College Application Tips from Top Professionals

December 4, 2013 /



JOHNNY FLORES JR/ Coachella Uninc


If you are a high school senior, you know that ‘tis the season for college applications!

Because it’s hard to concentrate when there are visions of deadlines dancing in your head, Coachella Unincorporated turned to two experienced professionals in this field and compiled their best tips for conquering applications.

Gloria Rodriguez is the executive director of the Dr. Carreon Foundation, which provides scholarships to students of Mexican-American ancestry. Angela Meraz is a college counselor at Xavier College Prep. The following are their top do’s and don’t’s for the college and scholarship application season.


DO Attend College Fairs

“Attend career and college fairs offered at high schools. Don’t be afraid to talk to representatives from different schools and scholarship organizations,” says Rodriguez, a graduate of the University of Southern California and Columbia University.

“You don’t know where you might find an opportunity.”


DON’T Forget the FAFSA

Rodriguez advises students to fill out their Free Application for Federal Financial Aid, or FAFSA, as early as possible.

“I advise students to start looking for scholarships and other financial aid in the fall,” she says. “Look into fee waivers so you could get assistance paying for your applications. Apply for every scholarship you’re eligible for.”

It is important to meet often with your counselor for scholarship opportunities, in addition to searching for scholarships online.


DO What’s Right for YOU

Meraz, a graduate of University of California at Los Angeles and University of Maryland-College Park, recommends that students spend time researching various schools and finding the perfect fit.

“Don’t just look at the name, but look at all aspects of the school,” she emphasizes. “It isn’t just about getting into college, it is also about being successful and happy once you are there.”


DO Prepare a Backup Plan

Set yourself up for success by broadening your options.

“Apply for enough colleges — UC, Cal State and community colleges — so you have a first choice and a backup plan,” says Rodriguez.


DON’T Be Afraid

“Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and go to college,” urges Rodriguez. “Even if that means moving a few states or cities away. It may be the best experience in your life!”



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