College Choice Matters

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A number of students are throwing their dreams of college out the window because they think they can’t afford to attend or don’t know which college to choose. Don’t leave your college goals behind. Educate yourself on all of the great financial aid and campus resources available to you to help you further your education.

Click on the infographic below from to help you better understand how you can access a college education.

Mark your calendar: February 20, 2014 – Houston FAFSA Day (Ask your Counselor/College Access Coordinator for more details).



Plan your Summer 2014 Experience Today

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It’s never too early for HISD scholars to start thinking about how their summer plans affect their college career and learning doesn’t have to stop in the summer just because classes end. Right here in Houston, students have an opportunity to participate in a pre-college program focused on literature, the arts, and media through Wonderworks.

Wonderworks is a non-profit organization that works with both the University of Houston and Rice University to provide this exciting summer experience and has opened the application to all 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to apply. From June to July, you will have a chance to learn from college professors, take classes on a college campus, and even get tips on preparing for the college essay. Students interested in applying must complete the application before May 5, 2014 and financial aid is available, so don’t delay!

For more information, take a look at the 2014 Wonderworks Summer site and download a flyer to share with your family, high school Counselor, and College Access Coordinator.

Your future is in your hands! Have a great Winter Break.

Make the Most of Your Winter Break

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You made it!

It’s the last week of classes for 2013 and our College Readiness team wants you to finish it strong. As you prepare for winter break, several of your former classmates who are now college students are returning home for their winter break too. Take an opportunity to reach out and connect with a current college student to talk with them about their experience. Some possible questions to ask:

  • How was your first semester in college?
  • Any advice for me about what I can do now to prepare for college?
  • How is college different from high school?
  • Can we keep in touch?

In addition to connecting with current college students, don’t forget to pay attention to upcoming application deadlines as you prepare for your own college journey. Along with application deadlines,  it’s almost time to complete your FAFSA.
February 20, 2014, every HISD high school will be open from 6p-8p to help you and your family complete this important step (if you haven’t already). Take time now to find out more information on to learn more about completing the FAFSA.

As always, we want to hear from you. If you want to know more information about preparing for college, connect with your College Access Coordinator, Counselor, or our College Readiness team. We’re glad to help!

Federal Student Aid is Available for HISD Students

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Federal Student Aid logo

Our College Readiness team strongly believes the support of helping all of our students prepare for college lies in the hands of everyone in our district. One important topic we are working on right now is to make sure students know where to look for financial aid resources and support. A great resource is the Federal Student Aid office under the Department of Education.  This office helps both students and their families understand about money available from the government as well as other sources. Other sources can include: Grants, Work-Study, Scholarships, and Loans.

In addition to helping students and families, there’s also a toolkit for educators and counselors. While the focus is on education professionals helping schools, our team highly encourages students and families to also take a look at the Financial Aid Toolkit as an important resource in preparing for college. You never know what you might discover!

We hope that helps! Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. We are always excited to hear back from our students and parents and what you need to know as we help all HISD students prepare for college.

Happy Wednesday!

College Board Gives HISD Students Access to Opportunity

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CollegeBoard logo

The New York Times recently published a story reporting “the group that administers the SAT has begun a nationwide outreach program to try to persuade more low-income high school seniors who scored high on standardized tests to apply to select colleges.

The group, the College Board, is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors.”

Take a look at the video below to learn more about this great initiative and how it can give you access to opportunity.

Fly-In Programs Offer Students Opportunity, Exploration of Campuses

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EMERGE Fellows at Tufts Fly-In
From left to right: Luis Melendez (East Early College), Liliana Martinez (Chavez), Janet Nieto (Chavez), Felipe Guillen (Chavez) Not pictured: Javeon Gray (Washington)

Last week, five EMERGE-HISD seniors attended the VOICES of Tufts Diversity Weekend. Tufts University is a nationally ranked liberal arts institution in Massachusetts that practices full-need and need-blind admissions policies. The five students were selected based on their application, recommendations, test scores, and GPA, and received full financial assistance to travel to Tufts University, stay overnight in a student dormitory, and participate in a variety of on campus activities to gain the true college experience.

Diversity fly-in programs such as VOICES of Tufts allow underserved students from various backgrounds and communities to explore campuses they may not have otherwise considered. Applications for these programs typically open late summer for rising seniors. EMERGE-HISD seniors have attended a wide range of fly-ins this year including programs at Amherst, Barnard, Carnegie Mellon, Colgate, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Grinnell, Pitzer, Reed, Williams, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The 2013-2014 EMERGE application deadline is November 1, 2013.

Asian-American College and Career Day

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Asian American College and Career Day

Asian-American middle and high school students will learn about career options from professional representatives in the following areas: business, creative arts, culinary arts, education/research, energy, engineering, entrepreneurship, health care, information technology, law enforcement/public service, legal, media, medical, psychology/social work.

Saturday, November 16th

  • Middle school students will learn about the transition from middle school to high school.
  • Students will also learn about getting ready for college: choosing the right college, requirements for college essays and letters of recommendation, and applying for financial aid.
  • Parents will focus on the college preparation process. Parent workshops will be offered in English, Mandarin/Cantonese, and Vietnamese.

The 2013 Asian-American College & Career Day will be held at Bellaire High School, 5100 Maple, from 8 a.m. to noon. State Rep. Gene Wu will be the keynote speaker and admission is free! Preregistration is encouraged. Learn more and register here.

Download the event flyer in EnglishMandarin Chinese or Vietnamese.