Senior Survival Guide

Important steps in reaching your post high school goals

Big picture

Get to know your Guidance Counselor and make sure you are on track for graduation

Counselors serve students with last names starting with...

Monitoring your Academic Progress, Rank & GPA

Big picture

Identifying prospective colleges

To assist in identifying prospective colleges, you can utilize college search engines such as: CollegeBoard's College Search & College Navigator, etc.

In addition, College websites offer a wealth of information about their admissions requirements, programs of study, extra curricular activities, summer programs for high school students, etc. Students should utilize these websites to thoroughly investigate their prospective colleges, in order to narrow down their top choices.

Most college websites also exhibit promotional videos on Youtube or at the college's website. Here are a few examples of these types of videos: A&M, Angelo State, Baylor, Howard College, Tarleton State, Texas State, Texas Tech, The University of Texas, UTSA, etc.

Finally, you can attend college fairs, including virtual fairs such as CollegeWeekLive or in-person-fairs, such as Concho Valley College Night (usually held in early October).

College Visits

Juniors & Seniors are allowed to have 2 college visit days per year. If proof is provided (i.e. excuse note on college letterhead) to your CHS Attendance Clerk, these absences are excused and will not count against you for final exam exemption purposes. To plan/register for this visit, you can use the search words: "College Visit" or "Tour Campus" within website of your prospective university.
Big picture

College Admission Requirements

Most colleges require the following (at minimum):
  1. SAT and/or ACT (for 4 year universities)
  2. Completed College Application
  3. Application Fee (unless college waives this requirement)
  4. High School Transcript
The college can receive these requirements in any order, although it may be beneficial to complete them in the order listed. See below for more details.
Big picture

SAT/ACT Testing

Four year universities require students to submit college entrance exam scores on or before the admissions deadline. Since SAT/ACT scores can take 3-6 weeks, it is recommended that you test at least 2 months prior to the admissions deadline.

Therefore, if you have not tested (or want to retest) it is important that you register online at the SAT or ACT as soon as possible. Be sure to send your scores to your prospective college(s).

More information about SAT/ACT dates, fees, and registration is available at Counseling Center's page of the CHS website.

Texas Success Initiative (College Readiness)

Although this is not an admissions requirement, students who are planning on attending a public community college or university in the State of Texas are required to prove "College Readiness" (in Math & English) before taking a college level course. If you are admitted, but do not meet TSI college readiness standards, you may be required to take one or more remedial classes.

You can be exempt from taking TSI tests, by achieving strong scores on SAT or ACT.

See TSI Exemption Information at the CHS Website. If not, you can take the TSI test at the Howard College or ASU testing centers (or at your prospective college).

Big picture

Complete your College Application

Students should watch the application deadline, and resist the urge to procrastinate. Some college applications are more involved than others, so be prepared to devote time to such requirements as writing admissions essays, listing your involvements at school, in the community, etc.

Application fees are also required by most schools, and you can usually pay this fee with a credit card at the end of the online application. If your family has limited income, you may want to see if your college accepts application fee waivers, or google "application fee waiver" within your prospective college's website.

Big picture

Send Your Transcript to the college

As part of the college admissions process, students are required to submit a current high school transcript. You can access an "online transcript request form" at the CHS website, or in the Registrar's office of the CHS Counseling Center. Some online college applications, allow you to request that CHS send your transcript electronically (e.g. SENDedu, CommonApp, etc.) In this case, you may be asked to provide your counselor's email address. Any SAISD employee's address is

All Seniors will complete a "Final Transcript Request Form" at an end-of-year Sr. meeting.

Dual Credit Students: Due to privacy laws, CHS cannot request your college transcript. If you would like a copy of your college transcript, or want ASU or HC to send your transcript to another college, you will need to complete an ASU Transcript Request or a Howard Transcript Request form.

Big picture
Big picture

Monitor your application status and complete other important requirements

The college may contact you via email or through an online student account, so be sure to check these accounts on a regular basis in order to monitor the status of your application.

For example, you may be contacted about how to complete other important requirements, such as....

Be a part of the "Wave of the Future"

Big picture

Bring your Acceptance Letter

The Counseling Center will post Senior photos & their prospective college (or military branch) on the "Senior Wall" for students who provide proof of their acceptance. Our hope is that, by highlighting our Seniors' accomplishments, we will inspire underclassmen to follow their dreams.

Plan ahead & be proactive about..

Big picture

Developing your personal Resume and requesting Letters of Recommendation

Students are encouraged to identify at least 3 people who would be willing to write a positive letter of recommendation (required for many scholarship applications). Be ready to provide the following to each recommender:

  • To WHOM the letter of recommendation should be addressed.
  • WHEN you need the letter (1-2 weeks' notice is preferred)
  • WHERE the letter should be mailed (or if you plan to pick it up).
  • IMPORTANT: Provide a copy of your personal resume. Below are examples of what you can include on your personal resume.

Your Resume should document your...

Big picture

Apply for Scholarships

Peek scholarship season is between January - March. In your search, be sure to....

1. ...check the website of your prospective college/university for an application for scholarships that are unique to this school. Some colleges' scholarship applications are embedded within their admissions applications.

2. ...regularly check the CHS Scholarship List at the CHS website.

3. on your own, via free online scholarship search engines. Examples of scholarship search engines are at the CHS website.

Complete the FAFSA

Through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you can apply for several forms of financial aid, including...

  • Grants
  • Need Based Scholarships
  • Work Study Programs
  • Loans
Big picture

Complete the FAFSA as early as October 1st

  • At the FSA-ID# website, both the you & a parent will need to apply for ID#'s that will serve as your electronic signatures on the FAFSA.
  • Before you complete the FAFSA, you will need to gather the necessary documents.
  • To complete your financial aid application, go to the FAFSA website.
  • Educate yourself regarding the common myths about financial aid.
  • Consider completing the TASFA, if you are ineligible to complete the FAFSA due to your foreign status. Watch the TASFA Video.
  • Some (very competitive) universities ask students to complete a more detailed financial aid application called the CSS Profile (available at the Collegeboard website).

Informational websites and helpful videos are available.

FAFSA Overview
Big picture

Register for your College Orientation

At this Orientation you will attend several activities designed to help you transition to college life, including registering for your freshman classes.

Colleges may not allow you to register for your classes until you have submitted all required documents, including a final high school transcript. If you plan to attend an orientation in early Summer, you may want to hand carry an official copy of your final high school transcript, so that you will not experience any problems.

Big picture

Ask your counselor if you need assistance

Contacting U.S. Armed Services Representatives

Talk to your counselor if you need assistance...

  • ...applying for admission to a U.S. Military Academy.

  • ...applying to a college ROTC program.

  • ...enlisting in the military or contacting a military recruiter.

  • ...getting information about military education benefits (i.e. Hazlewood Act, Montgomery GI Bill)

For more information regarding U.S. Military Academy's application/nomination process, your counselor can provide contact information for the Service Academy Liaison or Congressman Pfluger's office.
Big picture

Becoming eligible to play collegiate sports

Big picture