College & Career Update

September 21, 2020

Welcome Back!

I know...we are not even in class yet, but seniors, it's time to start working/planning for the future. Don't worry, I'm here to help. You can always access me at Some of you have already contacted me, and I will be working to set up meetings with all of you over the next few months. If you missed my last newsletter from August 24, including a senior "to do" list and scholarships, the link is here:

I'll be sending out a short senior survey soon, to help me best know how to help each of you.

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The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens on October 1st. This form is the key to accessing federal and state grants, as well as loans and work-study opportunities. See the chart below for more details. Students may be eligible for over $6,000 per year in grants that do not have to be repaid. You can file your FAFSA HERE:

A few terms to consider as we get into the process:

Needs based: These grants/scholarships are given based on financial need. Federal Aid from the FAFSA is needs based.

Merit or Performance Based: Performance-based, such as a scholarship you earn because of your GPA, an essay, and/or other factors.

Here is a summary of 7 things you'll need before you fill out the FAFSA form (the entire article is linked at the end):

1. Create Your FSA ID. You can do this before the FAFSA opens. For details on how, click here:

2. Social Security Number

3. Driver's license number (if you have one)

4. 2019 tax records

5. Records of your untaxed income (this may not apply)

6. Records of your assets (money). This is savings/checking account balances, value of investments, etc.

7. List of the schools you are interested in attending. List the schools you might even consider applying to, at all. They will get your FAFSA information and it is first come, first served.

Full article:

Below is a video to help you as you go through the process. Again, I'm here to help and answer questions!

FAFSA Walkthrough Video Below!

Completing the FAFSA 2020-2021


Here are a few of the questions I get the most about the FAFSA:

Q: Do I have to have the FAFSA done on October 1st?

A: No. However, it is a first come/first serve basis for aid, so I recommend doing it in the fall. Other scholarships (and your college of choice) may want it complete in order to award other aid as well. Additionally, you will know what you may qualify for soon after you complete it, and this will help you with planning and considering options.

Q: What if I don't think I will qualify for aid, should I still do the FAFSA?

A: YES. Even if you don't qualify for grants, you may qualify for work study, or low-interest loans not based on credit and in the student's name. Additionally, some schools use FAFSA information to award institutional scholarships, as well as the state-wide scholarship list at OSAC (more about that soon).

Q: What if I am not a US citizen?

A: If your parents are not citizens, you still can apply for FAFSA aid. If you are not an eligible non-citizen, you will want to fill out the ORSAA (Oregon Student Aid Application). You can get information about that, and also a checklist to decide which applies to you here:

Q: Will the FAFSA apply to trade schools?

A: It depends. If you are entering a trade program within a community college, it will apply. If you are going to a private trade college, it depends on several factors, including the accreditation of that school. Federal aid will not apply to apprenticeship programs, but it will for prerequisite classes.

Q: How long does it take to fill out the FAFSA?

A: Normally, if you have what you need with you it can be done in less than an hour.

University of Oregon: Virtual Visit

If you are interested in attending the University of Oregon, you can meet with a representative at 2:00pm on Thursday, October 1st at this zoom link.

(You probably don't need this part, but just in case):

Meeting ID: 947 6468 1479 Passcode: 214724

While you are thinking about it, take a look at this Campus Tour Video!

University of Oregon Spring 2020 Campus Tour

Scholarship Advice....

There are a LOT of scholarships out there and it can be confusing, as well as frustrating, if you are not sure where to spend your time. Here are some key pieces of advice as you move forward in looking at them.

Remember where the big money is

While there are large, private scholarships out there, such as the Ford Family scholarship, the best chance for large amounts of money come from two places: Government grants and the school that you are looking to attend. The FAFSA is a critical step to take to be eligible for federal aid, both grants and loans. It is often required for other scholarships at schools as well as state funding, too. So, getting the FAFSA done should be the #1 thing, along with getting, keeping up your GPA. Some schools will award money automatically based just on your GPA, so keep up your grades!

Think about where to spend your time

There are so many scholarships out it worth it? The first thing to consider is, who is eligible for the scholarship you are looking at? Is it a $500 scholarship, but open to all seniors in the country? Or, is it 10 scholarships, and only in Oregon, or with a GPA or other specific requirement? I'm not saying don't try for the national scholarships, but you should consider the odds, as well as the time it takes to do the scholarship, before applying. If it is a quick application or no essay, go for it...(side note: be aware, that sometimes you will then be getting emails from a company after you apply. Sometimes the scholarship, while real, is being used as a marketing tool. So, someone, somewhere is in fact winning $500, but they now have 10,000 email addresses. Sometimes it's not a big deal, and you can just opt out of future emails, etc, but it is worth being aware of).

In short, think about the time you have to apply, and try to focus on scholarships that fit your background. There are scholarships focused on certain activities like band, FFA, construction, sports, and so forth. There are also scholarships specific to different groups, based on gender, ethnicity, student background, parents employer/background, intended school major/program of study, and more. When I send out specific scholarships, especially local ones in the spring, sometimes there is a very limited number of applicants. So, watch for those and apply!

Be sure that you meet the requirements for the scholarships you are applying for

Some scholarships only require that you are a senior (and some not even that), but there are scholarships based on a lot of different things (as stated in the above paragraph). Be sure you meet any GPA, state residence, citizenship, intended major, or other requirements before spending your time on them.

Be aware of scams

Be wary of having to pay for the ability to apply for a scholarship, or a list of scholarships, and NEVER give out your banking information.

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Yep. There's an app for that.

Oregon Goes To College has developed an app to help you keep track of your application and financial aid plans. You can take a look at it here:
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Scholarships Coming Up!

Scholarship Lists Here:

There are many scholarships out there, here is a sample of what is coming up:

OppU Achievers Scholarship: Due September 30, Short Essay: In 500 words or fewer, please tell us why you’re an achiever. How have you created opportunity for yourself? How have you created opportunity for others? Did you start a small business? Are you the founder of a community program? How did you overcome the odds and make your dreams—or the dreams of others—come true? Application HERE:

US Senate Youth Program, Due October 9. $10,000 scholarship, 2 given per state. Winners will participate in US Senate Youth Program Washington Week (online this year). Information here:

American Muscle Scholarship Program: Due October 15. $2,500 for high school seniors and current college students who are pursuing an automotive degree or related field of study. Application/Information here:

National Young Arts Foundation: Due October 16

Available to students in the performing, literary, and visual arts. Application here:

Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway: Due October 18 and includes a video submission, must be 18 by November 3 and a legal resident, information here:

Wendy's Heisman Scholarship: Due October 20, Eligibility begins with maintaining a weighted GPA of 3.0 (B average) or better. Applicants also need to be proven leaders and role models within their school and community. And applicants must participate or have participated in grades 9, 10, or 11 in at least one of the 48 school sponsored sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games or the National Federation of State High School Associations. Application here:

Horatio-Alger Scholarship: Due October 26

the Horatio Alger Scholarship Programs specifically assist high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. While many programs are directed primarily to recognizing academic achievement or leadership potential, the Horatio Alger Association seeks students who have exhibited determination, integrity, and perseverance in overcoming adversity, as well as have critical financial need.

Information/Application HERE:

VFW Voice of Democracy Scholarship: Due October 31. Patriotic Audio Essay/Speech on the topic, Is this the country the founders envisioned? Link to application HERE. Needs to be submitted to your local VFW Post. More information here: