ASPIRE ISSUES for Students and Parents

Hi All!

Will Rutherford just sent out an e mail to our McKenzie families and I thought you might like to see a copy.  Keeping in mind that some of this information may strictly apply to McKenzie High School’s ASPIRE program, but that this may be a great example of a newsletter you may want to send out to your ASPIRE students.

ASPIRE Students and Parents—

Only 2 months left of this school year!  April Fools – It’s a few days more than 2 months.  That’s really a short amount of time to get a LOT of work done concerning your future education.  This issue of ISSUES is packed with info to help keep you on target.  And – it’s not just the seniors we’re talking about.  There’s something for everyone, including parents in this message.  Many of the topics appear on the ASPIRE website but are re-emphasized here.  Read On!

  1. WORKSHOP #8; Evaluating College Financial Aid Award Letters:  Attention Seniors

Seniors who applied to 4-year universities should now have their Financial Award Letters.  Community College letters usually arrive in May.  If this is YOU, please do not miss Workshop #8 on April 8 at 6:00pm.  Be sure your parents are also in attendance. This workshop is far more important than any excuse you can come up with to not participate.  You need to understand all aspects of Financial Aid Award Letters to plan how you will pay for your education.   Learn how to assess and compare award letters in order to make informed financial decisions. The workshop clarifies: Cost of Attendance (COA), gift money, need-based and merit-based awards, self-help, EFC, gapping, work study, loans and their differences, tax credits, and the answers to many related questions.

PS:  If you have not received your Financial Award Letters something is wrong.  Contact the University and correct the problem.  A common issue is an incomplete FAFSA!

  1. McKENZIE CAREER FAIR:  Thursday, April 9, 1:00-3:50

All High School Students will be invited to attend the annual McKenzie Career Fair on April 9.  This will be a great opportunity for Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors to visit with successful people in professional, vocational, military, and educational fields.  For the Seniors, the afternoon will also involve mock interviews to help prepare you for post-high school job searches.  Be sure your resume is looking good, that your confidence is high, and you are dressed for success.  It should be a great afternoon!

  1. LCC PATHWAYS:  At McKenzie April 29!

On April 29 a representative from Lane Community College will be at school to present an overview of the LCC Pathways program.  Pathways charts educational routes to career success in many vocational areas.  The presentation will be at 11:00 followed by a discussion session.   Freshmen thru Seniorsand Parents will be invited to attend.  More information soon!!

  1. COLLEGE KNOWLEDGE NIGHT MAY 7:  Grades 7-12 Are Invited!

Every year Willamette High School presents a College Fair they call College Knowledge Night.  Twenty to Thirty (20-30) schools (Universities, Colleges, Vocational Schools, Military, etc.) participate.  This year it’s May 7 from 6:00-8:30pm, starting with a spaghetti dinner!  Willamette welcomes McKenzie participation!  So – we’re going to try to make it happen.  The plan is to take a bus load of students to the event.  There’s a flyer and interest sign-up sheet outside the ASPIRE room.  Students, please sign up if you are interested.  Parents, please encourage your student to participate and explore educational opportunities beyond high school.  Parents are also welcome and encouraged to attend the event; there may even be room for a few on the bus!  Mark your calendar and stand by for updates.


Seniors – if you are planning to attend LCC or other community college in the fall, you will need to take placement tests for reading, writing, and math.  These tests are not optional.  After the tests are completed, part of the registration process involves a session with an LCC Counselor to enroll you properly.  There are practice tests available on-line through LCC.  Contact Jackie Anderson to arrange for your testing before the end of the school year.  Do this soon — schedules fill up as the year winds down.

  1. McKENZIE SCHOLARSHIPS:  Senior Applications Due April 15

If you haven’t found it, the application for scholarships managed by McKenzie High School is posted on the ASPIRE Website.  The available scholarships and specific criteria are also there for your reference.  Do not wait until April 14 to get to work packaging your application.  Unlike Income Taxes, you CANNOT file an extension!  The deadline is firm; no exceptions.  Questions?  Contact an ASPIRE Mentor or Lacey Joy.

  1. SPEAKING OF SCHOLARSHIPS:  We’re Still Posting New Ones!

Seniors should continue to look over the scholarship listings on our ASPIRE website.  Today we posted one from the Late Bloomers.  We checked with the Grange and not one application had been received as of last week.  How about the Vida McKenzie Community Center?  Have you applied for that scholarship?  As of this date, there are still 30 open scholarship opportunities that we have identified.  Some will close this week.  We list 57 scholarship opportunities with closed application dates.  That’s a total of 87+ that we have found for your consideration this year!

  1. SAT TESTS:  Juniors – Have You Registered?

If you are a Junior, your cum gpa is 2.7 or better, and if you have any thoughts about going to a 4-year university after graduation, you will need to take the SAT.  Good scores are very important for college admission and for your evaluation of “college fit”.  If you take the test this spring, you will have a second chance next fall if you are disappointed with your results.  Wait until next fall and you’re pretty much stuck with the first test results.  Here’s the catch – there are only TWO more opportunities to take the test before school is out.  To take the MAY 2 SAT, you will need to register by APRIL 6 (THAT’S NEXT MONDAY!).  If you opt to take the JUNE 6 SAT (That’s Graduation Day at McKHS), you will need to register by MAY 8.  See Lacey Joy for a SAT fee waiver (if you are eligible).  See our ASPIRE website for SAT preparation references or pick up a SAT Prep Book from our ASPIRE Library.

  1. COLLEGE ADMITTANCE:  Juniors – Are You Ready to Apply??

“What?? I haven’t even decided where I’m going yet”, you say.  If University is in your plans, by mid-November of this year (2015!!) you will have completed your application for admittance to all schools you would like to attend.  Yes, Juniors, that’s only EIGHT months from now!!  Between now and then, you need to set your direction by aligning your career goals with target schools.  Use all of the resources available to you for self-assessment (CIS and CollegeBoard).  Select a handful of universities or community colleges where you might continue your education, take real or virtual campus tours, and by September, be prepared to make your final decisions.  If you make use of the summer, that’s 8 months; if you do not, we’re talkin’ 5 months to get it all done!

  1. PAYING FOR COLLEGE:  There’s No Free Lunch (or Education)

It’s never to early to figure out how you will pay for post-high school education.  Students should discuss this with parents to understand what support to expect.  There are some good resources listed and linked on our ASPIRE Website.  Check tabs “Saving for Education” and “Paying for Education” to get started.  ASPIRE mentors are here to help.  Make an appointment; parents welcome!

Cheers, George

George A. Letchworth, Ph.D.


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