Meriden guidance counselors offer scholarship advice

MERIDEN – One of the concerns for students and parents when planning their post-secondary education is financial aid.

The Record-Journal recently interviewed educators from Meriden, who provided tips to help students succeed when applying for scholarships.

Yesenia Diaz, a counselor at Maloney High School, said that as part of the district curriculum, planning for post-secondary education begins in year one and includes scholarships.

This process involves finding out which classes are available to students, which classes match each student’s career path, and how course selection influences scholarship applications. The counselors also work with students to help them earn college credit while in high school, Diaz said.

Students are also introduced to Naviance, a college and career preparation software.

“We really insist on continuing (Naviance) and using the portal to search for scholarships, as this is where we mainly have all the scholarships that we offer in the district,” Diaz said.

During the junior year, counselors begin “junior planning meetings” with small groups of students, who receive information on their transcripts and test scores.

Then, counselors begin the financial aid process by asking students to complete a Federal Student Aid Application.

Joanna DeJesus, a counselor at Platt High School, said she encourages parents and guardians to get involved in the entire college application process, especially financial aid.

Help for Latino students

According to Diaz, there are several scholarships specifically available for Latino students.

Connecticut Students for a Dream – an organization that provides resource information for undocumented students – is normally invited to schools as there are a number of Latino students who are not eligible for traditional types of financial aid. because of their immigration status, Diaz said. .

School counselors

Students should keep in mind that there are scholarships recommended by counselors.

DeJesus explained that district counselors make themselves available at certain times of the day so that the elderly can use that time to get help with scholarships.

In addition, schools organize information sessions with college representatives.

A summer program to help students with college and scholarship applications is also offered in high schools.

“I think there are so many opportunities for students to come and learn more,” DeJesus said.

Peter Civitello, data integration and post-secondary planning supervisor for Meriden Public Schools, said the high school counselors do a great job developing relationships with students early on to ensure that they can provide the best resources.

“So over four years, they have a better understanding and a better relationship with these students, probably than anyone in the building industry, and they know exactly what their career paths are, their post-secondary plans and how they can help them.” , Civitello said.

A student point of view

Xavier Febles, a student at Platt, said the scholarship application process was “difficult”.

“For sure it was difficult,” he said. “There is no way around it, it is a very difficult process.”

He said that guidance counselors are the best resource for help with scholarships.

Febles is in the process of applying for the Nutmeg scholarship, which could offer him full payment to the University of Connecticut. He discovered the stock market while researching UConn’s website.

Her advice for students who might be having difficulty is to visit the guidance office and search college websites for more information.

Diaz said that while she encourages students to do research on their own, they should be careful because some scholarship websites are run by for-profit companies.

“We are saying very clearly that you never want to pay to get paid,” she said.

In addition, she stressed that students should make sure they go to legitimate and reputable websites and be careful not to give out their social security number.

[email protected]: @KarlaSantosNews

About Rachel Gooch

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