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!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Career Insider - Executive Chef

I love to cook.  Can I do that for a living?

Executive Chef Jobs

Executive chefs perform supervisory roles in kitchens. They are responsible for menu selections, delegating work, pricing menu items, reprimanding kitchen employees and maintaining a safe operable kitchen. They actively participate in the kitchen during peak operation times.

Education: Most executive chefs have degrees in the culinary arts field. Completion of hospitality and leadership courses can help students hone their skills. Students must learn how to combine flavors and create unique dishes.

Career Path: Developing recipes and leadership skills will help build a career as an executive chef. A bachelor's degree will help candidates to have a leading edge on their competition. Taking advantage of internships with well-known executive chefs can prove valuable on resumes.

Skillset: Executive chefs must have strong leadership skills. Mathematical skills are important for measuring ingredients and adjusting recipes. Organizational skills are also a must. They are required to communicate effectively with staff members. If there is a problem with a dish, they may also have to interact with customers and resolve issues.

Where can I find out more?
A great resource for students interested in the culinary arts is SBISD's Guthrie Center.  The school offers students real-world learning opportunities that can take them to the next step in their professional career.

Career Insider - Software QA Engineer

I am interested in computers. 

What type of career opportunities are there for me?

A Software QA Engineer is responsible for assuring proper functionality of software products. The QA Engineer works with software developers and project managers to determine functionality requirements. Significant portions of a day in this position typically include working in and developing new test suites.

Education: Most employers seek applicants with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related technical discipline, with some companies additionally preferring a graduate degree. While not commonly required, professional certification in quality engineering can give candidates an edge with the most attractive employers.

Career Path: To begin building a foundation for a career as a Software QA Engineer, pursue practical experience with standard programming languages and with testing suites. Adept written and verbal communication skills will complement an education and continued experience in software design.

Skill Sets: While it is necessary to be detail oriented and organized while working with code, a Software QA Engineer also must be comfortable with software design at the conceptual level. The ability to diagnose and solve software design problems is critical. People skills are required for effective communication with personnel involved in software development projects. Adaptability to a variety of programming languages and new technologies is also important.

For more insider information on careers, visit the Career Bliss website.

Explore a Career

Not sure what you want to do after high school? 

Introduction CareerShip® is a free online career exploration adventure for middle and high school students. CareerShip is a product of Mapping Your Future, a public-service web site providing free career, college, financial aid, and money management information and services.

Students can review careers by cluster, review the featured career, match careers to their interests, or search for a particular career. For each career, students will have access to a variety of information:

  • Tasks
  • Wages
  • Career outlook
  • Interests
  • Education
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Similar careers

So, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top 3 FAFSA Question and Answers

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in accessing the more than $150 billion available in federal student aid. Since the 2013-14 FAFSA launched, there are a few questions we’ve seen popping up more than any others. Let’s go through them.

-- Reposted from the U.S. Department of Ed Blog

How can I complete the FAFSA if my parents or I haven’t filed my 2012 taxes yet?
FAFSA ImageYou CAN complete the 2013-14 FAFSA even if you or your parents haven’t filed your 2012 taxes yet. Here’s what you or your parents can do in your respective sections of the FAFSA:
  1. When the FAFSA asks: “Have you completed a 2012 income tax return?” Select “Will file.”
  2. Estimate income.
    • If your 2012 income is similar to your 2011 income, use your 2011 income tax return to provide estimates for questions about your income.
    • If your income is not similar, click Income Estimator for assistance estimating your adjusted gross income, and answer the remaining questions about your income to the best of your ability.
  1. After you file your 2012 tax return, go to and correct your information.
    • Note: Once you complete your 2012 taxes, you may also be eligible to use the FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer your tax return information from the IRS into the FAFSA.
When is the FAFSA deadline?
States, schools, and the federal government each have their own FAFSA filing deadlines . It is important that you research all of these deadlines and complete the FAFSA by whichever deadline comes first. That being said, some types of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you complete the FAFSA as soon as possible in order to maximize the amount of financial aid you can receive.
Which FAFSA should I complete?
When you log into, you will be given two different options: “Start a 2013-14 FAFSA” and “Start a 2012-13 FAFSA.” Which should you choose?
    • If you’ll be attending college between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 select “Start a 2013-14 FAFSA.”
    • If you’ll be attending college between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 select “Start a 2012-13 FAFSA.”
    • If you are applying for a summer session, or just don’t know which application to complete, check with the college you are planning to attend.
For more information about FAFSA, visit

You Can Go!

Don't think you can go to college?

Afraid you won't be able to pay for your education...or is something holding you back?  You are not alone.  Listen to what some of your peers have to say about their college fears...and how they made it.

YouCanGo! is a website created by the CollegeBoard to help students plan for college.  Special video spotlight features real students talking about how they faced challenges and overcame them to achieve their dream of a college education.

College Planning Made Easy

Does planning for college feel impossible?

Does the thought of planning for college make you stressed?  When you think about all the steps you just feel like giving up? You need a plan! 

Visit the College Board website to see how you can make planning for college easy.

College and Family - Encourage Your Student

Pursuing the Dream of College

Real students talk about not letting anything stand in the way of their college dreams.

I'm going to college.

Wayne explains why he's going to college and how others can benefit by going, too.

I submitted my what?

Have you filled out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are wondering what happens next? Check out this video to learn what to expect after completing the FAFSA.

Going to College - Best Tips from REAL Students

Ready for college? Who better to give you advice than people who experience it first-hand - everyday college students! Here's some valuable advice for your college journey.

College Myths 101 - Get the Facts!

We're sure you've heard many myths about college: It's one big party. It's much harder than high school. It's only for certain types of people. Hear everyday college students explain the truths behind common college myths.

Is college harder than high school?

It's a question many incoming freshmen want the answer to - Is college harder than high school? Check out this video to get the truth from real college students. 

Check out to learn more.

What types of financial aid are there?

If you need help paying for college or career school, the office of Federal Student Aid can assist you with getting the money you need. Check out this video to learn about grants, loans, and work-study jobs and how they can help fund your education. 

Visit to learn more.

Forecast Your Financial Aid Future

No sure if federal financial aid is going to be an option for you?  

Don't think it will be much help in paying for your college degree?  What if you could find out?  The U.S. Department of Education has a tool to do just that!  It's called the FAFSA4caster.  It will help you understand your options for paying for college.

What do I need to do?  

First, click here and visit the FAFSA4caster site.  Then, enter some basic information and see what your estimated eligibility for federal student aid is.  Your estimate will appear in a "College Cost Worksheet" where you can also estimate the amount of other student aid and savings.

Get started now!

New IRS Data Tool & How to Fill Out Your FAFSA

Important FAFSA Information: The 2013-2014 IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available on February 3rd.
How do I fill out the FAFSA application?  Take a moment to watch this information video about how to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How is my financial aid determined?

Wondering how the amount of your financial aid is determined?

The financial aid office at your school uses a simple formula to determine your amount of financial aid.  COA-EFC=Financial Need

COA = Cost of Attendance
EFC = Expected Family Contribution

For more information about the FAFSA, visit the U.S. Department of Education FAFSA website at:

FREE Means No Fees!

The first "F" in FAFSA stands for free!

Several website offer to assist you in filling out your FAFSA...for a fee.  These sites are no affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education.  We urge you not to pay for these services.  You can get

FREE assistance from the FAFSA website at:

Another year...another FAFSA?

Did you know that you need to complete a FAFSA each school year?
The good news?  If you already completed a FAFSA in a previous school year, much of your information will roll over automatically.

Visit the to see where your application stands.