Posts Tagged ‘High School Life & Advice’

5 Questions for Your Guidance Counselor

5 Questions for Your Guidance Counselor

Photo: bgdailynews.com

Attention high school students: your guidance counselor can be a great resource in your college application process. As a large part of a guidance counselor’s job is helping seniors get into college, they can usually give you answers to every question you might have, or have the connections to find the information you need to know. When you do meet with your counselor, it is important to be prepared with questions to help the appointment run smoothly and ensure you cover all the bases to make yourself an ideal applicant.

1. What core classes do I need to take?

College admissions offices like to see a certain number of years of core classes on your high school transcript. When starting your college search, it will be very helpful to know what the admissions team may be looking for. Some colleges only consider applicants who have studied a foreign language, have four years of English classes, or have an array of AP classes on their transcript, among other requirements. Knowing what you need will influence what classes you register for in your senior year and help you pick your reach, target and safety schools.

2. Where can I look for financial aid?

Your guidance counselor will have very valuable information on the different financial aid options including FAFSA grants and other scholarships you may qualify for. Cappex is also a great resource for researching college scholarships.

3. What information do you need for my recommendation?

Many universities require one or two recommendations from teachers or guidance counselors, and if you go to a big high school, you may not know your guidance counselor on a more personal level. To make sure you get the best recommendations possible, ask your guidance counselor what would be helpful to know about you that they can’t find on your transcript, including clubs, sports teams or other organizations you may be affiliated with, community service projects you’ve completed, awards you’ve won, or your future education goals.

4. How does our school compare to others with test scores and reputation?

Depending on where your high school ranks with test scores, AP classes offered and other indicators, you may have a better or average chance of getting accepted to a certain college. Knowing more about your school’s reputation will help you get a more accurate feel of how this affects your admissions chances.

5. Are there any college fairs nearby?

Your guidance counselor will have important information on local college fairs and which ones you should attend to meet with representatives from your prospective colleges. Some high schools also host their own college fairs and invite university representatives to come from colleges that have historically been popular with your school’s students.

Five Small Ways to Save for College in High School

You may think that as a high school student there isn’t a whole lot you can do to pay for your college education, but, you might be surprised how a little can go a long way.

For those of you who won’t qualify for financial aid but are still responsible for generating the funds, or for those of you who want to decrease your loan amount by contributing what you can, here is a list of small ways to save that can help you big while you’re still in high school.

$20/Week: While you’re probably only making a few hundred dollars a month with a part time job, if you can afford to place $20.00 from every weekly paycheck into a savings account your junior and senior years of high school, that’s over $2,000 by the time you enter college. That’s equivalent to one-third of the average tuition for one year at state school.

Save Those Birthday Cards: Instead of blowing the $50 you received from grandma on your birthday on new clothes or movie tickets, start a saving account while you’re still in high school for any money you receive between now and college. Between birthdays, Christmases, family traditions, holidays, and your graduation, you could find yourself with another $1,000 to put toward college. That could pay for one year of textbooks and school supplies.

Talk to Your Bank: While having a savings account is great, you may not have the best savings account for your specific needs. Talk to your bank about the best account to save for college, as some accounts may have higher interest rates, which will provide you with a little extra money in the long run. You may also want to inquire about CDs- Certificates of Deposit. A CD allows you to deposit money at a bank as you would an account; however you will be unable to access that money for a given amount of time, whether that be six months or several years. When that time is up, you’ll receive your money back in addition to the interest accumulated on it. As a minor, you will likely have to have your parents set up the CD with the bank.

Roll Your Pennies: It may sound completely ridiculous and childish, but saving spare change in a jug over years at a time has been proven to add up quickly. According to a Banking My Way article published in 2009, a family was able to save $7,000 in change over five years. That could be a whole year’s worth of tuition! While you may not be able to hit that number, others report having saved around $400 a year with this method.

Senior Sale: Before going off to college, you may want to do some serious springcleaning. Perhaps you don’t actually want to, but your parents aren’t giving you a choice. Instead of tossing everything away, include yourself in a neighborhood yard sale, or sell your old things on sites such as Craigslist or eBay. A little extra cash can pay for honor society fees, club t-shirts, and other little college expenses you may not have foreseen.

Want to save more money for college? Make a personalized profile on Cappex today to be matched with scholarships!

High School Juniors: November College Check Up

Categories: Admissions Advice

Just like you (should) see a doctor every year to check up on your general health and make sure everything’s going swimmingly–and hopefully leave with an awesome sticker or lollipop–you should have a college-bound check up to make sure you’re on track with your college dreams.

For high school juniors, it’s coming down to crunch time. It may seem like you have all the time in the world to prepare for your college applications, but with all of your other responsibilities and school work, getting everything done in time for next fall’s deadlines requires that you help your future self out by starting to prepare now!

So, if you’re a high school junior with college goals, here are some important benchmarks you should make sure you hit during November:

Meet with your guidance counselor
November of your junior year is a great time to meet with your school’s guidance or college counselor to discuss your goals and make sure you’re on track for high school graduation. Your counselor will not only be able to provide you with information for preparing for college, but they can also let you know what credits you still need to graduate and how you can make sure you will accomplish that. You don’t want to find out that you didn’t earn enough credits in fine arts the day before you walk across the stage at your graduation ceremony (remember when Zach Morris had to perform in the ballet recital in order to graduate from Bayside??? That was crazy!!!).

Prepare for testing
During your junior year, you should take time to study for the tests that apply to the school you want to go to. That may be the ACT, SAT, SAT II’s, etc. Whatever the appropriate tests are, give yourself enough time to study and then take the test over again if you did not earn the score you want.

The next registration for the SAT is today(!!!) for the December 3rd test. The next registration for the ACT isn’t until January 13th for the February test. See? It’s important to plan ahead.

Think about future recommendations
It’s still a bit early, but you should get the gears moving about which teachers/coaches/community members/employers you can ask for recommendations in the near future. You’re going to want to ask them as early as the end of your junior year. Also…it’s better to get thinking early on this because you might just realize you don’t have a good person in mind for a recommendation. If that’s the case, start forming a relationship with you teachers. Be active during class; stay after to further discuss what happened in class, etc.

Are you prepared? Or, do you have advice for juniors at this stage in the game? Leave a comment below!