SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(ABC4 News) Right now, all across Utah, high schools are holding College Application Week. It’s five days dedicated to helping students fill out and submit at least one viable college application. Lisa Gardner, a counselor at Hillcrest High, joined Brian Carlson to talk about how schools are helping students do it.
Utah College Application Week is such a fun week for our high schools. The events start today in Canyons District. They’re posting fun, college-related items on social media, playing college-related BINGO games, holding assemblies, and encouraging everyone to wear T-shirts and sweatshirts and hoodies of their favorite colleges and universities.
Utah College Application Week, or UCAW is it’s commonly called, is full of fun and games – but there is also a serious side to it. The aim is for every high school senior to fill out and submit at least one viable college application. It’s just not enough to hand them the papers and wish them luck. Students get hands-on help in all Canyons District high schools. For example, computer labs will be staffed with counselors and teachers who can help answer questions about the applications and financial aid.
Many students cannot afford to go to college, so it’s so important for each one to complete the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is the federal form that students must complete in order to make themselves eligible for federal money used to pay for higher education. By filling it out, students can be eligible for Pell Grants, Work Study Programs, and loans subsidized by the government.
Gardner wants parents to know how they can encourage their students to participate. Conversations about post-secondary education can start early. It can be as early as elementary school. Canyons District has a Kindergarten College-Ready Day. It’s held the first Friday of our kindergarteners’ first week at school. Those conversations continue all through their senior year. At home, parents can talk about how much they learned in college and how exciting it can be to be a part of a college community. Gardner says kids get excited when they see their parents or aunts and uncles wearing university memorabilia, associating with a campus community. It can make them see they need to keep going in high school to achieve that goal. In addition, parents can get their kids excited by working with them on plans for college. If students have an idea of what they will be doing after high school, it¹s easier to get them to focus on a preparation plan.
Some type of training required after high school is critical in today’s workforce. College doesn’t always mean going to a four-year university. It could mean a certification program, job training, community or junior college, etc.
For more information on College Application Week, visit CanyonsDistrict.org.