- Why Go To College?
- Getting In
- Financial Aid
Why should you think seriously about college?
Because college can be the key to a better life for you and your family. A college education gives you choices. It can take you out of a minimum-wage job and into good-paying work that you enjoy.
Compared to people who don't continue their education beyond high school, people who go to college:
- Have a wider range of job possibilities and options
- Develop lifelong learning skills
- Are in a better position to help their families and communities.
Even if you are not sure what the future holds, prepare as if you will be going to college. What you learn will help you get the most out of life.
If you get a college education, you will...
Get a Good Start in Life
College will train you to express your thoughts clearly, make informed decisions, and use technology—all useful skills on and off the job and for life.
Get Better Jobs
Today more and more jobs require education beyond high school. With a college education, you will have more and better jobs to choose from.
Be Better Prepared to Reach Your Goals
College prepares you to qualify for a job in the field you are interested in.
Have a Support Network
In college you meet lots of individuals such as professors, scientists, and businessmen, who become key allies when you are looking for employment or further educational opportunities.
Be Better Positioned to Help Your Family
College will put you in a better position to give your children and family the kind of life and opportunities that you dream of.
Earn More Money
A person who goes to college usually makes more money than a person who doesnt.
In general, getting in to college requires three things.
- Play sports
- Join clubs
- Develop a skill (Music, Art, Vocational Tech, Drama, etc.)
- Develop your résumé
- Develop your personal statement
- Track your grades
- Plan your college fund
Research Your Resources
Aim for high grades
Your GPA may be your future. Keep your grades up throughout high school. Students who achieve higher GPAs qualify for more scholarships and are more competitive applicants to college admission boards. However, check with the college admissions officer to recalculate your GPA for a more accurate view of your chances for admission.
A Helpful Plan for the College-Bound Student and Parent
9th Grade Year—Incoming Freshman
- Visit career and college fairs
- Begin volunteering
- Join student clubs and organizations
- Become active in community programs
- Seek helpful advice from counselors and teachers
- Meet with professionals in careers of interest
- Learn research skills
- Develop and improve your study skills
- Learn about time management, stress management, and your physical health
- Start a college fund
- Challenge your mind
- Research the ACT, PSAT, SAT, and how they affect your future
10th Grade Year—Successful Sophomore
- Visit your counselor and the career center
- Keep track of high school credits and graduation date
- Contact and plan to meet with outreach coordinators from schools that interest you
- Get on campus! Meet with college students and faculty!
- Meet with professionals in careers of interest and ask to “shadow” for a day
- Explore your career paths
- Volunteer in areas of interest (if you havent already)
- Consider taking on a job for financial independence
- Continue college fund
- Begin preparing your résumé and personal statement
- Plan ahead for the ACT and SAT
- Search out and apply for summer programs, pay attention to colleges and universities of interest
11th Grade Year—Jubilant Junior
- Plan your career interests
- Visit your counselor and check high school credits and graduation requirements
- Visit with professionals in career interests
- Establish and plan a career path
- Prepare your résumé and personal statements
- Volunteer in areas of career interests
- Take advantage of college prep courses
- Research schools of interest (admissions, location, tuition, housing, and degrees offered)
- Plan to take college entrance exams (keep track of dates, locations, and fees)
- Prepare to take the PSAT in October
- Register for SAT and ACT and check May and June test dates
- Research scholarships at colleges, universities, local and corporate enterprises (www.fastweb.com)
- Organize a calendar for deadlines for scholarships, admissions, financial aid
- Practice preparing college applications
- Develop relationships with counselors and teachers (you will need to request letters of recommendation)
- Attend Financial Aid night (bring your parents!)
- Athletes Pick up NCAA Clearinghouse application
- Review your college fund
- Research and apply for summer programs (check with schools of interest for summer programs)
- Plan to visit 2 or 3 colleges that interest you during the summer
12th Grade Year—Cream Rises to the Top
- Check graduation requirements and transcripts with high school counselor
- Review deadlines and requirements for college admissions
- Finalize résumé and personal statement
- Ask teachers and counselors for letters of recommendation
- Complete and submit college applications and essays
- Retake SAT and/or ACT if you need to improve test scores
- November deadline for ACT and SAT registration by mail
- Keep up your grades to maintain GPA
- Begin folder to track college applications, letters of recommendation, admission requirements, financial aid awards and scholarships, etc.
- Request your final transcripts to be mailed to schools of your choice
- “Shadow” a college student
- Apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) www.fafsa.ed.gov
- FAFSA priority deadline February 14th
- Apply for scholarships (www.fastweb.com)
- Explore summer college preparatory programs at colleges or universities
- Buy your cap and gown!
Getting Financial Aid
College is expensive, so seeking financial aid opportunities is important for everyone. It is important to understand that scholarships and financial aid are often available for students based on seven key qualifications listed below.
- Outstanding grades
- Special talents
- Special needs
- Athletic ability
- Focused career interests
- Ethnicity or heritage
- Leadership ability
Applying for state and federal student aid is free! You can begin by completing the (FAFSA) Free Application for Federal Student Aid that is available in the school counselor's office.
You can also find the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You can complete and file the FAFSA online for quicker processing. Your answers are edited and transmitted with less room for error. Our recommendation is that you complete your FAFSA on paper and transfer the information to the computer online. Financial aid is most often based on need and is calculated using a simple formula:
College Cost - Your Expected Family Contribution = Your Financial Need
Applying for financial aid early is the key to receiving the best aid.
There are various types of financial assistance. It is important that you understand the difference between them.
Repayment is not required. Grants are given for athletic, academics, special talent, needs based, etc.
Repayment is not required. They are awarded based on athletics, special talent or academic excellence.
Must be repaid. Generally you begin paying after you have completed or stopped your education. Student loans are available from federally sponsored institutions or commercial institutions.
This allows colleges to hire students for employment to pay their own way as they go to college. You do not repay money earned.
If scholarships or work study do not cover all of your expenses, student loans may help pay the remaining expenses. There are two types of student loans:
- Federal loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government.
- Alternative loans are guaranteed by private guarantee agencies.