Ready for College!

Between the Common App, FAFSA, and campus visits, applying to college can seem like a daunting process. Where’s a Scholar to begin?

This summer, Steppingstone’s College Services department has hosted a series of events designed to give Scholars the tools they need to apply to their dream schools. Here’s a glimpse at some of the events designed to help Scholars prepare for the application process.

Essay Writing


College admissions officers read thousands of essays each year, so writing one that stands out from the pack is key. On July 12, 18 high school Scholars participated in a college essay workshop with Harvard University Admissions Officer Tia Ray and Harvard student and Steppingstone Scholar Genesis De Los Santos. Scholars learned how to write an impressive essay and got a head start on brainstorming essay topics.

Common App Prep

The Common Application is accepted at more than 500 colleges, meaning virtually every Scholar will fill one out. In Steppingstone’s Common App 101 workshop, Scholars learned what admissions professionals look for when they read applications.

Finding The Right Fit


Urban or rural campus? Big school or small school? And what do I want to study? These questions, and more, are crucial in finding the right college “fit.” Scholars participated in a workshop designed to help them think with their brains, hearts, and wallets about what kind of college they want to attend.

Family Workshops

Families and parents are an important part of the college process, too. Since many Scholars will be first-generation college students, we’re committed to making sure families have the support and guidance they need to fully understand the process from start to finish. Parents and guardians had the opportunity to participate in two workshops: “Financial Aid and Scholarship Search 101” and “Looking Forward to Senior Year.”


Though the application process can be stressful, we like to remind Scholars that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. To that end, we decided to have a little fun by inviting Scholars to put their own spin on everyone’s favorite college classic at the Steppingstone Ramen Challenge. Scholars designed their own recipes with mix-ins like chicken, peppers, and avocado.

Up Next…

We’ll cap off the summer with the annual Overnight College Tour, which will take Scholars to visit Syracuse University, Hamilton College, Cornell University, Union College, UMass Amherst, and Williams College. Scholars will have the chance to tour schools, meet admissions representatives and students, and picture themselves living on a college campus. We’re looking forward to working with them as they prepare for the next chapters in their academic careers!