Seniors line up for college application week
All four Sanpete high schools have partnered with the Utah System of Higher Education to launch their own Utah College Application Week as part of Governor Gary Herbert’s proclamation naming November “Utah College Application Month.”
Wasatch Academy has carved out the first week of November to get seniors lined up with college applications. North Sanpete High School (NSHS), Manti High School (MHS) and Gunnison Valley High School (GVHS) have set aside the week of Nov. 14-18 for seniors.
According to Utah Commissioner of Higher Education Dave Buhler, more than 90 percent of Utah’s high school students have said they plan on attending college, yet only two-thirds of them take the leap.
Snow College President Gary Carlston says some students are hesitant to apply because they might not understand the application and enrollment process, and it can be intimidating. He also says finances are a concern.
“To those students, and all students, we invite you to visit our campuses and let our student-focused staff help you,” Carlston says. “Students should learn all they can about financial aid and scholarships and then utilize those services to help pay for college.”
High school counselors have made it a priority during the time they set forth for application week to answer questions and help seniors navigate their way through the application process.
Wasatch Academy College Counselor Mitzi Austin says “the early bird gets the worm,” which is why the school has dedicated the first week of November to get students enrolled.
“I think students [and parents] need to understand that if they apply for college sooner, they will have a better chance of getting the money they need to get them there,” Austin said. “The sooner they apply, the more stress it can alleviate. They’ll get a response [from colleges students applied to], and then they have the rest of their senior year to enjoy.”
Of the 80 seniors at Wasatch, Austin says 25 have applied to Utah colleges, and the majority of the remaining seniors have applied to other universities nationwide.
NSHS Counselor Ben Cox says the school is in their second year of having an organized effort with activities for seniors to help students get a strong foot in the door.
Last year, 70 percent of NSHS seniors applied for college, and Cox says he anticipates more students will apply this year because of such dedicated efforts.
Activities planned out for students are geared to help them decide which schools will be best suited for their academic and career goals, as well as provide them with resources and tools to get them acquainted with the application process.
Austin said one thing many students across the state are not aware of is how streamlined the application and scholarship process is. Students can now apply for a school and a scholarship using a single application, a process implemented by several colleges.
Not only are applications more streamlined, but during the month of November, students who choose to apply during their school’s dedicated week will also reap financial benefits.
Cox says several of Utah’s colleges will waive application fees. Snow College, Southern Utah University, Utah Valley University, Weber State and Utah State University are a few of the colleges willing to release some of the financial burden parents and students will face during college years.
“It’s becoming bigger and bigger, and I think as more kids jump in, more schools will get on board with free applications and more kids will think about enrolling,” Cox said. Although application fees are being waived, parents and students must bear in mind that free applications are limited. According to Cox, colleges only provide a few “free applications” to each school.
Standing out and shining on college applications are another aspect seniors might consider when applying to colleges.
Carlston says, “We suggest students research the college or university they want to attend and familiarize themselves with the school specific criteria. Replying to the specific admission or scholarship requirements will maximize opportunities.”
For a full list of participating schools, tips, tools and resources, visit StepUpUtah.