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Scholarships subject of meeting

by Linda Hiller

The October meeting of the Douglas High School Parents Club featured school counselor Carolyn Porter, who spoke on how to pick a college, testing to get in, and how to steer a student toward available scholarships.

Starting in the sophomore year, students should be getting involved in some enrichment programs such as the U.N. program, girl’s state or boy’s state or the Rotary Youth Leadership, Porter said. One of the the benefits of participating in these programs is is that they look good on college applications.

“Any activities are good, though,” she said.”And, they can be community or church events – or even working outside school.”

Students who participate in one or two things heavily, rather than 10 things lightly could be more attractive to college entrance personnel looking at applications, she said.

“Try the internships or COE – either of those programs are also good on an application,” she said.

n Testing for college. Taking the tests for college entrance can start as early as the sophomore year, Porter said.

“Sophomores can take the PSAT, which is a good rehearsal for when they are juniors,” she said. “Then, the end of the junior year they’ll want to take the ACT and SAT tests. They can re-take them the beginning of their senior year if they want to try and better their scores, but make sure they get them done early so the results will be available when the college applications need to go in, which is usually February 1st.”

Testing workshops are offered through DHS to help prepare students for the tests, she said.

n Applying for college. Porter recommended students try and hone in on what they might like to major in before applying, even if it’s picking an area as general as “the health field.”

“Don’t put down ‘undecided’ on an application, though, because that doesn’t look good,” she said. “Many scholarships can be specific to what the student wants to pursue.”

Porter said students should be prepared for scholarship and college interviews by focusing ahead of time on future goals and dreams.

“They need to be enthusiastic and have a direction and be able to communicate well with the interviewer,” she said. “We can help them practice the interview in the career center.”

Porter warned of three “front loading” universities that may give generous scholarships the first year and decrease them each year after that. Students are lured in by the initial gift, but may find themselves stranded with big bills their senior year. The schools she mentioned were University of the Pacific, University of Southern California and University of Denver.

Information for students and parents wanting to find the best college is available on the internet, Porter said. Most universities have websites that can even take an application online. Fastweb.com is one site Porter recommended for a general overview.

n Don’t dawdle. DHS Principal Bev Jeans said parents are welcome to come in to the career center and peruse the information available, but she urged parents to move quickly.

“Don’t dawdle or drag your heels on this, although I know it can be a nerve wracking thing to pursue – filling out the forms and all,” she said. “But we do find that the seniors who get the scholarships are in the career center during their lunch hour and at breaks and after school.”

Military schools and programs are something Jeans urged parents not to give up on.

“They often give scholarships and teach job skills,” she said. “The ROTC program pays the student’s tuition wherever they want to go and they give them a monthly allowance on top of that. The military is shopping for good people now, so don’t discount them.”

Jeans also pointed out that many DHS students are interested in culinary careers, and scholarships are available for that, as well as the two-year technical schools.

“That’s where many of the jobs are,” Jeans said.

Many of the auto tech grads at WNCC are getting grabbed right out of school – some even before they graduate – starting at $40,000 plus a bonus.

“Our computer kids are also getting jobs – that’s how well they’re trained here,” Jeans said.

Students who plan to attend a community college or technical school should make sure their classes will transfer to a university if that is where they think they might want to go.

“The two-year engineering school at WNCC transfers directly into UNR,” Jeans said.

The millennium scholarship, for Nevada graduates who want to attend Nevada colleges, will be open to DHS students beginning with the Class of 2000. Students must have a B average or better to qualify. Final details are scheduled to be announced Oct. 27. Of the 440 seniors at DHS this year, 170 of them have a B average or better, Porter said.

The next meeting of the DHS parent club will be held Tuesday Nov. 9 at 4:30 p.m. in the library. The topic will be the internship and Cooperative Occupational Education (COE) programs at the school.

For more information, call 782-5136.