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1 THE GREAT LAKES GOAL: SENDING MORE STUDENTS TO COLLEGE Put our free services to work in your school, helping 9th-12th graders successfully navigate the path to college. From planning to paying and everything in between. Call or to schedule services COLLEGE ACCESS ADVISING Program Guide

2 Free help for every step on the path to college College offers a brighter future for young people. And while students and parents know this, they often don t know how to make it happen or even where to begin. Our College Access Advising services offer you an opportunity to provide your students with professional and proven guidance that can put them on the path to college and keep them on track for success. Students will learn when they need to complete important steps, what s required to complete them and, most importantly, how to complete them. We re with them every step of the way, and there s never a cost to them or your school. Whether you need help with a specific topic or would like to take advantage of all we offer, your Great Lakes College Access Advisor is here to support you. We re ready to provide services at your school, at your convenience. Just let us know when you d like us to be there. Schedule Services Order Materials GreatLakesCollegeAccess.org

3 Forget about boring lectures! These multi-media presentations are dynamic, fast-paced and interactive. Our college planning experts will engage your students and inspire them to complete important steps on the journey to college. Plus, students will leave with a folder of take-home materials to keep their forward momentum going. You simply provide a room and we do the rest. We ll even provide promotional materials you can distribute to help boost attendance. Each workshop is approximately 40 minutes. This is where college-bound students get things done. Our computer labs offer a hands-on opportunity to complete four of the most essential steps to college. Students work individually at computers to research colleges, fill out college and scholarship applications, and complete the FAFSA all with assistance from our trained advisors who ensure progress is made! To provide lab instruction, we will need a computer with internet access for each student attending. Labs can be scheduled with or without complementary workshop. Each lab is 30 to 60 minutes. The journey to college can be long and full of questions for students and parents, so we re happy to schedule private consultations with families at your school. Our advisors can address a variety of topics, from preparing to planning to paying for college. And best of all? This professional, individualized assistance is FREE of charge. All we need is a private space to meet like the library, cafeteria, or an office.

4 Dreaming Big: How college can shape your future Any education beyond high school, whether it s a program certificate, associate s degree or bachelor s degree, can improve a student s life: from job prospects to earning potential. The key to getting students to go to college is planting the seed early. In this workshop we help students see the need and understand the benefits of college as well as how to overcome the barriers to getting there Turn their interests into a college major and ultimately into a job after college Recognize that good jobs today increasingly require a college education Overcome obstacles to going to college Prepare for college success each year of high school Choosing a College: How to find the right one for you Finding the right college is critical because it s often the difference between a student graduating or leaving without their degree. In fact, the number one reason students say they dropped out of college is because they didn t fit in. This workshop shows students how to choose a college based on what s important to them so they can increase their odds of graduating Decide what makes a good college fit for them and what to consider, including: What they want to study How long they want to attend Which features (location, size, diversity, etc.) are important to them Admission requirements Cost Use free online tools to identify and compare prospective colleges to make a good choice Applying to College: Know the steps you need to take Applying to college can be an involved and daunting process for students. Knowing what information is needed, and when, is the key to helping more students get accepted. This workshop divides the application process into simple steps. Students will receive an application timeline and tips so they can put their best foot forward on application forms, letters of recommendation, and personal statements Provide the information colleges require on an application Find online applications for the colleges your students frequently attend Request application fee waivers Save time by using common applications for multiple colleges College Access Advising Program Guide

5 Understanding the Price of College: It s less than you might think Students routinely overestimate the price of college and often don t go because they don t think they can afford it. In reality, students with the greatest financial need typically pay far less than a college s advertised sticker price. This workshop will show students that with the help of financial aid like federal grants and scholarships, the price of college can be affordable for them Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the most important thing they can do to get financial aid Access federal Pell grants, which don t have to be paid back Follow the financial aid timeline and understand when they should start the process Find and use net price calculators to accurately estimate the cost of specific colleges Finding Scholarships: Where to look and how to win them In addition to applying for federal financial aid to help pay for college, students should also tap into the billions of dollars in private scholarships available. But in order for students to get their hands on any free scholarship money, they have to apply. In this workshop, we ll show students how to find private scholarships that are a good match for them and provide tips on how they can win them Use free, respected websites to find thousands of scholarship applications that are suited to them and offer them the best chance of winning Make their scholarship applications stand out Avoid mistakes when applying Watch out for scams Completing the FAFSA : Unlock money for college Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the single most important thing a student can do to receive financial aid. Unlocking free money in the form of federal and state grants (where available) and more starts here. This workshop walks students through the FAFSA so they know what information is required to successfully complete it. RECOMMENDED FOR PARENTS 12 P Also available in a version developed specifically for parents who want to learn more about the FAFSA! Set up the newly required FSA ID Complete the seven steps of the FAFSA Fill out the FAFSA without errors, delays, and frustration Avoid services charging a fee to complete the FAFSA or offers that claim to help increase the amount of financial aid money received Following the FAFSA : What happens after you file Congratulations! Your students have finished filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)! Now what? This is when students learn how much federal financial aid they are eligible to receive, if they need to make any corrections to their FAFSA, and if they ve been selected for verification. This workshop explains everything that happens after a student hits submit on their FAFSA. 12 Watch for their Student Aid Report and understand how to review it Evaluate their Expected Family Contribution and know what it means Make corrections to their FAFSA Prepare for verification and know what financial documentation they may need to provide Compare financial aid award letters from colleges

6 Choosing a College Finding the right college gives a student the best chance of graduating. In this lab, each student will use the respected College Navigator website from the U.S. Department of Education to find and compare colleges that meet their preferences for location, programs and majors, degrees offered, institution type, cost, and more. Goals for each student: Become proficient in using the search capabilities of the College Navigator website Build a list of colleges that meet their unique needs Compare 2-3 colleges across multiple criteria Evaluate criteria to make an informed college choice Applying to College Completing a college application is easier with help. This lab will provide instruction so each student can work on completing their own online application to a college they plan to attend. Goals for each student: Locate applications on college websites Set up a user account Start an online college application Start a college essay or personal statement Finding Scholarships One of the keys to winning scholarships is for students to apply to those they are best suited for. In this lab, each student will use two free and respected websites, fastweb.com and scholarships.com, to quickly sort through thousands of scholarship opportunities to find their best and most relevant options and apply for them Goals for each student: Set up a user account for fastweb.com and/or scholarships.com Enter their demographic information to identify scholarships Build and review a list of scholarship opportunities Identify 1 to 4 scholarships to apply for Start a scholarship application Completing the FAFSA The most important step in getting financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unfortunately, it can be difficult and confusing to complete, especially the first time. Each student in this lab will work on completing the seven steps of the FAFSA and get the added benefit of receiving immediate answers to any questions they may have. 12 Goals for each student: Know how to identify and use the official U.S. government FAFSA website and avoid similar-looking sites that charge a fee Set up their FSA ID Enter their personal and financial information Submit their FAFSA We ll also provide you with materials to share with your students before they come to the lab so they know what information they need to bring to successfully complete the FAFSA. College Access Advising Program Guide

7 One-On-One College Access Advising Sessions Advising sessions can be scheduled at your school and can be tailored to each student s needs. RECOMMENDED FOR PARENTS P These sessions are a perfect opportunity for students to get individualized help with: College comparisons College applications Scholarship applications FAFSA completion Financial aid award letters Plus FREE Materials! Use our print pieces to supplement your efforts to help your 9th-12th graders on their path to college. From helping students realize college is the key to a better future to raising awareness of the FAFSA and financial aid, our free brochures, posters, and bookmarks are valuable tools. Order online at GreatLakesCollegeAccess.org

8 Why 98% of counselors we served last year plan to invite Great Lakes advisors back this year: For a busy counselor, using services from Great Lakes is the way to go! The knowledge my students gained was invaluable. The services not only met my expectations they exceeded them! I couldn t have helped my students complete the FAFSA without my Great Lakes advisor. Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates community.mygreatlakes.org Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates. All rights reserved 3934 (08/14) College Access Advising Services are supported in South Dakota by a generous grant from the South Dakota Education Access Foundation (SDEAF).

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