The Time Is Now

As the holidays are approaching, so are deadlines. While many students are well into the college process, there are also many who are not.

As I noticed this trend among seniors, I knew it was time to do something about it, so I sat down with the College Readiness Coordinator, Alicia Upton and got her advice. From those who are just starting the application process to those who have already committed, this information can be helpful for everyone.

The very first step in the college process is applying. Because these deadlines are rapidly approaching, they can easily pass students by.

Once students have applied to at least one college, they can begin filling out their FAFSA. FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. One of the biggest stress factors concerning college is tuition. FAFSA gives money to colleges to use towards tuition costs for students. Upton has met with many senior classes to help them fill out their FAFSA, so they can afford the best college education attainable to them.

“Now is the time” Upton said. “FAFSA money is first come, first serve. It can potentially run out.”

By the time students have successfully completed their FAFSA, they should have already taken the SAT and ACT. These test results play a huge factor in helping students decide which colleges to apply for and determine if a university will accept you or not. While there are quite a few seniors just now taking the tests for the first time, many are already on their second and maybe even third try. Students should try not to be discouraged by these tests. There are numerous study programs provided by the school to help students do their best.

For any needed information regarding the SAT/ACT, students can visit Upton’s office for questions and advice. Whether it is registration or study sites (Naviance), Upton is the one to see.

“All juniors should take both tests at least twice this school year and freshmen through juniors should be studying for the SAT/ACT,” Upton said. What we see happen with a lot of students is that they take options off the table because of action/ inactions. For example, not maintaining a good GPA because all high school grades count- freshman year included. Also, not taking or studying for SAT/ACT can take so many options off the table.”

By scoring really well on the SAT and ACT tests, students can get large sums of money from scholarships. Scholarships can cover most, if not all, of your college tuition. There are an innumerable amount of scholarships out there for all different things. Most universities have scholarships specifically for students attending their university, and these scholarships are usually based solely on academic prosperity. However, scholarships are not only based on academics. You can be awarded scholarship money for wearing a duct tape dress to prom, joining an asparagus club and being apart of the LGBTQ community among many other things. Not to mention that anybody can apply for scholarships; literally ANYBODY.

“Everyone has the ability right now to get scholarships- it’s never too late,” Upton said. “There are over 100,000 scholarships available. These scholarships apply to freshman too. When you start applying for scholarships as a freshmen, they just build and can pay your way all through college.”

When thinking of college, scholarships usually aren’t the first thing students think of. They usually think about the kind of life they will live in college and what college life feels like. One of the many things they don’t consider during most of high school is life after high school.

“I’m excited for college,” Junior Sofia Pena said. “But I think it’s going to be really hard to get in.”

As seniors are entering the second semester, most are thinking about college more than ever. Unfortunately, many seniors like myself are starting to feel the “senioritis” sink in. While it may seem like senior year of high school is just fun and laid back, college applications and tuition will literally drive you insane. When you add the feeling of not wanting to do absolutely anything every single day during senior year, you end up with complete disorganization and chaos.

As the college readiness coordinator, Upton has seen her fair share of seniors this year, thus encountering several cases of senioritis. She gave me some very inspirational information regarding senioritis that has changed my entire outlook on not only senior year, but my outlook on life.

“It’s easy to fall into senioritis because seniors see it as the end of something, but it’s really just the beginning of something,” Upton said. Instead of slacking off in your classes, you should be thinking about skills, ideas and concepts to help you in college. Instead of going home and wasting time, you should be working and volunteering to build skills that you’re going to need throughout your life. You should also be filling out scholarship applications because free money is the best kind of money.”

While Upton may not have all the answers about college, she definitely has some wisdom and training that can undeniably make the entire process less of a struggle. As College Readiness & Dual Credit Coordinator, Upton takes her role seriously and helps by helping students fulfill their college goals. So next time you have a college related question, or you just need a little help, use a resource the school is providing for you and go see Upton. She may not have all the answers, but she’ll do her best to help you find them. For these reasons, many students greatly appreciate her influence on campus and for those students who have not taken advantage of this resource should start now.

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