Admissions & Financial Aid

Admissions: Introduction

True Merit Ensuring Our Brightest Students Have Access to Our Best College and Universities (article)

How Colleges Affect Social Mobility in America (article)

Student Story: College Expands Opportunity Khan Academy (video, 1 min)

Exploring College Options Khan Academy (multiple videos)

Ideal College Process Survey (worksheet)

The Test-Optional Surge (article)

Top Colleges Are Cheaper Than You Think (Unless You’re Rich) (article)


Admissions: College Selection

Find a College Use to look up specific college by name using Big Future by College Board

Overview: Exploring College Options Khan Academy (video, 3 min)

Test-Optional and Test-Flexible Schools in the first tier of their respective U.S. News ranks

Graduation Rates (College Results) Institutional rates, aggregate and broken down by race and year

Affordability (College Data) Average percentage of need met (% of need met is a searchable field)

Affordability ( Net Price

Admissibility (College Board) Acceptance rate and average grades and test scores for admitted students

Admissibility (College Data) Acceptance rate and average grades and test scores for admitted students

Admissibility (College Scorecard) The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard has the most reliable data on college costs, graduation, and post-college earnings.

Transition/Success Programs (I’m First) Colleges that are known for offering first-generation college student support

Comparing Highly Selective vs. Selective vs. Non-Selective Colleges Khan Academy (video, 5 min)

Identifying Schools College Board – Big Future, use search criteria to filter all colleges


Admissions: The Application

The Common Application

College Organizer – Profile

College Organizer – Honors & Awards

College Organizer – College Research

Unigo & Niche Every college has a different personality.  These sites compile reviews based on student feedback.


Financial Aid: Overview

FAFSA Application

  • FSA ID Needed for access to FAFSA

Dream Act Application

Cal Grant


Admissions: Personal Statement Overview

Common App – Create an Account


Financial Aid: Personal Investigation

Student Story: Prioritizing Financial Aid in the College Search Khan Academy (video, 1 min) Activity Understand school cost and financial aid information

Net Price Calculator Activity National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS, Average amount full-time undergrad students actually pay per year

College Organizer – College Research

Undocumented Student Resources (USC Dornsife)

Undocumented Student Guide (USC Undergraduate Student Government)

Bovard Scholarship Database

USC Scholarships List

Scholarships Activity (

Why College is Money Activity Investigate salaries for entry-level positions after college


Admissions: Personal Statement Writing

I Remember When…Activity

How to Write a College Essay Step-by-Step: The Ultimate Guide Activity


Career Exploration

Career Exploration: Self-Assessment

Interests Activity My Next Move Interest Profiler (based on Holland’s Occupational Themes)

Strengths Activity Skills inventory to identify strengths

What are Your Values? Deciding What’s Most Important in Life Mind Tools (video, 2 mins)

Values Activity My Plan Career Values Assessment

Values Activity Make Money Choices


Career Exploration: Industry Investigation

Occupational Outlook Handbook Exploration Activity Find career information on duties, education, and pay

Economic Value of College Majors Activity Discover how much college graduates earn with specific college majors and in various regions of the country

Potential Earnings by College Activity Browse earnings by specific schools and majors


Career Exploration: Professional Development

College Organizer – Activities Common App Activities Builder Activity

USC Career Center

Resume Booklet

What I Want In A Career: My Parachute

Should Students Major in What They Love? (article)


Career Exploration: Take Action

Elements of A Strong Recommendation Letter Khan Academy (video, 3 min)

The MIT Guide to Letters of Recommendation


Leadership and College Success

Leadership and College Success: Leadership Overview

Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership TED (video, 15 min)

Re: Your Recent Email to Your Professor – Advice for Students so They Don’t Sound Silly in Emails (article)


Leadership and College Success: Psychology & Behavior

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are TED (video, 21 min)


Leadership and College Success: College Experiences

High Impact Educational Practices Association of American Colleges & Universities

How You Feel about Individualism is Influenced by Your Social Class (article)


Leadership and College Success: College Survival

Managing Time Effectively USC Kortschak Center (video, 5 min)

Time Management Worksheet

Imposter Syndrome: You’re Doing Better Than You Think SciShow Psych (video, 5 min)

On Campus, Failure Is on the Syllabus (article)

Spring is in the air, and so is rejection for high school seniors (article)



Appendix A Ice Breakers, Quotes for Leadership Activity, Statements for Take a Stand Activity

Appendix C College Organizer – Login