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College Admission and Financial Aid Information

For a faster search of scholarship opportunities, use your “Find” option to search for scholarship criteria that may apply to you. Use a variety of keywords.

Beware of SCAMS! Read the section below on scams for information and links to the Federal Trade Commission’s Web Page.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS, SCHOLARSHIP AND FINANCIAL AID

The Four-Year Plan is an individualized schedule for each of the grades 9 through 12. The plan should be developed during your eighth grade or freshman year at the very latest. When developing this plan keep in mind graduation requirements, college recommended courses, career plans, and NCAA athletic requirements. Your Four-Year Plan should be reviewed and revised each year with adjustments made for academic performance, revised career goals, post-secondary educational goals and personal interests.

 

As you plan your future after high school, your objective is to find a technical/vocational program, or a college or university that is right for you. You want to find the best fit scholastically, economically and socially to prepare for the future goals you want. If you plan to go directly to work (or to part-time employment), finding a career area you like and preparing a resume, letters, and getting recommendations will be an important goal this year. Following are suggestions, information, dates, sample resumes, letters, etc., to help you.

 

Admissions criteria used by most 4-year colleges to determine admissions are generally the same from college to college. However, colleges do differ in how they evaluate this information. One college may place greater importance on test scores, while another college may stress GPA. Criteria include 1) Grade Point Average, 2) class rank, 3) strength of subjects, 4) ACT and/or SAT scores, 5) recommendations, 6) activities, awards, community service, 7) personal essay, and 8) interview.

 

Two-year community colleges and technical schools, like Bakersfield College or San Joaquin Valley College, are alternative sources of post-secondary education. Only approximately 20% of today’s careers require a four-year college degree. However, 85% of all careers do require education and training beyond high school. Students may best prepare for their career goals by attending a community college or technical school. Students should prepare for success by taking as many academic courses as possible in high school. However, community colleges and technical schools generally accept anyone with a high school diploma or GED or who is over 18 years old. These schools may also administer their own English and math placement tests.

Take self-inventories to identify your goals, your abilities, your interests, and your work habits. Interest inventories are available in the Liberty High School Career/College Center. One source of assistance is the personal interest inventories found on ECOS. Inventories are helpful in choosing a college major or a career. ECOS can also assist you with choosing a school that will suit your interests.

Plan a campus visit. Campuses offer tours for students and families frequently and open houses for prospective students once or twice a year. Appointments are made through the Relations with School Office on the campuses. Telephone numbers are available online, in college catalogues, and through telephone information. Try to visit while school is in session and talk with students. Read the catalogue before you visit so you know what to look for. Ask questions and take notes so you can compare schools. The Career/College Center has information on college open house dates. College representatives and outreach counselors meet with students in our Career/College Center.

 

College admission test requirements vary. You will want to do your best. Therefore, plan to participate in test preparation classes, go online to learn of study questions, study the test preparation booklet that comes with the registration packet, and plan to take the test more than once. Scores improve through repetition. Also, plan to take the tests early, at least once in your junior year. Many colleges practice early admissions and having taken the SAT I or ACT early could mean being admitted to the college of your choice earlier than anticipated.

California State Universities require SAT I or ACT. Once admitted, placement tests include the EPT (English) and ELM (Math). University of California campuses require the SAT I or ACT, and the SAT II. You must take 3 tests: Writing, Math Level I, and one more test of your choice. Complete these tests by December. Community colleges, like Bakersfield College, require their own placement test, the ASSET. The ASSET is given in the spring.

Before an athlete can play a sport or receive an athletic scholarship at a Division I or II college, the student must meet specific academic criteria as set forth by the NCAA. A student must have a 2.0 GPA in 13 college preparatory classes. The student must also have a minimum cumulative score of 68 on the ACT (fours scores) or a combined SAT score of at least 820.

 

Carefully prepare your extra-curricular activities sheet, an autobiography essay and a resume. Ask people to write recommendations and help them do so by giving them a copy of your resume. Remember to thank those who write letters for you. The autobiographical essay includes information about you, your family, your areas of interest, and your plans upon graduation. Use a word processor and its spell checker to increase accuracy.

Create and constantly update your portfolio. Keep copies of your four-year plan, activity sheet, autobiographical essay, letters of recommendations, college applications, FAFSA, and transcript. Include information about colleges and scholarship opportunities.

Scholarship opportunities abound. Visit the Career/College Center, look for the posted Scholarship Calendar listing due dates and criteria, check out Liberty’s Guidance and Counseling web page, or use ECOS for a computerized search. Libraries, newspapers, and the Internet are excellent sources of scholarship sources. Have your parents and grandparent’s check with the personnel office where they work to see if scholarships are offered for dependents. Check with your church and other group affiliations for available scholarships.

FINANCIAL AID

Financial aid is assistance given to a student to help with college costs. It is based on need, the cost of attendance, and the amount of money the student and his or her family is expected to contribute. To be eligible for federal and state grants and institutional aid, students must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) between January 1 and March 2.  In addition, students are required to have on file a completed G.P.A. Verification to be eligible for California financial aid, called Cal Grants.  Mail the FAFSA early, make a copy, and get a certificate of mailing. Or, file online.

An accurate Social Security Number needs to be on file with the Registrar. Liberty High School will send the SSN and G.P.A. Verifications to the State of California in January. If you do not have your accurate SSN on file, you will need to file a separate G.P.A. Verification Form to be eligible for Cal Grants.

The FAFSA is important for all students to complete because many colleges use it for scholarships as well. A Financial Aid Workshop will be held in January. Students who plan to attend private colleges may need to complete a PROFILE for Financial Aid that is designed for the specific private college. All of these forms are available in the Career/College Center. FAFSA is also available online.

Beware of SCAMS.  What are the warning signs? Does the company pressure you to commit right away, ask inappropriate questions about your finances, display inappropriate openness about other clients’ personal business, promise exclusive information or a scholarship search for a fee, offer awards you never applied for, or ask for a bank or credit card account number to hold a scholarship for you? There are many fraudulent scholarship search services that send letters to students and their parents. The Federal Trade Commission < http://www.ftc.gov/> warns students to beware of scholarship services and invitations to “free seminars” that guarantee scholarships and promise to do all the work. Legitimate scholarships and FAFSA forms are FREE. Check out the government web page on scholarship scams at <http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/scholarship>.

 

Where does financial aid monies come from? It comes in two forms – gift aid and self-help aid. Gift aid does not have to be repaid. Self-help includes loans and work-study. Colleges and technical/vocational schools create a financial aid “package” that includes several types of aid. These include:

Grants and Scholarships do not have to be repaid. Grants usually are awarded on the basis of need, and scholarships may be given on the basis of need, achievement, or community service. Local community groups, state and national organizations, employers, colleges, etc give scholarships. Students who meet the eligibility criteria complete a specific application. The FAFSA is the application that all students must complete to gain access to federal, state and college grants.

The federal government supplies most of the financial aid. Federal grant programs include Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). The Hope Scholarship allows a tax credit of $1,500 for the first two years of college.

Loans are a form of self-help aid that must be repaid after you have graduated or left post-secondary schools. These loans usually have low interest rates. They are the Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan, and the Parent (PLUS) Loan.

 

Work-Study is money the student earns through campus employment. Recipients may receive varied amounts of this type of aid and it is not repaid.

State Grants include CAL GRANT A, B and C and the new T. Cal Grant A provides tuition assistance to students enrolled in a 4-year college. Awards are based on need and G.P.A. Grants vary according to the cost of the school. . Cal Grant B is intended to aid high-potential students from disadvantaged/low income families. Grants may be used for living and school expenses. Cal Grant C provides assistance for vocational training in community

colleges and vocational schools, including related costs such as special clothing, tools, equipment, books, supplies and transportation. Cal Grant T is a newly offered grant designed to assist students who plan to enter the field of education and seek a teaching credential.

Colleges offer a wide variety of financial aid programs funded from their own resources. These can include grants and scholarships, student employment programs, and short-term or emergency loans.