This presentation is from Ms. Alex Miller, Scholarship Program Manager from the Missour Scholarship and Loan Foundation
Planning for college can be an intimidating adventure. If your family has a tradition of attending college or you're the first in your family to go to college, there are many questions. Your school's guidance counselor can help you navigate the process. The resources in this section will also assist parents and students in the collegiate planning process.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT COLLEGE!
WHICH COLLEGE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
In deciding which college is right for you, consider these points:
Curriculum – does the college offer a major and degree in the area that you want to pursue? Is the school noted for having a strong program in that area?
Competitiveness –What are the admission standards? Have you taken courses that have prepared you to be successful at that school?
Location – Do you want to live at home or do you want to go away to school? Do you prefer a small town or a large city? Do you want to live close enough to home to allow for frequent visits?
Type of college – Do you want to attend a public or private school? Do you prefer a college with a religious affiliation? Is the size of the school important to you? Do you want to go to a college that enrolls both males and females?
Expected family contribution per Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – How much can your family afford to pay for your education? What are your possibilities for receiving financial aid or winning scholarships?
Student Activities – Does the college offer a wide range of activities for students to fill their leisure time? Does it have an athletic department? Does it have an intramural program?
HOW DO COLLEGES DECIDE WHOM TO ACCEPT FOR ADMISSIONS?
Below are listed the sources that admission counselors may use in deciding who will be invited to enroll in their school.
Courses and Grades – Did the student take rigorous courses? Did the student earn at least the minimum number of credits required by the college in various academic areas? How well did the student do in academic courses?
ACT or SAT Scores – How well did the student do on a college admission test? Admission counselors pay a lot of attention to this score, as it is one indicator of how well a student will do during the freshman year.
Extra-curricular Activities – Did the student participate in clubs, musical and theater groups, or athletics? Many colleges look for applicants who have a history of involvement in student activities.
Recommendations-How do high school teachers and counselors evaluate the potential of the student? The more competitive colleges ask for one or two letters of recommendation
A+ Schools – See A+ Coordinator for more information.
College Fairs – Various school, agencies, community organizations and churches host colleges and universities fairs throughout the year. Attending a college fair is an excellent opportunity to receive an abundance of information from many institutions in a short period of time. Students are encouraged to speak with the college representative to obtain specific information such as: campus open house, admission information requirements, scholarships, curriculum and deadline date. The Ferguson/Florissant School District sponsors an Annual College Fair in early fall. Please check with your school counselor for the date and time.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO INVESTIGATE POSSIBLE COLLEGE CHOICES?
The fall of the junior year is the best time, if not before, to investigate college choices. The summer months prior to the senior year are usually the best time to visit colleges as admission counselors have more released time to visit with students and parents. It is suggested that you go into your senior year with a list of at least five schools. Included should be your dream school, the one you would like to attend if accepted and if money is available. The other choices should be more realistic, ending with one that you know for sure will accept you and that you can afford.
HOW DO I SIGN UP TO TAKE A COLLEGE ENTRANCE TEST?
Register to take the PSAT in October of the junior year. This is the only test, which qualifies Juniors for the National Merit Scholarship and recognition. It is given the third Saturday in October and the Wednesday. These are the only national dates available for the PSAT. Applications to take the ACT or SAT are found in the Guidance Office. Fill out the information requested, enclose a check or money order, and mail the completed packet in the envelope provided. There are stiff financial penalties for late applications. Information is available in the Guidance Office as to which test is preferred by your college choice.
WHAT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED?
College-bound juniors take the appropriate college entrance test starting with the April ACT examination. Fall test dates of the senior year can then be used to re-test, if necessary. As a service to Ferguson-Florissant School District students, the ACT is given at:
- McCluer: (school code – 261075) October, December, February, April, and June.
- McCluer South-Berkeley: (school code – 260170) October, December, February, April, and June.
- McCluer North’s school code is 261107.
Essays – How well can the student write? Does the student have a well-developed vocabulary? Most competitive colleges require an essay.
College Interview – How well does the student interact on a one-on-one basis? Very competitive colleges usually require an interview.
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT COLLEGES THAT ARE OF INTEREST TO ME?
There are several ways to learn about colleges.
Visit with College Representatives – Visit college representatives that come to your school during the year to talk with students about these schools and answer questions. The college visits during the week are communicated to students by bulletins, announcements, and postings. Ask your counselor how to get a pass to visit with the representatives.
College Guides – Basic information about colleges located all across the United States are available in your guidance office.
College Videos/CD Rom –College videos are available in your guidance office that provide you about specific schools, which interest to you.
Campus Visits – There is no substitute for the college visits. Plan your visit ahead of time by contacting the admission office. An admission counselor will meet with you and arrange a campus tour. If you wish to stay overnight in a residence hall, ask that these arrangements be made for you. While on a campus, experience as much of the college as you can in order to get a feel for what it is like to attend that school. Consider these suggestions:
Talk with college students.
Visit the library.
Have a meal in the cafeteria.
Look at the students’ newspapers/yearbooks.
Attend a class.
Ask to meet a professor in your degree area.
Inquire about academic standards.
Talk with the Financial Aid Office.
DO COLLEGES HAVE PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES?
Many colleges have programs to help insure the success of students with learning disabilities. Resource teachers and counselors will have suggestions as to which colleges might be right for individual students. Special testing accommodations are available for students with learning disabilities who wish to take the ACT. Contact your resource teacher or guidance counselor for more information.
ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR COLLEGES MOST OFTEN ATTENDED BY FERGUSON-FLORISSANT GRADUATES CAN BE FOUND ONLINE?
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI SYSTEM
UM-Rolla Website: www.umr.edu
UM-St. Louis Website: www.umsl.edu
UM-Columbia Website: www.mizzou.edu
UM-Kansas City Website: www.umkc.edu
Central Missouri State University
Harris-Stowe State University
St. Louis, MO
St. Charles, MO
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO
Missouri State University
Truman State University
St. Louis Community College
Do you need information on colleges and universities not listed above? Visit your school counselor's office for information on schools located nation-wide. Your counselor will be glad to assist you in finding information on the schools that interest you.