Application Tips for Senior Scholars

November 20, 2017 in Uncategorized by Joselyn Barrios

This is an exciting time for our 41 senior scholars as they are finalizing their applications for colleges and universities! PSP is here to provide support with your college list, understanding the application process and any fees. Below are application tips and resources from our college success retreat.

Elizabeth Archer is a mentor from Ukiah. She specializes in college essay writing and she’s shared some tips for our seniors below.

  • DON’T: Include more than one event or idea per essay.
  • DO: Focus on one very specific event in your life.
  • DON’T: Pick a topic based on the essay prompt.
  • DO: Decide what you want to write about, and then pick which question it can best answer.
  • DON’T: Write an essay introduction, three body paragraphs, and closing.
  • DO: Write it like it’s a short story.
  • DON’T: Write something you yourself wouldn’t want to read.
  • DO: Make it as interesting and engaging as you possibly can.
  • DON’T: Use three adjectives when one will do.
  • DO: Use original and meaningful adjectives.
  • DON’T: Scatter the same idea or information throughout.
  • DO: Organize your writing so everything is clear and has a good flow.

Ms. Archer also shared a sample college essay with us.  Version 1 is the first draft and Version 2 is the edited version. You can see them if you click here.

Sara Potter is a PSP board member and alumni. She is UCLA’s Financial Wellness Coordinator and she’s sharing financial aid tips with us below.

1. Apply for financial aid via the FAFSA or DREAM ACT Application by March 2nd.

2. If your estimated family contribution is zero and you are an in-state resident, you should receive full funding in the form of grants, scholarships and loans to pay for your cost of education. Grants are free money that you don’t need to pay back. In California, the Cal Grant goes towards tuition and the federal Pell Grant goes towards rent, books, supplies, food, etc…

3. If loans are offered to you, take out the subsidized loans first. These loans do not accrue any interest until 6 months after you graduate or leave your university. Private loans should be the very last to take out as they have a higher interest rate.

4. Loans worrying you? There are so many loan forgiveness programs and income based repayment plans out there for after you graduate. Consider taking out a loan as an investment in your future career. Think of the job opportunities that a college degree open up for you, not to mention how proud your family will be of you!

5. Your undergraduate loans are automatically deferred if you decide to attend graduate school. Otherwise, most federal loans can be deferred for up to 36 months if you need some time.

6. Consider applying for a secured student credit card with your bank when you start school. This is a great way to start building a credit score for buying a car, etc… A secured credit card is less risky because you are borrowing against your own money.

7. Think about budgeting your financial aid refund check that you may receive for living expenses for school. The goal is to save at least 30% for the future.

8. Work study is a way to seek employment while you are in school. This is money the Federal government pays your school and you receive this via a pay check over a period of time.

9. Get to know the financial aid office at the school you’re interested in. Counselors in the office are wonderful people who are there for you and your financial journey.

10. Remember it is okay to treat yourself while in school. Save to take a trip with friends or buy your college’s hoodie to wear with pride back home. This is an exciting time in your life so embrace it!


College Resources

  1. College List
  2. Brag Sheet
  3. Helpful Resources for College and Scholarship Research

Email us at for help with fees, or any questions about the college application process.