Huntsville City Schools Students Participate in Alabama College Application Week
Students across the district have been learning about college applications, as part of Alabama’s College Application Week. The event, which is sponsored by the Alabama State Department of Education, encourages students to apply to at least one college to take advantage of the large number of participating schools that wave application fees during the period. Huntsville City Schools’ grade-level counselors have been teaming up with the district’s College & Career Counselors, going into classrooms to assist students one-on-one with the application process.
“We’re answering questions, talking about scholarship opportunities and financial aid – anything that will help students get to college,” says HCS College & Career Counselor Leigh Ann Brown. She also spoke a lot about the benefits of Naviance, an online tool that students can access which includes scholarship information and links to applications. She adds that, “the big push is to get the applications done in the Fall, […] because December 1st is a very common deadline for colleges, especially for scholarships.”
Another benefit, Leigh Ann says, is that many students will have been focusing their attention on the big colleges and universities because of an athletics program, or some other aspect that garners a lot of attention. However, many students each year use the free application period to apply to other colleges that, in many cases, ends up being the school they attend. This change can be for a variety of reasons, such as smaller class sizes or lower tuition and housing costs.
Taniece Ricketts, a senior at Jemison High School, says that the program was a good opportunity for her even though she had already applied to several colleges. With encouragement from her family, she wanted to investigate colleges closer to home. She says, “those applications I would have to pay for, but because of this I was able to apply for free.”
Ms. Brown says that many students plan to enter the military or a vocational program, and they assist with that as well. “Our primary goal this week,” she says, “is for every senior in Huntsville City Schools to have some kind of a plan in place for after graduation.”