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College Fair will have info for HS students

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Going to college has been instilled in many students for their entire young lives.

Students who are interested in brightening their future may attend a College Fair from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday at the John H. Miller Community Center in Roberts Park. 

Early College High School Counselor Crystal Frank hopes that students realize how important college is and how it can change their lives for the better.

“There can be many advantages for going to college and they can include but are not limited to learning new and wonderful things, earn higher wages because of the credentials you can earn in college, obtaining a higher position in your company and even receive your dream job,” Frank said. “It can also help secure benefits for you and your family such as health insurance, retirement.”

To prepare for college, students need to be aware there are many things that go into applying for college. Many options are available to fit the need of each student.

“To prepare for college, students should start by determining what school they would like to attend. Not every school is for everyone,” Frank said. “Some students want to say close to home, some want to go far away. Some want to live on campus and others do not. Then, there is the cost of schools and size.

“There are many variables that students should look at when determining which school to attend. Once they have narrowed down their choices, they need to make sure that those specific schools offer their desired major or degree program. Many times students will choose a certain school and then discover that the school does not have what they would like to study.

“Students will need to determine if their school requires them to take the SAT or ACT tests. These tests are college entrance exams that can possibly show if a student is prepared for the rigors of college.”

College-bound students should take the SAT or ACT test starting in the spring of their junior year.

“Once students have narrowed down their choices, they will apply online at the school’s website. Some applications are more in-depth than others, possibly requiring an essay and/or recommendation letters from individuals who know the student in various ways. The majority of colleges/universities would like students to have applied for school by Nov. 1. For many schools, they may give more consideration to students who apply before this date when it comes to giving out scholarships that are based on academics (merit based) or finances (needs based).”

Finally, it is highly recommended that any student interested in higher education at any type of school file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid or as it is called, the FAFSA.

“The FAFSA is how schools and the state and federal government determines what type of aid a student is eligible for based on their estimated family contributions (EFC) or how much your family can contribute,” Frank said.

The types of aid available to students include grants and scholarships (which do not have to be paid back), work-study programs, and loans. Many students do not file the FAFSA because they do not want student loans but they could possibly miss out on other types of aid that they do not have to pay back. 

So, how soon should a student start thinking about college?

“Normally we encourage students to start thinking of college, where they want to go, and what they want to major in junior year. If they start early then they will know where they will apply when they start school senior year. While many students do not start thinking of things until they are juniors or seniors, it is never too early to start.”

For more information on the college fair being held Wednesday, contact Frank at 765-825-1151 ext. 234.