College Preparation & Planning

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Tour the college or university of your choice - without leaving home!

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Am I taking the right classes?

Do you know if you're on the right path to college or career? Find out with a few helpful tips.

What can I do to get prepared and ahead for college and career?

Whether you are in middle school or high school, there is so much you can do to get ahead and be prepared.

Don't Leave it Up to Chance

Don't miss the opportunity to learn everything you know about paying for college and applying for the FAFSA.

Does a degree equal higher pay?

Career exploration is vital when making decisions regarding your future. Now is the time to look at what you love to do, what you're passionate about, and how you can make a living. There's alot to think about!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Make a LARGE College Feel Like Home

Students can create small communities at a large campus by joining student organizations and networking. 

Large universities can feel isolating, but there are plenty of opportunities for students to engage with students and staff.
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Large universities typically offer an abundance of resources and opportunities, but transitioning into a new environment with tens of thousands of students can be overwhelming for college freshmen.
"Coming to an institution like the size of UCF can be very intimidating to anyone," says Belinda Boston, assistant vice president of student development and enrollment services at the University of Central Florida, an institution with over 50,000 students. 
Students who are social and comfortable engaging with people from a variety of backgrounds may fit more naturally into a large campus environment, but experts say that personality and background aren’t necessarily indicators of who can and will be successful at large schools.
"College is the great leveling field. Everyone is starting over so it’s an opportunity for a new beginning," she says. 
Students need to be resilient, vocal and willing to leave their comfort zones to succeed at a large university, says the student development specialist. Experts provide the following advice to help students find their niche at a large university and excel academically and socially.  
• Remember who you are: ​ Students may feel pressure to try to fit in at big schools​, but experts say that students will have better success if they retain their own identities.
"It’s so easy to lose your individuality because students want to blend in. What we say to students is that it's OK to stand out. It's OK to be yourself," Boston says.
College can be the start of a new beginning, but it’s important for students to remember that their experiences, passions and hobbies are still relevant. Experts encourage students to find ways to express those passions on campus and use them to build new relationships. Large universities have a multitude of school-sponsored​ clubs, so it’s likely that students will find something that matches their hobby or have the opportunity to create something new on campus, experts say.
With so much action happening on and around campus, the fear of missing out can be a problem for students who attend large universities, says Susan Cain, an author whose book "Quiet" focused on introverts and shyness.​ 
Cain encourages students to be introspective and take care of themselves physically and mentally. That can mean finding quiet places to recharge, studying alone instead of a big study hall, eating alone ​instead of in ​a packed dining hall and exercising and eating right.
"Once you honor what you need, you’ll find those quiet, ​restorative niches," Cain says.
• Engage with your peers:​  Developing relationships with peers is another way for students to create a sense of belonging at a large university. College officials encourage freshmen to take advantage of thediverse student body and extracurricular programs as opportunity to broaden their world view by connecting with students from different cultures and backgrounds. 
"Everybody wants to connect, everybody wants to feel accepted," says Marisel Herrera, director of the First-Year Success Center at Arizona State University. ​
She encourages students to ask questions and have conversations with each other, but without making assumptions or passing judgment. ​
Experts also encourage students to make connections with older students because they can help freshmen navigate everything from studying to socializing.
​"Find someone who has already walked the path that you want to go," UCF’s Boston says.
"Sometimes our first-year students forget to reach out to older students to use them as mentors," she says.
• Learn how to network: Getting a degree and making the appropriate connections for careers should be a priority, experts say. At large universities, where some core​ classes can have around 300 students, standing out is important.

ASU's Herrera encourages students to sit within the first three rows of the classroom to limit distractions, ask questions and ​introduce themselves to their instructors.
"Faculty are massive resources to students beyond their content that they teach. They’re phenomenal​ for mentoring students. They’re phenomenal for writing letters of recommendation in the future, which is really important to start building as a freshmen," she says. ​ ​
Professors aren’t the only ones who can help students succeed.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Upcoming College Nights - Oct. 7 & 8

Spring Branch ISD will once again open its doors to representatives from approximately two hundred colleges, universities, technical schools, and military service branches at the annual TACRAO College Nights during the first week of October (7-8). College Nights will be held at the Spring Woods High School campus from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. each evening.

Stratford High School, Spring Woods High School, and Westchester Academy for International Studies are scheduled to participate on Tuesday, October 7th and Memorial High School, Northbrook High School and Academy of Choice are scheduled to participate on Wednesday, October 8th.

Students are encouraged to review the list of participating institutions and attend on whichever evening that their selected institutions will be available. 

This is the opportunity for all juniors, seniors and their parents to talk to representatives from across the nation. They can review admission requirements, majors available, and financial aid availability as they continue to research options of either technical school, the military, a two year institution or a four year institution (T-2-4). Seniors also have an opportunity to actually meet some of the representatives who are often those reviewing student admission applications.

New this year! 

On October 7th, there will be a section in the fair featuring the T-2 Options offered at Houston Community College campuses throughout Houston. 

Some other additions to this year’s event will include:

HCC Go Mobile will be open for seniors to register for a PIN number (needed for FAFSA) , complete HCC applications, etc. 
• Section featuring information about financial aid ; and 
• Section featuring information about scholarships. (The Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show Scholarship committee and the Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF)will have a table in the gym. 
 • The Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show Scholarship committee will also hold informational sessions throughout both evenings-come and get an early start on scholarship applications! 

Students Can Register Now

We’re making the college fair circuit much more efficient for you. 

You register ONE TIME, RIGHT HERE, and you get a barcode you can take to any of the automated fairs. Put an end to filling out info cards at every table. Instead, spend your time talking with the schools and finding out what YOU want to know.

For more info on how this all works, click here.

Registration is recommended but not required for admission. 

It is quick and easy! 
• Click on Register Now 
• Click on state of Texas on US map
• Scroll down and click on page 2 
• Click on “attending” TACRAO (dates 10/6/2014-10/10/2014)
• Click on Register Now and complete registration
• Submit and print your bar code for use at Spring Branch ISD College Nights on October 7th and/or 8th College Representatives

Monday, April 21, 2014

Interested in attending A&M? Read the new AGGIEBOUND magazine!

Students are urged to start thinking about college before they even step foot into high school, and choosing the right path can be overwhelming. Visit and subscribe to the one-of-a-kind AGGIEBOUND magazine - a new publication created for all high school students!

Developed and produced by the Office of Admissions, all content is written by current students specifically for prospective students and their families.

Subscribers will be mailed two issues per year that cover topics including academics, university traditions, student life and more. With AGGIEBOUND magazine, you'll can get an inside look at Texas A&M and see for yourself why there is no better place to be. 

How to Succeed and Master the College Application Process

Begin exploring your tomorrow, today.

With a growing video library of over 3,000 videos, you can get advice on

how to succeed in high school, picking the right college, mastering the
college application process, and much, much more.

Visit website:

Not sure how you're going to pay off those student loans?

AIE Provides Free Training Guide for Students

College is an exciting, important time for expanding your horizons and preparing for your career and life to come. On the financial front, earning a college degree is also one of the best investments out there.

As with all investments, however, college requires you to pay in up front in order to reap the benefits down the road. For most students, that means taking out student loans. While it's easy to take advantage now of money you won't have to repay until later, eventually those bills will start rolling in.

Here's where that time machine comes in handy. Learning about student loan repayment now can help you cruise into your future armed with knowledge, so you'll be ready when your payments come due.

To give you that tour of things to come, AIE provides a free online training guide called Six Things You Should Know About Repayment Plans. This short presentation teaches you the essentials of how student loan repayment works, including:

  • Where to find a complete list of your federal student loans
  • What the basic repayment plans are
  • How income-based repayment plans compare
  • How to apply for each plan
  • What to do if you have trouble making payments
Don't let the future take you by surprise! Check out Six Things You Should Know About Repayment Plans on AIE today.