College and Career Planning

For Parents and Students

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Junior Year

College Planning Timeline

Your 11th grade year in high school is an extremely important time in the college planning process. You will be taking college entrance exams, narrowing down your college choices, and learning more about financial aid. In addition, you will need to stay involved in your high school courses and activities. Please use this timeline as a way to stay organized and updated as you begin your journey to college and life after Lakeland.

FALL (AUGUST-NOVEMBER)


  • Log into your Naviance Family Connection account.
  • Continue to take challenging courses and maintain satisfactory grades.
  • Become familiar with your overall academic standing, including course grades and cumulative GPA.
  • Evaluate your higher education options. Have an idea as to if you would like to attend a traditional 4-year college or university, a 2-year community or technical school, or enter into one of the Armed Forces. If you are interested in attending a military academy, check information online or contact the Lakeland School Counseling Office for assistance.
  • Register with the NCAA if you are planning to play sports at the college level.
  • Make a list of potential colleges that you are interested in. This list should include schools that meet your most important interests, criteria, and priorities. Consider the size of the school, location, cost, academic majors offered, and special programs. The best way to gather information about colleges is to go to their website or speak with a college representative. Attend college fairs, go on college campus visits, and speak with the college representatives who visit Lakeland each week and ask them any questions that you may have about their program.
  • Organize a testing plan. Register to take important tests such as the PSAT, ACT, and/or SAT. Be sure to register by the deadlines and prepare for the exam using practice materials, apps or websites to assist. Khan Academy has specifically partnered with the College Board for SAT Preparation. Additional information can be found on our Chief Points Bulletins. (October 4, 2016 and November 8, 2016)


WINTER (DECEMBER-FEBRUARY)


  • Continue to stay involved in extra-curricular activities and be sure to properly balance them with your course load. Keep in mind that colleges look for consistency and depth in the non-academic activities that you pursue. Taking on leadership roles and making a commitment to the same groups are more important than trying numerous activities each year.
  • Organize your college information. Set up a filing system with individual folders for each college’s correspondence and printed materials. This will make it easier to locate the specific information you are looking for.
  • Begin narrowing down your college choices. Check details such as entrance requirements, tuition cost, room and board costs, course offerings, student activities, financial aid, etc. Begin comparing the schools by the factors that are the most important to you.
  • Prepare for standardized tests. Find out if the colleges that you are interested in require the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests. Register to take the tests that you need. Most Juniors begin taking their tests in the Winter or Spring. You can take the tests again in the Fall of your Senior year if you are unhappy with your scores.
  • Speak with your family, particularly about the colleges that you are interested in and what your options are as far as financing college.


SPRING (MARCH-MAY)


  • Prepare a challenging course load for your Senior year. Speak with your school counselor to make sure you are meeting the graduation requirements for Lakeland including the minimum amount of credits needed, student hours, and service hours.
  • Begin a scholarship search. Use online scholarship searches, Naviance Family Connection, and updates from the Lakeland Counseling Department to become aware of the opportunities for scholarships that may be applicable to you.
  • Contact your letters of recommendation writers. Consider whom you want to ask and notify them so that they will have enough time to prepare a quality letter before the deadline. Ask teachers who know you well, and who have positive things to say on your behalf.
  • Apply for a summer job or internship. Summer employment and internships in career fields that you are interested in will look appealing on a college application or resume. The money you earn can also be used to help pay for application or admission exam fees.
  • If you plan to apply early decision to any school, take the time to visit the school again and make sure that you are willing to commit to attending if accepted.

Senior Year

College Planning Timeline

For high school students heading into their Senior year, September is the perfect time to start setting goals and plans for after graduation. Working with your counselor, you can start the planning process early, making sure the road to a college or university a bit easier and less stressful. To make sure you are on the right track, here are the basic deadlines and goals to follow during your final year of high school.

SEPTEMBER

  • Log into your Naviance Family Connection account.
  • Meet continuously with your school academic counselor.
  • Research options (college, universities, vocational schools, etc).
  • Check priority application for schools.
  • Register for SAT and ACT tests.
  • Get the FAFSA worksheet and begin gathering the necessary information.
  • Start researching state, school, and local scholarships.

OCTOBER

  • Begin working on college and scholarship application essays.
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers, counselor, and/or employers.
  • Research college fair dates and locations.
  • Complete the FAFSA.
  • Take the ACT/SAT before application deadlines, if necessary.
  • Submit college applications.

NOVEMBER

  • Submit college applications by Priority Deadline – November 1st or November 15th.
  • Continue working on college and scholarship application essays.
  • Take the ACT/SAT if necessary.

DECEMBER

  • Submit college and scholarship applications by Priority Deadline – December 1st.
  • Continue working on college and scholarship application essays.
  • Take the ACT/SAT if necessary.

JANUARY

  • Register to make up for any failed credits from 1st semester.
  • Meet with your counselor to make sure you are on track.

FEBRUARY

  • Check with colleges applied to for verification that they have received all necessary documents.
  • Finish any scholarship essays.
  • Send thank you notes to teachers, counselors, and employers who have written letters of recommendation for you.

MARCH

  • Keep track and stay ahead of schedule with scholarship deadlines.
  • Attend Open Houses or Preview Days for schools.

APRIL

  • Narrow down school options based on major, career interest, and personal preferences.
  • Review financial aid award letters from each school.
  • Attend any scheduled open houses or preview days.
  • Finalize housing requirements for selected colleges.

MAY/JUNE

  • Finalize plans for summer school or summer jobs.
  • Graduate!....(PLEASE Graduate!)
  • Write a Thank You note to your teachers or counselors who have written letters of recommendation on your behalf.
  • Continue to look for scholarships.
  • Request final transcripts to be sent to the school that you will be attending. You will do this on Naviance.
  • Send Thank You notes for any scholarships that you have been awarded.
  • Continue to look for scholarships.

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MAKING THE MOST OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY CAMPUS VISITS

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Visiting Colleges

A campus visit is your opportunity to get a firsthand view of a college. A college catalog, brochure or website can only show you so much. To really get a feel for the college, you need to walk around the quad, sit in on a class and visit the dorms. A visit also gives you the chance to talk to students, faculty, and financial aid and admission officers.

All colleges have admission offices that can help you plan your visit. Your high school may organize group tours of nearby colleges. And you can plan your own informal visit to a college campus. Take these important first steps:


  • Contact the college admission office through the college's website or by email or phone to get details and make a reservation.
  • Talk to your counselor about joining an organized tour of campuses you might not get to visit otherwise.
  • Schedule time to be on your own. Walk around the public areas of the college and don't be shy about asking students questions.
  • Campus visits can range from a quick hour to an overnight stay, from a casual guided tour to a formal presentation. Be sure to ask how long the whole visit will take so you can be prepared.
  • Most campus visits will include the following:
  • An information session.: An admission representative talks to you or your group about the college before the campus tour.
  • A campus tour: These are usually led by current students. You’ll see the main parts of the campus and have a chance to ask questions.
  • At many colleges, you can also arrange to do the following:
  • Attend a class.
  • Meet with a professor.
  • Meet with an admission officer.
  • Meet with a financial aid officer.
  • Attend a club meeting or a sports practice session.
  • Eat in the dining hall.
  • Spend the night in a dorm.

GREAT QUESTIONS TO ASK ON YOUR COLLEGE VISIT

ACADEMICS

1. What academic elements are considered in the admission process? For example, high school GPA, test scores, recommendations, interviews, etc?

2. Is the college/university accredited?

3. How many students return after Freshman year?

4. What percentage of students graduate in four years or less?

5. What academic programs on campus are the most popular?

6. Will my AP/previous college credits transfer?

7. About how many students are in each class?

8. (If applicable) – Are there any special support services if I have special needs? For example, ADD, ADHD, LD, etc?

9. Is there an Honors Program? How would I qualify?

10. What kind of career planning services are available?

11. What percentage of graduates find jobs in the field they have a degree in?

STUDENT LIFE

1. What percentage of the students are male/female?

2. How diverse is the campus?

3. What portion of the student body lives on campus?

4. What activities do students participate in during their free time both on campus and in the community?

5. What are the most popular extra-curricular activities?

6. What student organizations are active on campus?

7. What intramural sports are on campus?

8. Can Freshman have cars on campus? What is the fee for having a car on campus?

9. Is it easy to get around campus? Can you walk to and from classes?

AUXILIARY SERVICES

1. Where do students go if they have a medical emergency?

2. What tutoring, counseling, and support services are available on campus and how are they accessed?

3. What computer access will I have?

4. What is the quality of the library and research facilities?

5. What laundry facilities are available and how accessible are they?

6. What are the safety issues on campus? How are they addressed? Ask for a crime report. Federal law requires schools to provide safety information to students.

HOUSING/FOOD SERVICES

1. How much does housing cost? Is it easy to get on-campus housing?

2. What housing options exist? For example, single-sex, co-de, Greek?

3. What meal plans are available? Are Freshman required to purchase a specific type of meal plan?

4. What hours may students access food services?

FINANCING

1. What is the yearly cost of attendance, including books, tuition, fees, housing, and meal plans?

2. Does your ability to pay the full cost of attendance have any impact on the college’s decision to admit you?

3. What financial aid forms are required? (The most common two are the FAFSA and the CSS profile, but some schools have institutional or school-specific forms and some states have special forms).

4. What percentage of incoming Freshman receive aid? What is the average Freshman aid package?

5. Will outside scholarships effect the amount of aid the school will offer you?

6. How easy is it to find a job on campus?? Are there work study programs available?

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADMISSIONS PLANS AND DEADLINES

When the time arrives to apply to a college or university, the student will find that institutions offer a number of plans for the submission applications. Depending where you are in your personal exploration and decision-making, one of these plans may suit your particular application requirements.

Review and consider all admission plan options. Consult with your school counselor or the admission counselor at the specific college if you have any concerns or questions.

ROLLING ADMISSION:

The colleges and universities that review student applications as they are received and make immediate admission decisions use what is called a “rolling admission” plan. Institutions that receive a larger number of applications use this approach simply to manage the volume of application activity. Student notification of the admission decision can usually be expected in three to four weeks following application.

Students that apply to a college under a rolling admissions plan can apply to other colleges and consider all offers of admission and financial aid before being required to declare their institution to enroll or file the required admission and housing deposits.

EARLY DECISION:

This plan was created to help the informed and committed student apply to the institution that he/she had identified as a first choice. For the student who engaged in quality exploration and arrived at a sound decision, this is an excellent plan. It has the benefit of bringing closure to one’s personal application activity early in the Senior year while others are still completing forms.

This plan, however, places certain restrictions on the student. Under the Early Decision plan, the student agrees to abide by the rules of the plan, have only one Early Decision application active at a given time and commits him/herself to enrolling at the college or university if admitted and the financial aid aware (if required) is adequate. Under Early Decision, a student may be admitted or may be told that the decision is deferred until more information (ie – mid-year grades, senior test scores, etc) is received.

Typically, the deadline for Early Decision applications ranges between November 1st – November 15, but students are encouraged to research their specific college choice to know and understanding their requirements.

EARLY ACTION/NOTIFICATION:

Under this plan, students can file multiple applications according to an expedited timetable and learn of an institution’s admission decision early in the Senior year.

The concern with Early Action/Notification may be that the student can be denied admission unless the information submitted (mostly Junior year grades and test scores) is highly competitive and clearly meets admission standards. In other words, the options under Early Action/Notification are admit, defer, or deny.

REGULAR ADMISSION:

The Regular Admission cycle has application deadlines typically set for anywhere from early January through late February. Admission officers work diligently to review applications and get offers of admission out to students by mid-March or the beginning of April at the latest. The decision to accept or reject an offer of admission is then up to the students.

The plans described above may work for you or they may not. Don’t succumb to any pressure (real or imagined) to prepare and file a college application before you have engaged in good exploration and identified the college or colleges that are best for you. This may not happen until you are well into your Senior year.

UNDERSTANDING ADMISSION COMPETITION

“Will I be accepted?” That’s the question that you have probably asked yourself a hundred times as you look at colleges and consider applying for admission. According to an annual study conducted by Higher Education Research Institution and UCLA, more than 90% of college Freshman surveyed said they were attending their first or second choice college. This is the result of good exploration and decision-making. As you refine your options and move in the direction of making application, you need to evaluate your prospects of acceptance at the colleges that you have determined are right for you.

When it comes to the consideration of your application, colleges fall into one of several competitive categories. Understanding these categories will help you to file applications that improve your chances of being admitted.

SELECTIVE COLLEGES:

The great majority of colleges and universities are selective, meaning that they require students to meet specific selection criteria in order to be considered for admission. The rigor will vary, but students that match or exceed the criteria stand the best chance of admission.

COMPETITIVE COLLEGES:

When more students apply than the college can accommodate, the result is heightened competition for limited space. There are many stories about the Ivy League colleges that reject the applications of dozens of valedictorians every year. You probably know some very capable students who weren’t admitted to highly competitive colleges. If you are a valid candidate for admission to such colleges, you should consider filing three to four applications to increase your chances of admission to one of them.

OPEN ADMISSION COLLEGES:

“Open” admission colleges, like community colleges and technical institutes, invite applications from interested students possessing a high school diploma or its equivalent and admit most of the students that apply. Admission to specific programs within these institutions, however, may require more stringent criteria.

Students that successfully complete their high school’s college preparatory program are likely to be admissible to many colleges. Remember, even if you are denied admission to a college, you have other avenues to the same goal.

How do you determine the selectivity or competitiveness of the colleges you are exploring? Consider the following:

1. Examine the characteristics of the students the college is admitting, the students that you’ll be competing with in class each day. This information is contained the annual freshman class profile.

2. Review the application, acceptance, and enrollment statistics of the most recently admitted class. This information is published in many of the general guidebooks.

3. Talk with students and former students of the college. They know firsthand what the academic climate is like. Ask counselors, teachers, and admission officers. They’ve worked with students that have preceded you.

4. Examine the retention statistics. Many college graduates received their degrees from a college that they found after they experiences academic difficulty at their first college. The reasons for transferring can be multiple (living arrangements, finances), but you should never invite difficulty by trying to gain admission to a college where your prospects for academic success are not reasonable.

This information coupled with a realistic assessment of your personal abilities and interests, can point you toward colleges where you are most likely to be accepted and, more importantly, be successful. Your goal is to find a college where you have the greatest chance of enjoying academic achievement in a satisfying environment.

CREATING AN ACTIVITIES RESUME

It is important to construct a personal resume that includes personal contact information, family information, educational goals, extra-curricular activities, service hours, and work experience. Your resume can then be sent along with your application for admission.

Your Naviance internet program includes a special program designed to help you gather your information to make an in-depth and interesting resume.

Students should follow the steps below in their Naviance account to create their activities resume:

1. Log-in to their account using their username and password.

2. Click on the “About Me” tab at the top of the screen, and then click “Resume.”

3. Add all of the entries which are applicable. Sections to focus on are volunteer services, extra-curricular activities, awards, special skills, athletic/musical achievements, and leadership experiences.

4. The resume can then be edited and printed at any time.

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PARTS OF THE COLLEGE APPLICATION

The pieces of your college application add up to give admissions officers an idea of who you are. Not every college requires every one of these elements, but this list shows the most common requirements. Be sure to find out from your school counselor or principal which of these items you have to send and which of these items your high school sends.

APPLICATION FORMS:

To fill in all the sections of the actual college application form itself, you may have to dig up documents or get answers from your parents. Most students use online applications, but paper applications are usually available, too. There are also services such as The Common App (which we will discuss later in detail) that will allow you to complete one application and submit to several colleges.

APPLICATION FEES:

College application fees vary, but generally it costs from $35 to $50 to apply to each college. Fees are nonrefundable, but many colleges do offer fee waivers to students who cannot afford to pay. If you think you may need a fee waiver, please contact your school counselor for further information.

YOUR HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT AND ADMISSION TEST SCORES:

The record of the classes that you have taken is one of the most important parts of your application. Your high school should send your transcript, along with a school profile, directly to the colleges you are applying to. In addition, if you are applying to a traditional 4-year college or university, they will most likely also want you to submit your ACT or SAT test scores. Some colleges or universities require that test scores be sent to them directly from the testing center. Students are encouraged to check with their specific college of interest for their requirements on receiving test scores.


Students should follow the steps below in their Naviance account to request that their transcript and/or test scores be sent to a particular college:

1. Log-in to their Naviance account using their username and password.

2. Click on the “Colleges” tab at the top of the screen.

3. Click on “Colleges I Am Applying To.”

4. Directly under the Common Application FERPA waiver box, click on the “+add colleges to this list” link.

5. Locate “Look Up” and click. Look up the name of your desired college and select it. The page will return back to the previous page. You should repeat this process for each school to which you have submitted an application. On this screen, be sure to check the “I have submitted my application” box. Once you are done, scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Add Colleges.”

6. Click on the “Colleges” tab

7. Select “Transcripts” on the bottom left of the page.

8. Select desired option for requesting transcript and provide necessary information related to the selected option.

9. Scroll to the bottom of the page and submit request.

FINAL TRANSCRIPT:

At the end of your senior year, your high school will also send a final transcript to the college you’ve decided to attend. This shows your college what classes you took and whether you kept your grades up during your last year of high school.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION:

Letters of recommendation are a very important part of the college application process. They are a great way for others to highlight all of your positive traits, characteristics, strengths, and achievements. Before requesting letters of recommendation through Naviance, make sure you have asked the teacher, coach, or staff member in person if they would provide you with the courtesy of writing a letter on your behalf. Once a teacher has committed to writing a letter, you must make the request electronically through Naviance using the following steps:

*Please keep in mind that the instructions below are only to be followed when a student is requesting a letter of recommendation from a Lakeland Junior Senior High School teacher, faculty, or staff member. If you would like for a pastor, outside coach, or anyone else who is not a staff member of Lakeland Junior Senior High School to write a letter on your behalf, contact that person directly and have them give you a paper copy and an electronic copy of your letter. Follow your specific college’s instructions on how to upload or send the letter along with your application.

1. Log-in to the students’ Naviance account using their username and password.

2. Click on the “Colleges” tab and choose “Letters of Recommendations.”

3. Select “Add Request.”

4. Choose the desired teacher you wish to write your letter of recommendation.

5. Next, choose if you want the letter to be written for all schools or for one specific school only.

6. Provide any pertinent information that the teacher or staff member may need to know as it relates to the production of the letter in the box. Some things to include in the box may be:

· Date the letter of recommendation is due.

· Specifics that may be required in the letter (ie – character attributes that need to be expressed; academic achievements, leadership skills, community involvement, etc).

· Your activities resume that is available on Naviance.

· If the request is for a scholarship, provide the name of the scholarship and how the letter should be submitted

7. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Add Request.”

ESSAYS:

Your essays are a chance for you to give admission officers a better idea of your character and strengths Remember to proofread your essays carefully before submitting them. Essay writing will be explained in further detail in a following section of this guide.

AUDITIONS AND PORTFOLIOS:

If you are applying to a music, theatre, or art program, the colleges may want to see samples of your work. This means that you may need to audition or send in portfolios or videos showing your artistic ability as part of your application. The use of auditions and portfolios will be explained in further detail in a following section of this guide.

INTERVIEWS:

More competitive schools may require that you participate in a one-on-one interview with the admissions department. This allows you to show how invested you are in attending that particular college and gives you a chance to make a personal connection with a university faculty member. Interviewing will be explained further in detail in a following section of this guide.

BECOMING FAMILIAR WITH THE COMMON APPLICATION

The Common Application is accepted at more than 600 colleges and universities. The 2016-2017 version is available at www.commonapp.org. Completing a quality application takes time. The Common Application was made to save some time, by completing one application that can be sent to several schools. When you look through the Common Application, you should note:

  • You will need to do some essay/personal statement writing
  • You will need teacher recommendations
  • You will need a counselor recommendation

The Common Application teacher recommendation and evaluation forms will require teachers to rate student qualities and attributes. Teachers can only be honest about their ratings of students. It is to your advantage to always be at your best, so teachers have little difficulty providing favorable evaluations.

The Common Application also requires Lakeland to submit a Midyear Report at the end of the first semester and a Final Report and the end of the senior year. The colleges accepting the Common Application tend to be selective and very selective colleges. These colleges expect students to continue to put effort and energy into their education.

Common Application teacher recommendations and evaluation form, counselor recommendation and student report form, and academic transcripts are all submitted online via Naviance. In order for the submission of your materials to go smoothly, your Common Application and Naviance account must be matched.

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR ESSAY WRITING AND PERSONAL STATEMENT

After completing a college application, what else is there to share with a college? Applications usually provide information about activities and your work history. The information that is provided by the application, itself, should not be included in your personal statement or essay.

A personal statement gives a better understanding of who a student is beyond the constraints of the universal questions asked on most applications.

Your essay or personal statement will be evaluated on content and writing style. This is also an additional opportunity for you to exhibit your writing skills. Your essay and personal statement should provide colleges with a more complete picture of who you are as an individual. What are your values, your attitudes, how do you see yourself? Do you have a particular passion for something?

Check with your School Counseling office or with your English Department on ways to approach your essay. The following are sample prompts that would most likely make for quality writing pieces:

· What is your greatest achievement? Why do you consider this an achievement?

· Describe an ethical dilemma you faced and how you resolved it.

· Discuss your most rewarding nonacademic experience. This could include travel, a hobby, membership in a club or organization, a cultural activity, employment, or community service.

· Discuss some issue of local, national, and international concern and its importance to you.

· Describe your interest in this university and how you are a good fit here.

Remember that writing a quality piece of work does take time. You should treat the essay the same way you would treat a major English assignment. If you are putting forth effort, energy, and time into your essay, teachers are usually more than willing to assist you with any help that you may need.

UNDERSTANDING THE INTERVIEW PROCESS AND ITS USE BY SELECTIVE INSTITUTIONS

Highly selective institutions will sometimes encourage or require an interview with an admissions officer or with an alumnus of the university. Students should view this as an opportunity to have a more intimate conversation with a representative of the college – not an oral exam! Generally, for schools that make the interview optional, completing the interview is a sign of commitment to the school. It is to the students’ advantage to complete the interview option.

The interview provides an opportunity to find out more about the school and to present yourself as a human being rather than just a name on an application. This is a unique opportunity to promote yourself.

Interviewers might be admissions officers, alumni, or even current students. The interview could take place on or off campus. It is also important for prospective students to prepare and practice for an interview. Counselors will assist students with items such as:

  • Researching the college
  • Promptness
  • Attire
  • Manners
  • Non-Verbal Communications
  • Attitude/Demeanor
  • Handshake
  • Eye Contact
  • Thank You Letters and Follow Up
  • Question-Type and How To Ask

UNDERSTANDING THE USE OF PORTFOLIOS IN THE COLLEGE APPLICATION

Various areas of continuing education have made use of portfolios over the years. Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Athletic programs, in particular, often use portfolios to see a collection of the students’ abilities during the application process. Music students provide a portfolio of their ability when they audition for admittance to conservatories. Frequently, athletes present a video of their athletic performance to various coaches hoping to find a place on a college team.

Sometimes portfolios can help colleges get to know you better, because grades and test scores do not show or tell everything about you or your abilities.

You can put together a quality portfolio and take it with you when you visit and/or interview with college admissions counselors. In addition to classes, course grades, test scores, projects, experiments, term papers, and awards, a portfolio helps colleges to better understand the follow:

  • What your skills and abilities are
  • What you have accomplished
  • What experiences you have had
  • What is important to you
  • What effort and energy you put into things that are important to you
  • What goals you hope to fulfill
  • What you have done and are doing to assure that your transition from high school to college will be successful

You are using your portfolio to convince colleges that there is little risk on their part to accept you as a student. This means that the college can be pretty confident that you will not only start college, but that you will also be successful and graduate.

Your portfolio should show that you are actively involved in establishing goals and implementing ways to fulfill those goals.

DEVELOPING A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF FINANCIAL AID, SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS

The purpose of financial aid is to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of education beyond high school, and for those who can afford to pay for only part of it.

Most financial aid falls into one of the following categories:

SCHOLARSHIPS:

This term is used rather loosely to include athletic and talent-based (music, drama, leadership, etc.) monetary awards, but primarily scholarships are generated on the basis of academic merit. Students with GPA and ACT/SAT scores in the top 20% are more likely to be awarded scholarship money. Generally, the higher the scores and grade, the more likely a scholarship will be awarded.

Need-based scholarships are those that are awarded because a family may need financial assistance (though academic merit is always a factor). The need is usually determined from the information provided by students and parents on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or on the CSS Profile form that some colleges require.

Many scholarships awarded by colleges and universities are “automatic” in the sense that if you are accepted to the school and if you have a particular GPA and ACT score, you will receive a scholarship without further application or action. For example, a state university might grant a $1,000/year scholarship for a 1220 SAT score and 93 GPA or a $2,000/year for a 1320 SAT score and 95 GPA. Most college’s award their larger scholarships on a competitive basis and those usually require and additional application, essays, and/or letters of recommendation.

Scholarships are also awarded by literally thousands of private foundations, religious organizations, and corporations. The best way to locate these scholarships is to use the books in the Guidance office or a free web-based program such as www.fastweb.com or www.scholarships.com.

GRANTS:

Funds are given to a student from the federal or state government or an institution that does not have to be repaid. This money is typically sent directly to the college or university. The most well-known grant program is the federal Pell Grant, which awards up to $5,775.00 for freshmen who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA. College institutions also award grants to students who demonstrate financial need.

LOANS:

Loans are defined as money the student and/or parent is eligible to borrow for educational expenses. The money must be repaid with interest. Most financial aid packages and financial aid award letters from colleges/universities will offer families substantial loans. There are three types of loans:

Subsidized Loans: The federal government will pay the interest on this student signed (no-cosign required) loan while the student is enrolled in school. Repayment usually begins within 6 months of graduation or leaving school and is usually available at the lowest interest rate of any loan.

Unsubsidized Loans: The student is responsible for all accrued interest. Usually repayment does not begin until 6 months after graduation or leaving school.

PLUS Loans: Allows parents to borrow in their names for the education of their dependents. Unlike loans made in the student’s names, repayment begins immediately upon the receipt of the loans.

WORK STUDY:

Student is employed part-time on campus with the earnings to be used for educational expenses. Students have to select that they want to be considered for Work Study upon FAFSA completion. Normally, work is limited to 10-12 hours/week.

Financial aid award letters from colleges are usually a combination of grant, loans, scholarships and/or work study. Remember, financial aid is to be used in addition to what the family and student are able to provide. Rarely does financial aid cover the entire cost of undergraduate education.

FINANCIAL AID APPLICATIONS:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The FAFSA is the extensive application required to determine the eligibility for Grants, Loans and Work-Study. A paper copy of the most recent FAFSA is available in the Guidance office, though the application is completed and submitted online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA can be completed starting Oct. 1 of the student’s senior year and should be filed as soon as possible. Lakeland schedules a parent night covering Financial Aid topics. Be sure to look on the school’s calendar and/or counseling newsletter for upcoming dates regarding FAFSA completion.

Parents and students must create a FAFSA I.D. before starting a FAFSA application. To create an I.D., please visit www.fafsaid.gov

After you have completed the FAFSA and your information has been processed, you will be notified of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This is what the federal government, using their formulas, determines to be the amount that the family (parent/student) should be able to contribute towards undergraduate education. The EFC remains constant whether you attend a low cost school or a very high cost school. Many schools’ websites offer a cost calculator to estimate your EFC, thus giving you a rough estimate of attendance costs. An FAFSA estimator is also available at www.collegeboard.com.

CSS Profile: This is a supplemental financial aid form required by a few selective colleges and universities. If the college or university to which you are applying requires the CSS profile, check with the guidance office or contact the financial office of the desired college/university. A few colleges/universities have their own institutional supplemental financial aid forms.

NCAA REQUIREMENTS FOR COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT ATHLETES

NCAA:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) establishes the rules for progressing from being a high school athlete to a collegiate athlete in one of the Association’s three Divisions. Division I and II institutions may offer athletic scholarships while Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships, although they have sports programs. The General Information Section of the NCAA website includes all eligibility rules (http://www.ncaa.org).

The NCAA Clearinghouse evaluates a student’s academic record to determine eligibility to participate at a Division I or II college as a fresh student-athlete. The Clearinghouse certifies a student’s eligibility to compete as a student-athlete, but the college must accept the student. Eligibility is based on core college prep coursework completed, grade point average and test scores (ACT or SAT). NCAA’s ACT/SAT code is 9999.

The method to register with the clearinghouse is online at https://web3.ncaa.org/ecwr3/. Select register, create an account and pay the associated fee. Students who received a fee waiver for the ACT or SAT can have the fee waived. Please see your counselor to inquire about waiving the fee. In addition to registering with the NCAA, students must send their ACT/SAT scores directly from ACT/College Baord as well as Transcripts from Lakeland.. Students should keep track of their login information, which allows students to check the status of their registration application.

HELPFUL WEBSITES AND OTHER RESOURCES

Lakeland School Counseling Office

Mrs. deQuevedo - classes of 2016, 2018, 2020 and soon 2022
Mrs. Valonis - classes of 2017, 2019, 2021