Brian UnderwoodFor the Nevada Appeal

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January 6, 2013
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College Planning: The ABCs of planning for college


Learn more about: Legislature Legislature: PERS

If you’re still pondering New Year’s resolutions, why not commit to learning your ABCs — of college planning?The landscape of college planning is an extremely vast and ever-changing industry. Nevertheless, the following items represent some of the most important ABCs for college-bound students and their parents. As such, I encourage you to research and follow those areas that pique your interest and needs.ACT — One of the two standardized test options high school juniors and seniors have to be considered for college admission. www.act.org.Best 377 Colleges — Published by The Princeton Review, one of the nation’s leading test preparation and college planning resources, this guide provides a range of useful information on some of the nation’s leading colleges. www.princetonreview.comCourse of Study — Also referred to as a major, is an important topic when considering colleges and universities. Establishing a major based upon one’s strengths and interests is also crucial. Students interested in gaining insight to which careers might fit them best should visit the following link: www.homeworktips.about.com. The College Major quiz located at the bottom of this page (look under the heading “Most Popular”) is fun and provides a good starting ground for those who are unsure of what they want to study.Deadlines — Observing these is one of the most crucial parts of the college planning process. Failure to observe deadlines for admission, financial aid, etc., can be derail the best of plans and college resumes.Extracurricular Activities — In addition to attracting motivated students, college are also interested in welcoming well-rounded students who have involved in their school and/or community. FAFSA — The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the most important document parents and students must complete to be considered for financial aid. www.fafsa.ed.govG — Grades — Though it seems obvious, it is worth underscoring how important good grades are for college admission — and scholarship consideration.High School Counselors — Are one of the great resources available to college-bound students and should be utilized throughout the exploration and application process. Interviews — Depending upon the institution, students may be expected to be available for a conversation with an admissions representative. Jobs & Work Experience — Are important to list on a college application, as they communicate time management, responsibility, and people skills. Internships should also be expressed on an application. K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities — Students with differentiated learning styles who want to go to a college that supports students with learning differences should consider picking-up this resource. (NOTE: Students seeking educational services in this area will likely need to show documentation of recent testing.) Loans — Most financial aid packages will include some form of loan, whether it is subsidized (when payments and interest are deferred until after a student is out of school) or unsubsidized (interest is accrued while the borrower is in school), to help meet the full cost of attendance at a school.M — Merit Based Financial Aid. This type of aid, otherwise known as “scholarships,” is based on demonstrated talent or ability, either through an activity of some sort, or through submitted essays.Need Based Financial Aid — Completion of the FAFSA form (referenced earlier) will establish a family’s financial need. This form of aid is based strictly on a family’s financial condition.Online Resources — There are many reputable online resources to help students and families navigate college planning. One of the best is offered by College Board, www.collegeboard.org, a not-for-profit that provides a variety of college planning services.PSAT / NMSQT — The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is, in essence, a practice test for the SAT that is offered to sophomores and juniors each October. Juniors who score well have the chance to earn academic scholarships.Quotas — A fallacy exists about some schools having admissions quotas tied to race. No school has quotas, as it is forbidden by law.Recommendations — Though not often required by public institutions, many private colleges will require applicants to submit one or more written recommendations. Depending upon the school, they can be required from teachers, counselors, administrators, and/or extracurricular mentors. SAT — Along with the ACT, this assessment is one of the two standardized test options that high school students must take to be considered for freshmen admission.Transcripts — Represent a student’s official academic record. High school seniors interested in freshmen admission must submit their transcripts in accordance with institutional deadlines. A final transcript must also be sent following the senior year. US News & World Report Best Colleges — Another useful resource for students and families to consider when evaluating schools. www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges.Visits & Virtual Tours — After all the research is performed, visits and virtual tours provide an important complementary piece for students to understand if certain schools “feel” right. Online virtual tours provide a no-to-low cost filter to help students understand how particular schools feel before an investment is made to actually visit them. Sierra Lutheran’s college planning website hosts several links to free online tours: www.slhs.com.Waitlisted — Occasionally, students will receive a response to their admission application stating that they have been waitlisted, meaning they have neither been accepted nor denied. This possibility lends further credence to students having more than one college choice in their arsenal.Xap — Is an online provider that offers electronic college application services for some colleges and universities.Yellow Ribbon Program — Is a provision in the GI Bill in which private schools split some or all tuition costs with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Zinch — A social media platform dedicated to allowing students to, at no charge, create online profiles and upload video, etc. for subscribing colleges and universities to become acquainted with potential students. www.zinch.com.These ABCs represent important building blocks for an effective college search and selection process. Learn them backward and forwards and you get a gold star.• If you’re still pondering New Year’s resolutions, why not commit to learning your ABCs — of college planning?The landscape of college planning is an extremely vast and ever-changing industry. Nevertheless, the following items represent some of the most important ABCs for college-bound students and their parents. As such, I encourage you to research and follow those areas that pique your interest and needs.ACT — One of the two standardized test options high school juniors and seniors have to be considered for college admission. www.act.org.Best 377 Colleges — Published by The Princeton Review, one of the nation’s leading test preparation and college planning resources, this guide provides a range of useful information on some of the nation’s leading colleges. www.princetonreview.comCourse of Study — Also referred to as a major, is an important topic when considering colleges and universities. Establishing a major based upon one’s strengths and interests is also crucial. Students interested in gaining insight to which careers might fit them best should visit the following link: www.homeworktips.about.com. The College Major quiz located at the bottom of this page (look under the heading “Most Popular”) is fun and provides a good starting ground for those who are unsure of what they want to study.Deadlines — Observing these is one of the most crucial parts of the college planning process. Failure to observe deadlines for admission, financial aid, etc., can be derail the best of plans and college resumes.Extracurricular Activities — In addition to attracting motivated students, college are also interested in welcoming well-rounded students who have involved in their school and/or community. FAFSA — The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the most important document parents and students must complete to be considered for financial aid. www.fafsa.ed.govG — Grades — Though it seems obvious, it is worth underscoring how important good grades are for college admission — and scholarship consideration.High School Counselors — Are one of the great resources available to college-bound students and should be utilized throughout the exploration and application process. Interviews — Depending upon the institution, students may be expected to be available for a conversation with an admissions representative. Jobs & Work Experience — Are important to list on a college application, as they communicate time management, responsibility, and people skills. Internships should also be expressed on an application. K & W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities — Students with differentiated learning styles who want to go to a college that supports students with learning differences should consider picking-up this resource. (NOTE: Students seeking educational services in this area will likely need to show documentation of recent testing.) Loans — Most financial aid packages will include some form of loan, whether it is subsidized (when payments and interest are deferred until after a student is out of school) or unsubsidized (interest is accrued while the borrower is in school), to help meet the full cost of attendance at a school.M — Merit Based Financial Aid. This type of aid, otherwise known as “scholarships,” is based on demonstrated talent or ability, either through an activity of some sort, or through submitted essays.Need Based Financial Aid — Completion of the FAFSA form (referenced earlier) will establish a family’s financial need. This form of aid is based strictly on a family’s financial condition.Online Resources — There are many reputable online resources to help students and families navigate college planning. One of the best is offered by College Board, www.collegeboard.org, a not-for-profit that provides a variety of college planning services.PSAT / NMSQT — The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is, in essence, a practice test for the SAT that is offered to sophomores and juniors each October. Juniors who score well have the chance to earn academic scholarships.Quotas — A fallacy exists about some schools having admissions quotas tied to race. No school has quotas, as it is forbidden by law.Recommendations — Though not often required by public institutions, many private colleges will require applicants to submit one or more written recommendations. Depending upon the school, they can be required from teachers, counselors, administrators, and/or extracurricular mentors. SAT — Along with the ACT, this assessment is one of the two standardized test options that high school students must take to be considered for freshmen admission.Transcripts — Represent a student’s official academic record. High school seniors interested in freshmen admission must submit their transcripts in accordance with institutional deadlines. A final transcript must also be sent following the senior year. US News & World Report Best Colleges — Another useful resource for students and families to consider when evaluating schools. www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges.Visits & Virtual Tours — After all the research is performed, visits and virtual tours provide an important complementary piece for students to understand if certain schools “feel” right. Online virtual tours provide a no-to-low cost filter to help students understand how particular schools feel before an investment is made to actually visit them. Sierra Lutheran’s college planning website hosts several links to free online tours: www.slhs.com.Waitlisted — Occasionally, students will receive a response to their admission application stating that they have been waitlisted, meaning they have neither been accepted nor denied. This possibility lends further credence to students having more than one college choice in their arsenal.Xap — Is an online provider that offers electronic college application services for some colleges and universities.Yellow Ribbon Program — Is a provision in the GI Bill in which private schools split some or all tuition costs with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Zinch — A social media platform dedicated to allowing students to, at no charge, create online profiles and upload video, etc. for subscribing colleges and universities to become acquainted with potential students. www.zinch.com.These ABCs represent important building blocks for an effective college search and selection process. Learn them backward and forwards and you get a gold star.• Brian Underwood is the executive director of Sierra Lutheran High School. He can be reached at underwood@slhs.com. is the executive director of Sierra Lutheran High School. He can be reached at underwood@slhs.com.


Article Topics: Legislature Legislature: PERS

Legislature Legislature: PERS

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jan 6, 2013 03:21AM Published Jan 6, 2013 03:20AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.