Resources for Current Seniors

A Senior’s Guide: The Path to College

By Seleyna Mendoza, Managing Editor

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” We have all been asked the perennial question more than once, and for most of us, the answer keeps changing over time. However, as a senior student, this year is your chance to finally put your answer into motion. This year, you must make important decisions regarding your future plans. Making plans can be a little scary, but if you apply yourself and do your research, you can make well-informed decisions that will fit your wants and needs, making your college experience smoother. Since it’s your last year of high school, you may also have the desire to be more social, which often conflicts with your busy schedule, and feel  less driven to excel. It may be tempting to give up and to cut down on your efforts, for example, like not applying to a school in which you might do well, because you do not feel like completing the college application, or forget to submit the associated supplemental paperwork; but it is crucial to understand that your senior year decisions can directly affect the rest of your life. You may ask yourself: “what should I be doing?”. First, make sure you are on track to complete your A-G coursework to ensure you are accepted into four-year colleges and universities of your choice. The fall semester of your senior year is the time of the year during which the majority of four-year colleges accept applications. The California State University system and the Universities of California application deadlines are fast approaching on November 30. There are fees for submitting college applications, however, check with your academic counselor to learn more about fee waivers and to see if you qualify for them. This is a critical time for students to do their research about the colleges or universities they wish to attend. Not all colleges are created equal. Students should know the difference between private and public institutions, as well as for-profit and non-profit schools. Know the difference between a community college and a vocational school. Asking these questions now can save you from unforeseen headaches and confusion. The more research students do ahead a time, the fewer surprises they will receive later. College fairs enable senior students to gather more information and ask questions that can help better select a college destination. Resource fairs are scheduled to guide seniors on their journey for post-secondary education. Ask questions that matter to you. For example: does the school feature competitive sports programs, clubs or social and academic groups? Does the university offer student housing? What majors are available at the institution? Do not be afraid to ask questions, this is a new journey, you are not expected to know everything on your own, in fact, asking pertinent questions is a college skill that will prove invaluable in your academic career. In the spring, students will take college placement tests. If you are still uncertain about whether you are attending a four-year college or a community college, you should consider taking both placement tests, so you can have more college options from which to choose. Also, all students, regardless of parental or guardian income levels, are highly encouraged to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, application by March 2. Filling out a FAFSA application gives students the opportunity to get FREE money, for college, in form of grants, and it also provides colleges and universities the real world information they need to properly allocate their loans grants. Make sure to also research and apply for scholarships. Important note: scholarship applications are free, so you really should take advantage of those and it will be worth your time to research them well. You should never have to pay money to apply for a scholarship. If you come across a scholarship application that confuses you and, somehow, requires upfront fees, it is best to check in with your academic counselor and verify the validity of the scholarship offer. Application for federal programs like TRIO and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) should be looked into and applied to if they fit your needs. Each college or university has student support programs specifically designed to help students navigate college and provide useful resources to their members. It is highly recommended to routinely check-in with your academic counselor to ensure that you are completing all of the necessary steps to activate your future plans. Finally, follow up on your college applications: check with the schools to make sure they have received all your submitted information, including test scores, transcripts, and recommendations. You may be busy this year, gearing up for life after high school, but it is also important to remember to do well in your current classes. Make sure you finish the year strong and enjoy yourself. Remember, Madera Unified believes in you.


Community College (CC) & CSU / UC Dates


10/1 Financial Aid Application Opens 10/15 – 10/19 CC Application Workshop (Media Center) 10/22 CSU Application Workshop (Media Center) 10/30 FAFSA Night 11/15 CSU Application Workshop (Media Center) 12/3 CC Orientation Workshop (Media Center) 12/6 & 12/7 Web Advisor Workshop (Media Center) 2/4-2/5 CC Placement Testing & 2/7-2/8 (ELD students only)


3/2 Financial Aid Deadline 3/7 & 3/8 CC Advising (East Gym) 4/23-4/25 CC Follow-up Advising (Civics / Econ Classes) 4/30-5/2 CC Registration (Media Center) 5/1 Deadline to Accept UC and CSU Admission

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