At MMA, senior cadets start the college process at the beginning of the academic year. Every cadet is afforded individual time with MMA’s college and career guidance counselor, who helps them through every step of the process. What does this process look like?
Step 1: Identify personal interests. Using tools, assessments and one-on-one conversational time, MMA learns about each cadet’s interests, abilities and values. What are they interested in doing on a daily basis or for a career? Do they have special skills or talents? What are their values – do they want to make a lot of money, or do they value their time more? Do they desire independence and flexibility in their schedule or are they looking for more structure and routine?
Step 2: Identify career interests. The next step is to learn about careers themselves. Many students have an idea of what they want to do “when they grow up,” but they don’t always have an accurate perception of what their chosen career entails. Cadets are given the assignment of career exploration research – they learn more about what the day-to-day tasks and job situations are like for various careers, what the work environment is, how much money that career makes, what training is required for that job, etc.
Step 3: Identify training. Most careers require additional training. Once we have identified what cadets want to do, it is time to figure out how they will get there. This is where we start building a tangible roadmap for their future.
MMA begins by helping cadets identify what kind of environment they want to receive their training. We challenge them to think about things they may not have considered, such as how big a school they want to go to, how far away from home they want to be, how much money they want to spend, what programs are available, if they want to participate in college athletics, fraternities, etc.
Once they have a good handle on the type of school they would like, they begin researching for colleges that match their preferences.
Step 4: Visit the college. Every cadet is encouraged to visit colleges they are interested in, and to speak with college representatives who visit MMA. They receive coaching on what questions they should ask college admissions counselors. This year, due to COVID-19 limiting travel, cadets have been challenged to attend multiple virtual college tours.
Step 5: Begin applying. While cadets are working through steps 1-4, they are also preparing for and collecting necessary materials to begin the application process. For example, all senior cadets are required to complete the ACT and are given opportunities to receive ACT training. They build their resumes – which are buffed with mandatory extracurricular and community service time – and request letters of recommendation from their instructors. All cadets receive an additional letter of recommendation from MMA’s college and career guidance counselor. If necessary, they write their college entrance essays.
All senior cadets at MMA apply to at least two colleges of their interest, as well as complete the Common App, by Thanksgiving.
Step 6: Financial Aid. Financial aid is perhaps one of the more complicated steps in the college process, but MMA aims to help cadets find a way to complete college with as little debt as possible. MMA works with cadets to identify means for them to pay for their college choices.
All cadets – including international students – begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If needed, they also complete the College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile). These applications require parent involvement, and can be complicated for parent and cadet alike. Any questions can be directed to MMA’s college and career office at any time.
Cadets are also given information and resources to find additional funding, such as scholarships, grants, loans, and more.
Step 7: Select a school. Many MMA cadets are accepted to multiple colleges. They are then instructed to have a serious discussion with their families, make their decision and begin making arrangements for their move when they graduate from MMA.
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