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March 1, 2015
by: Tad Phippen Wente

Older students spring ahead with college preparations

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February and March are coming alive with college plans for juniors and seniors.

In February, all IDEAS Academy students learned about College Placement Testing and its benefits. Seniors may register for Placement Tests online and begin testing for the UW System March 21 at UW-Sheboygan. Information and registration is available here.

Students should contact their individual colleges for more information. Placement Tests allow incoming freshmen to be placed at the correct level of math, English and foreign language and prevent them from having to take a class that’s too easy. If students earn a B or better in the class, they automatically receive credit for the lower level classes. For example, a student earning a B or better in 3rd semester Spanish would receive full credit for semesters 1 and 2. This is a great savings in tuition.

Juniors have learned about two programs they may choose for next year: Youth Options and Youth Apprenticeship. Youth Options allows incoming seniors to take college courses at no cost, typically through UW-Sheboygan or LTC. To qualify, students need to have enough credits to graduate early and be registered for courses at the college. Deadlines for this program are March 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester. Youth Apprenticeship, available through LTC, pairs qualified juniors and seniors with local businesses for an opportunity to learn what it’s like to work in a specific field. These are paid apprenticeships that also involve classes. More information is available online.

As for college costs, seniors are focused on two key components to financing their futures. One is FAFSA, the Free Application for Student Aid. In a Senior Institute at IDEAS, all seniors began their FAFSA registrations. All they need to finish is 2014 income tax information from parents. The sooner this is completed, the sooner they will know what kinds of grants, scholarships and loans they are eligible to receive. Second is scholarships. Seniors receive emails as new scholarships become available, and a list is accessible on our IDEAS Advisory Web site under Scholarships 2014-2015. Students needing help completing scholarship applications are welcome to stop in the Little Library Tuesdays and Fridays during Advisory.

Juniors take the ACT on March 3 and 4. With this rite of passage they will be ready to explore their college options with new vigor!

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