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Senior Night explains timing, options for college-bound students at James Clemens

Parents and students line up to ask local experts about college admissions during Senior Night at James Clemens High School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Parents and students line up to ask local experts about college admissions during Senior Night at James Clemens High School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Senior Night at James Clemens High School answered many questions and underscored important timing in students’ collegiate pursuits.

The event on Sept. 16 informed seniors, along with juniors planning ahead, “about the process of applying to college, tips for college/scholarship essay writing and important dates for financial aid,” counselor Lana Meskunas said.

“Students received information straight from the people who work in these areas on a daily basis and a step-by-step approach to the college admissions process,” Meskunas said.

Britney Deutschendorf, permanent substitute teacher at James Clemens, shared her experience as assistant director of admissions and dual enrollment at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Ashley Miller, who currently works in UAH admissions, also participated.

First, students should search online for colleges, attend college fairs and talk with parents, counselors and friends, Deutschendorf said. “Visit your top two or three schools, or more if you’re able. Take a tour of the campus, including the residence halls.”

Miller recommended “for students to pursue their passion when looking at courses and majors, meet deadlines and ask questions.”

Irene Steele with the North Alabama Center for Educational Excellence, which offers free services, discussed different types of financial aid, scholarships, academic counseling, ACT Prep classes and GED tutoring. Two days later, Steele returned to help James Clemens students sign up for PINs for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

“In February, Irene Steele will again return to assist parents who need help filling out FAFSA,” Meskunas said. “She was a wealth of information.”

Kipp Cain, who teaches advanced-placement English courses at James Clemens, discussed writing essays for college or scholarship applications. Cain advised to “write early and often, write multiple drafts, have the essay reviewed by multiple readers and apply to multiple colleges and for multiple scholarships.”

For the Class of 2015, it’s not too late to apply for college scholarships. “Most schools have a deadline of Dec. 1. Some may extend that deadline,” Meskunas said.

For more information, visit Twitter @JCHSJetAdvisory.

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