Another May Rant to the Class of 2015 from the College Guy

That's YOU Juniors!

Greetings and salutations, and I hope you're all enthusiastically enjoying the home stretch of the final month of school - or at least enjoying the anticipation of this final month being over!

I know better than to ask whether your teachers are lightening up and taking it easy on you...NOT! Just remember you'll thank them when you encounter the Professor from Hell in a couple years and you'll be able to say: "S/he aint nothing like Mr. de Sade was in my Honors Chemistry class!"

So SAT scores come out later this week and I want to invite anyone who wishes to share them with me and to ask me about what sorts of "next steps" I suggest for you. Hopefully everyone has taken my advice and NOT SIGNED UP TO RETAKE THE TEST IN JUNE. Some of you are planning on taking Subject Tests on the 7th, and a few of you are taking the ACT on the 14th, and that's cool. But don't retake the test on short notice - there's no benefit to it. Call me if you (or mom/dad) need more convincing.

The next time most of you should plan on taking the SATs is on October 11th. I'll remind you of my cheap and easy, down and dirty SAT Prep program in August. Look for my "Summer Bummer" rant from the College Guy - can you guess why I call it that? :)

What you juniors should be spending a SMALL AMOUNT of mental energy and time this spring and summer on is the following:

* continuing your college research. Those who have met with me understand the concept of the "Top 10" list and the "4 Step Process". Do it!

* updating your resume and sending that puppy out along with "Pen Pal letters" to coaches, professors, and admissions personnel (as appropriate).

* starting that first essay responding to one of the five common application prompts (see bottom of this email). When you've finished that one start a second one: either an experience, activity or career essay.

Those of you who've not met with me or who haven't been carefully reading my past Rants should feel free to call or email me and I'll explain some of the finer details of the above 'to do' list. It's pretty simple and straightforward.

Okay that's about it except a word to parents: tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 6:30 I'm giving the final talk in my "College Series" on the topic of "Paying the Bill". I'll explain the nature and nuances of need and merit financial aid and why you shouldn't be pulling your hair out and rending your clothing in despair. The talk is at the Cape Elizabeth Library and it's free and open to the public. Be on time, and leave the kids at home for this one. I've sent you the flier announcing this talk (twice!) so I've not
enclosed it here, but if you navigate to my web page (see URL below in my signature) you can read all about it there.

Last but not least, the New York Times has run three riveting articles this past week on the topic of college financing which in my humble opinion are MUST READS for everyone, rich or poor or in between, as you embark on this magical mystery tour they call the college selection and application process. Ignore this stuff at your peril!

Happy reading, from your Monetary Maven, your Application Avatar, your Collegiate Confidante, etc. etc. blah blah woof woof...


Gary L. Canter
College Placement Services
210 St. John Street
Portland, Maine 04102
(207) 772-9711

College Placement Services provides high school students and their families assistance with all aspects of the college search, selection, application and financial aid process.

Here are the Five Common Application essay prompts: responses need to be under 650 words.

1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

4. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.