School Smarts: High school planner gets students ready for colle - WDRB 41 Louisville News

School Smarts: High school planner gets students ready for college

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- High school guidance counselors say it's never too early to start planning for college.  Kentucky public schools require students begin working on an Individual Learning Plan in the sixth grade.  It takes inventory of a student's interests and helps pair that student with courses and eventually colleges that will help a student grow those interests.   

duPont Manual High School counselor Amy Medley says, by the time a student reaches high school, the following steps are a great way to organize your approach to applying for college.

Freshman Year:  Make a Plan
Meet your counselor
Check grades frequently on the parent portal
Create a study schedule/refine personal study habits
Make a four-year course plan based on requirements for college
Consider AP or IB courses to increase rigor
Visit college websites for virtual tours
Begin or add to college savings

Sophomore Year:  Learn What It Takes
Attend college fairs
Take a college tour
Maintain strong grades - Check parent portal frequently
Maintain involvement in clubs/activities
Study and maintain a strong GPA

Junior Year:  Prepare to Apply
Seek ACT/SAT Prep  
Take the ACT
Narrow the college choices - note scholarship and admission deadlines
Attend campus tours / college fairs - meet the admissions officer
Seek a position of leadership in a club/activity
Study and maintain a strong GPA - Check parent portal frequently

Summer between grade 11 and 12: 
Finalize the list of colleges.  Then, create admissions and scholarship deadlines spreadsheet, finalize résumé, write essays.

Senior Year:  Operation Application
Retake the ACT, if necessary
Ask teacher for letter of recommendation , if required
Request transcripts
Apply to colleges before deadlines
Seek out and apply for scholarships
Attend financial aid workshops
Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) after Jan. 1
Study and maintain a strong GPA

How parents can help:
*Provide structured and quiet study time each day
*Provide a study area at home
*Encourage rest unplugged
*Communicate with teachers
*  Utilize Parent Portal (electronic access to grades)
*  Attend parent/teacher conferences if possible with the student present
*Review the family budget and begin a savings plan

Resources: helps students make a plan, find colleges, pay for college offers a planning checklist for students and parents

KY's 529 Savings Plan,, offers six different investment portfolios. You need only $25 to open an account.  Family and friends may contribute via e-gift.

Kentucky High Education Assistance Authority,, offers information about financial aid, scholarships, college search.  Outreach counselors are available for each region of the state

Net Price Calculator,  This site offers students opportunity to enter individual/family financial information and receive estimated cost for attending specific institutions. Net price is the difference between the "sticker" price (full cost) to attend a specific college, minus any grants and scholarships for which students may be eligible. Sticker price includes direct charges (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses).

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