Connections Weekly Newsletter

September 30, 2022

Upcoming Events

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens on October 1 for the 2023-24 academic year. The U.S. Department of Education uses this form to determine a student's eligibility for need-based federal financial aid for college based on their financial situation. More information.

Colorado Free Application Days are October 18-20. While the admission application must be submitted during this three-day period to be eligible for the fee waiver, students are encouraged to begin working on their application(s) now so that they can submit their applications stress-free during Free Application Days. Here is a list of schools and their specific free application code

CLASS OF 2023 - Advisor Skip Zickmund

I visited with seniors in their rhetoric classes last week. We discussed the Common Application format and the importance of the personal statements as part of the application.

Approximately 80% of seniors will apply to at least one college before December. Time moves quickly in the next few months, so seniors are encouraged to stay on top of “their game.” Colleges will not excuse a missed deadline.

One final note, October 18-20 is Colorado Free Application Day. I encouraged all seniors considering applying to a Colorado state school (most of the Colorado private schools) to wait for the free days to save money on application fees. That said, students should complete the application in advance of the October dates, so they are ready to submit without delay. Click here for more information.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens on October 1 for the 2022-23 academic year. The U.S. Department of Education uses this form to determine a student's eligibility for need-based federal financial aid for college based upon their financial situation.

October 1st is the day that the FAFSA form opens for the next academic period, and it’s a little bit of a first-come-first-served system. All families are encouraged to fill out the FAFSA as soon after October 1 as possible. This can be done before a student is accepted to a college or university.

The first step, before filling out the FAFSA, is to create an FSA ID. Parents and students can find a link to obtain an FSA ID through the Federal Student Aid website. Filling out the FAFSA usually takes 30 minutes or less to complete.

Here is a link to a series of ten short videos with quick tips and advice from Colorado College to help jump-start college applications. Some of the content is specific to Colorado College, but overall, you can apply the information to all colleges.

Here is a link to the Senior Year Checklist to help stay aware of some of the monthly “milestones.”

CLASS OF 2024 - Advisor Skip Zickmund

Starting the college search is sometimes thought of as a milestone moment. There might be a lot of talk and anticipation building up to it. In reality, though, the college search sometimes doesn't have an official starting moment. Instead, it's often a slow, rolling start with small steps building up over months or even years. Here is an article to help to start thinking about the process.

Many colleges are test-optional, giving students the option to submit ACT/SAT scores as a part of their college application. Many scholarships and specific academic departments might still require test scores even if general admission is test optional. It is in the best interest of all students to have a test score available if needed. Here is an article to help you decide when to take the ACT/SAT.

One of the biggest mistakes in the junior year is not taking advantage of college meetings from college representatives when they visit TCA. A complete list of upcoming visits can be found in Naviance: Naviance home page> Scroll right side>”What’s Newbox> Bottom of box> Click “Show More”>Click “More Info”>Click “Register” to sign up.


If you need a copy of the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide/Practice test, please stop by Connections for a copy. If you have any questions, contact Ms. Peters at

Seniors, did you take the PSAT/NSMQT last year? Where do your parents work? Check these Corporate Scholarship Sponsors and if you qualify, file your entry form. This list of corporate organizations currently sponsors scholarships in the National Merit Program with any eligibility criteria that apply to candidates for their awards. An asterisk (*) indicates the sponsor offers Special Scholarships in addition to National Merit Scholarships and requires students or their families to file Entry Forms.

PSAT/NMSQT test takers: Princeton Review is hosting free Strategies Sessions for the PSAT/NSMQT on October 3 at 8:00 p.m and October 6 at 6:00 pm. Click here to register. Learn the basic strategies and skills that you will need to tackle the PSAT in this presentation.

While it’s completely normal to feel a bit nervous before a test, some students find test anxiety debilitating. Racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, or feelings of dread can combine with physical symptoms like a fast heartbeat, headache, or nausea. Whether it’s the ACT, an AP exam, or an important history final, test anxiety has the power to derail weeks and months of hard work. Here are some test anxiety tips.


We are excited that we have hosted over 55 colleges and universities this year. Sign up in Naviance for a visit today.

Connections, Room 1104

* Monday, 10/3 11:25, Western Colorado University
* Tuesday, 10/4 9:35, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
* Tuesday, 10/4 NO BINGO
* Wednesday, 10/5 10:55, Drake University
* Wednesday, 10/5 11:25, Xavier University

In the Community

The Colorado Council on High School/College Relations will be hosting a college fair for District 20 on Wednesday, October 5 from 6-7pm at 1110 Chapel Hills Drive.

UCCS College of Education will be hosting an Open House, on October 19 from 10am-3pm in Berger Hall. This event is open to students interested in helping professions such as teaching and human services. Giveaways and free food await.

Cal State will be hosting Apply Information Sessions at the following locations:

· Wednesday, October 26 from 6 - 7 pm | Shillinglaw Lecture Center at Creek High School, 9300 E Union Ave, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

· Thursday, November 17 from 6 - 7 pm | Columbine Library, 7706 W Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO 80123

How to Add Volunteer Hours in X2Vol

Fall Break is a great time to give back to the community and get a jump on logging some volunteer hours. If you don’t have anything planned yet, you can contact your favorite charity organization, do an internet search or help a neighbor with some fall clean-up. Remember, juniors and seniors need 30 volunteer hours and 3 papers, and freshmen and sophomores need 40 volunteer hours and 4 papers to meet the graduation requirements. If you need a refresher on how to enter your hours into x2Vol, check out this x2Vol HOW TO video. More information on the Community Service Graduation Requirements can be found on the TCA website on the Connections page.

Career Chats

If you are a parent or guardian and would be willing to share your career story with our students, we would love to have you. Many careers are welcome, but here are some of the fields our students have expressed an interest in: Counseling/Psychiatry, Engineering – Aerospace and all others, Healthcare, Art or Music Therapy, Veterinary, Biochemistry, Architecture, Legal – Lawer/Judge, Airline Pilots, Firefighters, Detectives/Criminal Investigators, Interior Design.

If you are a student and looking for a way to earn volunteer hours, we are looking for someone to bake cookies for our Chats.

Career Chats are held on many Fridays during Flex. Contact Jodi Hoffman at or stop by if you are interested.

Enrichment Opportunities

Today is the last day to Register for the Inaugural Colorado Cyber Games sponsored by the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC). This innovative competition is designed to help employers find vetted talent and help job candidates get connected with those employers. The competition is from 10/1-31.

If you haven’t seen it, here is a list of TCA High School’s Student Organizations, Teams, and Clubs.

Prepare for the college experience through exploratory coursework and connect with the world-renowned Columbia University community over ten weekends this fall in their Pre-College Program.

Book your ticket for this free virtual Let’s Talk Space Exploration Symposium on October 20 from 10:30 am-12:00 pm. The first of the Let's Talk Science Visionary Symposium series looks at what's new in space with a keynote from Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen.

Prudential is accepting applications for Prudential Emerging Visionaries from people ages 14 to 18 who are taking on today’s toughest financial and societal challenges from now through November 3, 2022. This is a national program that celebrates and awards young people who create solutions to financial and societal challenges.

Here is an opportunity to consider after you complete an advanced degree. The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is the Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree holders.

College Discovery is a free-forever service and powerful recommendation engine that helps students discover colleges through predictive analytics. More than just a search engine, College Discovery utilizes billions of historical and real-time insights to offer suggestions that go beyond obvious recommendations, helping students to expand their search to include likely-fit and hidden gems. You and your students will be able to search for schools of interest and browse "Related Colleges." Colleges of interest can be added to your list. Your college list dynamically generates suggestions of other colleges to explore.

Looking for an apprenticeship? Create an account at My Colorado Journey, once you select a goal —such as applying to an apprenticeship program—you’ll be connected to resources and tools that help you achieve major goals and steps along the way.

Students can register for a series of virtual events designed to provide a deeper understanding of Colgate University and the application process.

Scholarships and Incentive Programs

The Pacific Qualified Powell Scholars/Honors Program is for students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or higher, have undertaken a rigorous academic curriculum, and demonstrated leadership skills in two or more areas. Qualified students are encouraged to apply, see Ms. Peters for more information.

Through the United States JCI Senate Foundation Scholarship $1,000 grants will be awarded to graduating high seniors in the United States, who plan to continue their education at accredited postsecondary colleges, universities, or vocational schools. The monies must be used for educational expenses in the first year of full-time study.

The Chancellor’s Award is a $10,000 scholarship automatically awarded over four years to high-achieving first-year students. Your students who apply to UCCS will be automatically considered for this award!

The University of Arizona Native Scholars Grant covers the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for full-time undergraduate students from Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes.

St. Edward's awards up to $28,000 in annual merit scholarships to new freshmen, making a meaningful impact on the cost of a private university education. Merit scholarships do not require additional materials beyond the admission application, so you can stress less! Learn more about their scholarships.

Silicon Valley Power Sustainable Futures Program will provide scholarships and fellowships to up to 35 future leaders in sustainability, clean energy, and related fields. Selected students will use the funds to attend and receive advanced opportunities at Santa Clara University and its award-winning environmental and sustainability curriculum.

The University of Arizona recognizes National Scholars both financially and through automatic admission into the W.A. Franke Honors College. In addition, students selected for the below College Board National Scholars and Recognition programs (PSAT/NMSQT) will also be eligible for the National Scholars Tuition Award review.

  • National Merit Finalist

  • African American Recognition Program

  • Hispanic Recognition Award

  • Indigenous Recognition Program

  • Rural and Small Town Recognition Program

The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships at the University of Toronto provide an unparalleled opportunity for outstanding international students to study at one of the world’s best universities in one of the world’s most multicultural cities. The scholarship program is intended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity and who are recognized as leaders within their school.

Career Focus - Data Analysts & Scientists

Data Analytics vs. Data Science If you like data, here are some careers to consider:

  • Data analysts examine large data sets to identify trends, develop charts, and create visual presentations to help businesses make more strategic decisions.
  • Data scientists, on the other hand, design and construct new processes for data modeling and production using prototypes, algorithms, predictive models, and custom analysis.

College Highlights

If you are interested in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science, check out this affordable small college list from Peter Pitts, owner of

New Programs

Rice University’s Department of Sport Management is expanding with their newest major in Sports Analytics. This interdisciplinary major created in partnership with the School of Engineering will offer students training in a rapidly growing field. Those who have an interest in sports and possess an analytical mindset have the unique ability to turn both passions into an exciting and rewarding career.

University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science students in eligible programs can combine 12-20 months of paid work with specialized professional development training. Students gain work experience in their target fields, learn valuable career skills, and build a network, all while being supported by a dedicated internship team. Learn more about ASIP.

Skills Improvement

Interview Warmup is a tool that lets anyone practice answering questions to get more confident and comfortable with interviewing. Your answers get transcribed in real-time so you can review what you said and discover ways to improve your responses. There are no grades, and you can answer questions as many times as you want. It’s your own private space to practice, prepare, and get comfortable. Start practicing

Connections Center (Career & College)

Joanna Peters, Director - 9th & 10th Grades, PSAT/NMSQT, Scholarships

Skip Zickmund, Assistant Director - 11th & 12th Grades, AP

Jodi Hoffman, Office Manager - Rep Visits, Community Service