- INTRODUCTION: Where you’re going is less important than how you get there.
- PLANNING TIMELINES 9TH-12TH GRADES
- SOME WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PLANS FOR LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
- FINDING THE RIGHT SCHOOL FOR YOU/STARTING THE APPLICATION PROCESS
- WRITING AN EFFECTIVE COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY
- STANDARDIZED TEST INFORMATION
- TIPS FOR TAKING A STANDARDIZED EXAM
- TESTING INFORMATION
- FINANCIAL AID SCHOLARSHIPS:
- USEFUL LINKS
WHERE YOU’RE GOING IS LESS IMPORTANT THAN HOW YOU GET THERE
“So, what are you going to do after you graduate?” This question (or something similar) is on the minds of most students and all parents some time during the last two years of high school. If you are a high school student, this question can be a constant burden, like a long-term assignment you haven’t started yet. For parents, it’s a nervous worry about a person they love and care deeply about.
There are many ways to decompress:
- Millions of other students before you have met the challenge and been successful. SO CAN YOU.
- It’s important to have a plan (no plan = no action = no stress), BUT it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. A tentative plan will work just fine for now.
- Misery loves company! Ask adults you know how many times they changed their minds before they decided on a career (some are probably still deciding!).
- Ask adults you know what they would be doing NOW if they were doing what they thought they’d be doing in high school (chances are, they’ll laugh).
- Take a “gut check” and search for something inside you that you love to do or are passionate about. A working definition of heaven is getting paid to do a job you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year doing, AND GETTING PAID FOR IT!
MYTHS ABOUT LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
- If I don’t have a career/college/destination picked out my senior year, I’m in trouble. NOT TRUE! It’s hard for anyone to figure out what they want to be when they “grow up.” You should think about what you want to do, but it’s a work in progress.
- I can’t wait to graduate and never go to school again. The difference in income for people with at least two years of training, versus those who have none, is $10,000+/-. Whether you enlist in the military, go to a four-year college, participate in a two-year training program, or become an apprentice, you will be studying, taking tests and going to classes to become certified to do a complicated, well-paying job.
- Everyone goes Outside to college. On average, about 50-60% of graduating seniors in Alaska attend UAA. UAA tells us that about 30% of the students they have returned to Alaska from Outside schools. Nationwide, most students attend colleges in state because they are cheaper.
- I’ll be lucky if any program or school accepts me. Competition for the educational dollar is fierce. Keep in mind that you will be paying for a service (education). Also, keep in mind that any institution is run like a business and needs to pay its bills. As the consumer, you need to know that you will be selecting your college. Apply to enough places (difficult, moderate, and easy entry) so that you can pick the institution that suits your needs.
- I can’t afford to be trained. The biggest expense most people have is their house mortgage. The third highest debt for most people is their vehicle(s). The second biggest debt most people incur is post-secondary education. Of these three investments, your car depreciates yearly, your house may appreciate 2-5% yearly, but your education appreciates 100% over the course of your working life. Can you really afford not to be trained? Funding for school is available, but you have to dig for it.
TIMELINES 9th-12th GRADES
South Anchorage High School
*FRESHMAN AND SOPHOMORE TIMELINE
- Talk with your school counselor about career options and the education required for those careers.
- Talk with your parents about saving and paying for college.
- Talk with friends, teachers, counselors and your parents about college.
- Check if your school requires tenth graders to take the PLAN to prepare for the ACT.
- Participate in extracurricular activities. Make yourself stand out from other students so that colleges and other programs notice you.
- Review your high school class plan. Take the most difficult classes you can handle. Stay focused on your schoolwork.
- Remember that grades during your freshman year count toward your final Grade Point Average (GPA) and class rank. With this in mind, work hard to get good grades your freshman year.
- Explore internships and apprenticeships.
- Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
- Meet with your counselor to review the courses you’ve taken, and see what you still need to take.
- Check your class rank. Even if your grades haven’t been that good so far, it’s not too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend.
- If you didn’t do so in tenth grade, sign up for and take the PSAT/NMSQT (October). In addition to National Merit Scholarships, this is the qualifying test for the National Scholarship Service, the Fund for Negro Students, and the National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Programs.
- Take a long, hard look at why you want to continue your education after high school so you will be able to choose the best college or university for your needs.
- Make a list of colleges that meet your most important criteria (size, location, distance from home, majors, academic rigor, housing, and cost). Weight each of the factors according to their importance to you.
- Continue visiting college fairs. You may be able to narrow your choices or add a college to your list.
- Speak to college representatives who visit your high school.
- If you want to participate in Division I or Division II sports in college, start the certification process. Check with your counselor to make sure you are taking a core curriculum that meets NCAA requirements. Sign up for the NCAA clearinghouse online.
- If you are interested in one of the military academies, talk to your guidance counselor about starting the application process now.
- If you want to participate in performance or fine arts programs (music, dance, art, drama, etc.), be sure to look at the program requirements for a portfolio, performance CD, or recording. This can take some time to create so don’t wait until the last minute.
- Collect information about college application procedures, entrance requirements, tuition and fees, room and board costs, student activities, course offerings, faculty composition, accreditation, and financial aid. The Internet is a good way to visit colleges and obtain this information. Begin comparing the schools by the factors that you consider to be most important.
- Discuss your PSAT score with your counselor.
- Begin narrowing down your college choices. Find out if the colleges you are interested in require the SAT I, ACT Assessment, or SAT II Subject Tests for admission.
- Register for the ACT Assessment, which is usually taken in April or June. You can take it again late in your junior year or in the fall of your senior year, if necessary.
- Begin preparing for the tests you’ve decided to take.
- Have a discussion with your parents about the colleges in which you are interested. Examine financial resources and gather information about financial aid.
- Set up a filing system with individual folders for each college’s correspondence and printed materials.
- Meet with your counselor to review senior-year course selections and graduation requirements.
- Discuss ACT Assessment/SAT I scores with your counselor. Register to take the ACT Assessment and/or SAT I again if you’d like to try to improve your score.
- Discuss the college essay with your guidance counselor or English teacher.
- Stay involved with your extracurricular activities. Colleges look for consistency and depth in activities.
- Consider whom you will ask to write your recommendations. Think about asking teachers who know you well and who will write positive letters about you. Letters from a coach, activity leader, or an adult who knows you well outside school (e.g., volunteer work contact, church leader) are also valuable.
- Inquire about personal interviews at your favorite colleges. Call or write for early summer appointments. Make necessary travel arrangements.
- See your counselor to apply for on-campus summer programs for high school students. Apply for a summer job or internship. Be prepared to pay for college applications, financial aid applications, and testing fees in the fall.
- Request applications form schools you’re interested in by mail or via the Internet.
- Visit the campuses of your top five college choices.
- After each college interview, send a thank-you letter to the interviewer.
- Talk to people you know who have attended the colleges in which you are interested. Continue to read books, magazines, and newspapers.
- Practice filling out college applications, and then complete the final application forms or apply online through the websites of the colleges in which you’re interested.
- Volunteer in your community.
- Compose rough drafts of your college essays. Have a teacher read and discuss them with you in the fall. Proofread them, and prepare final drafts. Proofread your final essays at least three times.
- Develop a financial aid application plan, including a list of the aid sources, requirements for each application, and timetable for meeting the filing deadlines.
- Continue to take a full course load of college-prep courses.
- Keep working on your grades. Make sure you have taken the courses necessary to graduate in the spring.
- Continue to participate in extracurricular and volunteer activities. Demonstrate initiative, creativity, commitment, and leadership in each.
- Research colleges using websites, college search engines, and by attending college lunch visits and the College Fair in October.
- Talk to counselors, teachers, and parents about your final college choices.
- If possible, visit colleges while classes are in session.
- Register for and take the ACT Assessment, SAT I, or SAT II Subject Tests, as necessary.
- Register for test prep courses.
- Make a calendar showing application deadlines for admission, financial aid, and scholarships.
- Check resource books, computer programs, and the ASD website for information on scholarship and grants. Ask colleges about scholarships for which you may qualify.
- Begin work on admissions essays; these take time and you have more than one to write.
- Create a profile or portfolio for athletics or specialty programs, such as Fine Arts.
- Give recommendation forms to the teachers you have chosen (at least two full weeks before you need the letters), along with stamped, self-addressed envelopes so your teachers can send them directly to the colleges. Be sure to fill out of your name, address, and school name on the top of the form. Talk to your recommendation writers about your goals and ambitions.
- Be sure you have requested, either by mail or online, that your test scores be sent to the colleges of your choice.
- Mail or send electronically any college applications for early-decision admission by November 1.
- Print extra copies or make photocopies of every application you send.
- Attend whatever college-preparatory nights are held at your school or by local organizations.
- Send midyear grade reports to colleges. Continue to focus on your schoolwork!
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), found at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. These forms may not be processed before January 1, so don’t send them before then.
- Mail or send electronically any remaining applications and financial aid forms before winter break. Make sure you apply to at least one college that you know you can afford and where you know you will be accepted.
- Follow up to make sure that the colleges have received all application information, including recommendations and test scores.
- Meet with your counselor to verify that all applicable forms are in order and have been sent out to colleges.
- Between March 1 and April 1, watch for acceptance notifications from colleges.
- Between April 1 and May 1, watch for notification of financial aid awards.
- Compare the financial aid packages from the colleges and universities that have accepted you.
- Make your final choice and notify all schools of your intent by May 1. If possible, do not decide without making at least one campus visit. Send your nonrefundable deposit to your chosen school by May 1 as well. Request that your final transcript from your high school be sent to the college in June.
- Be sure that you have received a FAFSA acknowledgement.
- If you applied for a Pell Grant (on the FAFSA), you will receive the Student Aid Report (SAT) statement. Review this Pell notice, and forward it to the college you plan to attend. Make a copy for your records.
- Complete follow-up paperwork for the college of your choice (scheduling, orientation session, housing arrangement, and other necessary forms).
- If applicable, apply for a Stafford Loan through a lender. Allow eight weeks for processing.
- Receive the orientation schedule from your college.
- Get residence hall assignment from your college.
- Obtain course scheduling and cost information from your college.
- Congratulations! You are about to begin the greatest adventure of your life. Good luck!
Some Ways To Improve Your Plans For Life After High School
- START EARLY. Don’t wait until the last minute to plan.
- TALK. Speak with people you trust and respect, then listen to them.
- VISIT. If you can, visit your post-high school destination. If that’s not possible, do a virtual tour on the Internet.
- CHANGE IS OK! Don’t be afraid to change your plan if you change your mind.
WHAT DO COLLEGES LOOK FOR?
While each college uses the information you send them to make their admissions decision, they each may interpret it very differently. When the admissions officer and the committee they are a part of review applications, they consider many criteria. Some of these criteria (such as specific institutional needs) may never be communicated to the applicants. However, they will weigh some or all of the following as they consider their admissions decision:
1. The Total Admissions Packet (Holistic): This is more common at smaller, private colleges/universities or at very selective colleges/universities (such as the Ivy League).
2. GPA (Grade Point Average) and Test Scores (Quantitative): This is more common with state colleges or colleges who receive a massive amount of applications.
3. GPA: All colleges look at it, but some will want it unweighted (without the added weight of advanced placement grades), because they feel grade-inflation is a factor. Some institutions will do their own calculations and not include PE or other electives to get a more academic picture of the student.
4. Standardized Test Scores (SAT, ACT, etc.): Some colleges have a minimum score, some do not. On average, the more selective the school, the higher the test score required. The student/parent is responsible for sending test scores to colleges.
5. Transcripts: All colleges look at the classes you’ve taken and the strength of your schedule (i.e., did you take more difficult classes and get a higher GPA or easy ones?).
6. Essay(s): Is it well-written and free of errors? Does it answer the question/prompt? Do not write it directly online and send it in without proofreading. Instead, print out the form and work on it in a Word document so you can write and revise and edit. Then cut and paste it online and send it.
7. Letters of Recommendation: More is not better. Usually 2-4 are more than enough. The admissions officer who does the initial review does not want to read through eight letters from people who will say mostly the same things about you. In addition, choose writers who can speak well and honestly about you. These should be teachers you’ve had in 11th and/or 12th grade, and preferably in a similar field you plan to enter.
8. PASSION: Communicate somewhere in your admission packet (usually the essay) something you are passionate about. 4.0+GPAs and high standardized test scores are common at selective colleges. To stand out, you need to show them that you have something in your life that you feel strongly about and that you have pursued it. It does not have to necessarily be a socially significant project (though it may be), but it should be something you honestly believe in and can convey to the reader.
Finding The Right School For You/Starting The Application Process
THERE ARE ALMOST 4,000 COLLEGES IN THE UNITED STATES.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE SCHOOL THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
*Talk with your counselor
*Talk with your friends/relatives who have attended a certain school
*Use college search engines to help narrow the search:
“College Search” tab
Username = asdsouth / Password = 4akcis
“Education” THEN GO TO “School Sort”
“College” THEN GO TO “Find Schools and Majors” THEN GO TO “Best Fit School Search”
*Consider what is important to you:
- Major / Area of study?
- Location – East, West, etc.?
- Size of School – 500 or 40,000 students?
- Setting – Urban or rural?
- Public or Private?
- Campus Life – Sports, clubs, foreign exchange?
*Other things to consider:
- Are my grades good enough to be considered by a selective school?
- Do I want a demanding academic environment?
- Am I comfortable with a curriculum that offers independent study?
STARTING THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Visit the schools you are interested in online to see what application process they use. Be sure to note deadlines and plan ahead!
Regular Admissions Apply during the school’s regular admissions calendar window. Some schools will accept applications earlier than others, and some will take them longer.
Early Decision You cannot apply to more than one college under the early decision plan. If you are accepted, you become legally obligated to attend that school. Students are usually notified of acceptance or denial before December 15.
Early Action Similar to early decision in that you submit your application early and you receive notification early. However, with early action, you are not legally required to attend the school if you are accepted.
Writing An Effective College Application Essay
What to Do
- Understand the purpose of the essay. Consider your audience.
- Answer the question.
- Tell a story or use a personal anecdote.
- Tell it in your own voice.
- Write about the specific rather than the general, the concrete rather than the abstract.
What to Avoid
- Don’t try anything silly, cute or outrageous.
- Don’t include a photo.
- Don’t try to show off or use overly-complicated words. Simpler is usually better.
- Don’t use the essay to describe all your wonderful accomplishments or to apologize for a shortcoming.
- Don’t exceed the suggested or required length.
- Don’t set out to write the perfect essay, the one with huge impact, the one that will blow the doors to the college open for you. Think instead of giving the reader a sample of yourself, a slice of the real you, a snapshot in words.
ADVICE FROM AN ENGLISH TEACHER
@ Writing takes time—don’t procrastinate.
@ Before you start writing, read the question carefully, brainstorm ideas, and make an outline.
@ Think of a way to get your point across in an original manner.
@ Write your essay in stages, taking frequent breaks.
@ Compose the essay on paper or in a word-processing program first (not online in the application).
@ Proofread your work for typos and spelling/grammatical errors.
@ Have a friend or family member read your essay. They may have ideas on how to make “you” come across more.
@ Edit your work and rewrite.
Standardized Test Information
What are the major college entrance exams?
SAT = Scholastic Aptitude Test
SAT Subject Tests = Take these only if the college you are applying to requires them
ACT = American College Testing
Why do colleges require the SAT or the ACT? Both the SAT and the ACT indicate whether you will be successful taking college courses. Some colleges have a minimum score you need to gain admittance, and some do not. The SAT focuses on reasoning and logic, while the ACT more directly assesses the curriculum you have learned in high school.
Should I take one, both, or neither? We recommend that every student take at least one of them, and we encourage taking both. There are many reasons for this. If you don’t know which college (if any) you want to attend, it is like money in the bank when you do decide (the work is done and the score is there to send). Also, the tests are different in format and content (see below), so they allow you to demonstrate knowledge in different ways.
What is on the tests? You can go online for practice versions of each test, as well as helpful test strategies. The SAT measures verbal, mathematic (up to Algebra II), and written skills. The ACT measures mathematics (up to Trigonometry), reading, grammar, and science skills.
How are they scored? The ACT is based on the number you answer correctly, and each of the four subjects has a top score of 36. The SAT adjusts scores for guessing, and each subtest has a top score of 800 (2400 total). Your results will show the individual scores for each subtest and then give you a composite score (out of 36 for the ACT, and out of 2400 for the SAT).
What do I do with the scores? You can send scores to various colleges as part of your test fee. Later, if you decide, you can send additional scores (for an additional fee) to other colleges. Colleges will accept whichever of your test scores (SAT or ACT) are highest. SAHS does not send scores to colleges.
What should I bring to the testing center? Bring your admission ticket, a valid photo ID (required to take the test), at least two sharpened #2 pencils with erasers, an acceptable calculator (check the websites), a watch (turn the alarm off), and a sweater or jacket in case the testing center is chilly.
When should I take the tests? We recommend taking them in the spring of your junior year, as you will need the scores to apply to colleges in the fall of your senior year. You can take them more than once, but more than three times can look desperate. Of course, you can take them whenever you wish.
Tips For Taking A Standardized Exam
* Get plenty of sleep the night before the test.
* Maintain confidence in your abilities and plan to do your best. Your attitude can affect your performance.
* Listen carefully to all instructions and ask questions if you hear something you don’t understand.
* Before answering each question, read it completely, as well as all the possible responses.
* When you are unsure of an answer, move on to the next question and come back later.
* Pace yourself throughout the test by occasionally checking the time.
* If you complete the test before your time is up, reread the questions and check your answers.
SOUTH’S CEEB CODE = 020365
(A CEEB code is a standardized ID number that is assigned to a high school, college, or university. CEEB codes are issued by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). These 4- to 6-digit codes are mostly used in college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.)”
- Cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Program
- Provides firsthand practice for the SAT
- Gives juniors a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs
- Measures: Critical Reading Skills, Math Problem-Solving Skills, Writing Skills
- Allows students to receive info from colleges when they check YES to Student Search Service
- Approximately 2 ½ hours
- Offered once a year in October
- Used for many college admissions and/or placement into college courses
- Measures: Standard written English and rhetorical skills (75 questions), Math skills (60 questions), Reading comprehension (40 questions), Science reasoning, analysis, and problem solving (40 questions) and Optional additional writing exam
- Free practice tools at: www.actstudent.org
- Approximately 4 hours
- Offered four to six times a year. Go to: www.act.org
- Usually taken at the end of a year-long AP course
- Scores range from 1 to 5
- Some colleges accept scores of 3+ for freshman course waivers or college credit
- Free practice tools at: www.collegeboard.com
- Approximately 2½ – 3½ hours, depending on the specific exam
- Offered once a year in May
ASVAB § Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
- Provides career information for various occupations, both civilian and military
- Includes an interest inventory to help students find careers that match their skills
- Measures: Arithmetic reasoning, Word knowledge, Paragraph comprehension, Math knowledge
- Approximately 3 hours
- Offered at South, once in the fall and once in the spring
WORK-KEYS § Job skills assessment that helps employers select, hire, and train workforce
- ASD requires juniors to complete three of the WorkKeys assessment sections:
- *Reading for Information
- *Applied Mathematics
- *Locating Information
- Approximately 2½ – 3 hours
- Offered free to juniors at South once a year in the fall
ACCU-PLACER § Placement test to assess students’ skills in English, Math, and Study Skills
- Used by the UA system to place incoming students in appropriate course levels
- Untimed, but usually takes students 2 hours to complete
- Provided on a walk-in basis for $15 at UAA’s Open Testing Lab (University Center)
- The topic of financial aid and debt inspires fear and anxiety in many students, parents, and counselors. The bottom line is that education is still the best investment a person can make. A car depreciates over time, a home will appreciate modestly over time, but an education will return, over the course of a lifetime, many, many times the amount the education originally cost. THE BEST INVESTMENT YOU CAN MAKE IS IN YOURSELF!
- There are a number of myths, misconceptions, and misinformation out ‘there’ regarding Financial Aid:
- THE FAMILY HAS TOO MUCH MONEY: Aid really depends upon 2 things: how much your family earns and how much your college costs.
- ONLY SMART STUDENTS GET AID: Most financial aid is need-based, though some students do get merit-based aid for athletic scholarships, specific talents etc.
- MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF AID GOES UNCLAIMED EVERY YEAR: This is sometimes used as a way to scam parents/students. The source of this claim was an old study that looked at the theoretical amount of funds available from private organizations. Not all could be claimed because of unique qualifications needed. Today, about 70% of all financial aid is given by the U.S. Government. DO NOT PAY FOR A COMPANY WHO ASKS YOU FOR MONEY TO SEARCH FOR SCHOLARSHIPS OR TO GIVE YOU A SCHOLARSHIP.
- LOANS ARE NOT FINANCIAL AID: Loans make up some portion of almost EVERY student’s financial aid award letter (more on this later). This is because colleges and the government do not have enough money to give to all the students that need it. Scholarships (‘free’ money) make up only a small portion of the money that is needed for educational purposes.
- YOU CAN GET FINANCIAL AID AT THE LAST MINUTE: Scholarship/grant money at most colleges goes fast. You can wait until the last minute to meet the college’s application deadline but there may be no money available (especially true for WUE schools). Also, private lenders will be available but interest rates and pay-back options may be financially painful. Basically, the sooner you submit all your paperwork the sooner the college will send you your financial aid package and the more likely it is that you will get scholarships/grants.
- Where does financial aid come from? GRANTS (money given by an organization for a project that the applicant submits a proposal for) and SCHOLARSHIPS (money given to attend postsecondary institutions) do not need to be repaid. Government loans, private loans, personal resources, and Federal work-study programs all require some sort of repayment/work.
- Before an accepted student will receive a Financial Aid Package/Award, the student and the parent will need to fill-out the FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA) and have the application sent to the college(s) they are considering attending.
- Students can (and frequently are) accepted at a school before the FAFSA is sent. This is because the FAFSA form is not available until January 1st of each year.
- The information on the FAFSA is based on the parents and students taxes for the previous year. For students attending college for the 2014-15 school year (this year’s seniors) their FAFSA information is based on their 2013 tax return. For next year’s seniors (class of 2015) FAFSA will be based on their 2014 tax return.
- The FINANCIAL AID/PACKAGE AWARD will be made up of:
- Financial Calculations (a summary cost of education including tuition, fees, books, supplies, living expenses, personal costs).
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
- Financial Need (cost of attendance minus expected family contribution).
- Financial Awards (grants, scholarships, work-study, federal or private student loans).
- Be aware that you do not need to accept everything that is offered but, if you accept, you are bound by law to REPAY LOANS.
- Need is based upon a fairly simple equation:
COST OF ATTENDANCE (COA=tuition, books, fees, room/board)
MINUS – EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION (includes both parents)
= DEBT THAT IS INCURRED
SAMPLE COST COMPARISON (2013-14 Data)
|UAA||University of Washington|
|IN-STATE TUITION||OUT OF STATE TUITION|
|30 Credits (per year)||$4,950||$29,940|
|BOOKS & FEES||$2,407||$2,407|
|(Live on Campus)|
|*Live at Home Less $7,126||$10,011|
|EFC based upon FAFSA Information and Yearly Income of $75,000||$14,000||$14,000|
|$ Amount Eligible For Financial Aid||$3,011||$28,469|
Scholarships and Grants
- The majority of students who attend 2-year or 4-year colleges will incur debt in order to do so. Either they, or their parents, will be required to repay the loans.
- According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (data from 2007-08): 34% of students who earned a Bachelor’s Degree had no loans to repay while 66% did (i.e. two-third’s of students who earned a degree incurred some debt). The amount of debt was higher for students graduating from private schools.
- The same study gave the percentage distribution of Loan Debt among all students earning a Bachelor’s Degree:
- Less than $10,00 = 21%
- $10,00 to $19,000 = 29%
- $20,000 to $29,000 = 23%
- $30,000 to $39,999 = 13%
- $40,000 or more = %15
- HOWEVER there are many scholarships and grants available.
- Applying for scholarships and grants is a lot like applying to a college. There are forms, documents, letters of reference, and, frequently, a personal essay or project, that are required. Hint: keep all essays you write and ‘tweak’ them for different scholarship applications.
- Money does not go directly to the student, but rather to the college they designate as their school. The Financial Aid Office at the college puts the money in your account and deducts expenses from it.
- Some scholarships are small ($500) while others may be large ($10,000).
- You may “stack” your scholarships by applying to as many as you are eligible for. Ten $500 scholarships = $5,000. You may not need to re-tool all of your application materials in order to apply.
- Professional Organizations (Lions, Elks, Girl/Boy Scouts, Rotary etc).
- Employers: Wal-Mart, Fed-Ex, Wells Fargo and others reimburse a student at the end of a semester if they bring in proof of grades (they usually require a specific GPA).
- Federal Government: Pell Grant (need-based); Stafford Loan (low-interest subsidized loans); Work-Study (the government helps a college pay you to work on campus).
- Need-Based institutional grants.
- Merit Scholarship awarded on the basis of academic or other qualifications not on financial need.
- Web Sites (see links)
- The Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS). See https://acpe.alaska.gov/STUDENT-PARENT/College_Career/AKCIS
- Portfolio Information can be found at: www.asdk12.org/counseling/financialaid/scholarshipportfolio
- Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) oversees opportunities for member states. The WESTERN UNDERGRADUATE EXCHANGE (WUE) coordinates lower tuition at selected schools in: ALASKA, ARIZONA CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, HAWAII, IDAHO, MONTANA, NEVADA, NEW MEXICO, NORTH DAKOTA, OREGON, SOUTH DAKOTA, UTAH, WASHINGTON, and WYOMING.
- Residents of WICHE/WUE states can study out-of-state (and out of the country during their junior year) in more than 140 participating 2 year and 4 year schools and pay reduced tuition (resident tuition + 50%)
- For example, resident (in-state) tuition at Washington State University (Pullman) is $11,396. Out of state tuition is $24,478. A WUE student would pay approximately $17,000 ($11,396+$5,698). This is a savings of $7,384.
- Each institution will offer different programs. Some have opened their entire curriculum on a space-available or first-come, first-serve basis; others offer lower tuition only for designated programs.
- There is currently NO WUE APPLICATION (but do double check on-line as things do change). Apply for admission and mark prominently on the institution’s application form that you seek admission at the WUE rate. For on-line applications contact the school admissions office on how to apply for the WUE discounted rate.
- WUE awards are renewable and depend upon maintaining a specific GPA. See attached WUE information.
- Scholarships and grants may either be nonrenewable (a one-time only award) or renewable (available every year with GPA/performance requirements).
- Be careful and choose your sources wisely. There are many scholarship scams/frauds out there. Before you decide to pay anyone a fee to get “guaranteed scholarships” check out ALL their information.
The Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS)
The Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS) is available to Alaska residents who graduate from an Alaskan high school (public, private, or home school) on or after January 1, 2011 and:
- COMPLETE A RIGOROUS HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM.
- ACHIEVE A HIGH SCHOOL GPA OF AT LEAST 2.5 OR EQUIVALENT.
- EARN A MINIMUM SCORE ON COLLEGE OR CAREER READINESS TESTS (ACT, SAT, and WorkKeys).
- ENROLL AT LEAST HALFTIME AND REMAIN IN GOOD STANDING IN AN APPROVED PROGRAM AT A QUALIFYING ALASKA INSTITUTION.
- HAVE QUALIFYING UNMET COSTS OF ATTENDANCE AFTER CONSIDERING ALL OTHER NON-LOAN AID.
- SIGN UP AT THE STATE OF ALASKA WEBSITE TO GET PERIODIC ELECTRONIC UPDATES REGARDING THE APS: www.akadvantage.alaska.gov
- THE ALASKA PERFORMANCE SCHOLARSHIP IS AWARDED BY THE STATE OF ALASKA AND IS NOT THE SAME AS THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA’S TOP 10% AWARD, UA SCHOLARS. A QUALIFYING STUDENT MAY RECEIVE BOTH AWARDS.
Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS) Financial Aid Sort
The Alaska Career Information System (AKCIS) gives you FREE access to over 1,200+ scholarships. The data-base is maintained by the University of Oregon and the State of Alaska pays a fee to Oregon to update the data twice a year.
- Click on this link: https://acpe.alaska.gov/STUDENT-PARENT/College_Career/AKCIS
- At the AKCIS homepage logon:
- For USERNAME type in asdsouth
- For PASSWORD type in 4akcis
- You can also access the information by using your zip code.
- On the homepage click on Financial Aid Sort (it is on the left-hand side of the page).
- Read the description and then either click on the video “Tutorial” or “Go!” (at the bottom of the page).
- Complete the “Personal Characteristics” page and hit “Continue.”
- Complete the 7 pages that follow (Academics, Postsecondary Plans, Programs of Study, Financial Need, More about You, Award Requirements, and Deadline).
- After the last page (Deadline) HIT Get My Results.
- The ASD counseling website covers many topics, including financial aid and portfolio creation: http://www.asdk12.org/counseling
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) This is required for any student getting any kind of financial aid (scholarships or loans) for college: https://fafsa.ed.gov/
- U. S. Department of Education: www.studentaid.ed.gov
- Comprehensive student financial aid, info, advice, tools: www.finaid.org
- Advice for understanding borrowing to pay for higher education and how it affects families: www.projectonstudentdebt.org
- Alaska Career Information System (log-in: asdsouth, password: 4akcis): https://acpe.alaska.gov/STUDENT-PARENT/College_Career/AKCIS
- National Association for College Admissions Counseling offers scholarship and financial aid info and reports on fraud for parents, students, and professionals: www.nacacnet.org
- Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) has an educational exchange program called the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) that allows students to attend schools out of state for reduced tuition: http://wiche.edu/wue
- The Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS): http://acpe.alaska.gov/
- Merit aid scholarships for students based on their interests, majors, leadership, and community service: www.meritaid.com
- NCAA Clearinghouse for students who wish to play Division I or II sports in college: http://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.jsp
- Many colleges (over 500) use the Common Application system: www.commonapp.org and SENDedu (over 16,000 members) https://sendedu.org/
- Various other financial aid and college search sources: