Table of Contents. Step-by-Step on to the College Track

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2 Table of Contents Elementary School Students... 3 Middle School Students... 4 Plan Ahead 9 th Grade... 6 Practice Makes Perfect 10 th Grade Turning Point 11 th Grade Final Steps 12 th Grade Ways to Pay For College Important Terms

3 Planning Early to Succeed Elementary School Students At such a young age, it is important to encourage your child to challenge him or herself academically, develop good study habits, and become involved in school- and community-based extracurricular activities. STUDENTS Do your best in school - Challenge yourself in your classes, do your homework, and get good grades. Read a lot. Get your copy of: Ay Mija!/ Ay Mijo! Book Series from the SHPE Foundation. Have fun learning! PARENTS Help your child develop an interest in reading by reading aloud to him or her. Ay Mija!/ Ay Mijo! Book Series from the SHPE Foundation. Check your child s homework and follow his or her progress in school by looking at report cards and attending teacher conferences. Add college to the discussion - make the idea of college interesting. Why do people go to college? Wear college/university t-shirts (hats). Highlight/discuss a university of the week. Start saving for your child s college education. 3

4 Middle School Students Grades 6 through 8 are a great time to start thinking about future careers and interests and how college or higher education programs can help you get there. Help your child understand their current educational and personal choices which will affect future decisions of career options. It is general knowledge that high school courses and grades are important for admission to college, but a college education also builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in elementary and middle school. Because of this, it is a good idea to plan a high school course schedule early. STUDENTS Think about college as an important part of your future. Discuss your thoughts and ideas with your family and with people at school. Take challenging and interesting classes to prepare for high school. Algebra English Foreign Language Computer Science Ask your parent/guardian/mentor to help you research which high schools or special programs will most benefit your interests. Develop strong study habits. Do your best in school and on standardized tests. If you are having difficulty, don t give up get help from a teacher, tutor, or mentor. Become involved in school- or community-based activities that let you explore your interests and learn new things. Speak with adults, such as your teacher, school counselor or librarian, relatives, or family friends, who you think have interesting jobs. Ask them, What do you like about your job? and What education did you need for your job? 4

5 PARENTS Visit and use FAFSA4caster to find out how much federal student aid your child might receive. This information will help you plan ahead. Continue saving for your child s college education. Talk to your child about his or her interests and help match those interests with a college major and career. Take advantage of university campus visits. This is one of the best ways to interest children in college. Many universities provide campus tours and visiting days. Attend college sporting events. Highlight/discuss a university of the week. Help your child develop good study habits, such as studying at the same time and place every day and having the necessary materials to complete assignments. Stay in contact with your child s teachers and counselor so that they can let you know about any changes in your child s behavior or schoolwork. Keep an eye on your child s grades on his or her tests and report cards, and help him or her find tutoring assistance, if necessary. 5

6 Important Dates in the College Application Process Plan Ahead 9 th Grade The beginning of high school is an exciting time. Your child may be adjusting to a new school, making new friends and becoming more independent. But your child still needs your help and involvement. Here are some things you can do together to succeed this year. SUMMER BEFORE HIGH SCHOOL Visit a college campus together. It s a great way to get your child excited about college. 1. Decide which school and how you can attend school trips, after school programs, or a family trip. 2. Call College Admission office to schedule a guided tour get a map, pick out places of interests. 3. Get a better feel go in a group of friends and take your own tour. 4. Visit campus facilities where to eat, gym, theater, sporting fields, and other places of interest. 5. Take notes! Get the facts about what college costs. You may be surprised at how affordable higher education can be. (search online) 1. College Costs 2. Loans 3. Paying Your Share 4. Scholarships & Grants 5. Financial Aid 101 Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 6

7 Show your child how to explore career ideas. He or she can make a list of interests, talents and favorite activities and start matching them with occupations. Learn more about how your child can complete a career worksheet. Come up with fun reading ideas. Look for magazines or newspapers your child may like and talk about the books you loved reading when you were your child s age. If your family makes reading enjoyable, it can become a daily habit. FALL Make sure your child meets with the school counselor. Your child should schedule a meeting to talk about college and career options and to choose the most-appropriate classes. STRIVE FOR A HIGH Grade Point Average (GPA)! Help your child set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps your child stay motivated and focused. A high GPA can have a large impact on which school he/she can apply to. To ensure the best grades use tutoring resources. Make a plan to check in regularly about schoolwork. If you keep up with your child's tests, papers and homework assignments, you can celebrate successes and head off problems as a team. Talk about extracurricular activities. Getting involved in clubs and other groups is a great way for your child to identify interests, feel more engaged in school, and strengthens leadership skills JOIN the SHPE Jr. Chapter! Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 7

8 WINTER Step-by-Step on to the College Track Start thinking about financial aid. It s not too early to look into types of aid that could help you cover college costs. There are four main sources: 1. Federal government (the largest source) 2. State governments 3. Colleges and universities 4. Private organizations Make sure your child meets with the school counselor. Your child should schedule a meeting to talk about college and career options and to choose the mostappropriate classes. STRIVE FOR A HIGH Grade Point Average (GPA)! Help your child set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps your child stay motivated and focused. Discuss next year s classes. Make sure your child is challenging him- or herself - and taking the courses college admission officers expect to see. SCIENCE MATH CHALLENGE SOCIAL STUDIES FOREIGN LANGUAGE Math: Most colleges want students with three years of high school math. The more competitive colleges prefer four years. Take some combination of the following: Algebra I Algebra II Geometry Trigonometry Calculus *Take at least five solid academic classes every year. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 8

9 Science: Science teaches you how to think analytically and how to apply theories to reality. Colleges want to see that you ve taken at least three years of laboratory science classes. A good combination includes a year of each of the following: Biology Chemistry or physics Earth/space science Schools that are more competitive expect four years of lab science courses, which you may be able to get by taking advanced classes in these same areas. Social Studies: Improve your understanding of local and world events by studying the cultures and history that helped shape them. Here is a suggested high school course plan: U.S. history (a full year) U.S. government (half a year) World history or geography (half a year) An extra half-year in the above or other areas Foreign Languages: Solid foreign language study shows that you're willing to stretch beyond the basics. Many colleges require at least two years of study in the same foreign language, and some prefer more. The Arts: Research indicates that students who participate in the arts often do better in school and on standardized tests. The arts help you recognize patterns, learn to notice differences and similarities, and exercise your mind in unique ways. Good choices include studio art, dance, music and drama. Challenging Course Work To ready yourself for college-level work, enroll in challenging high school courses, such as honors classes, AP courses or IB-program courses. Take college courses at your high school or a local college. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 9

10 SPRING Help your child start a college list. See how much you need to save for college. Use the College Savings Calculator to get an idea of where you are compared with your savings goal. Help your child make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Colleges provide various summer programs for all ages. JOIN the SHPE Jr. Chapter! There are many advantages: o Great on resume o Internship opportunities o Scholarship opportunities o Competition experience o And more! Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 10

11 OR Step-by-Step on to the College Track Practice Makes Perfect 10 th Grade As your child settles into the high school experience, it is time to prepare for the upcoming standardized tests most colleges require SAT/ACT. STRIVE FOR A HIGH GPA SAT ACT SAT The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools. The PSAT/NMSQT measures: Critical reading skills Math problem-solving skills Writing skills When looking at the SAT in comparison to the ACT, a clear difference is that the SAT is designed to evaluate your general thinking and problem-solving abilities. It kicks things off with a required 25-minute essay. This is the start to the Writing section, which you'll complete in addition to the Critical Reading and Math sections. The SAT differs from the ACT in terms of the amount of time you'll have to complete it (3 hours and 5 minutes) and the format in which you provide your answers. Similar to the ACT, the SAT has multiple-choice areas, but it also has a part in the Math section where you'll be required produce your answers no chance of guessing from a set of choices here! And unlike the ACT, the SAT doles out a slight penalty for wrong answers on the multiple choice questions (but not on the student-produced ones). Compliments of The Princeton Review 2012 TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. 11

12 When considering the ACT vs. the SAT, keep in mind that both tests allot ample time for completion, but the SAT has fewer questions 140 compared to the 215 on the ACT. The SAT also focuses heavily on vocabulary, while the ACT hones in on grammar and punctuation. The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are to: Receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice. See how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college. Enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11). Help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT. ACT The ACT sports four trademark multiple-choice subject tests covering English, Math, Reading, and Science. These are designed to evaluate your overall educational development and your ability to complete college-level work. You'll have 2 hours and 55 minutes of dedicated test time to complete the subject tests, not including breaks. As far as scoring goes, your subject test scores (ranging from 1 to 36) are determined after throwing out any incorrect answers only correct responses count! The four areas are then averaged together to come up with your overall, or composite, score. The ACT also includes an optional 30-minute writing test designed to measure your skill in planning and writing a short essay. This segment is your chance to highlight your writing skills! If you opt to take it, the additional scores will be reported, along with comments about your essay. These scores are reported separately. So, if writing is a weak area, you might want to take the ACT and skip the writing section, since it's currently optional (although some schools require it). If writing is your strength, having extra kudos passed on to your choice schools may benefit you. Compliments of The Princeton Review 2012 TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University. 12

13 SUMMER& FALL Do the same as 9 th grade. ADDITIONALLY - Help your 10th-grader get ready to take preliminary exams. Taking the PSAT/NMSQT or the PLAN this fall can help your child prepare for college admission tests. Sophomores can also use their score reports to figure out which academic areas they need to work on. Registration for the test is by high school rather than individual student. Interested students should see their counselor at the beginning of the school year to make arrangements to take the PSAT/NMSQT at the school in October. Stay involved with SHPE Jr. this is a great addition on resume. Begin to research internships through SHPE Foundation and corporate companies. STRIVE FOR A HIGH GPA this will get you in the door! WINTER Review PSAT/NMSQT or PLAN results together. Your child s score report indicates his or her academic strengths and weaknesses. Review the report together and talk about ways to improve in areas that need attention. If your child took the PSAT/NMSQT, help him or her log in to My College QuickStart ( to get personalized feedback based on his or her PSAT/NMSQT score report. Start thinking about ways to pay for college. Most families get help paying for college costs. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 13

14 Encourage your sophomore to consider taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges require or recommend taking these tests to get a sense of your child s skills in a certain academic area. In general, it s best to take a Subject Test right after taking the relevant course. Discuss next year s classes. Make sure your child will be challenging him- or herself and taking the courses college admission officers expect to see. (Refer back to the 9 th grade section for the recommended list.) SPRING Do the same as 9 th grade. Become a SHPE Jr. Chapter LEADER! o This will strengthen: Communication skills Writing skills Time Management skills Leadership skills o Schools and companies are becoming more competitive than ever before and your experience as an executive board member of a student engineering organization will be an advantage! Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 14

15 Turning Point 11 th Grade Junior year usually marks a turning point. This is because for most students and families, it s when college planning activities kick into high gear. Here are some things you can do this year to support your child and give him or her the best options. SEPTEMBER Plan a family college discussion and put a plan in place. Review your courses with your high school guidance counselor. Prepare a list of questions to ask college representatives. Sign up to take the PSAT/ Practice ACT: o Get and stay organized! o Create files to keep copies of applications and correspondence. o Set up a calendar to track important dates and deadlines. OCTOBER NOVEMBER Attend college fairs and financial aid nights. Take the PSAT. Start searching for scholarships and ways to pay for your education: o o Foundation.org o o o Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 15

16 Learn what components make up the cost to attend college. o This may include housing, food, transportation, school books and supplies, and other personal necessities. Review descriptions of the different types of schools. Begin to understand the basics about federal and private student loans. Plan and make college visits. DECEMBER Review your PSAT results with your parents and counselor. Talk with your college friends who are home for break. Take both the SAT and ACT at least once. JANUARY Identify characteristics you want in a college. Attend college fairs and financial aid nights. Clear up the financial aid myths about paying for college. Let your parents know that the IRS could save them money through education tax deductions and credits. Make sure to have your parents Tax return information available for the next year. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 16

17 FEBRUARY Step-by-Step on to the College Track Start searching for scholarships. Register and study for the SAT and/or ACT. MARCH Plan campus visits. Narrow your college list to a reasonable number. Contact the financial aid office for each college on your list to discuss payment options. Keep up college discussions with your family and counselors. Get answers to your "going-to-college" questions. Estimate how much various colleges will cost. APRIL MAY Select senior year classes check with your counselor to ensure your courses meet necessary college requirements. Take the SAT and/or ACT. Take Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if possible. Get a summer job to save extra money. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 17

18 Considering a military academy or an ROTC scholarship? o Meet with your high school counselor before leaving for summer vacation. SUMMER AFTER JUNIOR YEAR Improve your reading and vocabulary skills. Continue searching for scholarships and ways to pay for college. Combine vacation plans with campus visits. Start working on your college application essays. Talk to people in interesting careers. Decide who you will ask to write letters of recommendation. Junior year may be the most important year! o Study hard, get pro-active in the process! o Ask for help from everyone!! Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 18

19 Final Steps 12 th Grade SEPTEMBER Discuss your classes, college plans, and test scores with your high school counselor. Request college applications from the admissions office. Or, use College Answer's Online Application Search to see if your school's form is online. Arrange campus visits. Register to take the SAT/ACT, if necessary Continue to search for free money (scholarships and grants) and others ways to pay for college. Read the Free Scholarship Search Guide ebook ( Stay organized! o File copies of applications and correspondence. o Keep your calendar up-to-date by tracking important dates and deadlines. OCTOBER Review your transcripts to verify that the information is correct. Send transcripts to your selected schools ask your counselor if you need help. Find out the application-of-choice used by each college. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 19

20 Ask for letters of recommendation. o Most admissions and scholarship applications require these letters. o Giving your recommender an overview paper about yourself, such as your grades and activities, will help your recommender write the letter for you. Get some pointers on writing college admissions essays and scholarship essays. View sample essays and essay questions. Attend college fairs and financial aid nights. Candidates for early school admission (early decision, early action, early admission, and similar processes) should complete college applications. o It's a good idea to investigate the pros and cons of this decision and to get familiar with the early admission timeline. NOVEMBER Continue completing your college applications. Early decision deadline is often November 1 or 15. Determine which financial aid forms the colleges on your list require when in doubt contact the financial aid office. Investigate state college information and programs. Search for additional sources of financial aid. Get a jump on things by estimating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 20

21 DECEMBER Step-by-Step on to the College Track Complete school applications ideally by December 1. Determine if you are eligible for financial aid. Understand the steps in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Determine how to submit your FAFSA (paper or on the Web). Important: Don t submit your FAFSA before January 1 it will be not processed. Take the SAT or Act, if registered. Stay organized! o Remember to keep copies of applications and correspondence. o Continue to track important dates and deadlines on your calendar. JANUARY Submit your FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible. Some student aid programs award funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Waiting too long to submit your FAFSA could be costly. Parents must complete their Tax Return once they have the W-2 Forms. Fill out and submit required financial aid forms. Follow instructions carefully and make copies. When you have financial aid questions contact your financial aid office. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 21

22 Familiarize yourself with state financial aid deadlines. They tend to differ from federal, state and institutional deadlines. FEBRUARY MARCH College acceptance and financial award letters start to arrive! Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR). Carefully examine the results. A mistake could cause you to miss out on college funding. If there are special circumstances affecting your family s financial situation, be sure to discuss them with the financial aid office. If selected for verification, Just provide the college with the documents they need. Stay on top of important financial aid deadlines. Respond quickly to college requests for additional documentation. APRIL Carefully analyze your letters Seek guidance from school counselors. Make a decision and send tuition deposit (most colleges require a response by May 1). o Notify the other colleges that you won t be attending. Register for Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if necessary. Carefully follow the instructions in your acceptance letter. Along with important deadlines, these letters provide specific instructions on housing, financial aid, orientation, and more. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 22

23 MAY Mail your official/final transcripts. Respond quickly to requests and return necessary forms when in doubt contact the financial aid office. Notify your financial aid office of additional funding you ll receive to pay for college (scholarships, loans, or other funding). Take time to understand student loans and evaluate student loan lenders. Learn about borrowing responsibly, including considering a cosigner to help obtain your student loan. v Important: If you take out a student loan, borrow only what you absolutely need to cover the cost of your education. When it's time to repay, you'll have other financial obligations like rent, car payments, and other living expenses. JUNE Save some of your graduation money for school. Respond to requests from the college you will be attending. Keep copies of everything you send. Read and be familiar with your college catalog and semester class schedule. Make travel arrangements, if necessary. Send thank you notes or postcards to those who helped you get into college. Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 23

24 JULY - AUGUST If you still need money to pay for college, consider your student loan options. Register and attend a college orientation session. Confirm housing arrangements and meal plans. Finalize your college budget. Notify the financial aid office of scholarships and loans you will receive. Note tracking numbers of boxes you are shipping to school. Open a bank account near campus. Review your cell phone plan to limit roaming charges. Contact your roommate and coordinate what to pack. When you get this far - congratulations! Make the most of your college career - it will pay off for the rest of your life. CONTACT YOUR UNIVERSITY S SHPE CHAPTER AND GET INVOLVED! Source: Big Future -- For Parents The College Board. 24

25 Ways to Pay For College Ways to Pay For College How can you get it? Do you have to repay? 1. Savings Save money 2. Family Support / Current Income Ask for help / Find a job 3. Grants Apply for Financial Aid NO 4. Scholarships Apply for Financial Aid NO 5. Work Study Apply for Financial Aid NO you are working 6. Loans Apply for Financial Aid YES with interest 7. Military Service Join the Military NO earned through service Save 10% on The Princeton Review SAT, ACT or PSAT Courses. Want a personalized prep experience to fit your learning style, schedule, and budget? Get into your top choice school choosing a test prep company that delivers guaranteed results with our expert instructors. To receive your discount, use the promo code SHPEFOUND10 when calling 800-2Review ( ) or visiting 25

26 Important Terms Step-by-Step on to the College Track Important Terms Academic Goal: A goal you would like to reach in school or your learning. Bachelor s Degree: A degree earned after about four years of college. Barrier: Something that gets in the way of you reaching your goal. Budget: A plan for how to spend and save money. Campus Visit: A trip to a college or university to learn more about the school. Campus: Where your college classes, buildings, teachers, friends and activities are located. Career: Your area of work or the job you have. Career Goal: A goal you want to reach about the kind of job you want or have. College: A type of school you attend after high school that offers a degree. Universities are often referred to as a college. College Entrance Exam: A test often required by four-year colleges to help determine which students to admit to their school. The most common tests are the ACT and SAT. Community College: Schools that prepare students for certain jobs or to transfer to a four-year college. Credit: A measure of how much a class is worth. You need a certain number of credits to graduate from high school and college. Debt: Money a person owes. Degree: What you get after you graduate from a college, like an associate, bachelor s, master s or doctoral degree. Dormitory: An on-campus building where students live during the school year, also called a dorm. Expenses: The money you spend. Financial Aid: Money to help pay for college. Grade Point Average (GPA): The average of a student s grades, typically based on a four-point scale. Grant: Money for college from the government that does not have to be repaid. Guidance Counselor: A person at school who helps students prepare for college and careers. Source: 26

27 Higher Education: Any education after high school. It s also referred to as postsecondary or college. Interest: Something you enjoy doing. Also, interest can be either a charge for borrowing money or the amount that money earns while sitting in a bank account. Loans: Money college students or their parents borrow to help pay for college. It must be repaid with interest, even if the student doesn t graduate. Major: An area of study that you focus on while in college. Students usually major in an area they might like to work in some day. Mentor: An older person who gives support and guidance to a younger person. Personal Goal: A goal you would like to reach in your personal life. Postsecondary: Any education after high school. This is often called higher education or college. Private College: Funding for the school generally comes from tuition, fees and private sources. Public College: Funding for the school generally comes from the state government. Resume: A summary of a person s skills, activities and work experience often used when applying for a job. Room and Board: Housing costs (room) and what it costs for meals (board) during the school year. Salary: The amount of money a person makes per year. Scholarships: Money given to college students because of a special achievement, ability or background. It does not have to be repaid. Self-Esteem: How we feel about who we are. Skill: Being able to do something well. Technical College: Colleges that offer employment courses and programs which teach specific knowledge and skills leading to certain jobs. Tuition: What it costs to take classes and use certain facilities at college. Tuition does not include room and board, books and other fees. Tutor: A person who helps students with their school work. Undergraduate Student: Any college student without a bachelor s degree. University: A type of school you attend after high school that offers a degree and a wide variety of majors. Universities are often referred to as a college. Work Study: Jobs offered through a college and funded by the government to help students pay for college. Source: 27

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