College Preparation & Planning

Visit the SBISD Website:

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

Virtual High School Tours @

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, March 28, 2013

Academics, Attendance, Attitude and Work Ethics

What can I do today to positively impact my future?

Academics:High school graduation, college and career may seem like something far away but it's not. Challenge yourself academically and aim for high grades.

Classes you are taking now are geared to prepare you for college coursework. Expand your knowledge base by taking time to read and expose yourself to new words and vocabulary.

Attendance:Show up for class. It may sound simple, but it's critical. If you are not in class you are at a disadvantage to those you are. Employers don't want to hire someone who is not going to show up at work.

Your future boss or college recuiter wants to know they can rely on you and one way for them to check is to review your high school attendance records.

You may think that it has no impact on a future career, but future employers will differ with you.

A person's attitude about themselves, others and life can be a huge influence on landing that dream job. Someone who has a positive attitude will strive to achieve greater success in their job and be an asset to their employer...and who wants to go to work and have to listen to someone who is unhappy and negative?

Work Ethic:
Your work ethic reflects your passion and dedication. If you are interested in the work you do it shows. That's why it's important to take time in high school to investigate your interests.

You want to enjoy going to work and making a contribution...and your employer will take notice if you don't. By applying yourself to your studies and activities now, you succeed in building good work ethics. It's as simple as doing something you love!

Your Journey Starts Now!

On any journey you have to start by doing a little planning. 

Your journey to college or career success is no different. 

Each week we'll be posting tips for you to use as you embark on this adventure.  It may seem overwhelming at times, but know that you are not alone!  You have teachers, parents and friends who care about you and want to help you as you plan for the future.

One thing you can count on - the more time you invest now in you future - the more you will benefit from your high school experience. 

Whether you plan on going directly to college after graduation, entering the work force or earning a professional certification or speciality, the work you do now will open doors and serve as the foundation for opportunities on the horizon.
It may seem like a lot of hard work...but think of how you are going to feel when you walk across the stage to accept your high school diploma.  Keep your eye on the prize and know your Spring Branch family is here cheering you on!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Modern Student


How to Win the SAT Game

College Tour 101

Spring marks the beginning of high school students’ search for the college or university they choose to attend. One of the most important times for these soon-to-be co-eds is their campus tour. The impression they receive of the school – based on this encounter – will help them decide whether or not this is the school for them.
Here are some suggestions made by classy college students who have been through the process and know what to wear!

“Jeans, cute top, and COMFY shoes!!!!” Rachel, 20
“Be sure to check the weather. You don’t want to show up in Uggs and a t-shirt when you should be wearing warmer clothing.” Katie, 20

“I recommend bringing an umbrella. You never know when it’s going to start raining.” Maddy, 19
“Comfortable clothing is really important because how you feel physically as your touring can effect your experience as a whole.” Sarah, 21

When preparing for this important day, often one of the first thoughts to go through a classy co-ed’s mind is what outfit will make the best impression on the school. These suggestions will help to make your campus tour a happy, memorable experience.

-- Reprinted from College Lifestyles

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

College Fair - April 11 at the Reliant

Don't miss this! The National Association for College Admission Counseling is hosting a college fair for parents and students on April 11 at the Reliant Center.

Parents and students participants will be able to meet one-on-one with representatives from colleges and universities to discuss admission and financial aid opportunities at their respective institutions. 

Bookmark it!

Visit the For Student section of the SBISD website for the latest news and updates.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Essay Prompts Announced

The new ApplyTexas Essay Prompts have been released.

Sophomores and Juniors will find this of particular interest.
Freshmen - they don't change often, so this may apply to you in a couple of years.

ApplyTexas Essay Prompts A, B and C (for 2013-2014)

Slated to replace current ApplyTexas essay choices A, B and C
For inclusion in ApplyTexas applications for the 2014 cycle (opening 8/1/13)

Essay A: Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings, and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.

Essay B: Describe a circumstance, obstacle or conflict in your life, and the skills and resources you used to resolve it. Did it change you? If so, how?

Essay C: Considering your lifetime goals, discuss how your current and future academic and extra-curricular activities might help you achieve your goals.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Attention Incoming Prairie View Freshman - Summer Bridge Program

Panther Pride Summer Bridge Program

The Panther Pride Summer Bridge Program is a structured five (5) week summer program designed for incoming Prairie View freshmen who are interested in taking the necessary steps to jumpstart their academic career.

Program participants will have the opportunity to:
  • Complete six (6) hours of college level coursework
  • Experience residence life
  • Take part in academic and social enhancement workshops
  • Network with faculty, staff, and administrators
Because PVAMU is dedicated to the academic success of our students, the University will cover the cost of tuition, fees, housing, and meals associated with participating in the Panther Pride Program.

Also, each participant will also receive a $100 dollar book voucher to offset the cost of required textbooks. If you are interested in participating in the Panther Pride Summer Bridge Program, please complete the application and return it by May 1, 2013.

The Panther Pride Summer Bridge Program will begin on July 9, 2013 and will end on August 14, 2013.

Five Ways Education Pays

For most students who go to college, the increase in their lifetime earnings far outweighs the costs of their education. That’s a powerful argument for college. But more income is by no means the only positive outcome you can expect.

The knowledge, fulfillment, self-awareness, and broadening of horizons that come from a college experience can transform your life — and the lives of those around you — in other equally valuable ways.

More security, better health, closer family and stronger community, in addition to greater wealth, are the real value of a college education. 

Think about it...

Better health makes everything else possible. It gives you the strength to take on life’s challenges. To enjoy the opportunities that come your way. College is where you can build the knowledge and skills to maintain better health. Young adults with a 4-year college degree are much less likely to be obese than those with only a high school diploma.

Stronger community means more cooperation, more collaboration — and more progress in understanding and solving the issues we face as a society. College is where you can shape your views on those issues. Find your voice. And build a stronger community. Individuals aged 18 to 24 with a 4-year college degree were much more likely to vote in the 2008 election.

More security means less worry. Less worry that you won’t be able to support yourself or the people you love. That you’ll have to rely on others to get by. College is a way to achieve independence. To achieve more security. Individuals with a 4-year college degree are about half as likely to be unemployed as those with only a high school diploma.

Closer family comes from sharing life experiences, from passing on knowledge, from inspiring the next generation to achieve even more than the last. College is an opportunity for you to broaden your world, to create the foundation for a closer family. Children of parents with a 4-year college degree are much more likely to be read to every day than children of parents with only a high school diploma.

--Reprinted from the College Board Adcovacy and Policy Center
See all the ways a college degree can enhance your life and lifestyle:

Career Planning Made Easy

What is The Program of Study?
The Programs of Study (POS) reflect current occupations and represent all 79 career pathways as cited on These documents are designed for students and contain lots of helpful information, including the core courses and career-related electives in high school that will help prepare you for your career goals.

The POS are based upon the Recommended High School Graduation Plan and can easily be adapted for the Distinguished Achievement High School Graduation Plan.

Remember to follow the science math sequencing required by SBISD. These plans are sample plans utilized in Texas and require tweaking to fit courses offered in the district, so talk to your teacher or college planning counselor.  For more information and to access the complete Program of Study, visit the AchieveTexas website.

Apply for Camp College at Sam Houston State University

Rising Juniors and Seniors- Time to Apply!

Camp College is a residential college application "boot camp" for rising college-bound high school juniors and seniors. Students will learn about a variety of colleges and universities, build relationships with many admission representatives and college counselors, as well as spend the night on the campus of Sam Houston State University.

Approximately 120 students from across the state of Texas will work with several college-admission professionals to help students:
  • Identify schools that match interests and needs
  • Write an application essay and create a resume
  • Navigate the financial aid maze
  • Learn tips, techniques, and strategies for the ACT/SAT
  • Attend college presentations and a college fair
Interested in serving as a mentor at Camp College?

Complete your mentor registration form today!
Mentors will be expected to arrive June 9th for training/orientation.

Camp College Student Application 2013 - Apply Now 
Due April 1st.

Eligibility: Students graduating from high school either in 2014 or 2015.
Location: Sam Houston State University, Huntsville

For more information:
Contact: Jordan Sass
Phone: 832.842.9041

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Texas College & Career — a one-stop, no-cost college and career planning resource site for all Texas secondary students, parents, and educators — believes in empowering our students by providing comprehensive college and career planning tools for our young people in Texas. With, students can plan and complete all of the necessary steps for college and career planning all in one place.

Parents and guardians, mentors, school counselors and educators can also create their own account to get information, link to students and assist in guiding the planning for life post high school. 

Some of the outstanding features:
  • Create a student resume
  • Explore career possibilities - Do you know that there are more than 1,100 career profiles that may match a student's interests in Texas College & Career?
  • Build a list of schools that are aligned with your interests
  • Find information on 4,500+ two and four-year accredited institutions, nationally
  • Use the college match feature to narrow down your college lists to meet your specific goals, such as location, majors and programs, academic performance, personal interests, costs, and more
  • Use free test prep tutorials and sample tests for SAT and ACT
  • Manage and track college applications online, including essays, letters of recommendation, and test scores
  • Track cost information on your specific schools of interest
  • Find information on more than 5,700 scholarships

Texas Success Initiative - What you need to know.

Students attending Texas public institutions of higher education must be in compliance with the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), as of fall 2003 (Texas Education Code §51.3062) in order to enroll in public institutions of higher education.

The law requires all entering college students to be assessed for college readiness in reading, mathematics and writing unless the student qualifies for an exemption.

Each student who fails to meet the minimum passing standard of the exam offered by the institution must be placed in a developmental education program designed to help the student achieve college readiness.

Texas Success Initiative Exemptions
A student may be exempt from meeting Texas Success Initiative standards by meeting one of the following standards:
  • ACT Composite score of 23 or higher with at least a 19 on both English and math sections
  • SAT Combined verbaland math score of 1070 with a minimum of 500 on both the verbal test and math test
  • TAKS Minimum score of 2200 on both the English and/or math sections with at least a 3 on the writing component of the 11thgrade TAKS (for a period of 3 years from the date of testing)
For a complete list of TSI exemptions, see Texas Education Code, §51.3062(r) and Coordinating Board rules, §4.54 .

Effective AY 2013-2014, those students who are not exempt will begin taking one TSI, the Texas Success Initiative Test.

COMPASS, THEA and ACCUPLACER will no longer be utilized. The new TSI requirements are to be implemented on the institution's first day AY 2013-2014.  

Check out the College Board Southwest Forum' Power Point to learn more about the changes.

Secrets to College SAVINGS

-- Article by Maria Masters and Greg Mably Family Circle, March 2013 issue College Saving Secrets

These days, it's probably a toss-up who's more nervous about college: you or your child.

Graduates leave school with an average of $26,600 in debt -- but you don't have to leverage your 401(k) if you want to contribute. All it takes is a little planning and help from your teen to cut costs and minimize loan payments. Do Prep Work Assess your retirement savings. Invest in yourself first: Start putting money into a 401(k) or Roth IRA before contributing to your child's college bills. "You can't take out a loan for your retirement," says Carol Stack, coauthor of The Financial Aid Handbook. "And you don't want to end up relying on your kids to support you."

Use an online calculator like the one at to find out how much you should be setting aside each month. By keeping your savings goals on track, you may have more leeway to fund your child's education. Discuss your contribution. It's not easy to talk about finances with your children, says Stack, but if your teen is counting on you to help pay for school, she has to know whether and how much you plan to give each year. Read more...

B-On-Time Loan Program

The Texas B-On-Time (BOT) Loan Program provides zero-interest loans to Texas undergraduate students. Since the program is designed to encourage Texas students to be on time for graduation while meeting high academic standards, the loan can be converted to a grant for student borrowers who finish their degrees or certificates with at least a 3.0 average.

Now, Adventures In Education (AIE) is providing a more detailed brochure for anyone interested in applying for a BOT loan. The brochure answers a wide range of questions related to the loan, on subjects such as:
  • Applying for the loan
  • Maintaining eligibility
  • Forgiveness requirements
  • Loan amount and disbursement
  • How repayment works
Want to know more about the BOT Loan Program?
Click here to download an informational brochure.

Get a head start with Dual Credit!

Did you know you can earn college credit while in high school?

Dual Credit can save you time, money and stress. How does it work?  SBISD and our partner college have a specific program for Dual Credit. Your college credit is held until you complete all of the high school classes required.  If you are in grades 11 or 12 you can register, pay out-of-district tuition and fees, and once your courses are completed successfully, you receive your college hours.

For information and details about Dual Credit, talk to your teacher or contact the SBISD Career and Technical Education Program.  Click here for more information.

When should I look for an internship?

The answer to this question is now. It’s important to allow enough time to locate and apply for good internships. For internships in finance, government, publishing, etc., many of the deadlines to apply for summer internships can be as early as November.

Internships are becoming more popular for students still in high competition for the best spots can be high.

Students who start interning early can complete several different internships during their high school and college experience, which provide a portfolio of work for the intern making them more appealing to the future employer.


Internships 101: Is it important and why?

Internships are work-related learning experiences that provide students with an opportunity to gain important knowledge and skills in a specific career field.

As a career builder, internships are a chance to gain exposure to career fields of interest without making a permanent commitment.

Ask yourself...would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?  No!  So, why would you follow a college plan for a career you don't have first-hand experience in?  Internships are a great way to get that experience before you start taking college classes.

There are many resources available for finding an internship.  Many organizations or businesses use internships as a way to assess and train potential candidates for jobs. Internships are an excellent way to gain experience and try out one or more careers.  Internships let you see what it’s actually like working in a specific field.

Like chips you can't just have one!  Students will often do several internships to give them exposure to a variety of related jobs or even to check out various careers of interest. If you are interested in finding an internship, talk to your teacher, college mentor or campus guidance counselor.  SBISD offers a number of internship opportunities for interested students and one of the best places to start is the SBISD Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program.