This post is written by Kaitlyn Naylor, a DCCCD intern blogger.
If you’re considering transferring to a university, it’s easy to feel lost with the long list of tasks that need to be completed. Preparing for college can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming but, when all is said and done, you are rewarded with a unique experience. Looking back on it all now, my perspective of the college journey has changed into a much more positive one. My high school self, however, was not too keen on the obligations that accompany that journey.
As my senior year quickly approached, I felt the weight of academic responsibilities – applications, financial aid, test scores, etc. – constantly looming over me. These responsibilities caused quite a bit of stress and made it more difficult for me to keep up with my normal high school duties.
During my struggles, I was able to recognize end goals that I hoped to achieve. I was going to do my absolute best on my ACT and SAT, and do everything I could to get financial aid and, as a result, I got accepted into Texas Tech University. My desire for these things helped fuel my drive for success and motivate me to continue to do my best, even when it seemed less than rewarding. Now, I realize that it’s much easier for me to be optimistic about these things in hindsight. So, from someone who has been through this challenging process of preparing for college here are a few tips that may help.
How Can I Prepare for the SAT and ACT?
Tests are never fun – especially when they’re weighted so heavily concerning your future. Here are a few tips to make those big exams seem less scary:
Take them, and take them again.
The more you take the SAT and/or ACT, the more familiar you become with the style of testing. This familiarity will be reflected in your rising scores which, in turn, will open up your options when choosing colleges both in terms of admissions and financial aid amounts.
Focus on your personal strengths.
Do a little research once you find out which school(s) you’re interested in and tests they accept. Most universities will accept either ACT or SAT so, after testing, if you find that you’re better suited for one over the other, focus your studies on the test that you feel more confident in. This will help ensure that at least one of your test scores is strong, meaning more scholarship/admission opportunities for you.
What Do I Need to Know About Applications?
Applications are generally one of two things to the prospective college student – fun and exciting, or the bane of your existence. I would hope that most of you lean toward the first one, but here are a few ways to make it less painful for those of you who relate more to the second:
Write down your deadlines.
This one may seem obvious to some and unimportant to others, but I promise it helps. Having a clear idea of what is due and when is always helpful in terms of organization, especially in this setting where it could determine whether or not you are awarded acceptance/financial aid.
Turn it in early!
By turning in your application one to two weeks early, you’re able to eliminate the chance of missing your deadline due to last minute complications.
When applying to multiple Texas schools, ApplyTexas is your new best friend. If you’re unfamiliar, ApplyTexas is a portal that allows students to send applications to any Texas college without having to go through each school’s personal website. With an ApplyTexas account you’re able to log-in and see the status of all your applications in one place, making it easier for you to track your apps and stay on top of things. When applying to the colleges of DCCCD, you can apply through ApplyTexas or apply online using the eConnect Application for Credit Admissions. We suggest that you apply directly through eConnect if you are applying for the colleges of DCCCD only.
Heads up: The system will put a block on your application if you apply for Dallas Community Colleges through ApplyTexas and eConnect.
What About Financial Aid?
Ah, the joys of financial aid – an ominous but incredibly important topic! Receiving financial aid may seem impossible to some, but by doing these simple things you can give yourself the best chance.
Do your FAFSA.
As I’m sure many of you know, FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (aka the application through which you find out whether or not the government will help you pay for school). This application is a bit lengthy and a bit of a pain, but absolutely necessary if you’re going to need loans or grants.
Talk to your advisor/counselor about scholarship opportunities.
More often than not, school counselors have incredibly long lists of scholarships (many that you never even knew existed) that you may be eligible for and can help you sort through them. They’ll also be able to give you websites and other resources for finding scholarships yourself. Although it may not seem like it, there are lots of ways to earn financial aid – help yourself out by exploring all of your options.
In closing, I just want to emphasize that preparing yourself for college is not nearly as intimidating or awful as it may seem. Is it a lot of work? Yes! Is it difficult? Sometimes. But if you consider these tips and help yourself out, the heavy load can be lightened substantially.
Need More Information?
In case you need more information or have questions regarding the colleges of DCCCD, we are always here to help. Here are some other resources that you might be interested in from Dallas Community Colleges.
Interested in more scholarship information? We offer several scholarship opportunities that you may be interested in applying for. Be sure to keep a lookout for new scholarships at the beginning of each semester.
- Foundation, DCCCD Foundation offers over 300 scholarships yearly. That’s a lot of money up for grabs! These awards are based on academic, leadership and goals.
- Rising Star scholarships, provides high school graduates with academic services and up to $5,500 for tuition and books.
- T-STEM scholarships, Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro and Mountain View offer a $1,450 scholarship, for students enrolled in courses leading to a major in science, technology, engineering or math.
- Other scholarship resources, you also have scholarship opportunities available to you outside of the district, that you can check to see if you qualify.
Dallas Community Colleges financial aid. We get it, financial aid can be confusing and frustrating at times. We have a step by step process mapped out for you. If you should get turned around and need help, contact us at 972-587-2599 or if calling isn’t your thing, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about programs that DCCCD offers? Dallas Community Colleges offers programs in just about anything that you can think of. We offer associate degrees, certificates and continuing education programs.
What is Dallas County Promise? If you’re new to DCCCD, you have probably heard a thing or two about the Dallas County Promise. It is a scholarship and college success program that covers the cost of tuition at any Dallas County Community College for seniors at participating high schools. There will be new high schools added so if you don’t see your high school listed, check again in the future.
I’m ready to enroll! If you would like to attend the colleges of DCCCD, you must apply. Dallas Community Colleges will accept applications through ApplyTexas or you can apply online using the eConnect Application for Credit Admissions. We suggest you apply through eConnect if you’re applying to the colleges of DCCCD only. Please keep in mind that admission requirements will vary depending on if you’re a new student, high school student, transfer, or former student.