MSTM Vision Statement:
A caring community that nurtures individuals to become productive lifelong learners.

MSTM Mission Statement:
Provide a safe and progressive learning environment to enhance student growth.

Guidance

The following college representatives will be at our school.  Please sign up in the guidance office.

Simpson College - September 30 @ 1:00

Graceland University - October 1 @ 10:00

Iowa State University - October 2 @ 2:15

Drake University - October 6 @ 10:00

Iowa Central Community College - October 8 @ 9:00

La James College - October 9 @ 9:00

Buena Vista University - October 15 @ 12:00

Indian Hills Community College - October 19 @ 1:15

Mercy College of Health Sciences - October 23 @ 1:00

UNI - October 26 @ 1:00

Briar Cliff University - October 28 @ 2:00

Central College - October 29 @ 10:00

Northwest Missouri State University - November 9 @ 1:30

DMACC - November 10 @ 9:30

Kirkwood Community College - November 11 @ 10:00

La James International - November 19 @ 1:00

Other Information

Golden Circle College Fair

Sunday, September 27, 12:30-3:00pm

Hy Vee Hall

 

Juniors: Sign up for the PSAT in the guidance office.  

Test will be given October 14 from 8:30-12:00 in the media center.  Fee is $15.00

 

http://www.beautyschoolsdirectory.com/search/IA

http://medicalassisting-edu.com/iowa/

http://www.toptruckingschools.com/states/iowa/

http://findautomotiveschools.com/

 

 

 

~ATTENTION SENIORS~

Click Here for Senior Meeting Presentation 

~ATTENTION JUNIORS~

Click Here for Junior Meeting Presentation


On This Page:   Helpful Links:   Planning for the Future:
ACT/SAT Testing   Local Scholarships   Colleges listed by state.
Regent College Entrance Requirements   GPA Calculator   College Planning Center
Scholarships   My Academic Plan (MAP)   NCAA Eligibility Guide
Graduation Requirements       NAIA Eligibility
Financial Aid        
Counseling Services        
Admission requirements for local colleges        
Regent Admission Index        
Need-Based Aid        
Iowa College Codes        
College Financial Aid Night        
Types of Colleges        
College Jargon        
College Planning Tips        
         

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Counseling Services

The Counseling/Guidance Program in Martensdale-St.Marys is available to all students. The three components of the program are academic, career, and personal/social counseling.

Academic counseling involves encouraging all students to enhance their academic achievements enabling them to have all opportunities available upon graduation. This includes: informing students of graduation requirements, aiding them with study skills, helping them with class registration, working with them on their post-secondary education admission testing, and providing financial aid information.

Career counseling involves providing students with information and resources to help them ascertain their interests, abilities and relate them to careers. As an eighth grader, all our students complete a 4 year plan and participate in a battery of career assessments. This information helps them identify career clusters which match their interests/abilities to aid them in choosing high school classes. As a freshman and sophomore the students are given the opportunity to adjust or make changes to the four year plan they completed as eighth graders. Juniors, again, look at their aptitudes/interests by taking more assessments. The counselor follows up by providing information on careers and post-secondary education. During their senior year, the planning becomes more specific. The counselor has several group presentations on scholarships, financial aid and etc.

Personal/social counseling is available to all students either by self referrals or by staff or parents. Individual or group sessions are available to help develop self-understanding, self-awareness, decision making, solving problems, and dealing with personal and family crisis. All sessions are confidential.


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Graduation Requirements

CLASS OF 2016, 2017 & 2018 CLASS OF 2019 & LATER

English

 4.0 credits

English

 4.0 credits
Mathematics  3.0 credits Mathematics  3.0 credits
Science  3.0 credits Science  3.0 credits
Social Studies  3.0 credits Social Studies  3.0 credits
P.E.  2.0 credits P.E.  4.0 credits
Health    .5 credit Health    .5 credit
Business Elective  1.0 credit Business Elective  1.0 credit
Word Processing    .5 credit Word Processing    .5 credit
Computer Application    .5 credit Computer Application    .5 credit
Electives 10.5 credits Electives 10.5 credits
_______________________________________________________
Total Required 28.0 credits Total Required 30.0 credits

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Scholarships

The one question I get asked most often by parents is this: “Where can my kid find some scholarships?” Well, the good news is that there is definitely money out there. The bad news is that to get it, you’re going to have to work. Students need to be willing to write essays, secure letters of reference and recommendation, and most of all….be persistent! Also, you need to be aware of phony scholarship companies. Just keep in mind, if there is an application fee it more than likely is a scam. If you have questions, call or email me. Below are some links to sites that I recommend.

www.fastweb.com
www.collegenet.com/mach25
GoodCall.com - Matching Students with over $40 Billion in available Private & College Specific Scholarships

Here are some scholarships that I am aware of and their due dates. If you are interested please stop by my office and get an application. Also, we will do our best to post scholarship descriptions in the senior scholarship book located in my office. Keep in mind these are just a fraction of the scholarships that are available to students. One of the best places to look is in the financial aid section of a college’s webpage.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW LOCAL SCHOLARSHIPS...

 

Scholarship Web Site Criteria Deadline
Iowa Association of Naturalists www.ianpage.20m.com/JoeHalbur.html Environmental education, cultural or historical interpretation, outdoor recreation  
Des Moines Women's Club www.desmoineswomensclub.org Art, Literature, Music, Drama and Dance  
Grand Lodge of Iowa www.gl-iowa.org Service to school and community, leadership  
U.S. Bank www.usbank.com/studentbanking Random drawing process  
Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship www.wdmelks.com Scholarship, Leadership, and Financial Need  
JCI Senate Foundation www.iajcisenate.org Scholarship, Leadership, and Financial Need  
Pearl Hull Falk Scholarship   The University of Iowa  
Iowa Broadcasters Scholarship www.iowabroadcasters.com Interested in a career in radio or television.  
Iowa Newspaper Foundation www.inanews.com/about/scholarships.php Career in the newspaper industry.  
H.S. Ostlin Memorial www.financialaid.iastate.edu Iowa State University  
AXA Achievement Scholarship www.axa-achievement.com Demonstrates achievement  
AXA Achievement Community Scholarship www.axa-achievement.com    
Madison Co. Cattlemen   Madison Co. 4-H, or parents are members of the group.  
Madison Co. Pork   Reside in Madison Co.  
Iowa Scholarship for the Arts www.iowaartscouncil.org Major in music,visual arts, photography,drama,creative writing, or dance  
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Scholarship   Parents must be members of the Farm Bureau.     Major in an ag. related field  
Discover Card Tribute Award www.discoverfinancial.com Juniors with a 2.75 GPA who are all-around achievers.  
Southwestern Community College www.swcciowa.edu click on "Prospective Students" then "Financial Aid/Scholarships" Various criteria.  
Hixson Opportunity Award-Iowa State www.dso.iastate.edu/hixson/application Admissible to ISU, face personal &/or financial challenges  
Warren Co. Fair Board Scholarship   4H / FFA participation  
Robert D Blue www.rdblue.org Demonstrate literary and scholastic ability  
Sam Walton Community Scholarship www.walmartfoundation.org Access code SWCS  
Conservation Districts of Iowa www.cdiowa.org/education.html Pursuing education in any field of agriculture or natural resources  
The Principal IT Scholarship www.//secure02.principal.com/forms/careers/

itscholarshipform.htm

GPA 3.25, Major in Computer Science  
Hy Vee Foundation Scholarship Program   Student or parent employment at HyVee  
ENF Legacy Awards www.elks.org/enf/scholars Child or Grandchild of a living Elk  
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation www.coca-colascholars.org Achievement-based awards  
Dale Schroeder Memorial Scholarship Program www.act.org/daleschroeder GPA 2.5, reside in a community under 10,000, attend Iowa State, UNI, or University of Iowa  
Legal Support Professionals of Polk County Application in guidance office Career in law, B average  
Youth Scholarship Program Application in guidance office For young people who are cancer patients/survivors  
Interstate 35 Telephone Company Scholarship  http://interstatecom.com/our-company/2013-scholarships    
Varsity Tutors College Scholarship Contest  http://www.varsitytutors.com/college-scholarship    

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Regent Admission Index
Students from Iowa high schools must have a Regent Admission Index score of at least 245 and take the minimum number of required high school courses to qualify for automatic admission to Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at The University of Iowa. Students who achieve a score less than 245 will be considered for admission on an individual basis.

The index combines four factors that strongly predict success at regent universities: ACT or SAT test score, high school rank, high school cumulative grade-point average, and the number of completed high school core courses.

www.regents.iowa.gov/RAI//

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Regent College Entrance Requirements

  Iowa State University University of Iowa University of Northern Iowa
English 4 years 4 years 4 years
Math 3 years (Integrated Math I & Above) 3 years (Integrated Math I & Above) 3 years (Integrated Math I &  Above) 
Science 3 years (1 year of Physics or Chem.) 3 years (1 year of Physics or Chem.) 3 years (1 year of Physics or Chem.)
Social Studies 3 years 3 years 3 years
Foreign Language 2 years
(for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Science- 3 years to graduate; other colleges do not require any)
2 years
(for admission to the College of Humanities and Science- 4 years to graduate; other colleges do not require any)
None
(2 years to graduate from  any college)
All four year colleges require either the ACT or SAT exam.

Private colleges will vary but often match state universities. Foreign language is currently not required at any private college in Iowa for admission. You should check with each individual school for a more detailed list of requirements.

 

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Financial Aid

Financial Aid is money you may receive to assist in paying for post secondary education. Financial Aid can be in different forms: grants, loans, work study, and scholarships.

Financial aid is one of the biggest concerns of a parent of a college bound student. I’m going to link some information that I believe you will find useful when attempting to navigate through the financial aid game. There will be a College Financial Aid Night for seniors and their parents at 7:15 PM on February 21, 2018 and I encourage you to attend.

FAFSA
FAFSA Help
College Planning Center
Financial Aid Calculators
Selective Service Registration   


Need-Based Aid

To be considered for need-based financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a financial statement of the students and parents, documenting the amount of money the family can be reasonably expected to contribute toward the student’s education. Complete the FAFSA as soon after October 1st as possible, but not before. The FAFSA can be filled out when taxes are completed. You can now fill out the FAFSA online. This is considerably quicker than by mail. To complete the FAFSA online the student and parent will need to register for a PIN number. The PIN number and online version of the FAFSA can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov/ . If you would like a paper FAFSA form please stop in the guidance office.

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Iowa College Codes

Buena Vista University 001847   Simpson College 001887
University of Northern Iowa 001890   Morningside College 001879
Wartburg College 001896  University of Iowa 001892
Central College 001850  Iowa State University 001869
AIB College of Business 003963 DMACC 004589
Drake University  001860 Grand View College  001867
Indian Hills Community College  008298   
   

Surrounding States School Codes

 
Northwest Missouri State 002496 University of Minnesota 003969

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College Financial Aid Night

Every winter Martensdale – St. Marys will conduct a college financial aid night for senior students and their parents. The presentation is put on by the College Planning Center. This year’s College Financial Aid Night is at 6:00 PM on Oct. 5th for seniors and their parents… I encourage you to attend.

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ACT/SAT Testing

Go to www.actstudent.org to register for ACT
ACT prefers students register online, but we do have registration materials in the Guidance Office as well.

The ACT Test is a college entrance requirement.  It can be taken at any grade level, but is recommended to be taken during the junior year.  The test can be taken as many times as you want.  The basic fee is $42.50.  The ACT plus writing is $58.50.  Area schools where the ACT Test may be taken include:  Indianola, Norwalk, Truro, Winterset, Des Moines, and West Des Moines.  Packets may be picked up in the guidance office.  You may apply online or mail it in.  The website is:  www.act.org.  The school code is:  162-785.

*The late fee of $20.00 in addition to the basic fee.

ACT versus SAT
The ACT and SAT are just one factor in the admissions decision. Schools also consider your high school GPA, academic transcript, letters of recommendation, interviews and personal essays. The weight placed on ACT/SAT scores varies from school to school. Most colleges and universities will accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT and vice versa.

Most students in the Midwest take the ACT test whereas students on either coast usually take the SAT…99% of our students take the ACT. Both tests are college entrance exams. The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.
The ACT has up to 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. The SAT has only 3 components: Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.
The College Board introduced a new version of the SAT in 2005, with a mandatory writing test. ACT offers its test, plus an optional writing test. You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you're applying to.

The SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.

National ACT Testing Dates for 2017-2018

 

Test Date Registration Deadline (Late Fee Required)
Sept. 9, 2017 Aug. 4, 2017 Aug. 5-18, 2017
Oct. 28, 2017 Sept. 22, 2017 Sept. 23-Oct. 6, 2017
Dec. 9, 2017 Nov. 3, 2017 Nov. 4-17, 2017
Feb. 19, 2018 Jan. 12, 2018 Jan. 13-19, 2018
Apr. 14, 2018 Mar. 9, 2018 Mar. 10-23, 2018
Jun. 9, 2018 May 14, 2018 May 5-18, 2018
Jul. 14, 2018 Jun. 15, 2018 Jun. 16-22, 2018

 


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Admission Requirements for Local Colleges

University of Iowa 
Iowa State University
Northern Iowa University 
Morningside College
Buena Vista University
Simpson College
Central College
Drake University
Graceland University
Northwest Missouri State
DMACC

Types of Colleges

What do you think of when you imagine going to college? Most think of a four-year college or university. Although an excellent option, that's not the only type of school. The most common types are:

Private Colleges and Universities

Private schools rely on tuition, fees and other private sources for funding.

  • Private schools offer undergraduate students a bachelor's (four-year) degree. Associate (two-year) or advanced degrees may be offered.
  • A broad base of courses is available (such as social sciences, humanities, sciences and businesses).
  • Courses of study begin with general education requirements; students choose at least one area of in-depth study as their major.
  • Total enrollment is generally lower than at public universities.

Find Iowa private schools.

Public Universities

Public universities in Iowa get much of their funding from state government.

  • Iowa's public universities offer several levels of degrees (bachelor's, master's and doctorate).
  • A liberal arts college as well as professional colleges and graduate programs are included.
  • The universities are divided into several colleges such as the College of Business or the College of Education.
  • A wide variety of academic classes is offered.
  • In general, universities are larger than liberal arts colleges (although there are smaller universities) with larger classes.

Find Iowa public universities.

Community or Junior Colleges

Community colleges allow you to earn a degree or transfer in two years.

  • Community colleges may offer an associate (two-year) degree, certificate or diploma program.
  • Specialized occupational preparation is offered.
  • Many students attend before transferring to a four-year college or university.
  • Class size is generally small, and students are able to receive individual attention.
  • Students often choose community college as an affordable option.

Find Iowa community colleges.

Business, Health Profession and Technical Colleges

Specialized colleges train you for specific careers.

  • These schools may offer several levels of degrees (certificate, associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate).
  • Specialized occupational preparation is offered.
  • Class size varies by institution.
  • Length of program varies by major.

College Jargon
What do all these words mean? Transitioning from high school to college can sometimes be confusing if you do not know what all the college jargon means. Below are many of the new terms that you may soon be bombarded with upon your journey in the college application process and freshman year.

Academic Advisor- A faculty or staff who assists students individually with planning their course of study and understanding academic policies and procedures.

Academic Probation- This is a warning to the student that his/her academic progress is unsatisfactory. In some colleges there are several degrees of academic probation.

Associates Degree-  A two-year degree, the arts or sciences.

Award Letter-  Official document issued by a financial aid office list all of the financial aid that is awarded to a student, usually includes information about terms and conditions related to the aid. These conditions vary from school to school; check yours so that you understand your specific award.

Bachelors Degree- A student receives this degree upon completing his/her undergraduate studies. There is a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.)

Catalog-  A campus publication, used by students and faculty. This book provides information ranging from specific college academic and non-academic programs; rules and regulations; and admission policies. Also included are the institution’s academic and non-academic calendars.

Class Rank-Where you fall in a list of all students in your class by GPA. Schools look for placement in the Top 10, Top 10% or in which quarter of the class you fall. Your class rank is used by many colleges to determine admission.

Cost of Attendance- The total cost of attending a specific school, including tuition, books and living expenses if you live away from your families home. These cost can vary greatly from school to school, a range of cost per year would be approximately $13,000 at Iowa State University to $45,000 Grinnell College.

Credit Hours- What a student receives upon completing a college course. Credits are based on the number of hours spent in a class.

Credits by Exam- Students obtain college credit by taking either AP (Advanced Placement test) or CLEP (College Level Examination Program). The AP tests are given in May, preparation is usually provided by taking AP classes. CLEP tests can be taken by anyone who feels they have the knowledge of the subject matter.

Deadlines- These are due dates for a variety of information you will be sending to colleges and to other groups for scholarships. Most deadlines carry a postmarked by date, keeping a list and planning ahead will save stress in the end. To make sure your information carries the right postmark, take the letter into the post office and ask for the envelope to be hand stamped.

Dean- Senior academic officer of a college. A college or university may have several schools headed by deans.

Doctorates Degree- An academic program with a research focus that is pursued after a Masters degree.

Drop/Add- During the first week of a semester, the student is allowed to drop a course and add another course for that semester or quarter.

Early Action- If you apply early action and are accepted, you may compare admissions and financial aid offers and wait to commit to the college until later in the year.

Early Decision- Early decisions are available at some schools. You apply to that school before Christmas and have an answer to your application before January. This sometimes takes the stress out of making college plans, because of the early decision you can concentrate on securing financial aid and getting prepared for college.

Enrollment Status- Indication of whether you attend full or part time. In general, you must attend at least half time (or in some cases full time) to qualify for financial aid.

Expected Family Contribution- The total amount you and your parents should be able to pay if you are a dependent student (under normal circumstances). It considers only your contribution if you are an independent student.

Financial Need-   The difference between cost of attendance and the expected family contribution. This is the amount that can be obtained through loans.

Grade Point Average (GPA)- Average of students grades based on a 4-point scale, used by many colleges to determine admission.

Grants- Funds given to a student based on financial need that does not need to be paid back

Independent Study- A program where students are allowed to take a course under a professor’s direction, without classroom participation, and still gain academic credit.

Honor Fraternities- Greek letter organizations honoring students who have achieved distinction in academic areas.

Major- A specialized field of study a student chooses to pursue through his/her college career.

Masters Degree-  A graduate degree that is pursued after a Bachelors degree.

Mid-Terms-   Test administered midway through the semester or quarter to assess the student’s progress.

Minor- Along with a major, students can take additional courses to compliment their academic concentration and curriculum.

Open Admissions-
Students are admitted regardless of academic qualifications.

Orientation- A program designed to assist all new students in adjusting to their new college surroundings.

Out-of-State Student- Generally applies to students attending a public university outside of their home state. Out-of-State students must pay a higher tuition rate unless they establish legal residency for that state.

Pass/Fail-  A system where a student does not receive a letter grade for taking a course. Depending upon the student’s achievement in the class, the word PASS or FAIL appears on the transcript.

Professional Fraternities-  Greek letter organizations composed of students majoring in various academic fields.

Registrar- Processes and maintains student transcripts and other official records affiliated with student attendance and accomplishments.

Resident hall Staff- The person or persons in charge of dormitory life and residential living. The head, a Resident Director (RD) , has staff of students, Resident Advisors (RA), who enforce dorm rules and regulations.

Rolling Admissions- There is no set admission deadline date; qualified students are accepted until classes are filled.

Scholarships- Funds that are used for higher education that do not have to be paid back. Scholarship grantors determine their own criteria.

Semester- The school year is composed of semesters. Depending on the institution, there can be two or four semesters per year. Semesters during the traditional school year lasting three to four months, and during the summer lasting four to five weeks.

Social Sororities and Fraternities- Greek letter organizations cultivating sisterhood, brotherhood, and social activities.

Student Affairs/Services Department- Usually, extracurricular and recreational non-academic programs are developed for students by this department.

Student Government Association-
An organization composed of students to represent all students. The student government is the voice of the student body.

Student Union –  A place on campus where students socialize and relax. Many student centers have restaurants and recreation facilities. The bookstore may be located there.

Syllabus-  A professor’s plan of action for the class. It is a schedule of requirements, usually explaining the intent of the course and what the student’s responsibilities are such as assigned readings or papers, and when the test are due during the semester.

Tech Prep- Students earn college credit for taking Career & Technology class (business, family and consumer sciences, health science, computer science, and economics) while in high school.

Transcript- The compilation of the student’s grades, credits, honors, etc., received through his/her high school or college career.

Trimester- A trimester in college is a single term out of three. Instead of the traditional semesters with two terms, there are three terms. Each term consists of 10 weeks.

Work Study-  Financial aid that enables students to earn some school costs through employment.

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College Planning Tips

Introduction
The College Planning Tips can help you get ready for a successful transition from high school to college. There are lots of things you need to do to be accepted into the program of your choice at the school of your choice.
Follow the monthly steps in the timeline throughout the school year. You can print the timeline page and use it as a checklist or a reminder.

Freshman Tips

August Tips
  • Start off on the right foot with your grades. Your freshman grades really do matter. Colleges look at your overall grade point average (GPA) through all four years of high school. It's difficult to improve a GPA that starts off low.
  • Find extracurricular activities that interest you and get involved. It's a great way to meet new people! There are also scholarship opportunities for being involved in high school and community activities.
  • Keep track of your assignments, test dates, activities and important events by using a planner or electronic organizer. Use it to set up a study schedule.
  • Get to know your teachers, counselors and administrators so you know what resources are available in your school.
September Tips
  • Did you know some colleges recommend you complete four years of English; three to four years of math, science and social studies; two years of electives; and two to four years of foreign language in high school? Work with your school counselor to make sure you're on the right track.
  • Set up an appointment with your school counselor to discuss your education goals. Before you meet with them, prepare a list of questions to ask.
  • Talk to your parents and other adults in a variety of professions to determine what they like and dislike about their careers. Also find out what kind of education is required for each type of job.
  • Get to know the four different types of postsecondary institutions. There are colleges and universities that offer four-year degrees and beyond, as well as community colleges and technical institutes that offer programs that can last 12 months to two years in length.
October Tips
  • Talk with your parents about saving money for college. Take time to learn more about college savings plans.
  • Know yourself. Think about what you like to do, what you're good at and what you value most. The first step in career planning is self-discovery. Visit My Academic Plan (MAP), a no cost resource for education and career planning provided by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission and endorsed by the Iowa Department of Education.
  • Start developing an activities portfolio to keep track of your extracurricular activities. It'll become a great resource when you apply for scholarships during your junior year.
  • Take a variety of classes from different subjects in high school. This approach will help you prepare for college-level courses.
November Tips
  • Do you know the average cost of colleges in Iowa? How about out-of-state colleges? Explore college costs throughout the nation at My Academic Plan (MAP).
  • Talk with your parents about your school and career plans. Discuss how you plan to reach your goals, and ask for their advice.
  • Get into the habit of reading in your free time. Reading will help you develop a strong vocabulary, which is important on college entrance exams like the ACT® and SAT
December Tips
  • Consider volunteering in your community. It can be a rewarding experience, and it could help you earn a scholarship. Many scholarships are awarded based on community service.
  • How are your computer skills? Work to become adept in common computer applications such as Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® and learn to use the Internet to do research.
  • If you have a checking account, balance your checkbook and keep track of all your debits and deposits.
  • Do you have a favorite college sports team? Is there a college you've always dreamed of attending? Start searching for colleges today.
January Tips
  • Happy New Year! Now's the perfect time to learn about financial aid. It's made up of four types of assistance: grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. Grants and scholarships are free sources of money that don't have to be paid back. A loan is money given to you to help pay for expenses (i.e., semester/year of college) and it must be repaid. Work-study allows you to earn money by working part time at a campus-approved job.
  • Even though you don't need to apply for financial aid until you're a senior, you can take steps now to learn about the process. Visit the Pay for College section to learn more.
  • What are your interests? Are you creative? Do you like to help people? You can tie your interests to a future career at My Academic Plan (MAP).
February Tips
  • The fastest-growing occupations require some type of education beyond high school. Which jobs are in demand? What types of tasks do they involve? What are the average salaries? Find out about careers that may interest you.
  • Looking for ways to raise your grades? Talk to your teachers to find out how you can become a better student. Find out if you can earn extra credit and whether teachers can work with you occasionally after class.
  • If you're an athlete hoping to play sports in college, it's important to begin planning. Find out what the NCAA academic requirements are at www.ncaa.org and check with your school counselor for more information.
March Tips
  • Meet with your school counselor to pick classes for your sophomore year. Choose wisely to stay on track to meet college admission requirements.
  • Keep looking into jobs related to your interests.
  • Make the most of your summer. Look for summer camps that focus on your interests (such as sports, band, drama or academic). Check with teachers, school counselors and coaches for recommendations.
April Tips
  • Keep working hard on your grades – your final exams will be coming up soon. Remember, freshman grades are important for college admission.
  • Do you have friends or family members who are high school seniors right now? Talk to them about their plans for next year. Ask how they selected a college and what type of work was involved.
  • Looking for something to do with your family? Go to an athletic event, play or concert at a local college to get a feel for the campus environment.
May Tips
  • Take advantage of the warmer weather to change up your routine and stay motivated through the end of the school year. Take your homework outside or spend some time outdoors after school.
  • Get involved in your community by volunteering. Volunteering provides leadership and good citizenship skills, and you might find your future career. Check out the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for a list of options at www.volunteeriowa.org.
  • Make the most of your summer. Look for summer camps that focus on your interests (such as sports, band, drama or academics). Check with teachers, school counselors and coaches for recommendations.
June Tips
  • Looking for ways to earn money and get a glimpse into the world of work? Babysitting, lawn mowing, car washing, tutoring, painting or dog-walking are all great ways to get started.
  • Will you be attending summer camp on a college campus? If so, take time to look around and think about whether it's a school you'd attend. When you get home, research the college online.
  • Talk to others who've been there. Family members, friends, teachers, school counselors and coaches may love to tell you about their college experiences.
July Tips
  • During your summer break, take part in hobbies and activities that tie to your career interests. Don't forget to update your activities portfolio.
  • Begin making a list of colleges to look into.
  • Don't be afraid to change your career goals as you learn more about yourself and the world of work. Just remember to continue working toward your goals.
  • Read more! Reading is one of the best ways to improve your grades, and you can do it practically anywhere. Ask your local librarian for ideas on books to read this summer or read reviews online.

Sophomore Tips

August Tips
  • Get involved. Find an activity at your school or in your community that you would enjoy (clubs, band, choir, athletics or volunteer activities) and be active.
  • Remember that the grades you earn now will affect your ability to get into college. Colleges look at all four years of high school when making their decisions.
  • ICAN is available to help you through the college planning and financial aid process at no cost. We look forward to assisting you now through your senior year. Questions? Call to set up an appointment.
September Tips
  • Attend college fairs in your area and meet with college representatives who visit your high school. The Golden Circle College Fair is the largest college fair in Iowa, with approximately 150 colleges represented.
  • Keep track of your assignments, test dates, activities and important events by using a planner or electronic organizer. They can also be used to set up a study schedule.
October Tips
  • Explore colleges and careers at My Academic Plan (MAP), a no cost resource for education and career planning provided by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission and endorsed by the Iowa Department of Education.
  • Know yourself. What do you like to do, what are you good at and what do you value most? Make a list of your answers. The first step in career planning is self-discovery.
  • Talk with your parents about your college and career goals and what you can do to attain them.
  • Find a mentor who can assist you in high school and with the college search process. Good mentors are teachers, parents, family members, family friends, etc.
November Tips December Tips
  • Education after high school doesn't necessarily mean a four-year degree. There are certificate programs, two-year degrees and programs that go beyond four years. Explore the different degree options.
  • College can be affordable. Try not to be put off by "sticker shock" and don't drop colleges from your search because of the price. With financial aid, most colleges can make sure the "sticker price" is not your out-of-pocket cost.
  • Talk to your school counselor about college admission requirements so that you're staying on the right track with your class schedule.
  • Think about volunteering during your holiday break. Check out the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for a list of options at www.volunteeriowa.org. Be sure to log your volunteer work in your activities portfolio.
January Tips
  • Happy New Year! Get off to a great start by looking at your study habits. What's working for you? What isn't? Make a study schedule and stick to it.
  • Organization is the key to success. Visit My Academic Plan (MAP) to track extracurricular, volunteer and work experience, the courses you've taken and contacts that may make good references.
  • What's financial aid? It's made up of four types of assistance: grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. Grants and scholarships are free sources of money that don't have to be paid back. A loan is money given to you to help pay for college-related expenses and it must be repaid. Work-study allows you to earn money by working part time at a campus-approved job.
  • Even though you won't need to apply for financial aid until you're a senior, you can begin to learn about the process.
February Tips
  • Start thinking about college majors. What matches your skills and interests? Have you thought about how specific majors relate to careers? Explore college majors and careers that might be right for you.
  • Saving money is the best way to prepare for the cost of a college education. What are the best ways for you to save? Make a spending plan for yourself where you set aside a certain dollar amount each month to help pay for college.
  • If you're an athlete hoping to play sports in college, it's important to begin planning. Find out what the NCAA academic requirements are at www.ncaa.org and check with your school counselor for more information.
March Tips
  • Visit college fairs this spring to learn more about Iowa colleges.
  • Do you know someone who works in a job related to your career interest? Talk to them to find out what educational requirements and skills they needed to get their job. Find out what they like most about their work and why.
  • Is your family planning a summer vacation? If so, try to visit a few college campuses as part of the trip.
April Tips
  • Meet with your school counselor to schedule classes for your junior year that will allow you to meet college entrance requirements.
  • Colleges look for involved students. Get involved in hobbies and extracurricular activities that match up with your career interests. Update your activities portfolio with your most recent involvements and achievements.
  • Look into different jobs through career fairs, job shadowing, volunteer work, internships or part-time jobs.
  • If your school offers one, attend a college planning night. Check with your school counselor or search online for the date and time.
May Tips
  • Look for a summer job that's in line with your interests. Be sure to save some of your summer earnings for college. It's never too early to start saving money!
  • Ask your school counselor about AP® (Advanced Placement) classes that would fit into your schedule. Harder courses in high school make you more prepared for college. Also check into dual-enrollment classes that let you earn college credit.
  • Look for academic camps being held this summer. They're a great way to catch up or get ahead.
  • Read more! Reading is one of the best ways to improve your grades, and you can do it practically anywhere. Ask your local librarian for suggestions on books to read this summer or research online.
June Tips
  • Compare different careers. Look at things like required education, daily tasks and starting salary, and think about what appeals to you the most.
  • Update your summer reading list. Try to choose challenging subjects or books about careers or hobbies. For ideas, search online for "college prep reading list."
  • Explore careers in line with your hobbies and interests. Maybe you could earn a living someday doing something you love!
July Tips
  • Begin making a list of colleges that you want to look into.
  • Will you be attending summer camp on a college campus? If so, look around and think about whether it's a school you'd like to attend. When you get home, look at the college online.
  • Put some of your summer job earnings into a college savings account.

Junior Tips

August Tips
  • Talk to your parents and your school counselor about where you want to go to college. Make sure you're on the right track by taking the necessary courses during your junior year.
  • Keep your grades up. Colleges look at your overall GPA through all four years of high school.
  • Interested in attending one of Iowa's public universities? Learn about the Regent Admission Index requirements. For more information, contact the admission office at the respective university.
  • Review your college savings plan; start saving money now if you haven't already done so.
  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid service organizations that charge a fee for service. Much of the information you may be seeking is available at no cost. Check with your high school counselor or search at no cost.
  • Let ICAN help you through the college planning and financial aid process without charge. We look forward to assisting you during your junior and senior years. Questions? Give us a call.
September Tips
  • Attend college fairs in your area and meet with college representatives who visit your high school. The Golden Circle College Fair is the largest college fair in Iowa, with approximately 150 colleges represented.
  • Check with your high school counselor to register for the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT®). These scores are used to determine National Merit Scholars.
  • Attend an ICAN College Planning Night at your high school. Ask your school counselor for the date and time.
  • Discuss with your parents and high school counselor what is important to you in a college (i.e., size, type, location, programs, facilities, cost, academic quality, etc.).
  • Begin gathering information about colleges that interest you and start a list of those you would like to visit.
October Tips
  • Fall college fairs are nearing an end. Find remaining college fairs in your area by talking to your school counselor.
  • Colleges receive thousands of admission applications each year. Be sure to meet with your high school counselor to help yours stand out from the crowd!
  • Have you started to gather information on the colleges you may want to attend? Research Iowa colleges or do an online college search.
  • Explore college and career options related to your interests at My Academic Plan (MAP). IHaveaPlanIowa is a free resource for education and career planning provided by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission and endorsed by the Iowa Department of Education.
November Tips
  • Plan to take the ACT® and/or SAT® exams, if you need them. Find out registration and test dates. Get ready for the exams by using online practice tests or study guides at your local library or bookstore.
  • Review websites and brochures from the colleges that you might want to attend.
  • Check the entrance requirements of the colleges that you're planning to apply to, and find out which test(s) you need to take.
  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid service organizations that cost money. Most information is available at no cost. Check with your high school guidance office or search for no charge on this site. ICAN is also available to help you with the financial aid process at no cost to you.
  • Look into campus visits. Some colleges host special visit days for juniors.
December Tips
  • Begin to research scholarships. Learn about selection criteria and what's required to apply. Find a list of scholarship searches.
  • Register now if you're planning to take the January SAT or the February ACT.
  • Attend an ICAN Financial Aid Night to learn more about the financial aid process and the different types of assistance you might get. Ask your school counselor for dates and locations.
  • Consider volunteering during your holiday break. Check out the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for a list of options at www.volunteeriowa.org. Be sure to log your volunteer work in your activities portfolio.
January Tips
  • Happy New Year! Start it off right by scheduling campus visits to the top three to five colleges on your list.
  • Get involved. Colleges seek well-rounded students who not only get good grades, but who are also involved in school activities or community organizations.
  • Organize scholarship information according to deadline. Keep your planner or organizer updated with application deadlines so you won't miss any.
  • Prepare to take the ACT® or SAT® tests. Take practice tests online or visit your guidance office, local library or bookstore for good study guides.
  • Although financial aid is available from different sources, you and your parents are expected to pay part of the cost of your education. Have you been saving for this important investment?
  • Need help? All ICAN services are offered at no cost to you. Make an appointment to visit an ICAN location.
February Tips
  • Soon you'll be completing college and scholarship applications. Put together a resume listing your activities, awards, school achievements, employment and volunteer experience.
  • Investigate careers.
  • Make sure your senior year includes the credits needed to meet college entrance requirements. Talk to your school counselor about AP® (Advanced Placement) courses and CLEP® (College Level Examination Program) tests. Consider taking honors or college-level classes while you're still in high school.
  • If you're planning to take the April ACT® test, register now.
  • Need help? All ICAN services are offered at no cost to you. Make an appointment to visit ICAN.
March Tips
  • Schedule college visits. Call ahead to arrange campus tours.
  • Attend college fairs in your area. Ask your school counselor for information on upcoming college fairs.
  • View a list (PDF) of suggested questions to ask during your campus visit.
  • During college visits, meet with an admissions representative and a financial aid officer to find out what types of aid are available.
April Tips
  • Take notes and compare your thoughts on each college after your visit. For help with this, use the College Checklist chart. (PDF)
  • If applicable, try to take AP® (Advanced Placement) exams while information is fresh in your mind. Check with your counselor for more information.
  • Register now for the June ACT and/or SAT.
  • Still looking for a college? Ask your school counselor how online tools like the one at My Academic Plan (MAP) can help you.
  • Don't forget to update your summer reading list.
  • Have questions? All of ICAN's services are offered at no cost to you!
May Tips
  • Think about the college experience and environment you want. Write down what's important to you, review your career plans and find a college that's a good fit.
  • Line up a summer job in line with your career interests or volunteer in your community. Save some of your summer earnings for college expenses.
  • Are you unsure what you want to be? Ask your school counselor how IHaveaPlanIowa can help you choose a career.
  • If you plan to take AP® (Advanced Placement) exams, check with your school counselor now for more information.
  • Consider taking a summer course at a local college.
  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid services that charge. Much of the information you need is available for free.
June Tips
  • Begin applying for scholarships. Find Iowa scholarship opportunities and links to searches, as well as tips for essay writing, on the ICAN website.
  • Beware of credit card offers. It's easy to quickly get in over your head. Talk to your parents about offers and if any of the cards are right for you.
  • If you haven't visited all of the colleges on your list, schedule a college visit.
  • Use the Internet to get information on your preferred colleges.
  • Finalize your college choices. Look especially at the features that are most important to you.
July Tips
  • Get ready for your senior year! Start thinking about how to manage your time. Remember that you should focus on keeping your grades up, filling out applications and selecting a college despite the distractions.
  • Polish your resume, and if needed, get together writing samples, portfolios or audition tapes.
  • Plan to attend Iowa Private College Week in the fall. If you visit three or more participating colleges during the week, the colleges will waive admission application fees. To find out more, ask a school counselor or go to www.thinkindependently.com. Information is also posted on participating colleges' websites.
  • Think about which teachers, employers or other adults you'll ask to write letters of recommendation. Ask for letters at least two weeks before you need them. Plan to ask at the very beginning of the school year.

Senior Tips

August Tips
  • Your senior grades really do matter. Colleges look at your overall grade point average (GPA) through all four years of high school. It's not too late to improve your GPA.
  • Are you unsure of your future career path? Learn about that steps you should take to choose a career.
  • Gather information and research the colleges you may be interested in attending. Request information from the Admission Office and visit the college's website.
  • Take note of admission and financial aid deadlines.
  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid service organizations that charge a fee for service. Check with your high school counselor or search at no cost.
  • Let ICAN assist you through the college planning and financial aid process at no cost.
September Tips
  • Register to take the SAT® and/or the ACT® if you have not already taken them. You may also retake the test if you are unhappy with your previous score. Check with your high school counselor or college admissions office before you retake the test.
  • Research scholarship possibilities at the library and high school counseling office. Ask your teachers, high school counselor and/or employers to write letters of recommendation for your admission and scholarship applications.
  • Attend college fairs in your area and meet with college representatives who visit your high school. The Golden Circle College Fair is the largest college fair in Iowa, with approximately 150 colleges represented.
  • Continue gathering information about colleges that interest you and begin a list of those that you may like to attend.
October Tips
  • Are you narrowing your college choices? Have you completed an admission application? Are you aware of admission deadlines and application requirements at the colleges? Procrastination may cause you to miss out on your first college choice or on valuable scholarship dollars. Be sure to stay on top of these tasks!
  • Did you register in September for the ACT® or SAT® tests? f you decide to retake the ACT or SAT to try for a higher score, visit with your high school counselor first.
  • Have you made your appointments for college visits? When you visit a college, take along a list of campus visit questions (PDF).
  • Visit My Academic Plan (MAP) to search for scholarships and research college majors. IHaveaPlanIowa is a no cost resource for education and career planning provided by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission and endorsed by the Iowa Department of Education.
November Tips
  • Look into financial aid options. Continue to research and apply for private scholarships.
  • Be aware of deadlines. Begin or continue to send in applications for admission. Most colleges accept online applications, and some may waive the application fee for applying online. Keep copies of paper applications and write down the date you submit online applications.
  • Attend an ICAN Financial Aid Presentation in your area, if available. Ask your guidance office for the date, time and location.
  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid services that cost money. Much of the information is available at no cost. Check with your high school guidance office or search without charge on our website. We can also help you through the financial aid process.
December Tips
  • Attend an ICAN Financial Aid Night. Check with your high school counseling office for date, time and location.
  • Finish your college admission applications you haven't already completed.
  • Save your year-end payroll stubs. (This goes for your parents, too.) You may need them for estimating information on the FAFSA. Also, schedule an appointment to have your taxes prepared early.
  • Learn more about the financial aid process that will begin soon after Jan. 1.
  • If you plan to file the FAFSA online, request a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. The student and one parent will each need a PIN.
January Tips
  • Happy New Year! Start it off right by filing the FAFSA* (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon after Jan. 1 as possible. Watch the FAFSA priority filing deadlines at the colleges of your choice. The deadline is the date the FAFSA needs to be received at the processing center, not the postmark date. See a list of FAFSA deadlines at Iowa colleges.
  • Complete your tax returns as soon as possible. If you have to for college deadlines, you may use estimated tax information on the FAFSA. Remember to make copies of your completed FAFSA and tax returns.
  • Have your high school send your first semester transcripts to the colleges where you've applied.
  • All ICAN services are offered at no cost to you. Need FAFSA assistance? Give us a call at (877) 272-4692.
February Tips
  • Make sure your first semester transcripts have been sent to the college(s) you've applied to.
  • If you haven't already submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you should do so as soon as possible.
  • Watch out for deadlines, including your college's priority filing deadline and any scholarship deadlines that apply to you.
  • Keep copies of your completed federal tax returns handy. Be prepared to mail them to your college(s) if they are requested. Promptly respond to document requests made by colleges.
  • Expect your Student Aid Report (SAR) one to four weeks from the time you file your FAFSA.
March Tips
  • By now you should have sent in your FAFSA. If you haven't, complete it as soon as possible. You should also check with your college(s) to determine if other financial aid applications are required.
  • Decide which college you'll attend in the fall. Submit any required paperwork to confirm your decision with the college. Be sure to let the other colleges on your list know immediately that you won't be attending.
  • If you gave an e-mail address on your FAFSA, you should receive a link to your SAR (Student Aid Report) via e-mail.
  • When you get your SAR, look it over carefully. If you need to make corrections, contact the financial aid office(s) at your college(s). If there are no corrections needed, keep your SAR for your records.
  • Keep copies of all the forms you send to the financial aid office at your college(s).
April Tips
  • If required, sign and return your award letter to the college you plan to attend. If you need to take out a student loan, make sure you complete required applications/promissory notes. Borrow wisely. Your award letter will tell you the maximum amount you can borrow. You don't have to borrow the entire amount. Create a budget so you borrow only what you need.
  • Finish strongly – make your final grades a top priority!
  • If you submitted your FAFSA, watch for your financial aid package(s) from the college(s) you're applying to. If you're considering several colleges, you should compare your award letters.
  • Have questions? All of ICAN's services are offered at no cost to you!
May Tips
  • If you haven't decided which college to attend, do so as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you've turned in all necessary documents to the financial aid office at your college of choice, including loan applications and promissory notes. Make sure you return the forms on time if your college has a deadline.
  • Finalize your summer job or volunteer plans. Jobs related to your future career and volunteer work will be great experiences you can add to your resume.
June Tips
  • Find out if your college offers orientation sessions and if so, plan to attend.
  • Let your college's financial aid office know about any scholarships you've received that weren't part of the college's financial aid package.
  • Ask your high school to send your final transcript to the college you've chosen.
  • Save money from your summer job. You'll be glad you did.
July Tips
  • Attend any orientation sessions that your college offers. They're a great opportunity to meet people and get to know the campus.
  • Turn in any loan applications and promissory notes if you haven't already done so.
  • Contact your roommate. Get to know each other and start planning for your room. Decide who will bring the fridge, microwave, TV and other shared items.
  • Beware of credit card offers! It's easy to get in over your head. You may, however, want one card for emergencies. Discuss options with your parents and be sure to educate yourself.

*Note: The FAFSA and EZ FAFSA are free forms that may be completed without professional assistance via paper or electronic forms provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Parent Tips

August Tip
  • Encourage your child to use a planner or electronic organizer to help them manage their time, set goals and stay on a path to success. Check in with your child to make sure they use one throughout each school year to keep track of assignments, activities, important dates and deadlines.
September Tip
  • Play an active role. Keep the lines of communication open throughout your student's high school years. Talk to their teachers and counselor about their progress and any concerns that you have. Being involved can help them succeed.
October Tip
  • Work with your student to set clear goals before you visit colleges. Work together to create a list of targeted questions for your student to ask during the tour. Your child's college selection criteria may not be the same as yours, so talk about those differences before the tour. Let your student set up the visit and take the lead in asking questions. College admission staff agree that one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a parent is to take over the process.
November Tip
  • Don't let a poor economy derail your child's college plans. Make sure you're saving as much as you can, because most of the burden of college costs falls on you and your child. Sometimes paying for college means a change in lifestyle or finding alternative means of funding.
December Tip
  • Review the information you and your student gather on colleges and discuss the options. Work toward attainable goals and workable solutions. Before you know it, your child will be heading to college, and you will have played an important role.
January Tip
  • College is a worthwhile investment, but it can be an expensive one. Talk to your student about the costs involved. Keep in mind that being involved now in the financial aid process will help prepare your child to better manage money later in life.
  • Help your student fill out their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), but make sure they are playing a role in the process.
February Tip
  • Ask your employer if they offer scholarships or tuition reimbursement programs. Many employers offer scholarships specifically for employees' dependents.
March Tip
  • Ask your student about homework assignments and any upcoming tests or projects. Find out if whether all the preparation and work is done. Don't forget to ask how a test went and provide support afterward.
April Tip
  • Financial aid packages will vary. Colleges determine a student's financial aid eligibility based upon the college's funding levels and the student's merit and financial need. Learn more about financial aid packages here.
May Tip
  • Help your child choose a career. Deciding on an initial career goal can be daunting for a high school student, but research shows that parents have a large influence on their child's career choices. Take the time to guide your child through the process of discovering abilities, interests and values that will help them choose a suitable career path.
June Tip
  • Include a few college campuses in any summer travel, or plan to visit those nearby with your student. Allow them to get a feel for the different environments and options available.

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