Big Future September News

For the future of VAHS students

Meet Your BigFuture Ambassadors

Caroline Dossman

I am in the National Honors Society, Key Club, Panther Channel, and VATV as a photographer for our school. As far as university is concerned, I have no idea where I will end up, but I’m applying everywhere I can and hoping for the best!

Ben Wells

I’m an honors student, Bulls fan, and Music enthusiast. The most important thing to me is my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Emily Elmore

I am in Van Alstyne's chapter of the National Honors Society, Key Club, and am an aid in the special needs class. I also have a twin brother, Joseph, who you may see in the halls from time to time. I have been accepted to Oklahoma State University, and while I will probably apply to a few other schools and keep my options open depending on scholarship offers, I plan on attending OSU in the fall.

Michael Terrill

I am currently involved in BFA, NHS, and Key Club. I have 4 siblings, one of which just graduated last year from VAHS. A fun fact about myself is I have two dogs, a Chocolate Lab and a Golden Doodle. Right now I am not very far into the college admissions process; I have just started looking at some schools.

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Important Dates

September 12, 2022 ......................... SMART Seminar

September 13, 2022 ......................... College Fair at VAHS

October 12, 2022 .............................. PSAT/NMSQT (Freshman & Sophomore Honors, Juniors)

October 12, 2022 .............................. ASVAB (1st 50 Seniors to sign up)

Tentative October 24, 2022 ............. SMART Seminar

November 1, 2022 ........................... Most Early Action College Applications are Due!

November 2, 2022 ........................... ACT

Tentative January 23, 2022 ............ SMART Seminar

Tentative March 6, 2022 ................. SMART Seminar

Tentative April 2023 ........................ SAT

April and May 2023 ......................... STAAR DATES

Did You Know?

The SAT doesn’t mean anything!

The SAT is not an acronym anymore! In the 1900s, the SAT was a test developed as a standard metric for students and was known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Eventually, the word aptitude was determined to be too controversial and the name was changed to the Scholastic Assessment Test. Although this may have seemed like an appropriate name, it was decided that the words “assessment” and “test” were too redundant, so they got rid of the names and decided to call it the SAT.

Khan Academy

Prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT on October 12th with Khan Academy or other practice booklets! Get used to the format by taking at least one practice test and work on the concepts you find difficult!


  1. Go to:

  2. Login/register and then choose link accounts

  3. Sign in with college board credentials if you have taken a PSAT, SAT, or AP test in the past.

BigFuture Scholarships

With BigFuture scholarship, there are no GPA, classes, test scores, essay, or citizenship requirements in order to become eligible. Instead, there are 6 different tasks (listed below) with each one giving the student a chance at winning scholarship money. Upon completion of the tasks listed below, the student will be entered in a drawing containing multiple 40,000 dollar or 500 dollar scholarships. Do this as soon as possible because the earlier one becomes eligible, the more chances there are to receive the scholarship!

6 Paths of Being Entered in a Scholarship Drawing

  1. Build Your College List in College Board

  2. Practice for the SAT

  3. Explore Scholarships

  4. Strengthen your College List

  5. Complete the FAFSA (Seniors)

  6. Apply to Colleges (Seniors)


Xello is the website for everything school-related.

Make sure to add your personal email so you can keep all of the information after you graduate!

Through this website you can:

  • Request your transcript

    • Goals & Plans

    • College Applications

    • Application Checklist

  • Take career and major aptitude tests

  • Sync your Common App and Xello accounts to keep all of your college information in one place.

  • And much more!

Staff Spotlight

Dr. Otto, VAHS Vice-Principal

Sam Houston State University Alumni for History/Political science

Why did you choose your university and/or major? I wanted to study Law and I went to Texas A&M and sat in an Intro to Poly-Sci classroom and was one of 300 in the class. I visited Sam Houston and sat in the same class and there were 30 students. After the class I was able to visit with the professor for about an hour (I ended up having him multiple times as a student) and I was sold on the smaller classes and laid back nature of the college.

What did you most enjoy about your school? I loved the small feel of the campus. I could get anywhere quickly, it was very affordable and the quality of education I got was top notch.

Any words of wisdom for current high school students or impactful experiences to share? Read. Never stop reading. Develop study habits now and constantly adjust those habits to meet new academic challenges. Be involved as much as you can. I was able to take advantage of countless volunteering activities in college and they were extremely rewarding.

Alumni Talks

Izzy Chartier

University: Baylor University

Major: Biochemistry - PreMed

What do you like most about your university experience? I love Baylor’s Christian community and high intensity pre-med program.

Why are you wanting to pursue your prospective career path?: I am eager to become a physician so that I can be there for people in their best and worst moments. I cannot imagine doing anything besides medicine.

What do you wish you had known about the future while at VAHS?: High school truly flies by!! Enjoy it!

To-Do List by Class

Freshman To-Do List

  • Honors students-Prepare for PSAT on October 12 with Khan Academy

  • Begin building a list of colleges or universities you may want to learn more about using Xello or College Board’s BigFuture site

  • Join extracurriculars!

  • Begin building a school and extracurricular resume

  • Start building up volunteer hours

Sophomore To-Do List

  • Honors students-Prepare for PSAT on October 12 with Khan Academy

  • Consider taking an online AP course

  • Look into scholarship sites like or scholarship america

  • Join extracurriculars, and consider taking on leadership roles

  • Continue building up volunteer hours

  • Find out what you want in a college (big/medium/small, private/public, academic/athletic/extracurriculars)

Junior To-Do List

  • Prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT on October 12 with Khan Academy or other practice booklets! Get used to the format by taking at least one practice test.

  • Compile a list of all activities, honors, and awards for use in a resume later on.

  • Find out what you want in a college (big/medium/small, private/public, academic/athletic/extracurriculars)

  • Take advantage of the steps in College Board’s BigFuture site to become eligible for scholarships.

    • Build your college list (add 6 or more schools)

  • Practice for the SAT via Khan Academy

Senior To-Do List

  • Create and keep an updated resume for college, scholarship, and job applications.

  • Prepare for the SAT through Khan Academy.

  • Take advantage of BigFuture scholarships

  • Find out what you want in a college (big/medium/small, private/public, academic/athletic/extracurriculars)

  • Start applying for college admissions early action

  • Work on common app essay (personal statement)

College Terminology

SAT/ACT - A test used to measure a students competency in certain areas, such as english, reading, science, and mathematics.

PSAT - A practice SAT test. There are three types: the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and the PSAT NMSQT. The PSAT NMSQT is linked to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a nationally recognized scholarship organization with TONS of money linked to it, promoting higher education for high school juniors and seniors.

ASVAB - An entrance test scaled from 1-99 for those wanting to enlist in various parts of the military, such as the Air Force, Army, and Navy.

Early Action - A non-binding application to a college in which a student will get their college decisions early.

Early Decision - A binding agreement between a college or university and a student stating that the student is required to attend the school if they are accepted. Usually has a positive effect on college entrance percentages but is not recommended for a school you are not 100% going to if you get in.

Regular Decision - An application to a college or university that is non-binding and follows the regular schedule of admission, with the deadline usually being in December or January depending on the college, university, or other institution.

Scholarship - A grant or payment towards a student’s education which does not have to be paid back.

Student Loans - money provided by an organization which must be paid back, usually with interest.

Research Institution - A university that is committed to research as a central part if its mission.

Liberal Arts Institution - An institution which emphasizes undergraduate study on liberal arts and the sciences.

University Visit Request

Use the link below to request a University/school to come visit VAHS!


Using the counseling website linked below, you can access scholarship opportunities, request schedule changes, request letters of recommendation, schedule an appointment with the counselors and much more!


When you are ready to sign up for any of the national tests (PSAT, ACT, SAT, ASVAB), VAHS has just the person to see! Ms. Harper is our new Testing Coordinator, and you can find her in her office (214) or visiting classes to help you sign up for tests or to receive practice materials for those national tests!