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Things to Know about College Planning

If you are considering college, there are a number of things you need to know!

College & Career Night:  Plan to attend the Red Bud High School College & Career Night.  It is held each year on the first Monday evening in October.  This is your best opportunity to gather information from many schools both in and outside of Illinois.  An informational session on college planning is also available.  The event is free and open to the public, so bring a parent and friend to join you. 

College Representatives:  College representatives will visit RBHS during advisory periods.  This is your most convenient opportunity to learn about a school, so take advantage of their visit.  As visits are scheduled, they will be advertised in the daily announcements, the Student Services page of the school website, the school Facebook page, and in the white binder in the office.  You will have to sign up to meet with a representative, or simply send Mrs. Jokerst an email, and she will take care of it!

Scholarships:  There are two types of scholarships.  Many scholarships are available locally.  These are the scholarships that are in the daily announcements, the Student Services page of the high school website, and the school Facebook page.  Some of these scholarships will have online applications, and those with paper applications can be picked up in the high school office.  Most local scholarships are for seniors, but sometimes there are opportunities for all high school students.  The second type of scholarships are those offered by the college or university.  Each school has its own scholarship program, which you can learn about by talking with the admissions counselor or from the school's website.

College Visits:  Colleges and universities offer many opportunities for high school students and parents to visit campus.  Find a full listing of these events on the Student Services page.  As a junior or senior, you have two College & Career Days that you can use to visit schools.  There is a form that needs to be submitted to Mrs. Jokerst two school days prior to your visit in order for it not to be counted against your attendance.  You can get this form in the high school office from Mrs. Jokerst or Sharon.

Financial Aid:  Any senior going to college in the fall should apply for financial aid.  To apply for financial aid, you or a parent will have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  The application opens October 1, and you will need your parents' tax information from the previous year.  It is important to complete the FAFSA even if you don't expect to qualify for federal student aid.  Most college scholarship programs require a FAFSA on file for you to be eligible to receive scholarships.

Transcripts:  Some scholarships and college applications will ask for a high school transcript.  You can request a transcript from Mrs. Jokerst or Sharon.  At this time, there is no fee for transcripts.  If you need a transcript for a college application, it should be sent directly from the high school; most colleges will not accept a transcript submitted by the applicant.

College Application:  Apply to four-year schools by November 1 of your senior year.  Many schools will have priority deadlines to be considered for scholarships; those deadlines range from November 1 to December 15.   Setting November 1 as your personal goal ensures you will be included in scholarship consideration.  Some schools allow you to apply as soon as you complete your junior year of high school, while others will have an application window that opens on a particular date.  Check the school's admissions page for application information and deadlines.

ACT/SAT:  Plan to take the ACT or SAT your junior year of high school.   If you plan to take or retake the test as a senior, register for a fall test date.  Many schools do not consider test scores taken in the spring of your senior year for scholarship opportunities.  See the Testing Page of the high school's website  for more information on ACT and SAT testing.

Waivers:  If you have been approved for free or reduced lunches, many schools can waive the application fee.  Ask the admissions counselor how to take advantage of this opportunity.  You are also eligible for two free ACT tests; see Mrs. Jokerst for that paperwork.

NCAA:   As a college-bound student-athlete, you are responsible for your eligibility.  That means planning ahead, taking high school classes seriously and protecting your amateur status.  It can be a difficult first step, but the benefits of being a student-athlete are worth the effort.  Students who want to play NCAA sports at a Division I or II school need to register for a Certification Account with the NCAA Eligibility Center.  College-bound student-athletes in Division III can also create a Profile Page to receive important updates about being a student-athlete and preparing for college.  Students who are not sure which division they want to compete in can create a Profile Page and transition to a Certification Account if they decide to play Division I or II sports.  Prospective student-athletes should plan to register during their sophomore year of high school.   The NCAA Eligibility Center works to help prepare for life as a student-athlete.  If you have questions about your eligibility or the registration process, visit the Resources section of www.eligibilitycenter.org or call toll free 1-877-262-1492.  Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.


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