Getting college & career ready: Tips for seniors (12th grade)
This parent and family checklist will help your senior achieve big goals. You're almost there!
MAKE POST-HIGH SCHOOL PLAN
- Help your student create a list of three careers of interest.
- Attend Palm Beach County School District's annual College and Career Fair.
- Review post-secondary options and help identify selection criteria as well as the costs of each option.
- Reduce the list of possible post-secondary options to the five your student is most interested in and note application deadlines.
- Review post-secondary options such as registered apprenticeship opportunities or internships offered through the Florida Department of Education and CareerSource.
EMPHASIZE NEED TO STAY ON TRACK
- Ask your student to review their transcript with a school counselor to determine if any final classes are necessary for graduation and acceptance to preferred colleges or careers.
- Create a professional email address.
- Examine and adjust privacy settings on social media accounts.
- Monitor social media and discuss the importance of your student's digital footprint, as colleges and future employers likely will see online activity.
EXPLORE PAYING FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
- Explore financial aid and scholarships, and make a list of application deadlines.
- Create a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID so you’ll be ready to fill out the FAFSA form. (A revised form for 2024-2025 will be available in December 2023.)
- Find out what financial paperwork you will need and get it ready to apply for federal financial aid.
SIGN UP FOR ACT OR SAT
- Guide your student to sign up for the ACT or SAT if they have not taken it or want to retake it to improve their college eligibility scores. All Florida public universities require students to submit an ACT, SAT or CLT score for 2024 high school graduates.
- Prepare your student with ACT or SAT free test prep available online through Khan Academy or at their local library.
LOOK FOR SPECIFIC NEEDS
- Interested in the arts, military or sports in college? Be aware of deadlines and special requirements for these programs.
- Undocumented? Check eligibility for in-state tuition at public state colleges and universities, as well as state financial aid.
- Male? Young men must register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. If they don't register, they will be ineligible for federal financial aid for college.
- Working with a student in foster care, who is homeless, has a disability or is a teen parent? Talk to a mentor, trusted adult or college representative to explore specific resources and support services for your student.
PREPARE FOR COLLEGE APPLICATIONS AND BE CAREER READY
- Guide your student to document their accomplishments and create a resume.
- Encourage your student to write college and scholarship essays.
- Help your student narrow post-secondary choices and attend college/career fairs.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If needed, attend a workshop for guidance.
- Help your student determine who to ask for letters of recommendation, allowing plenty of time for their chosen references to write the letters.
WRAP THINGS UP
- Finalize which post-secondary institutions your student will apply for and add them to the FAFSA application. Three to five is a good number.
- Be sure to visit these post-secondary institutions if you haven’t already.
- Check deadlines and gather the information to apply for colleges, scholarships and FAFSA. Keep track of applications for follow-up.
- Make sure your student’s high school transcript, SAT or ACT test score, letters of recommendation and other supplemental materials are sent to colleges.
• Achieve Palm Beach County
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Path to College
A nonprofit that helps students reach their academic and personal goals so they can achieve higher SAT scores, enter college and stay out of debt. Programs and services include academic free workshops (including virtual college and SAT prep), mentorship, fellowship and internships.561-907-7679 Website Email
Achieve Palm Beach County
A collective impact initiative of Palm Beach County organizations focused on ensuring college access and success for all students in Palm Beach County. United Way of Palm Beach County serves as the backbone agency for this countywide effort.561-375-6653 Website
Palm Beach State College
Based in Lake Worth Beach with other campuses in Belle Glade, Loxahatchee Groves, Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton561-967-7222 Website Email
Florida Prepaid College Board
State-sponsored pre-paid tuition plan to help families save for college800-552-4723 Website Email
Information about college scholarships and financial aidWebsite Email