Juniors! Start Preparing Yourself For Your Dream College!


Elena Grubova , Reporter

The most important information for all juniors is now available. The New Dealer interviewed Ms. Washington of the College Office, and we asked her about the most important things which are related to the college process.

As juniors looking to stay on top of our college admissions timeline, what are the most important things for us to be doing before senior year?

“Taking the SAT is the most important thing! You should also be completing your community service hours. In addition, start looking into schools, go on college tours, and attend college fairs. Start talking about colleges with your family. Just really get an idea of where you might want to apply and learn more about the college process in general. Obviously studying, and focusing, on your AP, Honors, and College Now courses are always important.”

What courses do we have to take to be ready for college?

“You need to take a competitive course load, meaning that you are taking fully academic classes each year and semester, including-  AP, College Now, Honors classes, whenever you can. But, you should also be taking Science and Math as you usually do every semester.”

What activities can we do at home, and over the summer, to get ready for college?

“The first thing that should be on your list is visiting colleges with your families. Go on road trips! If you want to see a college in another state, ask you parents to help you out and plan ahead of time. There are also summer opportunities many colleges have, like classes over the summer for high school students. You can live on the campus. You definitely should take advantages of these opportunities and speak to your Guidance Counselors about what is available.”

Are there any special scholarships, or awards, that we should know about now, so we can work toward them?

“There are scholarships for everything. If you are thinking that you want a scholarship, that will help you with paying for your education, you should be searching now. Many schools are looking for essays and good grades. There are scholarships from so many companies and institutions. You need to  focus and search for them. Getting a scholarship is like a job. You gotta look, search, apply, complete applications and essays, in addition to recommendations. Students should be coming to the college office or the library to search online for opportunities. 

What forms should we use to apply for financial aid, and where we can find them online?

“When you guys get to senior year, or even in your junior year in April, I’m going to do a workshop for all juniors and their parents after school. We’ll talk about the whole college process, questions, and everything. Financial aid is based on family income, parents tax returns, and government benefits- all of that put together. The only thing that makes financial aid a bit tricky, is for students who might not know their immigration status or are undocumented students, because they are not eligible for Federal financial aid. If you don’t have a Green Card or you don’t have citizenship, I usually suggest a scholarship called the Dream Scholarship.  Students who are uneasy or worried about their status should discuss the situation with us. It’s a long, long process and some of the students find it a little bit difficult, but the college office is always here to navigate all of that with you.”

Do you have anything else you would like to share with FDR’s Cougars?

“I would say to the juniors, I’m so exited for the journey that they are going to begin with the college application process! I hope that they’ll get everything the need from us in the college office. Our hope is to help them achieve their goals after high school and make their college dreams a reality.”