Scholarships and grants, federal student loans, state and college loans, private loans, work-study – these are the many ways your students can receive assistance in paying for college. Researching and pursuing these opportunities can be complicated, but there’s more to do once applications are in! Students need to learn that borrowing only what they need is crucial to minimizing debt, and that certain forms of financial aid will need to be re-paid or traded for time.
Winter break is one of my favorite times of the year. As a high school counselor, I look forward to the long, quiet lull between mid-December and the new year when my schedule frees up and I have more control over my day. I’ve learned that it’s important to harness the gift of free time and use it to recharge and prepare myself for a strong spring semester. Students can and should do the same in order to become college and career ready. Here are three tips for educators and three tips for students on how to return to school in January refreshed and more focused than ever:
Earlier this fall, sophomores and juniors across Texas took the PSAT, giving many of them their first taste of rigorous college entrance exams. This test can reveal areas that need improvement in preparation for the actual SAT®. For juniors, it’s also an opportunity for students to earn scholarships by scoring high enough to become a National Merit Scholar! With test scores due to be released in mid-December, let’s talk about the scoring scale and how to interpret PSAT/NMSQT test results.
We’re loving the *slightly* cooler temperatures and slow slide into the holiday season. Before we all say farewell for Thanksgiving break, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on all we’re thankful for at Texas OnCourse:
My first experience in talking to middle school students about endorsements was more complex than I had anticipated. I may have assumed way too much about their prior knowledge, so it didn’t take long before I had blank faces staring back at me.
After counseling sessions, financial aid nights, mountains of paperwork, and countless follow-ups, your students have *successfully* filed their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Way to go, counselor! What now?
I have worked with many undocumented students over the years. It’s heartbreaking to see how defeated, unsure, and scared they can be about their path to college readiness. It is our job to educate and uplift all students – and let them know that college is an option.
“Snapshot.” This word means so much more than a carefully crafted Instagram photo with a wrinkle-reducing filter. On October 25, 2019, districts across Texas will hold their breath as data is extracted from PEIMS (Public Education Information Management Systems) that will ultimately determine their A–F accountability rating in the form of a snapshot showing “everything as it is today."
Unless they apply for financial aid, even high-achieving students will miss out on it. Showcasing hard work, strengths, and talents are all part of securing scholarships. If students approach this process systematically and start early, scholarships can take a big bite out of college-related expenses. Consider sharing some attributes of a strong application to help students streamline the scholarship application process regardless of the type and number of applications they fill out.
As educators, we know that having buy-in at home is imperative when it comes to college and career readiness. Parents and guardians have enormous influence when it comes to deadlines, timelines, and planning for the future.