Sharpstown seniors get help with college applications

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Workshop guides students through ApplyTexas, HCC processes

While 9-11th graders were busy taking the PSAT College Board exam Wednesday, seniors at Sharpstown High School huddled over their PowerUp laptops and created an account on ApplyTexas, an online college application that allows students to apply to every Texas public university, plus some private and two-year schools.

“A lot of our students are low-income, first-generation, underrepresented, said College Guidance Administrator Aaron Rodriguez. “If there’s not someone there to guide them, to push them to apply, I think [the college application process] would be really challenging for them. That’s what we’re here for.”

High school seniors across HISD worked on their college applications as part of College Application Day, a special initiative organized by the district’s College Readiness Department to ensure students consider more college options and fill out more college applications.

In addition to applying for four-year universities, all Sharpstown seniors were guided through the application process for Houston Community College (HCC) by HCC volunteers and school administrators.

“This could be your backup if you don’t have plans after [high] school,” said Sharpstown senior Nicholas Andrews. “You could still study at HCC.”

Senior Nia Eli plans to study international business at the University of Oregon and said the extra time for filling out college and scholarship applications was beneficial: “Students should take advantage of this.”

The more applications a student submits, the greater their chances of being accepted to at least one, counselors advise. Yet often the college application fees — some upwards of $60 — and required essays and forms make many students shy away from the college application process.

“The cost is often the barrier,” Rodriguez said. “They think that it just isn’t possible. But there are scholarships, fee waivers, grants. There is so much money out there, but we have to let them know that it exists.”

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