Visit the Texas Education Agency’s website for more information about Texas graduation requirements.
Dual Credit is the process by which a high school junior or senior enrolls in a college course and receives simultaneous academic credit for the course from both the college and the high school. Students must meet certain requirements to be able to take dual credit courses. The transcript for any earned credit will come from the partnering college of your high school. If the student plans to attend a college other than the partnering college administering the Dual Credit course they will be required to submit a transcript to this college who will then determine if the credit is transferrable.
Advance Placement – By taking an AP course in high school and scoring successfully on the related AP Exam, you can save on college expenses! Most colleges and universities offer credit, advanced placement, or both, for qualifying AP Exam scores. These credits allow students to save college tuition, skip some introductory courses, or secure a second major.
All four-year schools accept either the ACT or SAT (and many will accept both). Be sure to check with each school you plan to apply with to see if they have a preferred or required test. If not, the key is to determine which test you’ll perform better on. The best way to know how you’ll perform on each is to take a practice test.
Key differences to the two tests (provided by Princeton Review):
Start preparing for either test in the fall of your junior year and do your best because test scores will make an impact on college admissions officers.
Students who qualify for free testing will receive two fee waivers each for the ACT and SAT. These students are also eligible for college application fee waivers. See your counselor for more information.
The SAT is administered by The College Board and is offered seven times a year: October, November, December, January, March (or April, alternating), May, and June. There are four sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Mathematics and an optional essay. The optional test reading, analysis, and writing skills. Post-secondary institutions will determine if the essay is required for admission. From start to finish, the test will take you three hours (plus 50 minutes for the optional essay).
Visit www.collegeboard.com for Test Dates and Locations, Registration, Test Preparation, Official SAT Study Guide, Official SAT Online Course, and SAT Subject Test Study Guide.
The ACT test assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.
Visit www.actstudent.org for Test Center Locations, Test Dates and Deadlines, Registration and Fees, and ACT Online Preparation.
The Texas Success Initiative is a state-legislated program designed to improve student success in college. Students entering college must meet the College Readiness Standards in math, reading and writing to be eligible for college-level courses that count toward transcript credit at public colleges or universities in Texas.
Students can prove readiness via test scores on exit level tests in high school. Students that do not prove College Readiness through these high school exit level tests can also meet the standard through SAT, ACT, ASSET, COMPASS, THEA, and/or ACCUPLACER testing. If the student does not meet the required test scores they must enroll in an appropriate developmental education course before the student may enroll in a credit bearing course for the subject in which he/she did not meet state standards. A student may retake an exam instrument at any time, subject to availability, to determine the student’s readiness to perform freshman-level academic coursework.
Completing college admission applications and gathering all of the necessary documents can take a lot of time and effort – especially when you only have a few months to complete the process for every college you’re interested in. Therefore, it’s important to begin the process at least one to two months prior to the college or universities application deadline.
Colleges and universities may employ different options when it comes to having students apply for admissions. Some colleges will require you to complete their own university-specific admissions application, while many others allow students to complete a standardized application such as ApplyTexas or the Common Application, which can be sent to multiple colleges and universities. Note: Some colleges participating in the Common Application or ApplyTexas standard application program may require supplemental forms – this information should be stated on the website when applying.
Be sure to contact all colleges you’re interested in attending for details on their application process and due dates.
Once you complete any admissions application, be sure to notify your high school counselor. This is important because you’re counselor may need to submit your transcripts and/or a letter or recommendation on your behalf.
Some colleges and universities may offer an early admissions program in addition to the regular admissions process. Early Admission programs include Early Decision and Early Action – both programs allow students to apply early – usually in November, which means you should start the application process in October – and are normally notified of an admissions decision in December or early January. Click here for more info about Early Decision vs. Early Action
Regular Admission for most colleges begins in November and runs through March. Remember, you should give yourself at least one to two months to complete all of the necessary paperwork – this also allows time for individuals who will be writing letters of recommendation for you. Acceptance Letters are sent in the Spring and students normally have until May 1 to notify the school of their intent.
Contact the college you’re interested in attending to find out their official admissions application deadline and their acceptance deadline.
Each postsecondary institution that offers federal student aid is required to post a net price calculator on its site that uses institutional data to provide estimated net price information to current and prospective students and their families based on a student’s individual circumstances. This calculator should allow students to calculate an estimated net price of attendance at an institution (defined as cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid). Net Price calculators should be seen only as a baseline in determining your final costs, and it’s important to understand some of their limitations:
Be wary of services that charge a fee for helping families obtain financial aid and scholarships because many times they are scams. Families should start researching and applying for scholarships the spring semester of a student’s junior year in high school. Most major scholarship deadlines are the fall semester of the student’s senior year.
Financial aid comes in the form of grants, work-study and loans. These programs come from three main sources: Federal, State and Institutional.
To be eligible for any of these programs, the student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid otherwise known as FAFSA.
Completing the FAFSA will help colleges automatically determine your eligibility for Federal grants, work-study, and loans. Colleges may also use this application to determine your eligibility for state and/or institutional based aid programs or they may request that you submit additional applications.
University Applications / CSS Profiles
Some colleges may require additional forms to apply for financial aid. These may include specific applications from the college or university or the CSS Profile, which is a tool administered by the College Board to help financial aid offices acquire a more complete account of your financial situation.
Check with your school to see if any additional applications are required to receive financial aid and if they have a priority deadline!
Click here to see a complete list of eligibility requirements.
The FSA ID ― a username and password ― must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information. Go online to www.fafsa.gov and click the FSA ID logo to create your FSA ID.
Your FSA ID can be used to electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents, access your personal records, and make binding legal obligations. If you are a parent and need to electronically sign your child’s FAFSA, you need your own FSA ID. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign their applications.
Click here to learn more about the FSA ID.
Click here to see a full list of required documentation to complete the FAFSA.
Once you submit your FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Report or SAR. This report will have all of the information you submitted on the application and will also be sent to each college you listed on the FAFSA. The SAR will include an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which each college will use to determine your financial aid package.
Your college may request additional information once they receive your SAR. This process is called Verification – be sure to get any information back to your college as soon as possible so it doesn’t affect your award! Once your application is reviewed and completed by your college you will receive an award letter.
Once your aid package has been determined, the school will either mail an Award Letter to you or have you go online to review your award, which will indicate the types and amounts of financial aid you may be eligible to receive.
If you have applied for financial aid at more than one school, carefully review and compare each award and the schools Cost of Attendance to determine which aid package may be the best for you. Once you decide which school to attend you will need to accept or reject all or a part of the aid package offered. Be sure to read the award instructions carefully to see if any additional steps need to be taken. If you have questions about your award contact your Financial Aid office.
If you’re an undocumented student, you will not meet the eligibility requirements for FAFSA; however, you may still be eligible to apply for state-based financial aid.
Undocumented students who qualify for Texas state residency may be eligible to apply for state financial aid through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). To apply, you must first find out if the school that you are/will be attending accepts the TASFA. Some schools require additional details and applications to be submitted in order to be eligible for state aid.
Contact the Financial Aid office at the college you plan to attend for more information and/or requirements to apply. Visit www.collegeforalltexans.com for additional information about the TASFA application.