High school families invited to College & Financial Aid Night on Sept. 13
September 6, 2022
Navigating the college and financial aid application process can be overwhelming for high school students and their families. Even mentioning it can bring anxiety.
One of the first steps to ease that anxiety is by attending the College and Financial Aid night on September 13 at Fairview High School at 6:30 PM. Although typically most relevant to high school seniors, the event is open to all high school students and families.
“This event is especially important for first-time parents of seniors who are going through this process,” Jennifer Parente, a counselor at Fairview High School explained. “We have some parents who never went to college, and this is their first kid going to college. So it’s really important for them.”
The deadline for students to apply for early decision to colleges is fast approaching, with some dates in early November and December. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, opens on October 1.
“We’re trying to get in front of all of this as soon as possible,” Parente added. “I would say that most of our kids apply early action because they’re anxious and want to know.”
Today’s college applicants no longer submit just written applications and transcripts.
“So, when we applied to college, we did it on paper,” Parente explained. “Let’s mail this in. We’ll mail in the transcripts, test scores, and all that. Now it’s all digital, and there are a lot of pieces and parts.”
One example is the Common App, where students can apply to many colleges by filling out just one application online.
“In theory, it sounds great,” Parente said of the Common App. “It’s one application that goes to all the schools, except that it’s humongous and it’s very time-consuming. And it also asks for a lot of information that students aren’t prepared to answer. We’re here to help.”
Applying for financial aid can also be a time-consuming and complex process.
“It requires the parents to submit tax information in order to determine family income levels,” Parente expressed. “It’s also a fairly involved process, as is looking for scholarships.”
College and Financial Aid Night will feature representatives from the school’s counseling office and College Now Greater Cleveland. According to their website, College Now assists over 29,000 students yearly with test preparation materials, college and financial aid applications, scholarship searches, and college and career information.
“College Now opens up a whole other world of scholarship opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to our students,” Parente added. “Those have specific criteria, so Pam [Sandoval from College Now] works with our students who qualify for those to make sure they are completing those applications.”
Other resources like Naviance, an online platform that helps prepare high school students for college and beyond, will also be discussed. Parente also stressed the importance of career and technical students at Polaris attending. Many scholarship opportunities are available for students who wish to continue their education while being a part of the workforce.
“I’m pleased that our district is able to provide such a valuable evening to families,” Fairview High School Principal Chris Vicha said. “This event is another testament to the strong bond Fairview High School has with its professional educational community. The information presented at this event by our partners in education will undoubtedly guide parents as they navigate the arduous task of understanding and applying for college financial aid.”