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— According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 60 percent of today’s jobs require an education beyond high school. More than 80 percent of new jobs will require an advanced education. By this time, all seniors should be applying to their top five universities. If you have not done this yet, then you are already behind schedule.

Online resources, such as, as well as books in the Career Center can help you with schools you might have interest in. There you can find mailing lists of colleges. There will also be planned college visits to Pea Ridge High School where representatives will be available to answer questions.

Tassel Time is accessed at www.bentonville.k12. On the left side, click on the “student” tab.

Then click on the “Tassle Time” link. The username is hawks and the password is blackhawks.

After researching options, set up tours at colleges in advance with the Admissions Office or Visitor Center. Ask them to set up a meeting with an instructor in your area of interest. Make sure to write down questions you might have, and maybe even take a camera.

Seniors will be grantedtwo college visitation days during the year.

Senior Timeline

In September, it’s time to apply to your top three to five schools. Then in October, apply for scholarships at those schools. From November to April, apply for all other scholarships.

Types of scholarships available are academic, extracurricular, community and national.

Types of schools

Community colleges, such as Northwest Arkansas Community College, are two-year schools. Some advantages are that they are close to home, a smaller environment and the least expensive. Courses will also often transfer to a four-year school.

Technical schools, such as Tulsa Welding School, are also two-year schools.

These schools focus on specific trades and range in expense depending on location and type of study.

These schools offer handson learning, but most are not transferable to fouryear schools.

Four-year out-of-state universities, such as the University of Texas, are in the top tier of expense due to residency. Out-of-state tuition scholarships are usually available. These schools offer bachelor degrees up to doctorate degrees and sizes range from very large to small.

Four-year private universities, such as Hendrix College, are also in the top tier of expense, offering bachelor degrees up to doctorate.

They also vary in size.

Application process

College applications usually ask questions such as who you are, where you went to school and what classes you took. There will also be an application fee that ranges anywhere from $10 to $75. Applications will not be complete without transcripts and test scores.

Test scores, from tests such as the ACT and SAT, will be automatically provided on transcripts.

The above information is usually all that is required for applications to community collegesand four-year state universities. Private schools usually require some additional information, including letters of recommendations from junior year teachers, community leaders, employers, club sponsor, etc. The school will likely provide a letter of recommendation form.

Get these taken care of at least four weeks before you need them.

An application essay might also be required for admission. These essays address the question “Why do you want to attend this school?” Type the essay and then get an English teacher to proofread for errors. Make it memorable!

It is possible the schoolwill want to conduct an interview, some schools even require it. Certain programs (theater, art, choir, band, etc.) require students to audition or provide a portfolio before they can be accepted to the university.

What they look for

Community colleges and most four-year stateuniversities will focus on a student’s GPA, test scores and specific high school requirements. Some fouryear state universities and private universities look at extracurricular activities and community service and choose those who go above and beyond required classes.

School, Pages 8 on 10/14/2009

Print Headline: Beginning the College and Scholarship Search

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