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Jets seniors take first step during Alabama College Application Week

Seniors at James Clemens High School got a needed boost during Alabama College Application Week. (CONTRIBUTED)
Seniors at James Clemens High School got a needed boost during Alabama College Application Week. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Seniors at James Clemens High School are taking a critical step during Alabama College Application Campaign week on Nov. 3-7.

Alabama State Department of Education sponsored the week for 2015 prospective graduates. ‘James Clemens Counseling Crew’ is encouraging seniors to complete an application to at least one college.

“We hope to empower them to take responsibility of moving on to post-secondary education,” Lana Meskunas said with fellow counselors George Cruz, Heather Porter and Rosalyn Smith. Students also completed forms for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“The earliest time a senior can apply to college is the summer before their senior year,” counselors said. Application deadlines vary by school. Many colleges have a Dec. 1 deadline for scholarships, which can also require an admissions application.

Typically, May 1 is the cutoff date for accepting scholarships. This policy allows colleges to ‘re-award’ monies to different students who were first rejected. “It’s also a good indicator (that) students are serious about attending,” counselors said.

From James Clemens 380-plus seniors, 222 already have applied for college. Many have received acceptance letters.

The counselors’ goal is for all seniors to apply, even if a student plans to enter the military or civilian workforce. “(Applying) might provide an option they never thought possible,” Meskunas said.

Groups helping counselors are James Clemens PTSA, administrators and teachers; college admissions counselors; parents; cheerleaders; and Charger Dance Team and Charger Blue from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

A student’s major hang-up in completing an admissions application is the time factor. The applications vary from one to four pages, some requiring essays. “It can be very daunting, especially when students wait until the last minute,” counselors said.

“The best way to tackle admissions applications is selecting your top schools and complete those first during summer or at the beginning of the senior year,” counselors said. “Next, select your ‘maybe’ schools and complete those during fall break. Finally, apply to your ‘safety schools’ over Thanksgiving.”

For more information, visit alcareerinfo.org.

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