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!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reminder - Transcript Requests & Application Deadlines


College admissions deadlines are approaching fast. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you need to make sure requests for any documentation are in before Nov. 26 with your campus counselor. Don't wait!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reminder - Upcoming College Nights!

Mark the Calendar: 2013 College Nights Oct. 8-9

SBISD's College Nights is a two-evening informational program designed especially for high school students and their families, this year the program will be held for the 10th consecutive year on Oct. 8-9 at Spring Woods High School, 2045 Gessner.

The College Nights programs are designed as one-stop “shopping” events and will be held from 6-8 p.m. on both evenings. Students are encouraged to attend on the night their high school is scheduled, but may check the list of participating universities for each evening to insure that they do attend the program that includes the colleges or universities they are most interested in.

High school nights and schedules are:

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6-8 p.m. This session is recommended for Stratford and Spring Woods high schools and Westchester Academy for International Studies families.

Wednesday, Oct.9, 6-8 p.m. This session has been recommended for Memorial and Northbrook high schools families, as well as students who are enrolled at the Spring Branch Academy of Choice.

Typical sessions attract as many as 200 representatives from regional, state and national colleges and universities, both public and private, as well as many technical and military-related institutions. Representatives share information with students and family members about college cost, size, undergraduate majors and the particular application process, plus other items of interest.

For more information on College Nights 2013, please call Hortencia Vega at 713-251-1992 or contact the campus counselors who may also provide additional details and information.

Online Registration

Juniors and Seniors are being "bulk registered" and will be provided with barcodes for College Nights at their campuses. Please note, however, that students whose parents opted to not allow the district to provide student information to entities outside the district will not be registered in the bulk registration process. They will be able to register on their own. Students can register at the following site.

This will save time standing in line and filling out information cards. College representatives can scan the student barcode and have the student information for future contact and may use the information to target scholarship offers. Most of the colleges registered will have scanners but not all.

Check the Post Secondary site (Dream it. Achieve it.) for the names of colleges and universities registered for the event.

FAFSA VOCAB You Need to Know : Cost of Attendance (COA)

Cost of Attendance (COA): The total amount it will cost you to go to school—usually stated as a yearly figure. COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, including an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer; costs related to a disability; and reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.

For students attending less than half-time, the COA includes tuition and fees and an allowance for books, supplies, transportation, and dependent care expenses, and can also include room and board for up to three semesters or the equivalent at the institution. But no more than two of those semesters, or the equivalent, may be consecutive. Contact the financial aid administrator at the school you’re planning to attend if you have any unusual expenses that might affect your COA.


Accreditation: Confirms that the college or career school meets certain minimum academic standards, as defined by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools must be accredited to be eligible to participate in federal student aid programs.


Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.
Here’s a quick overview of Federal Work-Study:
  • It provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school.
  • It’s available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with financial need.
  • It’s available to full-time or part-time students.
  • It’s administered by schools participating in the Federal Work-Study Program. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if your school participates.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Click here to

FAFSA Question: I am a non-U.S. citizen. Can I get federal student aid?

If you fall in one of the categories below, you are considered an “eligible noncitizen.”
1. You are a
  • U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island) or
  • U.S. permanent resident with a Form I-551, I-151, or I-551C (Permanent Resident Card, Resident Alien Card, or Alien Registration Receipt Card), also known as a green card.
2. You have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing
  • “Refugee,”
  • “Asylum Granted,”
  • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending),”
  • “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980), or
  • “Parolee” (you must be paroled for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are not in the United States for a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident).
3. You hold a T-visa (for victims of human trafficking) or your parent holds a T-1 visa. Your college or career school’s financial aid office will ask to see your visa and/or certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

4. You are a “battered immigrant-qualified alien” who is a victim of abuse by your citizen or permanent resident spouse, or you are the child of a person designated as such under the Violence Against Women Act.

5. You are a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau. If this is the case, you are eligible only for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, or Federal Work-Study. Check with your college or career school financial aid office for more information.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Worried you won’t be able to get aid? Most people are eligible for financial aid for college or career school.  Different types of aid (private scholarships, state grants, etc.) have different rules, called eligibility criteria, to determine who gets the aid.

Here is alisting of reference information from ( about the eligibility criteria for the federal student aid programs.

Repayment: What to Expect

I know about FAFSA...but what other options do I have?

What are my OPTIONS for financial aid?

What happens next?

I completed the FAFSA. Now what?

How do I fill out the FAFSA?

Completing the FAFSA - It's easier than you think!

You Don't Have to Do It Alone!

By Taylor H., college senior
Find out why Taylor H. thinks the financial aid application process is "pretty simple."
To apply for most financial aid — including federal and state student grants, work-study, and loans — you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Although this financial aid form may seem complex, there are many free resources to help you. And completing the form is easier than it used to be, thanks to the new IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Click here to

Webinar from The College Board: FAFSA - What You Need to Know

Watch the presentation and download resources 

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the application required by colleges and states to award federal financial aid dollars. Participants will get a complete preview of the application, find out what information they'll need to provide, and learn about available resources and tools to help complete the form. There will be ample time for questions and answers at the end of the session.

Presenter: Susan McCrackin, Senior Director, Financial Aid Services, College Board.
Watch the webinar recorded Jan. 8, 2013
Play recorded webinar

Webinar resources

Completing the FAFSA: PowerPoint presentationGet the PDF version of the slide show presented in the webinar.
Download (.pdf/3MB)

College Financial Aid Timeline for High School Seniors
Use this handout to keep track of important dates and deadlines as you apply for financial aid.
Download (.pdf/186KB)

How to Complete the FAFSA
Get an overview of how to complete the form.
Read article

Visit The College Board website for more information.