Class of 2019

Welcome to the Senior Year Newsletter

September 2018

2018 Newsletter Archive

Important Dates:

  • ACT Test Registration Deadline: September 28, 2018 
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is Available: October 1, 2018 
  • ACT National Test Day: October 27, 2018

4 Sources for Financial Aid

Financial aid is a general term for any financial assistance given to a student for any type of education after high school.

Learn about the different types of financial aid available to you.

  • Grants: Grants are need-based financial aid awarded to students by the state and federal government. Grants do not need to be repaid. You must fill out a FAFSA to be considered for grant funding. 
  • Scholarships: Scholarships are merit-based financial aid awarded to students by the government or private sources. Scholarships do not need to be repaid. Scholarships are often based on exceptional ability in a variety of areas, including: school, sports, art, theater, leadership, volunteer work, and more. 
  • Student loans: Student loans are provided by the federal government. Student loans must be repaid. Understanding the terms of the loan, interest rates, and repayment requirements are critical to your future financial stability. 
  • Work Study: Work study programs are coordinated through financial aid offices at participating colleges and universities in which eligible students work part-time at a job that pays for a portion of educational expenses.

School Size: What’s Your Fit?

As you start to narrow your college list down to your top choices, it’s important to think about your personal values and preferences when it comes to the size of your school.

Perks of a small school:

  • A more personal atmosphere 
  • Small classes, more discussion, and fewer lectures 
  • More opportunities in athletics, clubs, and leadership positions 
  • More flexible programs

Perks of a big school:

  • More anonymity
  • Greater range of extracurricular activities
  • Larger libraries and more facilities
  • Wider selection of programs

6 Tips to Crafting a Stellar Application Essay

Application essays are an effective way for you to communicate unique strengths to admissions officials. Some colleges will have specific prompts they want you to answer. Others will ask for you to just describe your story. Whatever it is, be yourself, speak in your voice, and don’t try to fit in a bunch of fancy words from the thesaurus.

Consider these 6 tips as you write:

  • Start early. Make a list of the number of essays you need to write and their deadlines. Give yourself plenty of time to think through the topics and brainstorm writing points. 
  • Create an outline. Break down the prompt (the question asked) of each essay. Ask yourself: Why would an admission official ask this question? What are they hoping to hear from you? Next, pair personal stories or experiences that illustrate your answers. Use these anecdotes to help organize your thoughts around your thesis, in bullet-point format. Make sure it has a clear beginning, middle, and end. This is your outline. 
  • Read some examples. See if the college you’re applying to publishes essay examples on their website. These examples may indicate what that college considers a strong application. If the college you’re applying to doesn’t provide sample essays, try searching online to better understand the expectation. Remember, NEVER plagiarize somebody else’s work.
  • Address what’s NOT on your transcript. Think of your essay like an in-person interview. As you write your essay, imagine you’re sitting in the room with an admission official. They have already read your transcript and resume. The question is, “what else should I know?” That’s what you should keep in mind as you’re forming your essay. How could you expand upon the information presented in the other parts of the application or highlight strengths you haven’t pointed out in other parts of the application.
  • The deeper you go, the better. For your anecdotes, focus on specific details and really flesh out the scene. You might not have enough space to tell your entire life story, but if you focus on a couple of examples, it can make your essay vivid and make it come to life.
  • Have a few people review it. Once you’ve completed a draft, have someone you trust (a parent, counselor, or teacher) review your work. Ask them to check for grammatical errors and provide feedback. Remember to limit the number of people who review your essay to one or two—too many opinions can muddle your voice.

Every Point Matters

Colleges and scholarships agencies often use ACT test scores to decide which students will receive academic scholarships. 57% of students who took the test more than once improved their score.