College Application Season – Tips for Mastering the Marathon by: Missy Fox

Applying to college ain’t what it used to be!

Your parents had it easy. When we were seniors, most took the SAT once, then applied to precisely three schools: a reach, a target, and a safety. Bing, bang, done. Scholarships? Plop down on the floor of the guidance counselor’s office and dig through a filing cabinet to find a Fraternal Order of Eagles application. (Internet? What internet?)

Fast forward a few decades: today, the average student applies to six to ten colleges, and each one of those schools asks for up to four additional forms for in-house merit scholarships – yes, we’re talking TWENTY TO THIRTY applications. Begin to hyperventilate. That’s not counting outside scholarships via sites like or FastWeb.

While you’re drowning under a pile of forms and prompts this fall, your mom (if you’re homeschooled) will be scrambling with transcript prep, course descriptions, and figuring out where she left the folder with your ninth grade biology test scores.

Oh, and then there’s the trips: on-campus, invitation-only scholarship competitions are the latest marketing ploy to attract top students. (Basically it’s the theory of “suck ’em in and show ’em the pretty campus, then offer a few lucky winners a full tuition scholarship.”) These trips are lots of fun! – but they are also one more thing to squeeze into your busy speech and debate season.

Put it all together, and this has the makings of a crazy-busy, high-stakes, high-stress senior year.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way!! You are speech and debate students! You know how to dig into a challenge and figure out how to conquer it! The college application process is similar: think of it as a game with strategies and methods you can master.

For example:
1) In college essay writing, voice is crucial. Most students writing an application essay go all stiff and formal on it. They sound like a butler with indigestion. You’re much better off sounding like yourself, with the same voice and style you would use giving a tournament speech.

2) Before you begin your first essay, you need to develop your marketing message. Just like a director putting together a TV commercial, think through what the one main take-away will be – what do you want the admissions officer or scholarship committee to remember about you, in seven words or less, after reading your application packet? You need a strategy to analyze who you are, what makes you tick, what makes you different from the other thousand applicants.

3) Start early. You’ll need to apply by October to be eligible for most schools’ best scholarships. That means starting applications this summer, if you don’t want to do a rushed job of it.

4) Establish a plan and a support team. Make a master list of every form, every essay, every recommendation letter you need to send in. Find some family members or friends committed to helping you, giving you feedback on your applications, and encouraging you to hang in there with One More Essay. This is a marathon; you will need cheerleaders!

If you’re getting ready to run this marathon, never fear! FoxbridgePrep can connect you with coaches and cheerleaders via our live, interactive College Application Prep classes this summer:
· College Application Essay Class
· Resumes and References Class
· Interview Prep Class

Our proven strategies have helped students get accepted at wonderful schools with huge scholarships, several earning full tuition and full rides (room, board, tuition, fees, and expenses).

Application Prep classes start June 11th. For more information click HERE.

College application season is TOUGH – but it can also be one of the best growing experiences of your homeschool career. It can become a time of constant prayer, seeking God’s will, wondering if He will answer, and then being amazed and delighted at how He does. It’s an amazing faith-building experience! We’d love to share it with you.

Teacher Bios:

After earning degrees from Princeton University and Dallas Seminary, Missy Fox came home to raise her children – and stayed home to teach them for the next 23 years. In addition to coaching TP and Apol, she has taught transcript preparation, ACT/SAT prep, college essay prep, resume prep, and CollegeBoard-certified AP classes in English, physics, and US history. She loves helping open opportunities and finances for life after high school.

Anna Fox participated in Speech and Debate for 2 years, qualifying to nationals both years and placing in LD. Her hard work on applications led to being offered a full tuition/room/board scholarship at Grove City College, an Optimist International scholarship, a NC for Home Education scholarship, and the Patrick Henry College Trivium, Academic, Forensics, and Music Scholarships. She is currently a literature major at Patrick Henry. She tutors for FoxbridgePrep and Wyzant in public speaking, reading, writing, and ACT/SAT prep.