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Senior Information

Welcome to your senior’s last year of his/her high school career.  As the West Holt guidance counselor I am at your service to do what I can to help seniors get to the next step.  Call the school (925-2848) or my home phone at night (925-5599) as I understand sometimes that’s when parents and kids communicate and questions come up.  I would like to forward relevant information via e-mail to students and parents.  If this is not the best method or you don’t want to be e-mailed,  call the office and let me know. 

(FAFSA Meeting September 27th, 2017)  The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the application for federal, state, and college based financial aid.  What can be done soon is both student and parent should apply for a FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID).  Go to fsaid.ed.gov.    Then beginning Oct 1, you can complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov.  using 2015 tax returns.  The colleges you list on the application will receive the results and will use that information to award financial aid.  On September 14th, 6:30,  there will be a financial aid program presented by Educationquest telecast to West Holt giving instruction on how to proceed with the FAFSA.

With a senior survey completed this week, I can begin to assist your student more specifically with their college plans, applying, and also scholarships that pertain to them.  Some two year college programs will fill up, so the sooner a student applies the better.  Many students unsure of college choice will apply to several, then decide later.  The advantage to this is your student’s name is in the college’s data base and they will send updates on deadlines, scholarships, upcoming events, etc…   I will start meeting with seniors individually in my office next week.   Many scholarships require letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, employers, etc...  Now is a good time to request so the writer has adequate time. 

Scholarships and ScholarshipQuest….  Contact the colleges your student is interested in and talk to the financial aid department about possible scholarships you may apply for.  Some schools have a “priority” date to apply by to give the applicant various advantages.  Local scholarship applications need to be updated so my list is not available yet;   I will mail senior parents current scholarship lists, along with giving each senior a new list every month.   Students can already begin pursuing scholarships however;  go scholarshipquest to find Nebraska scholarships.  Many national scholarships are listed on  www.scholarshipmonkey.comwww.fastaid.com ,  and www.fastweb.com .

A great resource every parent and student should check out is EducationQuest.org ,  a nonprofit organization which provides free help getting your student to college.   Students  can build a printable  “Activities Resume” on this site, which shows extracurricular activities, honors and awards.  There are several excellent formats to choose from to present information most scholarship committees review.  Again, ScholarshipQuest is a page on the website, helping students access hundreds of Nebraska based scholarships.  I’ve enclosed a “College Prep” handbook  you can browse through. 

Seniors who are going to take the  ACT test;  go to actstudent.org to see test dates and register.  The next test date is Oct 22th in O’neill; deadline to register is Sept 16th.  West Holt will test only on the Dec. and April dates, otherwise students have to test at O’Neill.  December is generally the last test date seniors can utilize for college admissions and scholarships.  I’ve been sent fee waivers for students who meet the eligibility requirements (free/reduced lunch list).   

West Holt has purchased the John Baylor Test Prep Curriculum, where students can preparer the ACT by watching videos online and working along in a practice book we provide.   Cost is free to West Holt students, who can stop by and I will explain how to log on.    Parents should go to johnbaylorprep.com to view John’s little talk on the importance of attending college and increasing your ACT score.  Also, a military website (https://www.march2success.com/index.cfm) is a great resource.  

Community colleges (two year schools) may require a placement test for English and Math classes.  The ACCUPLACER test can be taken in O’Neill and results sent on to Northeast CC, Southeast CC, Central Community College, etc…   I can help line that up.         

The fall is a great time to get a campus visit in with your student.  Most colleges have official visit days you can attend; go on that college’s website to find dates.   If you need help setting up an appointment, call and I will assist.  Otherwise,  contact the college admissions department on your own.  West Holt allows two excused absences senior year and two more junior year for college visits.   If your senior is interested in a job shadowing experience I can help.  

O’Neill High will host a college day  every september  with most Nebraska and some surrounding state college reps attending. We will bus juniors and seniors over.  It’s a morning session;  students can talk to college reps from all over the state plus some surrounding states.  

If your student is interested in UNL, UNO, or UNK, check out Collegebound Nebraska, the University’s financial aid program which provides free tuition for students  who meet academic and family income qualifications.  Visit www.collegeboundnebraska.com for more information.  

If your student is interested in Chadron State, Wayne State, or Peru State, check out the Nebraska State College System website (www.nscs.edu.), click on students, and scroll down to NSCS Advantage, which explains that first time freshmen who are Pell Grant Eligible will pay no tuition and the award is renewable.

Call anytime (day 925-2848 or night 925-5599) and if I don’t know the answer I’ll find out for you.

Scholarships I’ve received info on currently:  See scholarship list on this site, also check with the colleges you are looking at

Upcoming Activities at colleges: (see Mr. Thiele for info)\

Central Community College has a Diesel Career Fair on Oct. 5th

Chadron State College has a Health Professions Showcase on Oct. 4th.

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