Student Spotlights

Knowledge of post-secondary options increases amongst 21st CCLC participants

Lana Learn academic coaches work with students in after-school programs to increase their knowledge of post-secondary options.

Update: Read more about Feysal’s early acceptance into George Mason University!

One of the goals of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) at Cardozo High School is to increase students’ knowledge of post-secondary options. To realize this goal, we have been working with seniors at Cardozo during a dedicated hour of college and career readiness. Students can use this hour to write/edit essays, explore schools, go over the Common App, etc.

November 1st was the early action application deadline. Early action is a non-binding way for students to apply early to the colleges they really want to attend. When applying early action, students can still wait for other college acceptances and financial aid packages before deciding where to attend.

Feysal was one of the students applying early action to two schools. He came to us almost every day for weeks leading up to the deadline. He worked so hard on his essays and his applications, yet, when it came time, he was nervous to hit the submit button! Finally, he felt a great sense of relief when he finally submitted his two early action applications. I sat down with him to ask about the college application process so far.

What criteria are you considering when selecting colleges to apply to, and how did you prioritize these factors?

I am prioritizing depending on what they got to offer: like a community, different majors or the major that I like, close to home, obviously. Somewhere I could stay or somewhere I could like, not fit in but somewhere I could feel like I could be there. Also, somewhere that offers scholarships. 

Can you share any challenges you’ve encountered while navigating the application process, and how have you addressed or overcome them?

I would say maybe, it gets overwhelming to do a lot of things at once but just taking them time by time, like taking them one by one and getting help from you guys.

How did you feel after submitting your first college application, and did the experience influence or change your approach to completing subsequent applications?

I felt relief because it was very stressful. I think I got a little umf [encouragement]. I took myself to a treat and slept.

You were so scared to click the submit button, but once you did, it felt good right?

Yeah, because you put so many hours into the essays that will probably go to waste if you don’t get accepted. But it’s ok. It’s not that hard, just click the submit button. If they like you, they’ll accept you and if they don’t, they don’t. Their loss. The submit button will be there forever, just click it. If I didn’t do it, it would be my fault. So, I would’ve been like man, I should’ve done it.

In retrospect, is there any advice you’d give to juniors or underclassmen about preparing for and managing the college application process more effectively?

Get your grades. Don’t play. Cause that’s really your last year. Junior year is your last year. I wish someone had told me that. That’s your last year to be perfect in school, to make a difference in your GPA to then start applying to schools. Start getting used to writing essays in weeks. Or start writing random essays and learn how to edit. Watch YouTube videos about college applications, essays, things like that. Be prepared. Over the summer, start sleeping. You’re going to need it because it will get overwhelming. I wish someone had told me that.

We are excited for Feysal and can’t wait to see where ends up attending college!

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