter as part of a job or internship application, this is the place for you to introduce yourself and explain what you would bring to the company and how they might benefit from hiring you. Provide an experience that has made you into a great candidate. It is also a place for you to share what you would gain from working for them.

Other than that, you want to make sure the letter is formatted like a business letter, and that your tone matches the professional nature of the letter and this type of exchange. You don’t want to make the people you’re trying to convince to give you money or a chance think that you’re not serious about this request. And, as with any written work, make sure you proofread a copy that has also been run through the spell check included with most word processing programs.

So now that you know what a cover letter should include, what does it look like put together? Check this example for a scholarship cover letter.

As with all types of writing, the best way to get better at cover letters is to write them. So when you think a job or internship or scholarship looks like it might fit, write the cover letter and apply! You never know what might happen…

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Filed under Applications, Nicholas Academic Center, Scholarships

The Common Application is here! Woot-woot!

Hi everybody, just wanted to let you know that the Common Application, used for private colleges, is now open and ready for (your) business! Click on the link to the right of this page, create an account (remember to write down your username and password), and start inputting your information.

You’re probably asking yourself, “why do I want to start this early? It’s still summer.” Well…you want to make your life easier during your senior year, right? The more you do now, the less you’ll have to do later on. In other words, when all of your friends are filling out their applications the night before they’re due, you’ll be able to chillax (or study for that AP Bio test). You will be ahead of the game, which is always an advantage.

Besides, I hear a lot of you complaining, “I’m bored,” so here’s something to do. 🙂

Remember, you do not need to choose the private schools you’re applying to right now. You can fill out all the other info that the application asks–for example, your address, classes you’ve taken, volunteer work, etc–and you can save it. When you’ve decided which schools you’re applying to, then you can fill out that info. Got it?

Also, now would be a good time to draft and finish your personal statement. Once again, I know it’s summer, and working on your personal statement isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. However, when all your friends are feverishly writing theirs the night before they’re due at 3 a.m. , you’ll be getting a good night’s sleep.

Remember, if you need any help or have any questions, let me know. After all, that’s what I’m here for…


Filed under Applications

Application 101

How do I apply to colleges?

For Cal States, you will log on to www.csumentor,edu and create an account (write down your username and password! Don’t assume you’ll remember it). From there, you can fill out one application and submit it to multiple campuses. For the UCs, it’s very much the same: you fill out one application, and then you can submit it to multiple campuses. For privates, many (but not all!) schools use the Common Application. Log on to, create an account, fill out the application, and then submit to the schools of your choice. However, don’t think you’re done there! Most of the schools require you to fill out “supplemental information,” such as writing an additional paragraph or answering a specific question. Each school requires different info, so be sure you double check what they need from you.

When are college applications due?

The filing application period for Cal States is October 1st to November 30th. For the UC system, it’s November 1st to the 30th. For the private colleges, it varies. Some schools are as early as December 1st and others are as late as March 15th. If you’re planning on applying to private schools, their websites should tell you when the deadlines are.

How do I pay for the applications?

This depends. If you qualify for the Free Lunch Program, you can typically receive a fee waiver to apply to up to four Cal States and four UCs for free. If you apply to more than four Cal States and more than four UCs, you will need to pay for each additional school. Just to give you an idea, it cost $55 to apply to a Cal State last year. For private schools, you can also receive up to four fee waivers (if you qualify for the Free Lunch Program). To receive these waivers, ask your counselor.

What is the difference between Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular Decision?

Early Decision means that you apply earlier than other students, but you also find out earlier. However, if you do get in, the school expects you to commit to their college, pay a deposit, and withdraw all of your other applications. This is a good option if, let’s say, Harvard is your dream school, and you’re 100% positive that you want to go there. Like Early Decision, Early Action also means that you apply early, and that you find out early. However, if you get in, the school doesn’t require you to commit to it and you don’t have to withdraw your other applications. This is an excellent choice option because you’ll typically find out your status in January or February, and some of the pressure and anticipation will be eased. Regular Decision means that you apply when everybody else does, and that you find out when everybody else does. Of these three, I think Early Action is the best option. You have the advantage of knowing what schools you got into early in the year, you don’t have to commit to one school. In other words, you can relax in April when everybody else is freaking out.

What schools require personal statements?

Cal States do not require a personal statement (yay!). UCs require not one, but two personal statements (boo!). Most private colleges also require one (sometimes two).

When do I start writing my personal statement?

Now! You want to start and finish your personal statements during the summer between your Junior and Senior years. This allows you to make multiple revisions (trust me, you will need to make revisions. If Shakespeare were to write a personal statement, he would have to make revisions). Also, while all your fellow students are juggling filling out their applications, studying for the SATs, doing their homework, AND writing their statements, you’re already ahead of the game. (By the way, talk to Sean, Danny, or Chandra when you’re ready to start writing it. They have Master degrees in English for a reason!)

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Filed under Applications, Cal States, Common App, CSU Mentor, Privates, UCs