Organized below by category, the following links will support high school and college learners as well as college applicants.
Without strong critical reading skills, you will struggle in college. There are good online tools that teach you the practices of close reading. Check out this series of short videos designed by the English department at the University of Texas at Austin. The well-produced videos model how to read closely, how to annotate a text, how to consider the context of a given literary work, and how to use the Oxford English Dictionary when reading, in each instance walking you step by step through the reading process
If you’re writing a paper or presenting research, you could benefit from these useful online resources.
The below links support students with ADHD and offer approaches for Executive Function skill development.
360 Thinking Academic Planner
If you are in high school and looking for an excellent academic planner, one designed to guide your learning and develop executive function skills, check out this one, created by Cognitive Connections.
Information on the SAT from College Board website.
Information on the ACT from the ACT website.
The Common Application (informally known as The Common App) is an online platform which most applicants use to apply for undergraduate admission to any of more than 900 member colleges and universities in the U.S., as well as in Canada, China, Japan, and many European countries. The Common App is free to use–you need only create an account. Once you do, you can use the toolbar to search for colleges, plan your application process, and apply to your selected colleges. The Common App provides the application requirements of each college you select and enables you to use and reuse application materials common to all your colleges such as the Common App Essay. The Applicant Solutions Center offers videos explaining how to use all platform tools.
The Coalition, which is short for The Coalition for College Access, is a second important online application platform which many students use. The mission of the Coalition is to improve the college application process, particularly for those students from historically under-represented groups. The Coalition platform can be used to apply to more than 150 Coalition member schools, including the University of Washington and the nine undergraduate campuses in the University of California system. To create a Coalition account, follow the easy prompts.
Among many helpful online tools, the Coalition platform includes My Coalition Counselor, which offers college planning tools, how-to articles, and other resources.
Both the Common App and the Coalition platforms offer tools that help you calculate the cost of an education at the colleges of your choice while familiarizing you with financial aid options. The U.S. Department of Education website offers a comprehensive introduction to the financial aid application process. You must also consult individual college websites—and perhaps contact college admissions departments directly–to learn full details of the possible financial aid packages available to accepted applicants.
College Navigator, a college search tool created by the U.S. Department of Education, is useful for helping you find colleges and career schools that suit your needs. You can search for schools by location, degrees offered, programs and majors, tuition and fees, setting, size, and much more. College Navigator allows you to compare schools, save your session, and export your results into a spreadsheet.
College Greenlight is another useful online college search platform, this one set up specifically to assist first generation and underrepresented college applicants.
National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) is a valuable resource for learning about different colleges. NACAC’s website features a very informative podcast called “College Admissions Decoded.”
And how about some excellent advice on the application process from a College Admissions insider that helps to demystify the entire undertaking? Check out this video by Ryan Hargraves, the Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Vermont. Ryan gives his Top 5 tips for application success—and throws in a lively rap. Worth watching!
It’s almost certain that you’ll be writing this essay as part of your application process. As mentioned above, The Common Application (informally known as The Common App) is an online platform which most applicants use to apply for undergraduate admission to any of more than 900 member colleges and universities in the U.S., as well as abroad. Odds are that at least some of the colleges to which you’ll apply are member institutions of the Common App. For every college to which you apply via the Common App, you’ll thus be submitting the Common App Essay, which is required. In writing this essay, you’re asked to choose from eight prompts provided you by the Common App. Making a choice is not optional. These are the Common App essay prompts for 2019-2020. The essay has a lower word limit of 250 and an upper word limit of 650. Always be sure to check the Admissions website of each college to which you’re applying to see if that college requires supplementary essays in addition to the Common App essay. Most colleges do, and you’ll need to complete those supplementary essays to complete your application to that institution.
Before you start writing your Common App Essay, it will help you to read some essays written by successful college applicants. The following two links take you to examples of compelling Common App essays, several by successful applicants to Johns Hopkins, and then others from successful applicants to Connecticut College. Take a little time and read some of these essays, noting how they’re structured and detailed—and, most importantly, how each writer comes across to the reader. The link to Connecticut College’s site also includes some essay tips from the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid.
As also mentioned above, The Coalition, which is short for The Coalition for College Access, is asecond important online application platform which many students use to apply to more than 150 Coalition member schools. The Coalition application features its own essay, which you will submit with all your applications to Coalition schools. For this essay, the Coalition provides its own prompts, from which you choose to write your Coalition Application Essay. The recommended essay length is 500-550 words.
If you’re interested in reading some great advice on writing the college essay, both from College Admissions Officers and also from a recent college applicant, click here for a pdf with their reflections.