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Creating handbooks and newsletters for students

Providing your students with important communications in writing ensures that they receive standardized, complete information — and can save it for future use. Use our resources to create informative materials that help students connect to college success.

Student handbook

A good handbook on how to prepare for and apply to college is essential for all students, especially those who may not see themselves as college-bound. It provides a general overview of the college admission process in 25–50 pages and contains step-by-step descriptions of necessary activities. While much of the material you select should remain valid for years, other sections may need to be reviewed on an annual basis.

Handbook content basics include:

  • Services your department provides
  • Calendar for the application process
  • List of deadlines that must be met
  • Overview of minimum college entrance requirements
  • College admission testing information for the PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT® and ACT
  • College admission policies
  • Instructions on how to research and select colleges
  • Financial aid options
  • Resources, including useful websites and books 

In addition to these broad categories, you might want to include more specialized information. Select topics that are relevant to your student body, such as:

  • Community colleges
  • Multicultural considerations
  • Student-athletes
  • Special needs services
  • Scholarships

Monthly newsletters

Regularly published newsletters can provide timely reminders for students. These can be geared toward students, parents or both. College-planning newsletters are typically two to eight pages long, outline the steps students should be taking each month and refer to more detailed information that is available in your handbook. Include items such as:

  • Important upcoming events
  • Admission test registration dates
  • Deadlines for key points in the application process
  • College fairs
  • Visits from college reps
  • Financial aid seminars

You might also want to highlight topics and opportunities for students, such as success stories and activities to help them prepare for college. Examples include:

  • Summer programs, camps and internships
  • National and school award announcements and ceremonies
  • Recognition of student achievements outside of school
  • Outstanding news about recent local high school graduates
  • Success stories concerning college admission

Good information is the key

Give your students the tools to plan for and implement their own college admission process. Students need to understand early on that they are responsible for their own applications, although you are available to assist them.