College Connected by: JaNan Straznicky

College Checklist...

The transition to college can be intimidating, especially if no one in your family has recently gone through the process! There are so many steps and so many things to do. But, remember to breathe, and just focus on one step at a time.

This page is meant to serve as a guide or checklist for you as you walk through the transition process.

1. Make sure you are on track to graduate from high school. This is a prerequisite for college! (A prerequisite is simply something that is required before you can proceed to the next step. Many college classes have prerequisite classes. For example, you must complete English 1301 before you can take English 1302.) Check with your counselor to ensure that you have all the credits that you need and that you have passed all of the End-of-Course tests required to graduate. You should also know which graduation plan you are on, and which endorsement(s) you will be receiving, if any.

2. After you have narrowed your college choices to those in your top 3-5, the next step is to submit the college application. Be sure to pay attention to their deadlines so you don't miss out!

In Texas, you can apply to many colleges by filling out one convenient application by going to www.applytexas.org. This application can be used for any public college in Texas.

If you wish to apply for a private college or a college outside of Texas, you can apply online by visiting www.commonapp.org.

Many colleges have application fees, so make sure you have narrowed your list before applying. If you qualify for free or reduced lunch, you could also qualify for an application fee waiver. See me if you think this applies to you!

When you apply, make sure you submit all of the documents that are required (ask me to send your transcript, test scores, etc.) Your application will not be processed until they have all necessary information. Remember, you must have everything submitted by the college's admissions deadline!

3. Submit your FAFSA application and apply for scholarships. Determining how you are going to pay for college is a big piece of the process. When you submit your FAFSA, the colleges you select will determine what types of money and how much you qualify for. After submitting the FAFSA, follow-up with the college (about three weeks later) to make sure they have received your information and how you will be notified of their award amount. You can learn more about the FAFSA and scholarships by checking out those pages of my website (see menu on the left sidebar).

4. Decide on your housing. If you are planning to live on campus in a college dorm, you will need to apply for housing through the college's housing office. Dorms can fill up quickly, so try to get this done as early as possible! You can usually find information about their housing application process and fees by going to the college's website and looking for their housing or residential life page. If you have trouble finding it, I recommend simply calling the college and asking for information.

5. Make sure you have a current Bacterial Meningitis shot. This vaccination is required before you can reserve housing or register for classes. You may have had this already (check with the school nurse), but if not, you can get the shot for very little cost (approx. $8) at various places. Here are a couple that are close to us: Tyler at the Northeast Texas Public Health District (phone: 903-535-0030) or Quitman at the Wood County Health Department (phone: 903-763-5406).

6. Take the TSI or applicable college placement test, unless you are exempt. The TSI is a college placement test required by all Texas colleges that covers reading, writing, and mathematics. It is an online test, and Yantis HS offers it late in the spring semester. There will be a charge of approximately $20 after your first FREE attempt. You can find more information about the test in general by clicking HERE. You can be exempt from the TSI if your test scores (English II and Algebra EOC's/ACT/SAT) are high enough. You can check HERE and see if you are exempt. (I would suggest that you also follow-up with the college you are planning to attend and make sure that they have the same exemption policy.)

7. Sign up for Freshmen Orientation at the college you have chosen to attend. Most (all?) colleges offer a freshman orientation for new students, and attending will be invaluable to you. At Freshmen Orientation, typically, you can expect to be given a tour of the campus, learn where to go for what information, find our some tips and hints for succeeding in college, and finally, register for your classes. Many of the questions you have will be answered at Freshman Orientation, so make sure to go!

Fill out your FAFSA here.


College is expensive, that's for sure! When it comes to finding money to pay for college, my advice is "roll up your sleeves, and go to work." There are numerous opportunities available if you're willing to look for them and spend some time filling out applications. Many scholarships are directed at seniors, and the senior year is very busy. But, be sure to make scholarship applications a priority.

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful over the years:

Follow directions! I have seen several scholarship applications tossed directly into the trash simply because the student didn't read and follow directions. (If it says to write in ink, don't use a pencil!)

Have someone proofread for you, especially if you have to include an essay. You don't want to turn something in that has careless mistakes or grammatical errors.

Don't ever start your essay "My name is..." Make your essay unique and memorable. If the guidelines allow, tell a story from your life that is a good example of your character or what you have overcome in your life.

Remember that deadline means deadline. There are no "late grades" for scholarship applications.

Research just a little. Find out about the background, history, and goals of the organization that is awarding the scholarship. You can sprinkle in a few tidbits or facts that may prick their ears as they read your essay/application.

When filling out the application, don't leave ANY spaces blank. If something is not applicable to you, simply write "not applicable" in that spot.

Detail your academic achievements. List academic awards or honors. If your GPA is good, flaunt it! :-)

Show that you are well-rounded. Sometimes it's not just about your grades. Many organizations care just as much about how involved you are in your school and community.

Although you can save scholarship essays and use one "generic" one as a starting point, tailor the essay to the specific organization/scholarship. If your essay is canned, the scholarship committee will be able to tell easily.

I will email all scholarships that come across my desk and try to keep this webpage up-to-date as well, but there are many other opportunities available if you are willing to search. Also, don't forget to apply for scholarships through the college/university you are planning to attend.

Here are some links to websites with scholarship opportunities:






Here is a fabulous everything financial aid/scholarship website - please take some time to check it out! Financial Aid/Scholarship Information

Check out the Button Links below to EXPLORE Colleges

Mrs. Straznicky

6-12th grade Counselor

Yantis ISD

Contact Me @ 903-383-2462

Created By
JaNan Straznicky


Created with images by Element5 Digital - "untitled image" • geralt - "checklist check rectangles" • Logan Isbell - "Graduation"

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