Meridian – One of the things that students and parents worry about when planning post-secondary education is financial assistance.
The Record-Journal recently interviewed Meriden teachers, who offer tips to help students succeed when applying for scholarships.
As part of the district’s curriculum, planning for post-secondary education begins a new year and includes scholarships, said Yesenia Diaz, a counselor at Maloney High School.
This process involves knowing which classes are available to students, which classes fit each student’s career path, and how the choice of course affects scholarship applications. Diaz said advisors also work with students to help them earn college credit while they are in high school.
Students are also introduced to Naviance, a college and career readiness software program.
“We are really emphasizing to continue with (Naviance) and use the portal to search for scholarships because that is where we primarily have all the scholarships we offer within the region,” Diaz said.
During the junior year, advisors begin ‘Beginner Planning Meetings’ with small groups of students, who are provided with information about their records and test scores.
Next, the advisors begin the financial aid process by requiring students to complete an Application for Federal Student Aid.
Joanna DeJesus, a counselor at Platt High School, said she encourages parents and guardians to be involved in the entire college application process, especially financial aid.
According to Diaz, there are many scholarships available specifically for Latino students.
Diaz said Connecticut Students for a Dream — an organization that provides resource information for undocumented students — is usually invited to schools because there are a number of Latino students who are not eligible for traditional types of financial aid because of their immigration status. .
Students should keep in mind that there are scholarships recommended by the Chancellor.
DeJesus explained that district counselors make themselves available during certain times of the day so that seniors can use that time to get help with scholarships.
In addition, schools host information sessions with representatives from colleges.
A summer program is also offered to assist students with college applications and high school scholarships.
“I think there are plenty of opportunities for students to come in to learn more,” DeJesus said.
Peter Civitello, supervisor of data integration and post-secondary planning at Meriden Public Schools, said high school counselors do a great job of developing relationships with students early on to ensure they can provide the best resources.
“Over four years, they have had a better understanding and a better relationship with these students, perhaps more than anyone else in the building, and they know their exact career paths, their post-secondary plans and how they can help them,” Civitello said.
Xavier Vebles, a student at Platt, said the scholarship application process was “difficult”.
“It sure was difficult,” he said. “There’s no way around it, it’s a very difficult process.”
He said guidance counselors are the best resource for scholarship assistance.
Febles is in the process of applying for a Nutmeg scholarship, which can give him a full payment to the University of Connecticut. Discover the scholarship by searching on the UConn website.
His advice to students who may be facing difficulties is to visit the guidance office and search the college websites for more information.
Diaz said that although she encourages students to do some research themselves, they should be careful because some scholarship sites are run by for-profit companies.
“We made it very clear, you never want to pay to get paid,” she said.
She also stressed that students should make sure they access legitimate and reputable websites and be careful about giving out their Social Security number.
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