How to Prepare for College:
* Start looking at colleges or technical school of your choice. Go visit those schools on days we are out of school.
* Look at college websites. Check the site frequently for their visit days or open houses. Watch their deadlines for admissions applications and scholarships. Pay close attention to deadlines - A late application or missed deadline could result in loosing a scholarship or grant for school!
* Take career interest inventories online to see your career interests and strengths for a job and career. Look at high demand jobs for your time of graduation.
* Take classes that will help prepare you for college, not easy classes that will only raise your GPA. Colleges look to see the type of classes you have taken.
* Take the ACT test serious - try for at least a 21 ACT if going to a TN college for the HOPE scholarship. Students can retake the ACT test as many times as needed. There is a fee each time it is taken. ACT Registration packets can be picked up in the guidance office. Most students start taking the ACT as a junior. Juniors can take the ACT for free in the Spring semester. Details will be given on this at a later date.
* Our local community gives out over $35,000 worth of scholarships. Attend the scholarship meetings your senior year to learn how to apply.
* Research the colleges of your choice to see their admissions requirements. What is their GPA requirement? ACT score requirement? Do they require an entrance essay? Do they require letter of recommendations?
* Look on college websites for their scholarship and financial aid. Are you eligible for any of their scholarships based on your ACT or GPA? Also look under your intended major at the school - are there any additional scholarships or grants based on your interests?
* Look at their cost of tuition and fees for attending. What is the cost of housing? What are the housing requirements? Look at the cost of public vs. private school or staying on campus vs. at home or off campus.Estimate your total costs and start saving now!
* As you start your senior year, start applying to colleges or technical schools. Many schools require an early deadline of Nov. or December of your senior year. Apply to many schools and see which school will give you the best scholarship offer.
* Once applying to each college, sign the transcript notebook in the guidance office. The colleges do not tell the guidance office you have applied to their school. It is your responsibility to let the guidance office know to request a transcipt. Without a transcript, most colleges can't offer scholarships or accept you to their school.
* Another transcript (called the final transcript) has to be sent after graduation. Seniors will have to request the final transcript in May.
* Receiving an acceptance letter from a college of your choice does not mean that you can take it easy the rest of your senior year. Maintain or increase your GPA your senior year. Some colleges will revoke your admissions or scholarships if you let your grades fall or take easy courses your senior year.
* Make an appropriate e-mail account for college use.
* As a senior, apply to many colleges and see which college gives you the best offer. Keep a copy of everything and let the guidance office have copies of offers to announce at Honors Night.
* Seniors, many colleges will use the ACT October test date to award scholarships. If you haven't already registered, register for the December ACT date. (wwwactstudent.org)
* Pay close attention to deadlines!!! Read everything you get from prospective colleges because it might require more information to provide financial aid. If you receive offers - compare and evaluate the entire picture. Don't jump on the first offer you receive. Look at all your options and costs. Does the school have your career major choice? Is the location where you want? Is the cost in your price range? Can you see yourself being happy there?
* FAFSA is the FREE Application for Student Aid. Students and parents will complete this free application to get pell grants, scholarships, and the HOPE scholarship. Parents and or students will provide their tax and income information to qualify. The guidance office has pamphlets on this.
www.fafsa.ed.gov The officical FAFSA website
www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov This gets you an early start for the FAFSA. Any grade level student can complete now to estimate eligibility and their cost of college choices.
* Priority deadline to complete the FAFSA is January.
* Check the e-mail you provide on your applications. This is how the schools and FAFSA will normally communicate with you.
* Don't be caught in a scam. NEVER pay to have someone do your FAFSA or pay someone to help you get financial aid. Financial aid and scholarships/grants are free! Scam artists are creative about their tactics. Guidance counselors and college financial aid officers are here to offer free services. If you have questions about reliable sources, contact our guidance office.
* Make sure you use the FAFSA official site = www.fafsa.ed.gov
* If you receive free or reduced lunch, you may qualify for additional money for college. If you need the cafeteria forms to see if you qualify for our free lunch program, see the guidance office.
* We will have a financial aid session to answer questions about the FAFSA, Hope Scholarships, and pell grants. We will also have a night session to help you complete your FAFSA.
* Colleges use your FAFSA results to determine eligibility for their own institutional aid programs, grants, scholarships, and loans.
* The Educational Opportunity Center provides free assistance in choosing a college or technical school, choosing a major, and completing the FAFSA. They have a local office here. 423-425-1702
* HOPE Scholarship = for TN residents that have a 3.0 GPA OR 21 ACT. Only used for TN colleges or universities.
* Wilder-Naifeh Technical Grant = for TN residents that enroll at a TN Technology Center and awards up to $2000 per year.
* Get involved in community services and extra-curricular activities. You want to make yourself look good on your scholarship applications. Think of it like a job resume!
* Our local Sequatchie Cancer Network gives a scholarship. One of their requirements is volunteering at their cancer network benefits/fundraisers. Call Diane Mounce at Citizens Tri-County Bank.
* IF you don't receive scholarships or grants for school, you will be offered low interest rates for loans. Just remember student loans need to be factored into your budget after finishing college. Eventually you will have a house payment or rent, car loan bill, utility bills, insurance, etc. Look at all your options and see which school is best going to fit your finances.
* If you are planning to transfer schools, check to see what other schools accept. Don't waste time and money taking classes that will not transfer or count. Most colleges will have an equivalency chart that shows general education classes that transfer.