The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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The Final Countdown
Staying on track during senior year
Represent staff

Before your senior year:

• Think about what you’re looking for in a college: do you want a big school with lots going on, or a small school with lots of personal attention? Do you want to stay where you are or go to school far away?

• Start doing some research: check out the college guides at a bookstore or your local library, and look online (some good websites to start with are The College Board (, CollegeView (, and The Princeton Review (, where you can search for information on colleges throughout the country.


• Continue researching colleges, and make a list of the schools you think you’d like to apply to.

image by Terrence Taylor

• Visit any schools near you that you might be interested in.

• Make an appointment to see your college adviser. If you feel your adviser isn’t giving you the help you need, make an appointment at a college access program, where a counselor can give you more attention. (To find one near you, go to

• Register to take the ACT, SAT or SAT Subject Test in October or November.

• Start working on your college essays.

To Visit a College

image by Terrence Taylor

TIP: If you want to visit a college, call the office of admissions before you go. All colleges offer tours and they usually have information sessions where they’ll give you an overview of the school. Once you’re there, walk around to get a feel for the campus. And try to talk to some of the students.


• Ask your teachers, coaches and counselors for letters of recommendation.

• Take the ACT, SAT or SAT Subject Test, or register to take them in December.

• Start looking for scholarships and grants (check out and, and talk to your caseworkers about what kind of scholarships are available at your agency).

image by Terrence Taylor

• Get started on your applications.

Scholarships Scams

TIP: There are a lot of fraudulent companies that run scholarship scams. Anybody that’s charging you money for a scholarship – throw it away. They tell you things you could have gotten for free.


• Ask a teacher, adviser, mentor or friend with good editing skills to proofread your essays.

image by Terrence Taylor

• Make sure that your recommenders have sent out your letters of recommendation to the colleges you’re applying to.

• Here’s another chance to register for the ACT, SAT or SAT Subject Tests, or take them again if you’re not satisfied with your scores.

• Apply for fee waivers to cover the cost of the application fees (most high schools give out fee waivers on a first-come-first-served basis).

Arrange Fee Waivers

TIP: Your school might not have enough waivers for everyone who qualifies. So if you don’t get one, ask your counselor to write a letter to the college saying that you’re a good applicant and asking if they will waive the application fee because of financial hardship. Most of the time, colleges will accept that.

image by Terrence Taylor


• Before the winter break, finish applying to all of the colleges you chose.

• Another chance to take the ACT, SAT or SAT Subject Tests.

• Start looking at scholarship applications.


image by Terrence Taylor

• Complete your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

• Have your college adviser send mid-year grade reports to schools that require them.

February and March

• Contact the colleges you applied to and make sure they received all your application materials if you haven’t heard from them already.

• Search and apply for more grants and scholarships.

image by Terrence Taylor


• You’ll have received most of the colleges’ responses by now, so consider everything there is to know about the college and make your decision.

• Tell the colleges you aren’t going to attend that you’ve turned them down.

• Confirm acceptance with the college you do plan on attending.

Apply for an E.T.V.

TIP: If you’ve been in foster care and are under age 21, you can get up to $5,000 a year for college, through the Educational and Training Voucher program (E.T.V.’s). Go to to see if your state participates in this program and to find out how to apply.


• If you take advanced placement (AP) exams make sure the scores are sent to your college.


• Have your counselor send your final transcript to your college.

• Pat yourself on the back, you’ve made it through the college application process!

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