College Applications

The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 91: How to Get Organized For the College Search

September 28, 2021

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The college application process can get unwieldy for both students and parents as there are so many deadlines to keep track of. Getting organized is a key component of the application process and one in which Jessica and Sawyer of Virtual College Counselors can shed some light on. They also touch on the importance of understanding college fit. They also emphasize on how college life is more than just academics and how it’s okay for plans to change. Get your pen and pad or ipad ready to take some notes! 

Key Takeaways:

  • It is okay for you to not know what you want to do with your life. 
  • Be willing to be flexible and Be willing to explore the unknown!
  • Roll with the punches.
  • If you have a mentor- build that relationship.
    • They are willing to give you time, they will help you long term. 
  • Use the internet! Youtube has a library of videos that can answer many of the  questions you may have.
  • College fit is important!
  • What matters most in your undergrad is what you get out of it. Developing and growing your personal network will help you as you transition from college to a career.
  • Consider community college.
    • It is still a ‘real college experience’
    • It is cost effective!
    • It is not a pause button. 
  • Break down the application into digestible chunks so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
  • Make a spreadsheet to stay organized!
    • Add school, add what application, add deadline, add supplemental essays.
      • This plans your fall of senior year!
  • Figuring out why you want to go to that college is so important. It will save you time in the long run!
  • Put things on your activities list that show who you are. They should be things you truly care about!
    • Show who you are outside of your classes.
  • Ask yourself: What did you do? How did you do it? Why was it important? 

Important Resources and Links:

Virtual College Counselors

Colleges that Change Lives

Campus Pride Index

Meet Jessica Chermark and Sawyer Earwood

Jessica Chermark

Jessica Chermak is an Independent College Counselor with over a decade of experience in academia and helping students navigate the college admissions process. She also spent four years conducting research at University of Colorado Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science, and the prior two years working as an Operations Research Analyst for the US Army at the TRADOC Analysis Center, in White Sands Missile Range, NM. 

Jessica graduated from Chapman University with a BA in Psychology. At Chapman, she was a research assistant in the cognitive science laboratory, studying hemisphere differences for processing emotional language. She was also a founding member of the Honors Organizational Board of Students, and an active member in Mortarboard Honor Society and Hillel.  Upon graduation, Jessica was awarded the SMART Scholarship (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) to attend the University of Denver for an MA in Forensic Psychology. She is a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). Jessica is also a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling (RMACAC), and serves on the board of the College Consultants of Colorado (CCC).

In addition to being an independent college counselor, Jessica also serves as a College & Career Counselor for Living Wisdom High School (based in Palo Alto, CA) and the College Counselor for Windsor Charter Academy (Windsor, CO).

Sawyer Earwood

Sawyer Earwood is an education professional who has worked in both college admission offices and small startups. His admissions experience has taken him across the U.S.A. and Asia. During his tenure as Assistant Director of Enrollment at Hendrix College, he managed the university’s enrollment coaching program and recruited domestic and international students alike. As a first-generation college student, he is passionate about the transformative power of education and the pursuit of equity in the world. 

Sawyer’s prior work experience includes oversight of launch operations at Admissions Geek (Ed Tech Startup), project coordination for In Tune Inc. (Online Music Startup), and conducting international marketing in Shanghai at SMH International Consulting Agency. He graduated from Rhodes College with a B.A. in International Studies focusing on East Asia. During his undergraduate years, he spent nine months abroad in China pursuing intensive language studies at Nanjing University and volunteered as a language instructor through an English as a Second Language (ESL) program. He was named a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar by the U.S. Department of State, and a Buckman International Fellow. He was also inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.

Sawyer has been a member of SACAC, TACAC, International ACAC, and is currently a member of College Consultants of Colorado and an Associate Member of IECA. Sawyer also serves on the Verto Education Advisory Board helping guide its initiatives for student services, equity, inclusion, access, curriculum, partnerships, and student recruitment. In addition to being an independent college counselor, Sawyer also serves as the College Counselor for Windsor Charter Academy (Windsor, CO).

Thank you to Jessica and Sawyer for joining us today to share your stories and how you both navigated your college years. Being flexible,stepping outside of your comfort zone, and developing a strong network of mentors are life skills that will help students during their studies and throughout their careers. Break down the application into digestible chunks so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and staying organized with keep students and parents from feeling overwhelmed. 

Episode 91 Full Transcript

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College Scoops Staff, Author

College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

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