As junior year begins, students question how to start the process of applying for college and what resources would be helpful.
Joni Lieb, Post Grad Resource Specialist, states that students should begin to look at what they would like in a college environment and use their SCOIR account to help. Students should consider factors such as in-state, size, location, majors, interests, religion. Students should also consider if they need financial aid.
“Once you have got the big dream list, you can start paring it down by thinking about financial aid. A lot of the time I hear kids say that they need to stay in-state because it is cheaper, but some of the small private schools will give you a lot of money in scholarship. However, is college affordable? No, it is expensive,” says Lieb.
Scholarships can be found on college websites as well as outside websites. They can also be found outside the post-graduate and counseling office. To qualify for these scholarships, students need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Oct. 1 of their senior year.
“I like the website UNIGO, there you put things in and they give you the big national scholarships. You are less likely to get those but sometimes it is worth applying,” says Lieb.
Other helpful websites are out there such as Cappex and the Denver Scholarship Foundation.
Lieb describes how during a student’s junior year, it is okay for students to take their time and ease into college planning.
“As a junior, you are not too late to the college process at all. You are allowed to go to college and figure out what you want to do. You don’t have to know your whole world at 16 or 17, you get to take your time; but you do want to select a college and go somewhere that has possibilities for you,” states, Lieb.
Lieb also mentions how selective colleges would like students to demonstrate their interest in the school by contacting and meeting with admissions officers or visiting those colleges.
“Admissions representatives are here specifically to talk to you about their school and to learn about you and to put a face to the name and get a feel for you, how you would fit,” says Lieb.
Amber Mogg, a junior at Heritage, describes how she has begun her college search. Mogg states that meeting with a college admissions advisor has been helpful in her process.
“My parents had done some basic research into colleges and their applications, and then decided to hire a college admissions advisor to help me with the process. I met with her around the beginning of 2020 to discuss how the college admissions process works and how to research colleges,” says Mogg.
She believes that using websites like the College Board’s comparisons of the colleges has been beneficial to her. She also believes that having online resources available to her has been helpful.
“My main advice for other juniors who may be nervous about the college admissions process is to simply use your resources. There are many free and easy ways to access websites that will give you all the information you need about a college. Additionally, make sure to talk to your counselors about scholarship opportunities and how to get in touch with and apply to schools,” says Mogg.
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