Comparing ASVAB Tests

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Oct 9, 2020 10:16:20 AM

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a series of aptitude tests that evaluates developed abilities in order to predict future academic and professional success in the military. 

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Topics: Educators, High School

Helping Your Students with a College Prep Checklist during COVID-19

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Aug 18, 2020 1:28:48 PM

If you’re working with college-bound seniors this year, you’ll want to help them stay on track. With virtual schooling and uncertain variables popping up, we’re here to help with tips on crafting a college prep checklist during COVID-19.

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Topics: College Planning, Educators, High School, Distance Counseling and Learning

Advising Students with Disabilities: A Guide

Posted by Texas OnCourse Leader Fellow Misty Thomas on Aug 11, 2020 1:10:14 PM

Serving our students with disabilities can be an extra challenge in a virtual environment. This blog post, originally published in July 2019, will help you map out your supports for students with disabilities. 

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Topics: Middle School, Educators, High School

Don’t Miss This Checklist for High School Seniors

Posted by Texas OnCourse on May 26, 2020 6:30:19 PM

Five Actions Educators Can Take Right Now to Support High School Seniors’ Transition

The following five actions have been adapted from the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) Immediate Next Steps guide for supporting high school seniors’ transition to a postsecondary educational program. Take the following actions to prevent summer melt and ensure that the high school class of 2020 enrolls at their postsecondary program in the fall. 

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Topics: Grad Requirements, College Planning, High School, Distance Counseling and Learning

How to Choose a College during COVID-19

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Apr 28, 2020 5:29:59 PM

The college admissions process of 2020 will go down in history books. Campus visits have been canceled. Individual and family financial circumstances are up in the air. Many colleges have moved their admissions decision deadline to June 1. So how on earth can educators guide their students on how to choose a college during COVID-19? Read on for four tips below:

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Topics: College Planning, Educators, Coronavirus, High School, Distance Counseling and Learning

Video: Tips for High School Seniors to Finish Strong

Posted by Rose Frezza, Texas OnCourse on Apr 28, 2020 3:53:56 PM

[UPDATED May 2021] College-bound high school seniors have a big transition ahead of them. In addition to choosing their college, they’ll need to keep track of financial aid deadlines, make housing plans, and schedule orientation. We compiled the top five ways high school seniors can stay on track through the end of high school and into the summer to have a stellar freshman year.

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Topics: College Planning, Coronavirus, High School, Distance Counseling and Learning

Teacher Tips: CTE Online Lesson Plans

Posted by Amanda Hernandez, Texas OnCourse on Apr 16, 2020 2:34:56 PM

For many career and technical education (CTE) teachers, the sudden move to online learning is particularly challenging. CTE, after all, is often hands-on in nature. Here, we gather updates, tips, suggested practices, and resources around CTE online lesson plans into one place. Use them to supplement official guidance provided by your school or district. Our hope is to help you strengthen your online teaching skills as they relate to delivering CTE instruction remotely.  

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Topics: Middle School, Jobs and Careers, Coronavirus, High School

How Schools Can Partner with the Workforce for Work Based Learning in Texas

Posted by Texas OnCourse Leader Fellow Christi Barrera on Apr 25, 2019 11:34:21 AM

Ask any educator what their ultimate goal is for their students and you’re likely to hear something in regard to preparing them for the future. What does this boil down to? Typically a career that can provide for the individual and help them live a satisfying life. It makes sense that educational institutions partner more effectively with the workforce to make this goal more attainable through work based learning in Texas. We have great resources available through our partners at the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Below, we outline some ways you, as an educator, can take advantage of collaborating with TWC and other local workforce resources.

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Topics: Jobs and Careers, Educators, High School, Academic Planning

Navigating FAFSA Verification: Why and How to Verify Financial Aid

Posted by Leader Fellow Alum Holly Moore on Mar 26, 2019 4:35:00 PM

You sent emails and texts and held parent meetings before October 1st in hopes that your students would complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A successful financial aid night has come and gone, and you're impressed with the FAFSA completions at your high school. All is calm until a panicked student comes into your office and tells you they received an email saying they were selected for verification.

What is verification?

Verification is proof through documentation that the information provided on a student's FAFSA is correct. The federal government requires colleges and universities to verify or confirm the data reported by students and their parent(s) on the FAFSA.

Who is selected?

Typically, about one-third of students are selected for verification. However, some schools verify all students.

Why was a student selected for verification?

First, reassure the student that they didn’t do anything wrong. Verification selection can be random. It could also be that the FAFSA submitted was incomplete, used estimated information, or provided inconsistent data. The verification process is a federal requirement to ensure that eligible students receive all the aid that they qualify for and to prevent ineligible students from receiving aid.

How does a student know they were selected for verification?

On the top of the Student Aid Report (SAR), they will see the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If there is an asterisk (*) behind the EFC number, the FAFSA was selected for verification. Students selected for verification may also be notified directly from the college(s) they have applied to via mail, email, or the student’s portal. In addition, counselors and advisers can see which students have been selected for verification by logging into the ApplyTexas Counselor Suite and clicking on their high school’s FAFSA apps.

How can counselors and advisers help students navigate the verification process?

  1. Educate students and families about verification in advance. If families know what verification is and what to expect if they are selected, then the student is more likely to be successful at completing the verification process.
  2. Encourage all families to request a tax transcript from the IRS if they are unable to use the IRS data retrieval tool when completing the FAFSA. Offer to assist with ordering tax transcripts, if applicable, during financial aid workshops. This is one of the most common documents requested when a student is selected for verification.
  3. Make sure students check their email and log into their college portals so that they don’t miss any needed paperwork or deadlines. If ever in doubt, call the college’s financial aid office.

Verification can be a major barrier, especially for Pell-eligible studentsNCAN data shows that over 100,000 Pell-eligible students in 2016–2017 who were selected for verification never completed the process. Counselors can help keep students on course by tracking students selected for verification, ensuring that they submit documents, and scheduling meetings to review their financial aid award letters.

If you’re craving more FAFSA knowledge, check out our Financial Aid Basics blog.

And finally, counselors and advisers, we encourage you to check out all eight strategies to combat verification challenges in the Texas OnCourse Academy FAFSA module, pictured below and available for download:



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Topics: College Planning, Educators, High School, Financial Aid

Webinar: Assessments and Test Taking Strategies

Posted by Texas OnCourse on Mar 8, 2019 5:51:00 PM

In this webinar on assessments and test-taking strategies, we explore college entrance exams like the SAT, ACT and TSIA – from student preparation to administration. For even more info on exams like these, visit our Admissions Tests guide. We welcome Martha Morris and Aya Takemoto from the College Board and Sauda Callahan from the ACT, who bring us exam and resource updates.

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Topics: Webinar, College Planning, Educators, High School, Entrance Exams