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Website Helps Students Hoping to Attend College


First generation college student Minori Kawano, of New York, center, arrives at Middlebury College accompanied by her mother, Mercy Kawano, right, and younger sister Mayomi Kawano, left. The school is among a number of colleges with programs to help ease the transition to college for students who are the first in their families to attend. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

When looking for stories with the words “college application help,” Google’s search engine identifies over 500 million examples on the World Wide Web.

It is hard to say how long it would take to look at all 500 million, but no one has that kind of time.

Now, five higher education groups are trying to make the college application process simpler.

The five started a website – with the goal of providing all the college information students need in one place. It offers help to students and their parents as they learn about and complete the college application process.

The website’s address is www.steps2college.org.

The site provides information about important dates in the college admission process, help with application forms and sources of financial aid.

Although designed for American students, it can be a big help to other students, says Laura Owen of American University in Washington, D.C. She directs the Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success at American’s School of Education.

“There is a lot of information provided -- in a single place,” Owen said.

American University helped to create the website. The other creators are the ACT Center for Equity in Learning, the American Council on Education, Success Better Make Room and the National College Access Network.

The site offers ideas on how to avoid the kind of problems students often face when preparing for college.

For example, one report examines what is known as “summer melt.” That is term used to describe students who are accepted at a college and pay the required deposit, but then do not show up for the first day of class.

The report says college administrators had long believed “summer melt” students decided to change schools. But researchers Lindsay Page and Ben Castleman found that many failed to attend classes anywhere that school year.

The report goes on to say that it is likely that many students just were not aware of all the paper work required before the start of classes.

This is especially true for those who completed high school and no longer could contact college officials for help with the process.

The website also has information on how students can choose the best college.

On October 4, the site will offer a “virtual college fair” of 100 colleges and universities. The event will give students and parents a chance to question officials and students from 100 schools.

If that does not work, you can look up former students at your high school who went to a college you would like to attend. They are likely to honestly discuss their experiences, both good and bad.

American University’s Laura Owen says she likes that the website provides a “timeline” – one that organizes all steps needed to successfully complete the application process.

I'm Bruce Alpert.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page. If you attended college, what was the application process like for you? Do you think you chose the right college? What would you advice high school seniors to consider when applying to college so they end up in the right school?

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Words in This Story

application - n. a formal and usually written request for something such as admission to a school or employment

deposit - n. The first payment to insure admission to a college or for the purchase of a product

address - n. a place where you can contact a person or organization; directions for shipment of an object

aware - adj. having shown knowledge or understanding

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