College Applications | Financial Aid | Scholarships | College Testing
Two Year Schools and Technical Programs
October - November
- Make sure you have all necessary applications; if unable to complete an on-line application, write/phone the school for a paper application. Be ready to apply to 4 schools, including two for which you are the type of student the school is looking for. Check with your counselor regarding your choice of schools.
- Check for application and financial aid deadlines (view list with this link).
- Visit schools in order to get a feel for them.
- Ask teachers and others if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation. Supply them with all necessary forms as well as any pertinent information they may need to write the best possible letters.
- Take the ACT or SAT - register for the next available test. If your college requires SAT II tests, register for those as well.
- Attend the College Fair at Middlesex High School; if you plan to go, register with the Guidance Office.
- For those students applying for early action/early decision, make sure you've mailed your application early. Keep copies of anything you send to colleges.
- If necessary, make sure you contact ACT, SAT, or RCC in order to make sure test scores or grades are sent to the college(s) of your choice.
- Check this website frequently for scholarship information and college representative visits.
- Let your counselor know where you are applying so that your transcript will be sent. Fill in your sections of the Senior Class "Board" in Guidance.
FINANCIAL AID OPENS OCTOBER 1
- Complete the FAFSA on-line and register for a PIN. Forms for the next school year become available each year in January.
- Attend the Financial Aid Workshop at MHS in late fall (check guidance for dates). Prepare for this (both parents and students) by collecting income tax data from the prior year.
- Be aware of financial aid deadlines at the schools you have applied to. Send in the FAFSA form as soon as possible; the early bird gets the worm. Also, if something has been done incorrectly, you will have enough time to make the necessary corrections and still be eligible for financial aid.
- Contact the Financial Aid Office at your college for any other required foms and for additional scholarship applications. Get to know a person in the financial aid office and continually work with him/her.
- GPAs will be refigured at semester break.
*DON'T GET SENIORITIS - exams are getting close!
- First semester grades will automatically be sent to colleges. If mid-semester supplement forms are due, make sure Guidance has a copy of them.
- After submitting the FAFSA form, you should get your Student Aid Report (SAR). Review the SAR for any inaccuracies. If you have not received your SAR, you may contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (319) 337-5665. They will request your name, date of birth, social security number, and address - these must be given exactly as they were written on your FAFSA.
- Continue to check for available scholarships. Guidance will give out the Generic Scholarship Form in late March. Complete the form and return it to Guidance by April due date (see scholarship page for current deadline) . Be careful to complete all sections (many students turn in incomplete forms). We will distribute it to any local organizations that have scholarships for which you qualify.
- Remember to breathe as you wait for college acceptance letters. When you make your decision, notify all colleges of your intent.
- Continue to stay in contact with your college's financial aid office. If possible, make an appointment to visit them in person to discuss your financial aid package.
- Send in your tuition/housing deposits.
- Notify Guidance of any scholarships you have won. This is very important!
- Keep studying - if your grades go down, your college may rescind its offer of admission!
- Graduation! Congratulations!
- Final transcripts will be automatically sent to the college you've chosen.
Choosing a School. View the college website and other sites (like Cappex and Collegeboard) for information. Both the Library and Guidance Office have books that describe schools and college majors. Look for the following in making your choice: right major? size of student body? urban or rural setting? average SAT and ACT scores and GPAs for current freshman class? number of applicants vs. number of acceptances? cost? availability of housing? average class size? distance from home?
Visit the Schools. If possible, visit the schools you are considering - you will learn more about the climate of the school from a visit than a book's description. Talk with students and ask them why they chose this school - and now that they're there, would they make the same choice again? Find out about extracurricular activities and what students do for fun.
The Final List. Choose at least 4 schools - with one of those a school for which your GPA and College Entrance Testing are higher than the average for accepted freshmen. Solicit recommendations from people who know your skills. Complete applications on-line. Be sure of deadlines and give the people helping you ample time to complete their tasks. Write an essay (if required). Be ready to pay fees.
Early Action/Early Decision. Many colleges have an express application process called Early Action or Early Decision. These schools will inform you about your admittance months earlier than the regular deadline in exchange for varying amounts of commitment from you. Early Decision stipulations usually include agreeing to apply nowhere else until the decision is made and/or agreeing to enroll; use ONLY if financial aid is not required as you must agree to enroll before financial aid packages are awareded. Early Action does not have these stipulations and work well if you are VERY sure of the school you want to attend and are a very competitive applicant for that school.
College Representatives. A number of colleges send Representatives to MHS to speak with students. Visit the Guidance Office regularly during the fall to see which schools are coming, or view this link. You must sign up in Guidance to meet with these Representatives.
Visit the following websites for more college choice information:
Want to play colleg sports? Visit 16-17 NCAA Guide to College Bound Athlete!
This guide was creadted to show college students (and their families) how ROTC programs can help fund their degrees. In addition to discussing ROTC enrollment basics, the new resource provides a detailed breakdown of the various financial rewards available in each service branch and the commitments required to qualify for them. The ROTC guide also includes:
- A list of scholarships by branch and specialty
- A section on the top military careers for active service members
- A look at top careers for service members transitioning to civilian life
The First Lady’s Free College Support Tool: First Lady Michelle Obama recently launched Up Next, Better Make Room's mobile messaging tool that gives students, parents and school counselors across the country free personalized support on all things college – college search and application, federal student aid, even student loan repayment. To sign up, text the word "COLLEGE" to 44044. Learn more.
Guide to ROTC
Tips for getting financial aid/scholarship money from colleges: Get to know the financial aid officer on a first name basis & always talk to the same person. The early bird gets the worm, so start calling before the deadline.
FAFSA is the main financial aid form. It cannot be completed before January. We have a yearly financial aid workshop here at MHS sometime in December/January (check with the Guidance Department for details) in order to help parents/students fill out the FAFSA. Tax estimates can be used for the form; however, an . All parents/students, regardless of income, should submit this form; some schools require it to be considered for scholarships (check with the schools individually). Visit the website at: www.fafsa.ed.gov.
If any financial aid/scholarship search requires payment from you, we do not encourage you to use it.
you are not assured of even recouping the money you spend. You can do the research yourself for free!
TAG (Tuition Assistance Grant) is a program that provides grants to VA residents for full-time attendance to eligible private colleges & universities in Virginia.
Learn about loans - the different types, interest rates. The Sallie Mae Corporation is an established educational loan company: (800) 891-1385.. See this website for more information: www.SallieMae.com.
Attend the Financial Aid Workshop in December/January (listen for announcements).
Visit the following websites for more financial aid information:
www.fsapubs.org - for copies of the guide, Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid, and other information.
www.fastweb.com - financial aid (a great place to start) & college searches
www.collegeboard.com - variety of college-bound subjects (college lists, payment plans, policies to reduce costs, average price per school, contact names)
www.schev.edu - The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia - information about tuition, fees, financial aid, applying for financial aid, etc.
http://wachovia.com/personal/page.html - Sign up to receive a monthly news e-letter about the college application process.
www.bankofamerica.com/studentsweeps - "Paying for your college education"
www.collegescholarships.org - College Connection Scholarships
www.educaid.com - Educaid
www.amsa.com - American Student Assistance
www.financialaidsupersite.com - Financial Aid Supersite
www.jackkentcookefoundation.org - Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
www.finaid.org - FinAid
www.scholaraid.com - Scholaraid
www.srexpress.com - Scholarship Resource Network
www.uncf.org - United Negro College Fund
www.afrotc.com - Air Force ROTC Scholarship
www.ARTSawards.org - Scholarships for Performing, Visual and Literary Artists
www.key.com/educate - Key Education Resources
www.accreditedschoolsonline.org - Accredited school online
http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/financial-aid-for-minorities/ - Finding scholarships, grants and other assistance
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Where to find them? The Guidance Office posts a list of available scholarships and their due dates, or view list at this link; it is up to you to solicit the information and complete the applications. Many are due before winter break; start early.
There is a generic scholarship application available in March and due in April that is used for local organizations donating money to our seniors. Some are one time awards; others are given annually, if you meet the requirements. Specifications are delineated when the award is granted; it is up to the recipient to follow the guidelines to reapply the next year.
College Financial Aid offices may have links to scholarships specific to their college. Stay in contact with the Financial Aid Officer, and be sure to ask whether you are taking advantage of everything the school has to offer.
There are clearing houses for scholarships that you may choose to use. BE AWARE AND BE WARY of the fees involved, and know that results are not guaranteed. If any financial aid/scholarship search requires payment from you, we recommend you do not use it.
A new clearinghouse database has been created specifically for Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula students through the Connect Rappahannock Organization: www.connectrappahannock.org .
Visit the following websites for more scholarship information:
www.scholaraid.com - Scholaraid
www.uncf.org - United Negro College Fund
www.afrotc.com - Air Force ROTC Scholarship
Raise.me: Raise.me is offering students the chance to earn up to $8,500 for scoring well on the PSAT and $1,000 for simply taking the test from schools like Tulane, Syracuse, University of Dayton and Denver. Raise.me is a free service for students and high schools. Learn more.
Financial Guide for African Americans The financial aid guide for minority students was recently published at : www.onlineschools.org/financial-aid/minority/
Another guidebook was created to help students from many minority groups -- including African American, Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and others -- better understand their financial aid options. The guide includes a wealth of resources intended to help minority students and their families through the scholarship and financial aid process. These resources include:
- A list of scholarships available to students from various minority groups
- A step-by-step guide to finding scholarships and grants
- A breakdown of the many types of financial aid available
Echo Lynch, a long-time Financial Aid Program Officer helped us develop the guidebook, providing an in-depth look at the nuances of today's financial aid. During her 18-year tenure, Lynch has served countless first-generation and low-income minority students and their families.
You can find this guide at: Minority scholarships
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College Testing - HIGH SCHOOL CODE: 472-050
When to Take the Tests. The College Board, the company that makes the SAT, makes the following recommendation about when to take college entrance examinations:
"The College Board does not recommend that students take the SAT so early in their junior year. Students taking the test then, risk not doing their best because they will not have covered as much English and math course work as students testing later in that year. Normally, most students wait until spring of their junior year to take the SAT. That makes good sense."
- Gaston Caperton, President, College Board, August 2004
To help students become more college-aware, all sophomores will take the PSAT. All college bound students should take the PSAT their junior year to prepare for SATs in the spring; PSAT scores are not reported to colleges, and the score report identifies strategies for improving scores. The SAT could then be taken spring of junior year and again fall of senior year. Scores tend to have little variation after three administrations, unless something significant occurs to change them (completing an upper level math course, for instance, or taking a preparation class). While colleges look at the highest scores in math, verbal and writing, all scores are sent. The new Score Option allows you to send a specific set of scores from a particular administation; use only if your highest scores came from a particular test.
Apply on-line at: www.collegeboard.com. or pick up a form in the Guidance Office. Tests are given frequently at Christchurch and Gloucester. Fee waivers are given by the Guidance Department to those who qualify. Students with disabilities may qualify for alternate administrations.
SAT II Tests. Students should be aware of the entrance requirements of the colleges they are planning to apply to, and take those SAT II Tests required by those schools.
Apply on-line at: www.collegeboard.com, or pick up a form in the Guidance Office. Tests are given frequently at Christchurch and Gloucester. Fee waivers are given by the Guidance Department to those who qualify. Students with disabilities may qualify for alternate administrations.
ACT. The ACT is the preferred college entrance test of many southern schools. We recommend all students take it once; the testing style may tap a student's strengths; it may yield a stronger score than repeated SAT sessions.
Apply on-line at: www.actstudent.org, or pick up a form in the Guidance Office. Tests are given occasionally at Christchurch and Gloucester. Fee waivers are given by the Guidance Department to those who qualify. Students with disabilities may qualify for alternate administrations.
SAT Prep. A SAT preparation course is offered at MHS each fall. Contact the Guidance Office for more information.
FOR FREE PRACTICE:
www.petersons.com/gaj/testprep - website for full length PSAT, SAT and ACT practice tests
www.march2success.com/ - from the Department of the Army
Varsity Learning Tools currently provides free diagnostic tests, practice tests, flashcards, and questions of the day for the ACT and SAT
SAT (updated): https://www.varsitytutors.com/free-new-sat-resources
ACT book (downloadable): https://www.varsitytutors.com/act-prep-book
Also there are over 100,000 professionally written problems and thousands of distinct practice tests across 150 subjects, including foreign languages, history, math, and science at all levels of sophistication, as well as a full Common Core section. Please check out our main site...
Main site: https://www.varsitytutors.com/practice-tests
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Two-Year Schools and Technical Programs
Community Colleges. Community Colleges offer a variety of programs from Associates degrees that serve as preparation for transfer to a four-year college, to certificate programs that train you for a specific career. Applications deadlines are generally more flexible than four year schools, depending on the program and school. And be sure you visit the campus to decide whether this school is right for you.
One great advantage to community college is the cost; these schools are far less expensive and often have grant money based on need ( FAFSA forms are still required to receive financial aid, however). Additionally, students often still live at home, so they save housing costs.
There are 5 community colleges within driving distance of Middlesex County: Rappahannock Community College (two campuses - Glenns and Warsaw), J. Sargeant Reynolds (Richmond), John Tyler (Chester), Thomas Nelson (Hampton), and Tidewater (Norfolk). Each has different programs and selection processes; use the College Book or the websites to find the specifics for each school.
Technical Schools. These schools may offer Associates degrees or certificates in programs designed to teach job skills in a specific area. These programs are typically short - 6 month to 2 years - but are also typically more expensive than community college. They too accept financial aid and will help you find loans or grants to pay for their programs; complete a FAFSA for these programs and talk with their financial aid specialists to take advantage of all you qualify for.
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