The Next Big Step

The process for applying to colleges and scholarships can be daunting. The biggest issue seniors have is the simplest one: taking the first step. Senior year is the time to apply and learn about college or other career paths after high school. The best way to do so is to ask questions.

Mrs. Deignan, who can be found at [email protected], and Ms. Morgan, who can be found at [email protected], specialize in college visits and scholarships, respectively. These counselors have provided the answers to the questions that students may be asking.

Starting with college visits, because of the inherent dangers with travel, colleges have opted for virtual campus tours and visits which have taken a mainstay in the current school environment. 

Arizona State University has an excellent tours page on their website (https://tours.asu.edu/), which gives a complete 3d tour of all 4 of their campuses with markers at their most important buildings to help students get a feel for the campus, just as they would have done in-person.

When you were able to visit colleges in person, you are typically led on campus tours by a current student,” Deignan said. “Many colleges then offered breakout sessions about Campus Housing, Honors, Majors, etc.  This is still the idea in a virtual visit, but clearly, it is virtual!”

This sort of logic also applies to the college visits where the colleges would visit the high school. 

“These are all virtual at this time,” Deignan said. “Schools may also bring a speaker about a specific major, interest of study, scholarships, etc.” These speakers are professionals that can help answer questions that a normal representative may not answer. 

The best way to learn about these virtual visits and programs like it, is through Schoology. All seniors should have a class called senior counseling on their homepage where all the information regarding college visits, scholarships is located. 

In addition to this, there are other resources like the Education and Career Action Plan, or ECAP for short, which can help students focus on their goals and achievements that will help them after high school. 

“This year, school counselors are using grade level Schoology courses to share ALL of this information,” Deignan said. “This year we posted a PowerPoint and a Video in Schoology.”

Speaking of scholarships, they are a great resource that can help any student pay for college. There are scholarships for just about everything, the hard part is to know where to look.

First and foremost, knowing the different types of scholarships can help students know what scholarships are available as well as the ones they qualify for. The two main types of scholarships are merit and private.

“Merit Scholarships are awarded to individual students by a college based on their skills, not based on financial need,” Morgan said. “Private Scholarships are awarded to individual students by businesses, agencies, organizations, and clubs to use during college.”

These scholarships can be further divided into subcategories, like academic or business scholarships.

Naviance is the go-to site to find scholarships and can easily be found by typing “Naviance TUHSD” into Google. The site is easy to navigate and allows students to filter scholarships based on their criteria.

Schoology is yet another great resource to find scholarships which can be seen yet again in the counseling folder.

“In Schoology,  in the Course Dashboard in Senior Counseling, is a Scholarship Tab,” Morgan said. “In the tab is a long list of active scholarships with information about the individual scholarships.” 

On top of these resources, there are also some other websites that offer scholarships that may not be offered in Naviance or Schoology.

“Fastweb, Scholarships.com, Going Merry, Chegg Scholarships, College Board,  BigFuture, College website and Raise.me,” courtesy of Ms. Morgan.

Applying to colleges and scholarships may seem impossible, with all of the research, time and money, but ultimately with the right research, that most crucial first step may not seem so big.