Let’s get college ready! Outside of preparing physically and mentally for college cheerleading, there are also important steps to take academically and professionally for college in general. New Heights Recruiting wants to help prepare athletes in all aspects of their college experience. Not just for cheerleading alone. In this blog, we will be going over checklists of things to do in preparation for the next big step in life. This will include resume based items, college application info, deadlines and ways to proactively advance.
I know when I started preparing for college, I didn’t know where to start. My high school had “portfolios” that were due at the end of each academic year. (The requirements included things like letters of rec, school work examples and community service involvement.) But otherwise, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I would soon be a first generation four year college student, who didn’t think much about going to college until the middle of my junior year.
You, the reader, may be well aware of many of the items on the checklists below. However, I wanted to make sure to touch on a wide array of topics to meet the needs of both the novice and the expert. Let’s get started…
- Create a name based email. I know when I made my first email account in middle school, my username was “puddin_is_good.” I continued to use this email account throughout high school too. However, when I reached my senior year, I quickly realized that I needed to change my email. This was due to the fact that it became a hot topic during interviews and got quite a few laughs when viewed by teachers and prospective coworkers. That was when I knew I needed to retire that email so that I could be taken more seriously.
- Polish up resume. Microsoft Word actually has great templates for resume layouts! It’s important to keep track of any and all community service, academic or athletic awards, and job related endeavors that you’ve completed. All are great elements to include on your resume. Make a point to address what you’ve gotten out of the experiences and what you’ve been able to put into them too. Doing so, will show that you are well rounded and have a willingness to actively contribute and learn. Finally, and most importantly, make sure to proofread your resume (and have others look over it too)! You don’t want your first impression to be filled with grammar or spelling errors!
- Have an interview outfit. This is a great staple to have in your wardrobe for interviews, public speaking classes, meetings, and any other professional ventures that could present themselves. You never know when you may need something polished to wear for a big opportunity! The need for an interview outfit could arise with very little time to shop, or under circumstances when you do not have extra cash for that kind of a purchase. The basics should include: slacks, a collared button up shirt or blouse, and dress shoes.
- Letters of recommendation. Identify who you know academically, professionally and/or personally that can write you letters of recommendation. You may need these letters for scholarships, jobs and even sport opportunities. The person who writes your letter of rec shouldn’t be someone related to you. They should be someone who has personal experience working with you in some way. This could include teachers, coaches, neighbors, family friends, or someone you have worked with in a job, extracurricular or community service setting.
- Academic testing. Make sure you are aware of deadlines for PSAT, ACT, SAT, and AP Tests. Our website has a great resource guide available with current upcoming deadlines for ACT and SATs! Click here to view our resources page for more info!
- College applications. Keep up with when colleges have their general application deadlines. The deadline is most often January 1st, though January 15th is also a common date. It never hurts to try to submit during early admissions too, if you keep on top of when to apply! Be conscious of the cost associated with successfully submitting college applications too. This was something that was foreign news to me until I was ready to apply to 10 colleges and discovered applications were going to cost $50-100 to submit each one.
- Financial aid. Application deadlines for FASFA can come and pass quickly if you do not stay on top of when you need to submit certain information. Though the deadline for FASFA in general is late June, states and colleges often have earlier deadlines that you will need to be aware of.
- Open houses. Keep up with when colleges have open houses for students to visit! I know there may be a few school field trips to colleges near you. However, it’s always a good idea to visit campuses of the schools you are thinking of applying to. Some schools that look great on paper, or over the web, may not feel like the right place when you actually visit and experience the campus.
- Cheer Clinics. Be aware of college cheer teams near you that may offer clinics for you to attend throughout the school year! Or if there is a college you are highly interested in, or have applied to already, clinics are great resources to learning more about a program. By attending a clinic, you will gain insight on what that college team does and how your skills align with what you need to become a member. Our website has a college clinic section that we actively keep up-to-date. We also announce these events periodically over social media too!
Parents & guardians, if you’re the one reading this, we applaud you for being proactive! But remember, while this next step is a big one for you, it’s an even larger step for your athlete! Encourage them to take a couple of hours each week to work on their resume, write essays for applications, study for the SAT/ACT, etc. Little doses each week will better prepare your athlete than cramming the night before.
Preparing for college can be scary. With the right tools and knowledge though, the process will be less overwhelming. If you have any additional questions or comments on what YOU think should be included above, drop it in the comments below! Thank you for your support in reading our article. Please let us know if any of our tips work for you! We look forward to being a part of your journey.