COLLEGE PLANNING DESPITE A PANDEMIC (SENIOR FAQ’S)
Given the current situation that we are facing all over the world, COVID-19 has put wrinkles into the college planning process for our seniors. However, we don’t want this to discourage our students from making college happen. As one of the three school counselors at Lexington High, one of our goals is to help students reach their full potential and navigate the college process. Below are some questions that students typically have at this time of the year as they are beginning their senior year. Following each question is my answer to those questions.
Q: I want to apply to college, but I don’t know if I should or where to start?
A: Most college applications are now open. You can apply to college by going to their school’s website. For example, if you want to apply to UNK, you can just google ‘University of Nebraska Kearney’ and their site should come up. You can then find an “apply now” button somewhere or ‘apply for admission’. Some schools make you create a profile then you can start the application process. We will be helping students apply to college(s) later this semester at our senior seminar.
Q: What if I don’t have an ACT score yet?
A: Many colleges aren’t requiring an ACT score to be accepted because of our current situation. When you go through the application, you will find out if they require one. The good news is that all seniors will take the ACT at Lexington High on September 22. Bonus: if you want to take the October ACT (national test date), you need to register for the test by September 25. If you wish to register for that test, you will need to visit www.act.org
Q: Where do I go to apply for scholarships?
A: Three places I would start are below.
- LHS website where we post all the scholarships we hear about through email or regular mail. Scroll down until you see the word ‘Scholarships’. You can click on the tabs labeled “college scholarships” or “general scholarships” to start exploring. The “Blackbaud Award Management” is for the local scholarships. Those won’t be available until the spring semester. The dates may be off by a few days as we work to keep things updated (many of these deadlines are from last year).
- EducationQuest website has various scholarships that you can look through. You will need to create a profile but the beauty of their site is that by simply answering questions about yourself, it will narrow down the list of scholarships that you are eligible for. EducationQuest is a non-profit organization that helps students and families navigate their college process. They focus on Nebraska colleges and scholarships.
- Specific college websites. The beauty of applying to different colleges (and being accepted) is that it will open up more opportunities for you to apply for. So if I apply to Wayne State College and get accepted, I can now apply for scholarships specifically to that school. Scholarship deadlines vary, some starting as early as October. To find a college’s scholarships, one can typically find a search bar and type ‘scholarships’.
Q: Are you going to meet with me one on one so we can talk about other questions?
A: Your counselors are planning on hosting events for all seniors that you can attend including Coffee with the Counselors, senior seminar and more. Due to COVID, we will be unable to make large group college visits, but you can still make individual college visits on your own. Keep an eye on your email as we will use that as our main mode of communication. Last, we will have a ‘senior check’ with you at some point this semester. That is where we meet with you one-on-one to discuss what your goals are for senior year and beyond.
Q: What if I don’t want to go to college?
A: College is completely your choice. If money is a concern, there are many scholarships out there up for grabs. As the wisest Mrs. McKeone says, “You can’t win, if you don’t apply!” Don’t let the initial cost of college scare you away. Over the last 9 years, LHS seniors have been awarded over $28 million in scholarships! But if college isn’t for you, there are other options like apprenticeships, military or employment. We can talk about those at your senior check if you ask.
Q: When can I apply for the Tyson scholarship or other local scholarships?
A: The local scholarships are open to Lexington High School students (and for some scholarships to other high schools in the area). These will be in the spring semester and are now filled out completely online.
While we hope that this gives students and families a head start on things, you may have additional questions. Parents can call the counseling office at 308-324-1261 or students are encouraged to stop by to talk with their counselor or email them.