FAFSA Night 101

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

In honor of students filling out their FAFSA this entire post will be in green, which is the lovely color of money. FAFSA Night is fast approaching and I want to give a few pointers to our students and their families.

FAFSA NIGHT is from 4 – 7 p.m., Thursday, February 17, 2011

  1. All colleges want the FAFSA completed regardless of the family’s financial situation. Colleges need to know what aid they can help provide along with how families are going to pay.
  2. Students must have a social security number but parents are not required to have one. If parents do not have a social security number they can fill in seven zeroes (000-00-0000) in the appropriate spaces.
  3. If a student/parent has not done their 2010 taxes before the FAFSA Night, families can bring in their 2009 tax info, only if the financial circumstances have not changed. If there has been a significant change in finances in either direction (loss or gain), the taxes will need to be done prior to the FAFSA night. FAFSAs can be adjusted once the 2010 taxes are finished
  4. W2s are great to bring in case there seem to be problems with your tax information
  5. When in doubt bring it all – better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Reminders for the Week of Jan. 31 – Feb. 4

 The month of February is crazy for the counseling department but we want you to remember a few things.

  • Registration starts this week – we’ll be joining you in your social studies classrooms this week,  and next week we’ll be setting up in labs to finalize your picks if you haven’t already done so at home. HINT: If you go home and login to IC and register you don’t have to sit in a computer lab and pick your classes…
  • The FAFSA Night is free, in the SHS Wired Laboratory and starts at 4 p.m. Bring your social security numbers, 2010 tax info (W2s work great) or yoru 2009 tax info if you haven’t done your 2010 taxes yet. Don’t forget to bring your parents or guardians.
  • There will be a Local Scholarship Help Ssession from 2:30 – 3:15 p.m. on Thursdsay, Feb. 24 in the Future Center.

Check the Calendar of Events for details and times.

Picture by cliparttoday.com

Opportunity for Involvement

The American Legion has a program called Boys and Girls State. This is a leadership program where students can create their own government and have the opportunity (not guaranteed) to earn college credit.

Applications are online and they are due April 30, 2011. This year’s program is at CSU Pueblo and runs June 5 through June 11.  If you are interested you can pick up information from me in the counseling office or you can visit the web sites.

Boys State: http://www.colegionboysstate.org/

www.boysandgirlsstate.org

In Colorado you can call: 1-800-477-1655

Registration is coming…

Registration is upon us. Starting next week the counseling department will be joining the social studies classes to discuss the ins-and-outs of registering for classes for the 2011/2012 school year. The first classroom visits will be Information Sessions. In the info sessions counselors will discuss which classes  students should register for along with how to register through Infinite Campus. Students are highly encouraged to register for classes at home through their Infinite Campus accounts. The following week students who have not registered for classes will be able to join their counselor for registration in a computer lab. 

Things to Note:

  • All students must register for a full year of English. All students need four years/credits of English for graduation
  • All students need a minimum of three years/credits of math, social studies, and science each
  • All students need a minimum of two years/credits of P.E.
  • All students need .50 credit each of health, fine art and practical art
  • Any student wanting to attend a four-year college or university will need three years of the same foreign language

Students who are interested in taking Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) or Front Range Community College (FRCC) classes are encouraged to speak with their teachers and counselors about these classes. Any student wanting to take FRCC classes will also have to take an Accuplacer exam. The Accuplacer tests a students readiness for college level courses.

Local Scholarships

It’s raining scholarship money in the counseling office. The week of January 24 – January 31, our new counselor, Laurie Lynch, and I will be visiting senior English classrooms to discuss the 2011 Local Scholarship packet. The local scholarships are for students in St. Vrain Valley School District. There are scholarships based on financial need, ones with essays and others based on your college major. Some scholarships require nothing more than a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) from your completed FAFSA.

Info on the Local Scholarships:

-List I: this list goes with the Local Scholarship Application (both sheets are on white paper). You need one application for any of these and two letters of recommendation.                         

-List II: these scholarships (listed on yellow paper) have separate applications you can pick up in the counseling office. Some of these scholarships have different deadlines, so plan accordingly.

-Many of the scholarships require you to do the FAFSA and to turn in your SAR (student aid report). Don’t forget there are two, free FAFSA sessions in February. Front Range will host on Sunday, February 13 and Skyline will host on Thursday, February 17. Check out the Calendar of Events on this blog for times.

-All local scholarships are due on Tuesday, February 28 in the counseling office. If you miss the deadline the applications will not be accepted.

There are thousands of scholarships available to students every year. It takes a lot of time and effort for students to write the essays and put together portfolios, but the payoff can be great. Leaving college with as little debt as possible will make your post-college years that much more enjoyable. Student loans generally have low interest, but they take a huge chunk of your paycheck every month, so put in the time and effort now. Your future self will be very grateful.

(graphic from stumpmasters.com)

Practice ACT for Juniors

The ACT is the gift that keeps on giving. It helps get you into college, find out what careers might interest you, helps you win scholarships, and it is the last official standardized test you have to take. The counseling department and Huntington Learning Center are running a (mandatory) practice ACT for all juniors on Wednesday, March 2.

Most students perform much better on the ACT when they have taken practice exams. They are able to recognize test questions and feel comfortable with the format and time of each section of the test. So in order to help you score your best on the state-wide ACT (April 27, 2011) you will learn about test-taking strategies, and how to interpret your scores. Here are the following dates of mandatory junior meetings for the practice ACT:

  • Wednesday, February 2, 2011: Information session with counselors and Huntington Learning Center about how to study for the ACT and test-taking strategies.
  • Wednesday, February 9, 2011: Mandatory junior/parent meeting with Huntington (during P/T Conferences) about the practice ACT
  • Wednesday, March 2, 2011: TEST DAY!! Juniors will take the test during the morning of late start. The test will begin at 7;30 a.m.

Welcome Back – Reminders for 2nd Semester

You’re halfway done  and second semester is only going to get more hectic and stressful. In order to combat the stress don’t forget to do these things:

1. Your counselors will be updating credit checks/four year plans throughout the month of January. If you didn’t pass a class (especially if you’re a senior) you need to get into some form of credit recovery (see blog post about your credit recovery options).

2. CELA testing begins tomorrow for ELL students. If you have any questions about this, please email your counselor.

3. January 13 is the District Financial Aid night at Longmont High School. All seniors are encouraged to attend to learn about the local scholarships.

4. College applications due dates are approaching – CU Boulder’s is due Jan. 15 and CSU is due Feb. 1

5. Letters of Recommendation reminder – a minimum of three weeks before it is due is greatly appreciated – if you ask at the last minute be prepared to not get a letter or to get a very boring and generic one.