Senior Year

College/Career Prep Information for Seniors

  • Athletes: Complete the NCAA clearinghouse Initial-Eligibility Form in August if you plan to play college sports. The form is available at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net.

 

 

  • Get your short college list together.  Narrow your search for colleges to 2-4 that you will apply to.    The list should include a sure thing, a maybe, and a dream school.  Visit the schools if possible.  Go to the college fairs if you are still undecided. Remember, out-of-state schools don’t necessarily cost more.  Getting your acceptance and financial aid letters in early spring will show you what the best deal really is. 

 

  • Update your resume.  There are different types of resumes.  A job-seeker resume focuses on employment skills and experience. An academic resume focuses on your qualifications and traits that make you an excellent student, and candidate for college and scholarships.

 

  • Get teacher recommendations early. Many colleges require recommendation letters from teachers.  Ask for these early, and give the teacher your resume, plus the date you need the letter by.  Remind the teacher of your deadline at least a week before you need it.

 

  • Go after those scholarships.  Look in Naviance Family Connection and the PHS webpage for scholarship money you may qualify for.  Sign up on edu.fastweb.com and visit http://www.nacacnet.org/StudentResources/Pages/default.aspx. Look for scholarships from the schools you plan to apply to and the businesses where your parents and grandparents work(ed).     Apply for all that you can.  Most students use many small scholarships to pay for college instead of one huge award.

 

  • Apply. Check on Naviance for college application deadlines.  Although some school deadlines occur as early as November, in general, college applications should be sent off no later than December 1st. Come to the counseling office to request that your official high school transcripts be sent to the colleges you applied to.

 

  • Do FAFSA as soon as possible.  Almost all colleges require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before they award any scholarships or grants.  You can submit FAFSA as soon as you have all your income tax forms ready.   Your deadline for getting FAFSA submitted is March 1st for first priority in financial aid and scholarships.

 

  • Take the ASVAB.  If you are considering the military as a career you should talk to a recruiter and sign up for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).  The higher you score on this test, the more choices you will have for training pathways in the service.  You can get study tips and test information at: http://www.military.com/ASVAB. If you are considering the military because you want them to pay for college, you should check out ROTC scholarships on Naviance under college: resources.  These scholarships pay for college first. Then you move into active service as an officer (higher pay).

 

  • Talk to your family.  You will experience many changes in your life in the next year, and your family will be experiencing them with you.  Keep talking with them about your plans and about your questions.  The people closest to you can help you see things clearly when life seems to be getting a little crazy.  Together is stronger than alone!

 

  • Watch your grades.  Even though you’ve already sent transcripts to the colleges, you will also be sending them a final transcript at the end of the year.  Don’t let your grades drop. 

 

  • If college isn’t your plan:
    • Go to the career fairs.  Talk to adult friends about their jobs, what they like and don’t like about them, and how you can get a job like theirs. 
    • If you are good with your hands, you might try an apprenticeship, where you can earn a paycheck while you learn the trade.  Plumbers (pipefitters), electricians, heating-cooling trades are just a few of the careers you can get into through internships.  See the PHS college and career counselor for help with this.
    • Get to know the Workforce Center.  The WFC website lets you register for job-skills classes, and sign up for the job-seeker database so that you can search for jobs locally and across the state.  Check out: http://workforcecenter.mesacounty.us/.
    • Take the Employment-Readiness class offered at PHS.  Also take as many business classes as you can, since these add skills to your resume.
    • Check out the community and tech schools.  Although they sound like college, many programs are much more hands-on than classroom-based.  Even getting a 9 month certificate in a technical field can double your wages, compared to just having a HS diploma.  Get online and look at community colleges all over the state, since different schools offer different programs.  Community colleges accept all students with a high school diploma, even if you’ve missed the dates mentioned above (although some programs fill up quickly). Check out:  http://www.coloradocommunitycolleges.com/.

 

  • Accept and decline.  Compare all the schools you were accepted to and their financial aid packages (these come in the mail too).  Make a decision about the school you will attend and then contact each school and let them know your decision to accept or decline their offers. This must be done by May 1st.

 

  • Give Thanks.  Write thank you cards to teachers/adults who have written letters or otherwise helped you with this process.  Let them know what you post-grad plan is.  Don’t forget to thank your family.

 

This process can be overwhelming for some students but it’s really important to have your plan together before you graduate.  Did you know you are actually REQUIRED to involve the counselors with this process? (See Senior Post-Grad Plan handout.)  Come see us.  We can help.