College Preparation & Planning

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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, May 17, 2013

Five Criteria to Picking the Right College

What is the graduation rate for your school?
Students should know the graduation rate for their school before selecting it, including by race/ethnicity, and Pell grant status. Currently, College Results Online shares the former, but the federal government does not track Pell grant graduation rates, requiring students to request this number from each institution where they plan to apply.

Is your college the best match for you academically?School admission criteria (academic match). Students are more likely to graduate when they attend a school where they are with their academic peers, based on GPA and SAT/ACT scores.  Talk to an admissions officer to find out more about specifics on admissions and makeup of your class.

Is your college the best financial fit your your income?
Net price by family income (financial fit). It is important for students to know not only the net price of an institution, but what that net price is for their family's economic quintile. Many low-income students still think college is out of reach based solely on the cost.

Are graduates from your school of choice defaulting on their loans?
Cohort loan default rate (financial fit). Another helpful aspect of financial fit is the number of students who have not defaulted on their loans three years after graduating or leaving school.

If graduates from your school of choice are not paying their loans back, it may be an indicator they are not able to secure a career post graduation.  Another great way to see if students from your school of choice are entering the workplace is to visit your campus career assistance office.  They are there to ask questions!

Is your college a good fit for you socially?
Student body profile(social fit). The profile of the student body (age, race, income, part time/full time), and size of the study body are also helpful.

New Tool for Students - Compare College TX

Compare College TX is an interactive, mobile-friendly web tool designed to help students and parents learn more about Texas public universities and community colleges. Start exploring today by selecting 2 or 4 year schools, or search for a college or university by name.  Visit the Compage College TX website now >>

Monday, May 13, 2013

To Intern Or Not to Intern, That is the Question

On the job experience is sometimes just as important as your education. For some careers it's even more important as the skill set becomes more and more specialized. The work experience that internships provide will help you learn what it’s really like to work in that profession. In many cases, you can learn by doing, build your professional network, and develop a portfolio of work.

A great way to build your job experience is through interships.  Interships are temporary positions that let you experience a variety of careers that interest you, and if they don't work out as you imagined, move on and try another. Even very low-paying (or non-paying) internships can be beneficial in terms of experience and even academic credit. You're making contacts, developing skills, and generally making yourself more hirable.

When considering an internship position, ask yourself if the work experience is worth it now and in the long run? If the pay is low (or there is no pay), what will I have to show from the experience? Is there a real opportunity to roll up my sleeves and be a contributing team member on a worthwhile project?

Here are more resources to learn about internship opportunities:

Staying On Track to Meet Your Goals - GPA Calculator

We all know that getting good grades is important. From the time we start kindergarten, we are reminded of this fact by our parents, relatives, teachers, counselors, principals — probably even random people on the street. When the time comes to start thinking about college, the message hits home: your grades influence your chances of being admitted to your chosen school and of getting scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial. 

So how can you be sure you're on track to meet those GPA goals?
Check out the GPA Goal Calculator.  The GPA Calculator is an easy to use tool that can help you calculate the grades you need in order to achieve your GPA goal.

GPA Calculator >>

Don't leave money on the table!

When it comes to paying for school, you're not alone. Grants, work-study, and low-interest loans help make college affordable.  Financial aid is available from a variety of sources for college, career school, graduate school, and professional school.  Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school.  Read more >>

Mastering the College Essay

The college application essay is the perfect place to give admission officers a picture of who you are beyond grades, test scores and a list of extracurricular activities. But many students struggle to get started or to come up with ideas. Read about how these students approached their essays on The College Board's Big Future website.