Enrichment at STEM includes after-school care, clubs and activities.
It’s never too early to start planning for your future, no matter what it may entail. This page provides an abundance of resources for all college and career paths.
The College & Career Center will be open for students to seek advisement, work on college, trade school, and military applications, apply for scholarships, write and revise college essays, pick up college brochures, and attend college visits. Parents are also welcome to schedule an appointment at the College & Career Center if they have questions and concerns regarding post secondary education/careers or concurrent enrollment information. The College & Career Center is located upstairs in Room 240.
Naviance is a comprehensive college, career and life readiness solution that helps schools align student strengths and interests to postsecondary goals, and connecting learning to life.
Sign-up to receive College and Career News from Ms. Lytle each month, including information about scholarships, college and career fairs, and more.
Many students and parents have questions about the FAFSA. This is a resource to help you with guides related to best practices for completing the FAFSA.
Applying to College is FAST:
S end Scores
FEES: You will pay the application fee or submit a fee waiver (if you qualify – see the information about Application fee waivers below) at the end of your application. Fees per application can range from $45.00- $120.00.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education has teamed up with colleges and universities all across the state of Colorado to waive college application fees for all Colorado students mid-October each year. Date for 2021 TBD.
Fee Waivers: To be eligible for fee waivers, students must be on free and reduced lunch. If you think you are eligible, but you are not on free and reduced lunch, please see Ms. Lytle. Eligible students can receive fee waivers that make their SAT/ACT testing free and some qualify for additional waivers for SAT Subject tests. Students are also given 4 fee waivers in their College Board account to apply to college after taking the SAT.
APPLICATION: Students applying to a state institution will complete applications on the college website, unless the college uses Common Application. Many private and prestigious universities utilize the Common Application found on commonapp.org. Most applications become available online for students on July 1, 2021. By using Common Application, students can easily copy their application information over to another application. The application includes student demographic information, course history, residency questions, extracurricular and volunteerism, talents awards & honors, employment information, and an essay or two if the college requires.
SEND SCORES: Send SAT or ACT official scores to the colleges you are applying to. If you have not taken one of the exams yet, the college you are applying to cannot consider your application until you have at least one set of scores from one of the tests.
SAT sign up, send scores, & testing dates: https://www.collegeboard.org/
ACT sign up, send scores, & testing dates: www.actstudent.org
ACT vs SAT: which test is a better fit for your student? Students may take whichever test they prefer (assuming there are available testing locations for both tests). If you’re not sure which test your child would prefer, consider the key differences between the ACT and SAT. Some students find that the ACT caters to their strengths more so than the SAT, and vice versa.
Need a quick side-by-side comparison of the tests? Check out our ACT vs. SAT Comparison Chart.
|Content-based test||Type of Test||Content-based test|
|Reading: 1, 65-min section; Math: 1, 25-min section (no calculator) & 1, 55-min section (w/ calculator); Writing & Language: 1, 35-min section; Essay: 1, 50-min section (optional)||Test Format||English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 40-min essay (optional)|
|Reading, relevant words in context, math, grammar & usage, analytical writing (optional)||Content Covered||Grammar & usage, math, reading, science reasoning, and writing (optional)|
|Questions are evidence and context-based in an effort to focus on real-world situations and multi-step problem-solving||Test Style||Straightforward, questions may be long but are usually less difficult to decipher|
|Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing are each scored on a scale of 200-800. Composite SAT score is the sum of the two section scores and ranges from 400-1600||Scoring||English, Math, Reading, and Science scores range from 1-36. Composite ACT score is the average of your scores on the four sections; ranges from 1-36|
|No – you do not lose points for incorrect answers||Penalty for Wrong Answers?||No – you do not lose points for incorrect answers|
|Yes – you can choose which set(s) of SAT scores to submit to colleges. However, some colleges require or recommend that students submit all scores. Students should review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.||Score Choice?||Yes – you can choose which set(s) of ACT scores to submit to colleges. However, some colleges require or recommend that students submit all scores. Students should review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.|
|Math questions generally increase in difficulty level as you move through that question type in a section. Reading passage questions generally progress chronologically through the passage, not by difficulty level. Writing & Language passage questions do not progress by difficulty level.||Difficulty Levels||For the English and Reading sections, the difficulty level of the questions is random. For the Math section, questions generally increase in difficulty as you progress through the section. For the Science section, passages generally increase in difficulty as you progress through the test, and questions generally become more difficult as you progress through a passage.|
|Arithmetic, problem-solving & data analysis, heart of algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry; formulas provided||Math Levels||Arithmetic, algebra I and II, functions, geometry, trigonometry; no formulas are provided|
|Seven times per year: March or April, May, June, August, October, November, December (note that some states offer the SAT as part of their state testing requirements; these tests are not administered on the national test dates)||Offered when?||Seven times per year: February, April, June, July, September, October, December (note that some states offer the ACT as part of their state testing requirements; these tests are not administered on the national test dates)|
|Typically about four weeks before the test date||Registration deadline?||Typically about five to six weeks before the test date|
SAT and ACT Conversion Chart
|SAT Composite Score||ACT Composite Score|
The College Opportunity Fund program provides a stipend for new and continuing in-state students going to college in Colorado. To receive the stipend, a student must apply for and authorize the use of the stipend at their respective institution. The stipend replaces traditional direct legislative appropriations to the state’s colleges and universities. Without the stipend, a student is responsible for the full amount of tuition which equals in-state tuition plus the stipend amount.
The goal of the COF program is to bring awareness to Colorado resident students that state funds exist to help finance their college education and improve access with a particular emphasis on higher education/K-12 linkages and strengthening accountability.
Undergraduate students at participating public institutions may receive a stipend from the College Opportunity Fund if they meet the following requirements:
Undergraduate students at participating private institutions may receive a stipend from the College Opportunity Fund if they meet the following requirements:
In March 2013, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 13-033, often referred to as the Colorado ASSET legislation. This legislation modifies several procedures concerning the classification of students for tuition purposes. The Colorado Department of Higher Education is in receipt of many questions from campus and school administrators regarding the ways in which Senate Bill 13-033 will be implemented, the changes it makes to current state law, and the ways in it affects existing administrative procedures. This document is intended to serve as a general reference for commonly asked questions concerning SB 13-033. This guidance will be revised as new, unique questions are received by the Department of Higher Education.
Students primarily choose colleges based on their major of choice and whether or not they fit the admission criteria. Other factors include level of prestige, cost, location, size, and extracurricular activities.
It is important for students to set realistic goals for themselves and apply to schools that are within their reach and a little above their reach. Students should sort and classify the schools they apply to in order to ensure they are setting realistic, possible college goals. Read the criteria below to determine if you are choosing colleges that within a reasonable set of expectations.
Match – A match school is one where your academic credentials (GPA, SAT or ACT scores, and extracurricular involvement) fall well within (or even exceed) the school’s range for the average freshman. There are no guarantees, but it is not unreasonable to be accepted to several of your match schools.
Dream- A dream school is one where your academic credentials are below the school’s range for the average freshman or a school that is incredibly competitive (private universities, Ivy Leagues). Dream schools are long-shots, but they should still be possible (and not a dream).
Safety – A safety school is one where your academic credentials are above the school’s range for the average freshman. You should be reasonably certain that you will be admitted to your safety schools. Like the rest of your list, these should also be colleges you would be happy to attend. In addition to an admissions safety school, it is a good idea to include a financial safety school on your list, one that you and your family can afford even if you received no aid at all.
I highly recommend that all students apply to 2 Safety, 3-4 Match, and 1-2 Dream universities.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study).
Ms. Lytle’s FAFSA HELP PAGE: https://www.smore.com/4y2km-guide-to-fafsa
Ms. Lytle’s Favorite FAFSA Resource: Understanding FAFSA Packet
Do I have to pay to submit it?
Do I HAVE to do it?
Yes. Schools require it. You cannot receive a scholarship without it. You cannot receive a loan or grant without it. Even if you plan to pay for college on your own or think your income level will be too high, you may be able to receive loans that you don’t have to pay back.
When do I fill this form out?
The form becomes available each year for incoming college freshman on October 1st.
When is the deadline?
To be considered for federal student aid for the 2019-2020 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between October 1, 2019 and midnight Central Time, June 30, 2020.
However, many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. You can find your state’s deadline at https://www.fafsa.gov/deadlines. Check with your college about its deadlines.
FIRST COME FIRST SERVE. Note: Most schools have a March 1st PRIORITY deadline.
What do I need to fill this form out?
You will also need most of the above information for your parent(s)What is a PIN?
A PIN is (almost always) a four-digit number that is used in combination with your Social Security number, name, and date of birth to identify you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on Federal Student Aid websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM) at www.fafsa.gov. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own PIN if you want to sign your child’s FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same PIN to sign all of their applications.
Your PIN is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Don’t give your PIN to anyone!
Where can I use my PIN?
When you first apply for your PIN, it is considered to be conditional until your information is verified with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may sign your online FAFSA with it, but nothing else.
How do I get a PIN?
Go to www.pin.ed.gov and provide a few pieces of information such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address.
You will be given the option of creating your own PIN or having the site create one for you. If the site creates one for you, you can choose to have your PIN displayed immediately on the screen. Otherwise, you can choose to receive an e-mail that will give you the link to a site where you can access your PIN. We won’t send your PIN to you in the e-mail itself for security reasons. Instead, we’ll ask you for some personal information to identify yourself before we show you your PIN.
What if I lose my pin?
If you have lost or forgotten your PIN, you need to request a duplicate. To do so, visit the PIN Home Page and select Request A Duplicate PIN from the list of options on the left side of the page. You will need to provide your challenge answer to request a duplicate PIN. When requesting a duplicate PIN, you can choose to either instantly view your PIN online or immediately receive an e-mail containing a hyperlink to your PIN.
If you think your PIN was compromised (i.e., you think someone else knows it), then you should not request a duplicate PIN; instead, you should change your PIN. You can choose your own new PIN, or we can randomly generate one for you. To change your PIN, select Change My PIN from the list of options on the left side of the PIN Home Page.
I am stuck. How do I get help on this application?
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
When you file your taxes, your information will become available through FAFSA TWO WEEKS AFTER you file. This tool used in the form will transfer your income tax data directly from the IRS to your online FAFSA.
If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and choose to do so, you’ll be transferred from the online FAFSA to the IRS website, which will guide you through the transfer of your tax information. When you’re done, you’ll be sent back to your FAFSA.
What is an EFC?
Expected Family Contribution (EFC):
On the front page of the SAR, you’ll find a figure called the expected family contribution (EFC). Your EFC is an indicator of your family’s financial strength. It is sent to your state scholarship agency as well as to the colleges you listed on the FAFSA. They use this number to determine your financial aid award. Learn more about the EFC.
How can I check to see whether my FAFSA has been processed?
You can check the status of your FAFSA immediately after submitting it online.
If your FAFSA is still being processed,wait a few days before checking the status again.
Where does my FAFSA information go once submitted?
Your FAFSA information is shared with the colleges and/or career schools you list on the application. The financial aid office at a school uses your information to figure out how much federal student aid you may receive at that school. If the school has its own funds to use for financial aid, it might use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for that aid as well. (The school might also have other forms it wants you to fill out to get school aid, so check with the financial aid office to be sure.)
Your information also goes to your state higher education agency, as well as to agencies of the states where your chosen schools are located. Many states have financial aid funds that they give out based on FAFSA information.
So, your FAFSA helps you apply for federal, state, and school financial aid. Not bad for a form that takes students an average of less than half an hour to complete!
Who will I hear from, and when?
The office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. You’ll get your SAR within three days to three weeks after you submit your FAFSA. Be sure to look over your SAR to make sure you didn’t make a mistake on your FAFSA. Find out more about the Student Aid Report, its purpose, how the type of FAFSA you file determines when you’ll get the SAR, and what you should do with it.
The SAR won’t tell you how much financial aid you’ll get. Instead, if you applied for admission to a college or career school and have been accepted, and you listed that school on your FAFSA, the school will calculate your aid and will send you an electronic or paper aid offer, sometimes called an award letter, telling you how much aid you’re eligible for at the school. The timing of the aid offer varies from school to school and could be as early as springtime (awarding for the fall) or as late as immediately before you start school. It depends on when you apply and how the school prefers to schedule awarding of aid.
How do I figure out what financial aid to accept and what to deny?
You’ll need to understand the aid that’s being offered (for instance, is it free money such as a grant, or is it a loan that you’ll have to pay back?), decide what aid you really need, and then respond to the school’s award letter within the deadline set by the school.
Order in which you should accept aid:
How do I get my money?
The financial aid staff at your college or career school will explain exactly how and when your aid will be paid out. They also will tell you whether you need to fill out any more paperwork or meet other requirements. For instance, if you’re receiving a federal student loan for the first time, you should expect to be required to sign a promissory note and go through entrance counseling. Be sure to keep in touch with your school’s financial aid office so that you understand the whole process of receiving your aid.
What are some need-based federal student aid programs?
When will my school send a financial aid package and what will be in it?
Do I need to do anything else for my college to apply the financial aid?
After you complete the FAFSA, make sure you submit any additional financial aid forms that your colleges require. For example, some colleges require you to submit the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® or their own forms.
My parents won’t fill out FAFSA. What do I do?
This is an excellent article that explains all the different circumstances in which parents can’t or won’t pay for college. You should find some help here:
Finding scholarship money isn’t as hard as we might think, but it takes time, effort, and resources. You will need to research and read the eligibility of a scholarship to see if you fit the criteria.
Most universities offer a scholarship application or it may be part of the admission application. Check with the university you are applying to in order to find out the scholarship deadlines, what you may be eligible for, and how to apply for their scholarships. Do not wait to do this as scholarship deadlines for universities tend to be early fall.
STEM School Highlands Ranch posts all the scholarships we hear about in Naviance. Students have access to this list and should use it throughout the year. This is THE FIRST place students should check for their scholarships outside of university scholarships. Many of the scholarships posted in Naviance are local. Many scholarships from the community appear around January and close in the months between February and June. View this list frequently for new additions as scholarships are updated weekly.
The following search engines can be used to search for scholarships.
Gap Year” is a year or semester that students take off typically before enrolling in college. It doesn’t have to be time hanging out at home — “gappers” often work to save money, volunteer, intern, or perhaps study a language abroad.
Most students elect this time off because they don’t feel prepared for college or they’re looking for more life experience first. According to Jason Sarouhan, a counselor at Center for Interim Programs, a gap year consulting organization, gap years enable young people to gain more independence and self-empowerment. “The time between high school and college offers the natural opportunity to take a break and to recalibrate one’s focus and centeredness,” he says, adding that young people can benefit from structured time away from school or work.
Check out this article on whether you should take a Gap Year or not.