Counseling Corner College edition

Choosing a College

First and foremost, college choice should be based on career goals. Which career path you wish to pursue will dictate what education you need to attain. College = 1, 2, 4, or more. This means it can include a 1-year certificate, 2-year associates degree, 4-year bachelors degree, or more such as graduate school, law school, medical school etc. It's important to keep in mind that not every college will offer every major or degree program. The links below can help you to find a college program that is right for you. Not quite sure what you want to study in college? Keep in mind that larger universities will have more programs to offer.

College Fairs, Tours & Events

College Fairs are a great way to see what schools are out there and to talk to a representative.

Once you have a list of schools you are interested in, it's a good idea to take a tour or attend an event. Touring a college's campus and attending admission events allows you to get a sense of the school community to see if it's a good fit. If you aren't able to physically go to the school for a tour, many schools have virtual tours available on their website or on youtube.

It is also possible for you to set up a more specific tour or meeting with someone from a program or department of interest. Not every program is the same from school to school. Knowing the pros and cons and what they have to offer can help to inform your decision to apply or attend.


If you are planning on taking the ACT again, be sure to register for the OCTOBER 28 test. The registration deadline is September 22. This will be the last national test available before December application deadlines.

**Fee Waivers available for those who qualify

Some schools require the writing portion of the ACT, which was not offered on the free ACT last February.

ACT Prep

UtahFutures offers free ACT prep through their Learning Express Library.

Shmoop offers an online ACT prep program that is FREE to Utah students. This program includes tutorials targeted toward the specific needs of each student as assessed in an initial practice test. To create an account, click the link below.

Magic Word: BEEHIVE

If in-person test prep is more of your style, Highland offers a $5 ACT prep class. It is a six week course, taking place Mondays after school. The first session starts September 11. See the Highland treasurer, West, to register.

There are additional classes in the community. Check out the links below.

Get Organized

Once you have found colleges with majors you are interested in, narrow them down to 4-10. You should have schools that fall into three categories: Safety Schools, Good Fit Schools, and Reach Schools. To find out what category the school fits into, use the UtahFutures link below to see how the college's average ACT score and GPA compare to your own.

Next, create a calendar of important deadlines. Deadlines to include are:

  • Application deadlines (Priority vs Final)
  • Scholarship deadlines (General and Department)
  • Financial Aid deadline
  • Audition/Portfolio deadline (if program requires)
  • NCAA deadlines and requirements

Application Process

Understanding what documents to submit for your college and scholarship applications is important to know well in advance. All colleges will require an application and official transcript. Most colleges will require your ACT score. Some colleges and scholarships will require additional materials.

Application documents may include:

  • Application - Each college will require an application; The length of the application can vary. Most applications are now online, allowing you to start, save and edit as necessary. Might as well start early!
  • Transcript - All colleges will want an OFFICIAL copy of your transcript. An official copy means it comes directly from the school. It is a good idea to review your "Historical Grades" on PowerSchool to make sure all grades are included and accurate. You can request an official copy from the Kerry Hardy, the Registrar. Give at least a week for requests to be processed.
  • ACT/SAT Scores - Most colleges will want a copy of your ACT (or SAT) scores. Some colleges use it to accept or decline admission. Others use it for class placement only. Scores must be sent directly from ACT. Use the link below to create an account and make a request.
  • Letters of Recommendation - Some schools and scholarships require letters of recommendation. Consider a counselor, teacher, coach, supervisor, etc who knows you and can speak to your strengths and character. It is also helpful to provide a resume to the person writing your letter in order to give additional information. You can use the following form. Please give at least 2 weeks notice. Remember - you are not the only one requesting a letter of recommendation.
  • Essay/Personal Statement - Some colleges, honors programs, or scholarships require an essay or personal statement. This is an opportunity to show the college something special about you and also demonstrate your writing skills. It is recommended that you take your time in developing this piece. Proper use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling are important. When possible, show with examples rather than just telling. Here are some tips:

Audition/Portfolio/Interview - Some colleges or programs will require an audition, portfolio, or interview. Each program will have specific requirements that may differ greatly from one program to the next. It is very important to start preparing audition and portfolio pieces early. Contact the school or program to learn the details of what is required.

Paying for College

How to pay for college is on everyone's mind during this process. There are a lot of opportunities to decrease the cost of college. Paying attention to deadlines is equally important in this process as in the application process.

Financial Aid

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Up to $5,920 is available in grants per student. While federal aid is based on need, many colleges require students to fill out the FAFSA in order to be eligible for other scholarships as well. The application opens October 1. It is only necessary to fill out the application one time in order to submit it for all schools, but the deadline varies by school; Some deadlines are as early as February so get it done early!

SLCC will cover the remainder of tuition costs if a student qualifies for any portion of the federal grant. See below:


Scholarships can come from a variety of places and can be awarded for a variety of reasons.

Scholarships may be awarded for:

  • Academics/Merit Based
  • Talent
  • Service
  • Leadership

You can get scholarships from:

  • College/University in general
  • Specific Department at College/University
  • Community Organization

Here are some tips:

For help finding scholarships, contact the colleges and universities of interest and work with Highland's Scholarship Coordinator, Christie Divver.

Help is Available

See your counselor

  • Karrie Jarrat, A-D
  • Mary Akers, E-G and IB Students
  • Mia Naddeo, H-Ma
  • Sierra Collins, Mb-R
  • John Vallentine, S-Z

College Access Advisor - Eduardo Zaragoza

Scholarship Coordinator - Christie Divver

Registrar - Kerry Hardy


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