Career and College Advisor Notes for December 2023
Dear Families & Students,
It is hard to believe 2023 is already coming to an end! Unlike past years, this December has turned into our de facto financial aid month – see below for details on upcoming events to support families and students.
First and foremost, Financial Aid Night is happening TOMORROW, Tuesday, December 5, from 6:30-7:30 pm in the LBHS Library or on Zoom**. **We will have the opportunity to learn from David Aramaki about the financial aid system and paying for post-secondary educational expenses. David has joined us on a number of occasions to share his expertise in helping families navigate the options for funding their children’s educational pursuits post-high school. All families and students in grades 7-12 are welcome, and seniors/senior families are encouraged to attend. Bring all your burning questions about financial aid and saving for college!
Update on FAFSA release + FAFSA Help Nights in January
We are still waiting for the official release date of the 2024-2025 FAFSA! We know it will happen by December 31, likely during the MVSD winter break. When we return from winter break, I’ll be hosting one or more FAFSA Help Nights for families who would like to fill out the application in the supportive environment of the LBHS Library. The first opportunity will be on Friday, January 5, from 5-7 pm. These help nights will be informal, drop-in sessions – parents are welcome to stop by to ask questions during the BB games or stay as long as they like and complete the entire FAFSA. Other dates will be scheduled based on student/family interest.
A Few Important Scholarship Opportunities
Montana State University WUE Scholarships - Applications Due January 3
MSU will be offering a very limited number of Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) scholarships to new freshmen enrolling in the fall of 2024. The WUE application is open, and instructions to apply can be found on MSU’s Nonresident Scholarships page. The deadline for WUE scholarship consideration is January 3, 2024. Due to the high value of WUE and the volume of applications, the scholarship is limited and extremely competitive. Students are encouraged to apply early and to complete the application carefully. Students will be notified in mid-February if they have been awarded WUE.
Okanogan County Bar Association Scholarship - Application Due January 15
The Okanogan County Bar Association Scholarship Committee will award a $1,200 scholarship to a student who will enroll in a two or four-year college for the Fall of 2024. To apply, students need to write an essay of up to 1,000 words about their plans for higher education (where will you go, what will you study, and why) and how they intend to use their degree to impact the legal field. Submissions must be emailed by January 15, 2024, to the Okanogan County Bar Association: OkanoganCountyBarAssociation@gmail.com.
Washington State University General Scholarship Application - Due January 31
Like many other institutions, WSU uses a general application to award dozens of different merit-based scholarships. Prospective students need to fill out the scholarship app no later than January 31, 2024, even if they have not yet committed to attending WSU.
Happy Holidays! Please let me know how I can help you this month!
Career and College Advisor Notes for November 2023
November is National Scholarship Month!
What does that mean for you? If you’re a senior, it means you’ll start completing some scholarship forms and begin gearing up for the release of the new FAFSA form in December (more details on the 24-25 FAFSA release below). And if you’re in 7-11th grade, you are already eligible to apply for certain scholarships, no matter what your current plans are for after high school! Check out this scholarship database that lists awards available to students by age/grade.
Before I get into all the financial aid announcements, a couple of reminders about upcoming career exploration opportunities:
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 7:00 am-4:30 pm: Big Bend Community College field trip
We’ll go to BBCC in Moses Lake to tour the campus and learn more about programs in manufacturing & process technology, welding, and aviation. All students in grades 7-12 are welcome!
Wednesday, Nov. 8, 1:30 p.m.: Health Sciences Clinical Skills Lab in the LB Culinary Arts classroom (Room 110)
Interested in a career in healthcare, emergency medicine, or just learning some basic clinical skills? A team of healthcare professionals from Jamie's Place and other healthcare providers from throughout the Methow will be leading a fun clinical skills lab every two weeks on early release Wednesdays. The next lab will be Wednesday, Nov. 8 right after school and will focus on vital signs, pulse rate, and blood pressure. Open to anyone interested and no previous experience required – see Grant Storey or Beth Anderson with questions.
U.S. Forest Service Hiring Window is OPEN until November 8
Earlier this week the LBHS Senior Seminar classes had a visit from a group of local Forest Service employees who shared about their career paths and talked about the wide range of opportunities for our graduates to find employment within the agency. For anyone interested in applying for seasonal positions for the summer of 2024, hiring is open from now until Nov. 8 on USAJOBS.gov. Two notes: applicants will need to be 18 or older by the time they start employment, and there will be another round of hiring in late January.
The University of Washington Application Deadline is November 15
Many of our seniors have already been hard at work on college applications this fall, some for early deadlines and others for due dates later in the school year. All applications for the University of Washington are due on Wednesday, November 15. This is the UW’s regular deadline and the only time they accept applications. Seniors, please keep reaching out if you need any help completing your applications in the coming weeks.
Update on the Revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Still waiting for the official release date of the 2024-2025 FAFSA! We know it will happen sometime in December and I will update the families of seniors as soon as I know more. In the meantime, here’s another helpful article on the anticipated changes: “The FAFSA Process Is Changing. Here’s What You Need to Know,” from Education Week. Or you can listen to this 4-minute piece on the FAFSA overhaul from NPR.
Financial Aid Information for Families – Recording from Macalester College Once the revised FAFSA form is available in December, we will host our annual in-person financial aid night in the Liberty Bell Library. However, if you’re looking for an overview of the financial aid process that you can access anytime, I’d recommend this recording from the Macalester College financial aid office: Financial Aid 101 -- Overview of the 2024-2025 Financial Aid Application Process.
A Few Important Scholarship Opportunities
Leadership 1000 Scholarship - Application Due November 30
Seniors, if you're considering attending a 2- or 4-year college or university in Washington State and meet the income eligibility guidelines, apply for the Leadership 1000 scholarship. The award is $5,000 per year and it's renewable for 4 years ($20,000 total). The application does include several short essays, but all students who meet the income criteria are encouraged to apply—it's worth your effort! A guide to the application process is attached, and there is an optional webinar on Nov. 8 from 6-7 p.m. to help students navigate the process.
Hagan Scholarship - Application Due December 1
The Hagan Scholarship is a nationwide need-based merit scholarship, that provides recipients with the opportunity to graduate from college debt-free. The scholarship is worth up to $7,500 each semester. See the full eligibility and application details on their website: this is a nationwide scholarship program, but students from rural and relatively small school districts are preferred. If you meet the criteria, talk to Ms. Anderson about how to apply.
Montana State University Presidential & WUE Scholarships - Applications Due December 2 & January 3
The Presidential Scholarship is offered through MSU’s Honors College and is the highest-value award at Montana State University, including a full tuition waiver and a generous housing stipend. The Presidential Scholarship application is open, and is due on December 1, 2023, for the 2024-2025 academic year. MSU will be offering a very limited number of Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) scholarships to new freshmen enrolling in the fall of 2024. The WUE application is open, and instructions to apply can be found on MSU’s Nonresident Scholarships page. The deadline for WUE scholarship consideration is January 3, 2024. Due to the high value of WUE and the volume of applications, the scholarship is limited and extremely competitive. Students are encouraged to apply early and to complete the application carefully. Students will be notified in mid-February if they have been awarded WUE.
All for now! See me with questions or if you’d like to set up a time to talk about what’s next after high school. (This offer applies to both students and families!)
Office Hours: Available at LBHS or ILC from 8 am-3:30 pm on M/Tu/Th/F
Available remotely on Wednesdays
College and Career Advising October Announcements
October will be a busy month for all the things. There are field trips to go on, essays to write, tests to take, and applications to work on…in addition to all the athletic events and drama performances and Homecoming celebrations. Please reach out when you have questions or concerns or just need a moment to sit and breathe – there are many resources available to support you.
Upcoming Field Trips!
Below are the dates and descriptions of the fall field trip opportunities. The overnight college tour is mainly intended for juniors and seniors; CLIMBS students in grades 9-10 can talk with Beth Anderson and may be able to join if space is available. For all trips, see Ms. Anderson to sign up and pick up permission forms:
Seniors, if you're considering attending a 2- or 4-year college or university in Washington state and meet the income eligibility guidelines, apply for the Leadership 1000 scholarship. The award is $5,000 per year and it's renewable for 4 years ($20,000 total). The application does include several short essays, but all students who meet the income criteria are encouraged to apply—it's worth your effort! A guide to the application process is attached, and there is an optional webinar on Nov. 8 from 6-7pm to help students navigate the process.
Hagan Scholarship - Application Due December 1
The Hagan Scholarship is a nationwide need-based merit scholarship, providing recipients with the opportunity to graduate from college debt-free. The scholarship is worth up to $7,500 each semester. See the full eligibility and application details on their website: this is a nationwide scholarship program, but students from rural and relatively small school districts are preferred. If you meet the criteria, talk to Ms. Anderson about how to apply.
PSAT for Juniors on October 26
The PSAT is given free of charge to all juniors. This year the PSAT will be digital for the first time, which means students will need to bring their Chromebooks on test day. See Erika Spellman’s earlier email for more details about the PSAT and talk with Erika or Beth if you have any questions.
School Day SAT also happening on October 26
Registration for the October 26 School Day SAT is now closed, but please** c**heck in with either Erika Spellman or Beth Anderson if you have any questions about what to expect or how to prepare.
Students may choose to register for Saturday SAT/ACT dates at any of the testing sites in our region. See Mrs. Spellman or Ms. Anderson to obtain a fee waiver for outside tests (all students who receive free/reduced lunch qualify for free testing!).
Ask Ms. Anderson for printed copies of full-length practice SATs and take advantage of these excellent online SAT and ACT prep resources:
A Better FAFSA
As I mentioned last month, the release of this year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be delayed until December. The attached flyer from the Washington Student Achievement Council addresses some of the common questions families and students may have about the new FAFSA – and you are always welcome to email or call or stop by to talk if you have questions that are specific to your situation.
Please stop by my office and say hello during the LBHS Open House Wednesday night from 6-7:30pm!
Looking forward to seeing many of you there.
College and Career Advisor*
Methow Valley School District
Office Hours: *Available at LBHS or ILC from 8am-3:30pm on M/Tu/Th/F
Available remotely on Wednesdays
About the College and Career Counseling Program
The goal of our College and Career Counseling program is to provide students and their families with the information and resources necessary for them to make well-informed choices about their post-secondary education. Liberty Bell recognizes the diversity in our families and understands that what might be right for one student may not be a good fit for another.
Therefore, we work individually with students and their families to help them successfully develop and achieve their post-graduation goals – whether that is applying to a 4-year, 2-year or technical college, designing a productive Gap Year plan or entering the military or workforce. Some of the specific services that we offer include:
Educating students and parents about the post-secondary educational choices available to them.
Meeting individually with juniors, seniors and parents to help them with their college lists, the application process, college essays and financial aid needs, including the FAFSA, the Profile and College Bound Scholarship, as well as with SAT/ACT prep and registration.
Holding college information evenings for students and parents to make sure that they have all the resources and support they need to reach their goals.
Working with the guidance counselor to ensure that 9th and 10th graders take the necessary classes to be eligible for college admissions.
Applying to college should be a fun and exciting process; but at times it can be a bit overwhelming. If you find yourself feeling stuck, or if you have questions about any part of the application process, contact our office at (509) 996-2215.