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 rolling through 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: 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 just hosted our Apply2College event where we had numerous students apply to their top schools.
Q: What if I don’t have the ACT score I want yet?
A: That’s okay. If you are planning on taking the ACT again, you can select where you want your test scores to go to. If you choose that school, they will automatically get your new score and update it given that it is a higher score. The next ACT dates are Saturday, October 22, (too late to register) and December 10.
Some colleges/ universities are now ‘test optional’ meaning that they may not require an ACT score to get accepted or they may just look at other criteria to see if you can get accepted. However, various scholarships are still using an ACT score to help them judge scholarship winners so it’s important that students try to get their best score. 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 their scholarships. 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: Yes, many seniors have already had a one-on-one meeting with their counselor called a ‘senior check’. During this time, seniors meet with their counselor to talk about their current plans and help them navigate on what their next step(s) should be. There are many steps, though, and it will be important that students continue to check back in with their counselor.
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 (and financial aid) 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 11 years, LHS seniors have been awarded over $30 million in scholarships! But if college isn’t for you, there are other options like apprenticeships, military or employment.
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. We will host an event called senior seminar scheduled for Wednesday, November 9. We will introduce the local scholarship application to our seniors at that time.
While we hope that this gives students and families a 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.