By Bhavana Penmetsa, 11th grade
Once a week every spring, Imagine hosts College Week. Geared especially towards 10th and 11th grade students, College Week is a time for students to start thinking about the future, where they’d like to spend the first 4 years of their lives after graduating, and what they need to do to get there. As a college preparatory school, Imagine provides numerous opportunities for its students to get acquainted with college admissions throughout the year and this week is one of them. As part of College Week 2016 at Imagine, which was the week of April 6, sophomores and juniors took a college tour of Southern Methodist University, went to the annual TIBS IB College Fair, and met with scholarship and admissions experts during lunch sessions.
On March 30th, students who are part of Imagine’s National Honor Society took a field trip to SMU, where they visited the Meadows Museum and the George Bush Presidential Library. We got to experience what an active college campus is like, as well as speak to current students about their experience applying to college and transitioning from a high school to university mindset. It’s important to visit colleges to get a more personal point-of-view, so this was a great experience for everyone.
College fairs are another great way to get acquainted with universities around the country. Sophomores and juniors attended the annual TIBS IB College Fair on April 4th, which featured presentations ranging from the overall admissions process to how an IB diploma can help with scholarship money. There were also several booths set up where students could talk face-to-face with admissions officers from schools like Stanford, Penn State, and UT Austin. This college fair was a great opportunity for students to learn more about what different universities can offer and how to narrow down a list of 10 or so colleges! (If you’re a MYP student or parent who wants more information on how to be prepared when College Fair day comes around, look out for another article, Preparing for A College Fair, posted under School News.)
Photo: 10th grade students talk with an alum from Texas Tech University and learn more about the school.
College advisors, admissions representatives, and counselors can also be very helpful when applying, and during College Week, juniors met with two experts in the field who provided different perspectives on the admissions process. Sarah Stuart, director of the Academic Excellence Scholarship at UTD, and Kati Butler, college consultant, discussed elements that universities look for when admitting students and allocating scholarship funds. Ms. Stuart and Ms. Butler provided a lot of great tips that most students were previously unaware of, from how to find scholarships to what makes an application stand out.
Although we apply to colleges in the fall of our senior year, the process typically begins far before that – even as early as 10th grade! Fortunately, at Imagine we have access to a number of resources to make it all easier on us. College Week is one of those resources, and I highly recommend that you make the most of it. MYP students, start thinking about your college plans now because application deadlines are coming a lot faster than you think they are!