The Power of FAFSA

Students and families, hear me: if you plan to attend college next year, apply for FASFA. FAFSA, also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, allows colleges and universities to provide financial aid for college students. Financial aid means money! I want to share a few reasons why every student should apply for FASFA.

95% of Students Qualify

If your household income is less than $250,000 a year, you qualify for financial aid. Financial aid gives every person an opportunity to afford school. Colleges receive billions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Education. You can’t get your piece of the pie if you don’t apply! There’s no such thing as being too rich to receive funding for your education. Since less than five percent of people make more than $250,000 a year, I know you can get funding for school!

Don’t Leave Billions on the Table

When you complete the FASFA, you have the opportunity to receive scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. We love the first two options because it’s free money! Work-study programs help you pay for school while gaining valuable career skills. Federal student loans have low interest rates. If you don’t want to leave FREE money on the table, you should apply!

Family Finances Change

In today’s society, family finances can change without warning. If a parent loses a job or someone gets sick in your family, you don’t want to worry about how you will pay for school. Applying for FAFSA is a crucial part of the college application process. Apply for the FASFA and see how much funding you receive from your college or university. If you need more money, you can always appeal for more aid. As long as you submit supplemental information or add new addendums, you can get more funding.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to a new year, new month, and day 1 of 365 opportunities. As we prepare to return to work and school, I hope you had a wonderful holiday break. I hope you feel renewed and ready to conquer you dreams! I wanted to take a moment to encourage you. I wanted to leave four quick tips to help you embrace the possibilities and magic for the second half of the 2018-2019 school year.

Yes, You Can

Your mindset about school and education is crucial for your success. I want you to stay positive and believe in yourself. Yes, you can take an honors class. Yes, you can take an AP class. Yes, you can create a great science fair project. Yes, you can find money to go to college. Yes, you can read, write, think, and grow! This is the year where you go for it!

Who’s in Your Circle?

Who are the people in your life that will support, encourage, and celebrate your success? Who are the people that can give you sound advice and help you when you feel unsure or stuck? These are the people that I want you to keep in your circle. You may have a circle of friends at school and a circle of support at home. Continue to support and nourish these relationships. If there are any negative people in your life, cut them off. 2019 is the year for you to shine!

Make Mini-Goals

If you’re like me, you tend to set goals that you want to accomplish. Instead of focusing on one big goal, break down your goal into several mini-goals. Imagine how great you’ll feel when you take steps to accomplish your goals. I’ll give you a few examples based on grade level.

  • Elementary school: If you want to learn your multiplication tables, take 30 minutes and practice every day.
  • Middle school: If you want to pull up your math and English grades, commit to staying after school to get extra help twice a week.
  • High School: If you want to find scholarship money to go to college, complete one essay and application a week.

There’s an old proverb that says the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. It’s the same thing with goals. Once you complete small steps towards your goal, you’ll accomplish that goal in no time!

Manage Your Time

Time is one precious resource. You spend 7.5 hours a day at school learning, reading, writing, and taking tests. You may stay after school a couple of hours for after school activities, like a club or sports team. Instead of staying after school, you may have extracurricular activities outside of school, like dance practice, church activities, or practice with a traveling sports team. Once you get home, you’ve got homework and studying to do. You may have chores to complete and dinner time with family. If you’re an older student, you may have a part time job after school.

You have a LOT going in your life. Make sure you manage your time. Here are other things that I did not include in this list.

  • Playing video games
  • Scrolling through social media
  • Talking/texting/tweeting for hours with friends
  • Taking 2-3 hour naps
  • Hanging out before you get homework done

When it comes to school, take care of the things you have to take care of first. Get your homework and studying done. Make sure you carve out family time. If you have too much on your plate, talk to a parent or your school counselor. We can help you figure out if you need to take some things off your plate. You have the weekend to have fun. You can socialize with your friends in school. Scholars have a knack for balancing school, home, and fun.

 

 

 

Stay Focused

Happy December, scholars and families! We are halfway through the second quarter of the school year. For seniors, your counselors will send your first semester transcripts to your colleges and universities. For my remaining scholars in grades 6-11, you have a chance to reflect on successes and challenges. Before we move into 2019, I want to share four tips to help you finish 2018 strong.

Every Assignment Counts

Teachers assess what you learned in class by what you submit every day. This includes warm-ups/do now activities, classwork, and homework. Some teachers give grades for class participation! This is not the time to take a break, skip an assignment, or forget to change out for gym. Zeros can destroy your grades.

Let’s say you have a 100 average in class. If you forget to turn in one assignment, it brings your 100 A to a 50 F.

100+ 0=100; 100÷2=50 F (average)

Turning in something for a grade is better than turning in nothing. Earning a B on an assignment is okay. An occasional C will not hurt your final grade.

100+80=180; 180÷2=90 A (average)

Turn in every assignment. Scholars, talk with your teacher if you have missing work. Parents, schedule a conference if you notice major grade issues.

Utilize Your Resources

Your teachers are here to help you. Talk with your teachers about extra opportunities for help. Here are some possible times teachers can provide extra help:

  • Before school
  • During lunch
  • After school
  • During advisory period

Your teacher will help you as long as you take the initiative to ask for help. Another helpful resource in your building is the school counselor. Your counselor can help you with the following skills:

  • Studying effectively
  • Goal setting
  • Taking better notes in class
  • Building relationships

Your counselor is here to help you! They want to work with you, your families, and teachers to help you succeed.

Develop Your Plan

Scholars, you are responsible for your learning. You have the opportunity to go to college, learn a vocational trade, join the military, or own a business. You are accountable for every action and choice you make in school. Here are some great questions to consider while you set goals for this semester:

  • What do I want to learn in class?
  • How can I take advantage of my talents and skills to grow?
  • How can I manage my free time effectively?
  • How can I balance my school/ home/extracurricular activities and still have fun?
  • What am I willing to change to achieve my goals?

Remember, plans are flexible. You can always make adjustments and revisions to thrive in school. I believe in your success. Let’s finish 2018 strong!

School Daze

Welcome back to school, scholars!Hopefully, everyone feels settled with with teachers, classes, and homework. If you’re feeling dazed or confused, I’m here to help! Here are a few strategies to help you succeed for the rest of the first quarter.

Turn in Your Homework

Homework is an opportunity for you to practice what you’ve learned in class. It’s also a chance for you to gain knowledge by reading and answering questions. Homework is also a major part of your grade! When you turn in homework, you earn points toward your final grade. When you don’t turn in homework, zeros pull down your grade. If you want every point to count, turn in your homework!

Ask for Help

If you don’t understand a topic or if you need additional clarity, ask for help. Your teachers are here to help you. Teachers can provide help before school, after school, or during lunch. Teachers are willing to answer questions or provide additional insight on a topic.

Your school counselor is another great resource in the building. Counselors can help you with study and organizational skills. They can also help set and execute goals. Counselors can also teach you how to problem solve, communicate with teachers, and build relationships.

Make Time to Study

You should take at least one hour every day to read and review your notes. Your study time should include reviewing vocabulary, practicing your instrument, and reading for class. If you’re a middle or high school student, you may need more than one hour to study. The more you study now, the better you’ll do on test and quizzes later. Avoid cramming and study every day!