College Preparation

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Over an adult’s working life, high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million.

With an associate’s degree, that total is $1.7 million.

With a bachelor’s degree, that increases to $2.1 million.

And with a master’s degree, you could earn $2.5 million.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau's "The Big Payoff"

 
 

Finding Academic Success in Transitions (FAST)

The Missouri state deadline for submitting your 2013-2014 FAFSA is April 1, 2013!  Let us help you get it completed and filed the right way. Call us today at 816.268.7140 and talk with a transition coordinator. We can also help you find scholarships for the school you are planning to attend!

Metropolitan Community College and Herndon Career Center are working together to bring you the tools and resources you'll need to prepare for your transition to college. Finding Academic Success in Transitions (FAST) is a grant-funded program we've developed to guide you through the activities required of you before you enter college.

Getting the right guidance before making decisions will make your transition from high school to college much more successful. There are some very important steps you'll need to complete to be ready. That's where we come in…

We are here to guide you through some major steps in the college prep process:

  1. Setting a career/college goal
  2. Reviewing academic skills and career interests
  3. Steps to move toward goals
  4. College entrance requirements
  5. Understanding financial aid and the FAFSA process
  6. Applying for college

You don't necessarily have to complete these steps in this order. Our goal is to make sure you are fully prepared, and the FAST program is designed to give you one-on-one help from the experts. We're here to help, so let's get started!

1. Setting a Career/College Goal 

 You've probably heard people say "getting there is half the battle." Goal setting makes that battle a fight you can win. Your first step in the transition process is to make a goal that you are going to college. It's that simple. Once you've decided to go, you are ready to make a plan to get there.

Getting a college degree will help you reach your career goals by giving you the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful. The more education you have, the more qualified you are to advance your career.

But there are more benefits to college than how much money you can make in your career. College is an experience. You will not only increase your knowledge, but you will develop your leadership skills, meet new people with interests similar to yours and discover you can do things you never knew were possible!

2. Reviewing Your Academic Skills and Career Interests

Since the eighth grade, you've been taking tests called "assessments" to show you what types of careers best fit your interests. When you meet with us, we'll take a look at your End of Course Assessments, ACT Explore, ACT Plan and ACT Prep results to see how your interests match-up to your current skills.

Once we know where you are academically, we can put together a plan to focus on the skills you need for your career. We'll point you in the right direction if you need help raising some test scores or identifying different careers that better suit your skills.

Choosing a Career Path

 If you're not sure what you want to be when you "grow up," we can help you figure that out too. There are many resources available with career path information you need to make that decision.

www.ChooseYourCareerPath.com, features Career and Technical Education at Metropolitan Community College.

www.MissouriConnections.org is the place to find out how to connect your interests to a career path.

www.Online.OnetCenter.org, is the U.S. Department of Labor's source for detailed information on jobs, wages and industry outlook.

3. Steps to Move Toward Goals

Choosing a College That's Best for You

There are many paths you can take to reach your career goals. You can start at community college and transfer to a four-year school. You might only need an associate's degree for the career you are interested in. Or, you may choose to gain experience through internships while going to college.

We will help you map out a path that's right for you. There are so many types of degrees and certifications available to you, and it is our job to help you figure out which ones to pursue.

Some questions we will help you answer when choosing a college are:

  • Does class size matter? Are you more comfortable in small classes or large lectures?
  • Is it better to stay close to home, or go to a school far away?
  • Public or private?
  • Does the school have student clubs I'm interested in?
  • What is the school's success rate? Are students graduating on time and finding jobs?
  • Does the school offer scholarships I'm eligible for?

Once you know what schools you are interested in attending, finding out their admissions requirements and tuition costs will help you determine which schools to apply for.

4. College Entrance Requirements

Types of tests

Four-year colleges and universities require you to take "entrance exams" such as the ACT or SAT as a part of your application to be accepted to the school. Your test results will be used to:

  • determine if you meet admission requirements.
  • award academic scholarships.
  • advise you on course selection, and determine if you qualify for honors classes.

Community colleges are almost always "open enrollment," but they will still require you to take a test like the COMPASS or ASSET to determine what level courses you should begin with.

Upon completion of your degree, or career certificate if you plan to attend a community college technical program, you have to take an exam to receive your licensure or certification.

Assessment tools

There are some tests available that can tell you what areas you need to increase your knowledge. We have those tests available to you in our center and will discuss your scores with you. Next, we can determine how to get you some extra help in raising those scores so you can score big on those college entry tests like ACT or COMPASS.

Financial aid and testing skills are two very important parts of your transition from high school to college. We are here to make sure you have everything you need to get the money and test scores you need to be admitted college.

5. Understanding the Financial Aid Process

You've likely heard that you need to "submit your FAFSA" to get money for college. But, what does that mean?

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This FREE application is available to anyone that wants to apply for funds to go to college. The U.S. Department of Education created this process to pull together all the pieces that make a financial aid package.

There are three main types of "aid" available:

  1. Grants-money awarded based on financial need, that you do not have to pay back when you complete your degree.
  2. Loans-money that is loaned to you based on the cost of attending the college you've selected and your financial need. There are two types of loans that can be awarded to you, and it's important you understand the difference before you borrow these funds.
  3. Scholarships-money awarded to you from the college you've been accepted to attend or from a community organization. Scholarships are usually awarded based on your academic performance or civic contributions to the community while in high school. These are not awarded by the US Department of Education, but the college you select will consider these funds when "packaging" your other financial aid options (grants and/or loans).

Depending on the college you plan to attend, a 4th option of aid, Work Study, may be awarded to you. Work Study is a program where you "work" a campus job and the pay you would ordinarily receive in a paycheck is used to pay your tuition or other fees. It's the true definition of "earn your keep."

When you meet with us, we will explain all these types of aid, and how they impact your financial plan for college.

Submitting your FAFSA

When you are ready to complete a FAFSA, we will walk you through it, step-by-step, to make sure you are entering your information correctly. It might seem overwhelming, but it's easier than it looks. Our goal is to make sure you understand how to secure your money for college.

There are some items you will need to gather in order to file your FAFSA with the US Department of Education:

  • Your parent(s) or legal guardian's federal tax return for the last tax year. If your parent receives any child support payments for you, own any businesses, or have stocks or bonds, a record of those items will be needed also.
  • If you have a job, your W-2 forms (these are sent to you by Jan. 31 each year)
  • Current bank statements if you have checking or savings accounts
  • A Personal Identification Number (PIN). You can apply for or request your PIN at www.pin.ed.gov
  • Your driver's license number (if you have one)
  • Your social security number (or permanent residence card if you are not a U.S. citizen)

If you are not sure about any of these items, it's ok, we'll help you and your parents track them down. You can call us with questions, or make an appointment to sit down and talk it through.

You do not have to be admitted to a school to complete your FAFSA. You can add school codes to your FAFSA at any time. It's best to get it submitted early (by March 1) to ensure you get the best financial aid package available.

6. Applying for College

Every school has a different application process. They will all require different items be submitted and have different deadlines you must meet. We'll help you navigate your chosen school's process down to the details of dorm assignments and meal plan options.

This step of the transition process will be personalized for you. We can help with as little or as much of the research as you like.

Get Started, Make An Appointment

Regardless of what type of school you choose, and tests they require, you need to be prepared to do your best. We'll help you prepare by making sure you know what is expected of you and where you can find help and resources.

A smooth transition will lead to a successful transition. Let us help you!

There are two ways to make an appointment with a transition coordinator:

FAST is funded through the US Department of Education's College Access Challenge Grant and is managed by Metropolitan Community College in partnership with Herndon Career Center. FAST is not a substitute, but rather an additional resource to be used in conjunction with your high school's counseling and advising services.

Last Modified: 2/7/13