A Letter to Seniors & their Parents
Dear Senior Parent:
As your son or daughter approaches graduation and decisions must be made regarding post-secondary plans, it’s time for a gentle reminder of some important issues regarding college and the scholarship search. It’s truly hard to believe that your sons and daughters are so close to their goal of graduating. It is certainly an exciting time, as well as a time of anxiety for many of our students and their families. Our goal at Santa Fe High School is to ensure that both you and your child are ready for the journey ahead.
At Santa Fe, we promote scholarships through several different means. Most notably, an extensive scholarship list is available on the school website. In order to access a table of available scholarships, 1) visit http://www.collegeguidanceconsultants.com/ 2) Username: santafe; 3) Password: santafe. There, you will find hundreds of scholarships, some of which are directly linked to an online or PDF application. In other cases, your child will need to obtain an application directly from an organization’s member or the high school counselor. All information, including the scholarship’s due date, criteria, and monetary award is listed on the provided table that can be accessed through the website. Make this a “favorite,” and encourage your child to visit the site often.
Additionally, scholarships will be promoted through the “Counselor’s Corner” section of the Santa Fe Times, so remember to check for related articles every Friday. Scholarships will also be listed in the daily announcements at school and weekly emails, entitled SENIOR UPDATES, will be sent to all seniors and their parents. Seniors and parents are reminded not to wait until the exact deadline date to submit scholarship applications, as sometimes extra paper work is required by school staff that must accompany the application forms. If a teacher or counselor is gone on the day of the deadline, the scholarship application may be submitted late, and this could negatively affect your child’s chances of receiving the scholarship. Seniors and their parents will also do well to make copies of all scholarship applications they submit. Many applications ask for similar information which can be easily accessed with the copied information. If you have younger children, it's also helpful to have a record of your older children's applications for later review.
Recommendation letters are a huge part of the scholarship process. Ensure that your child has consulted with teachers, clergy, family friends, or community leaders and that their recommendations are both intact and easily accessible. Often times, scholarship applications ask for a brief essay (usually between 100 and 500 words). Unfortunately, many students pass these by because of the extra effort required. In turn, millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed each year due to a lack of applications submitted.
In addition to applying for scholarships, seniors will be required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges use this form to determine any financial aid students may receive, including grants, loans, and work study programs. Note: A FAFSA MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE A+ MONEY WILL BE GRANTED. Even if a student is not planning on using the A+ scholarship, they are strongly encouraged to complete this form. Students and their parents are under no obligation to accept any federal aid should they choose against it; however, many colleges require the FAFSA before institutional aid will be allotted. This year, all of the information needed for the FAFSA will come directly from your 2018 Income Tax Forms.
On September 19, a financial aid meeting for seniors and their parents will be held in the high school library at 6:30 p.m. A representative from the financial aid office at State Fair Community College will be on hand to answer all of your financial aid questions. Prepare yourself by obtaining an FSA ID which is required in order to file your FAFSA application online. An FSA ID is required of both the applicant and parent and serves as your electronic signature. Visit https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm to obtain your FSA ID today!
Last, but certainly not least, seniors are reminded to complete their A+ tutoring hours if they have not already done so. Seniors who have not completed their A+ hours prior to the Senior Trip WILL NOT be allowed to attend! The best way for seniors to finish these hours (if they are not currently enrolled in a tutoring course) is before or after school. Many teachers are here by 7:30 a.m. and some don’t leave until 4:00. We also have scheduled after school tutoring on Monday—Thursday from 3:30 – 4:00, and seniors are welcome to come and tutor during that time. Another option is to tutor during study period or while they are waiting to leave school to attend college classes. Please remember: SENIORS MUST MEET ALL THE A+ REQUIREMENTS BY THE DAY OF GRADUATION OR THEY MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR A+ FUNDS.
Transitioning from high school to the world beyond can evoke a great sense of fear for both children and parents. Communicate with each other, and don’t be afraid to call us for help. Countless programs have been created to ensure that your children have the opportunity for educational success. Whether your child is looking toward college, the military, or directly entering the job force, it is crucial that you stay abreast of the many options offered to your child. And remember, we’re here to help you along the way.
Jennifer Hobbs, Santa Fe High School Counselor & A+ Coordinator