Prepare for college
A quick checklist for seniors who plan to attend college:
• Review graduation requirements with a counselor.
• Take the SAT, ACT, ASSET and/or Compass, depending on what colleges require.
• Mark your calendar with important test dates and application deadlines. Follow up with all applications.
• Ask your school counselor about scholarship opportunities. Sites like www.GAcollege411.com and www.fastweb.com offer specialty scholarships for students with various talents.
• Have counselors submit transcripts electronically to the colleges to which you have applied.
• Contact financial aid offices at your college of choice and apply for school-specific scholarships.
• Remind your parents that you will need current tax information for financial applications in January.
• Check college deadlines for on-campus housing.
Senior counselor Valerie Brown said about 100-150 students and their parents usually attend the biannual event to learn about selecting colleges, filling out financial aid forms and obtaining scholarships. Informational sessions are held in the fall and spring.
“At this point, they need to be finalizing the schools they want to go to and finalizing applications,” Brown said.
Carol Ann Lott, a representative from the Georgia Student Finance Commission, spoke to students about www.GAcollege411.com, a website that contains college-planning resources. She also answered questions about loans and scholarships.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Lott highlighted the website’s features and tools.
“Your seniors still have a lot of things to do,” she told parents. She encouraged seniors who have not already created accounts at www.GAcollege411.com to do so immediately.
The site offers information on career planning, salary expectations, how to build a resume and job interview practice skills.
“At this point, make sure they are taking the classes needed to graduate on time,” Lott told parents.
Students collected pamphlets on financial planning and Georgia’s HOPE scholarship, which is available to Georgia residents who maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Since colleges frequently post new scholarship opportunities, Lott suggests checking the website’s Financial Aid 101 section weekly to stay updated.
“You don’t want to miss anything,” she said.
For those who will be eligible for the HOPE scholarship but plan to attend an out-of-state school, Lott recommends calling the college to see what they can do for HOPE scholars. Sometimes colleges will offer extra money or let HOPE scholars pay in-state rates, she said.
Kevin Hamilton-Nugent, 17, already knows where he wants to go to college, and it isn’t exactly around the corner.
He is “determined 100 percent” to attend Universal Technical Institute in Orlando, Fla., next year, and he was surprised to learn that the HOPE scholarship may give him some funds even if he chooses to move to Florida for school.
“I just came out to get more details and find out more information about financial aid,” he said about attending the informational session.
As for leaving high school and moving onto college, the senior thinks he is more than ready. “I’m ready to get out of this school and do something I love five days a week.”