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Beyond High School

Beyond High School Information


Colleges, universities, and scholarship programs use a student's academic record, test scores,extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations and application essays to evaluate how well prepared a student is for college-level work. Scores on standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Test (ACT) enable colleges to compare the academic achievements of students from different schools. This is helpful because courses and grading standards vary from school to school.

The SAT is a three-four and forty-five minute test that measures critical rading, mathematics, and writing abilities that develop over time. It includes an essay and multiple-choice questions. The ACT Assessment measures skills in English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. It also includes an optional essay that assesses writing ability. These areas are tested because they include the major areas of instruction in most high school and college programs.

Most schools accept either the SAT or ACT test results. Because each assessment tests different skills, it is a good idea to find out about both tests and see which one tests your strengths the best. We recommend you discuss the particulars of each test with your counselor. It is a good idea to take the SAT and ACT in the spring of the junior year.

Top 10 Tips To Help Pay For College

 February 01, 2013
10. Save for college
If you haven't already done so, you should begin saving for college immediately. Even if you are going to college in the fall, you can still begin saving now to help cover some of the costs, such as your first semester's books. You have a variety of options available to make the most of your savings. (
9. Use education loyalty and affinity programs
Loyalty and affinity programs allow you to save for college by shopping at certain stores, buying particular products, or using a designated credit or debit card. (

8. Explore financial aid options
Financial aid is one of the tools that make higher education possible for many students. It may mean being able to continue your education when you otherwise would not be able. Or it could mean being able to attend the school of your choice despite higher tuition costs. (

7. Review your eligibility for federal financial aid
6. Apply for financial aid
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which collects information about your financial situation, as well as your family's financial situation. (

5. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR)

4. Find scholarships and grants and consider work-study programs
3. Consider borrowing student loans (should be your last resort)
2. Claim tax credits and deductions for education
And the number one tip for paying for college is . . .
Review your award letter and only accept the financial aid you need!

Scholarship Opportunities

The Guidance Office has a scholarship bulletin board, which has several scholarship opportunities currently posted. The scholarships are continuously updated. Seniors, please stop in and check it out! If you see a scholarship that you might be eligible for, take note of the scholarship ID number, and ask your guidance counselor for the appropriate scholarship application.

You may also want to check out the following scholarship websites: and  

College Reps and Military Reps Visit Sidney High School

During the course of the school year, various college representatives visit the high school to meet with students interested in learning more about their particular college. The college reps set up a block of time, usually 1 period out of the school day, and sit down with one student or a group of students for an informational discussion. The reps welcome questions from the students and often pass out literature about their college. Some colleges will also offer application fee waivers at this time. The meetings are held in the conference room of the guidance office.

As well, representatives from the various branches of the military periodically visit the high school usually during Junior/Senior lunch. The reps meet with interested students in the guidance office conference room on an informal basis. At times, the military rep may call the morning of a visit to set up the appointment.

Parents are welcome to attend any of these sessions. Upcoming visits will be posted on the calendar. If you plan to attend a session, please call the morning of the visit in order to be sure it is still scheduled.

7 Common FAFSA Mistakes

7 Common FAFSA Mistakes
Posted on January 6, 2014 by Nicole Callahan

1. Not Completing the FAFSA

I hear all kinds of reasons: “The FAFSA is too hard,” “It takes to long to complete,” I never qualify anyway, so why does it matter.” It does matter. By not completing the FAFSA you are missing out on the opportunity to qualify for what could be thousands of dollars to help you pay for college. The FAFSA takes most people 23 minutes to complete, and there is help provided throughout the application. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, there is no income cut-off when it comes to federal student aid

2. Not Being Prepared

The online FAFSA has gotten a lot easier over the last few years. We’ve added skip logic, so you only see questions that are applicable to you. There is also an option to import your tax information from the IRS directly into the FAFSA application. But, the key to making the FAFSA simple is being prepared. You’ll save yourself a lot of time by gathering everything you need to complete the FAFSA before you start the application

3. Not Reading Carefully

You’re on winter break and probably enjoying a vacation from reading for a couple weeks. I get it. But when it comes to completing the FAFSA, you want to read each question carefully. Too many students see delays in their financial aid for simple mistakes that could have been easily avoided.

Don’t rush through these questions:
■Your Number of Family Members (Household size): The FAFSA has a specific definition of how you or your parents’ household size should be determined. Read the instructions carefully. Many students incorrectly report this number.
■Amount of Your Income Tax: Income tax is not the same as income. It is the amount of tax that you (and if married, your spouse) paid on your income earned from work. Your income tax amount should not be the same as your adjusted gross income (AGI). Where you find the amount of your income tax depends on which IRS form you filed.
■Legal Guardianship: One question on the FAFSA asks: “As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?” Many students incorrectly answer “yes” here. For this question, the definition of legal guardianship does not include your parents, even if they were appointed by a court to be your guardian. You are also not considered a legal guardian of yourself.

4. Inputting Incorrect Information

The FAFSA is an official government form. You must enter your information as it appears on official government documents like your birth certificate and social security card. Examples:
■Entering the Wrong Name (Yes, I’m serious): You wouldn’t believe how many people have issues with their FAFSA because they entered an incorrect name on the application. It doesn’t matter if you’re Madonna, or Drake, or whatever Snoop Lion is calling himself these days. You must enter your full name as it appears on official government documents. No nicknames.
■Entering the Wrong Social Security Number (SSN): When we process FAFSAs, we cross check your social security number with the Social Security Administration. To avoid delays in processing your application, triple check that you have entered the correct SSN. If you meet our basic eligibility criteria, but you or your parents don’t have a SSN, follow these instructions.

5. Not Reporting Parent Information

Even if you fully support yourself, pay your own bills, file your own taxes, you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes, and therefore, you’ll need to provide your parent(s) information on your FAFSA. Dependency guidelines for the FAFSA are determined by Congress and are different from those of the IRS. Find out whether or not you need to provide parent information by answering these questions.

6. Not Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

For many, the most difficult part about filling out the FAFSA is entering in the financial information. But now, thanks to a partnership with the IRS, students and parents who are eligible can automatically transfer the necessary tax info into the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This year, the tool will launch on February 2, 2014. In most cases, your information will be available from the IRS two weeks after you file. It’s also one of the best ways to prevent errors on your FAFSA and avoid any processing delays.

Note: If you used income estimates to file your FAFSA early, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your FAFSA two weeks after you file your 2013 taxes.

7. Not Signing the FAFSA

So many students answer every single question that is asked, but fail to actually sign the FAFSA with their PIN and submit it. This happens for many reasons, maybe they forgot their PIN, or their parent isn’t with them to sign with the parent PIN, so the FAFSA is left unsubmitted. Don’t let this happen to you. If you don’t have or don’t know your PIN, apply for one. If you would like confirmation that your FAFSA has been submitted, you can check your status immediately after you submit your FAFSA online.

Nicole Callahan is a new media analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.