For high school seniors, the future is now. Even though the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation is seven months away, the high schools in Canyons District this week are emphasizing the importance of taking the next step in students’ educational journeys.
From Nov. 6-10, 2017 Canyons District will celebrate its fourth annual Utah College Application Week five days dedicated to helping students fill out and submit at least one viable application to a college, university or a technical-trade school.
Although the applying for college can be a serious topic, schools have planned lighthearted events to jump-start every student’s interest in post-secondary education.
Canyons’ high schools will post college-related items on social media; urge participation during assemblies; and play trivia games and treasure hunts. Teachers will decorate their doors with memorabilia from their alma maters, and days have been set aside days for faculty and students to don T-shirts and sweatshirts of favored colleges and universities.
While CSD’s Utah College Application Week, also called UCAW, is full of fun and games, there’s a serious side, too. Filling out a college application can be daunting to many students, says Lisa Gardner, a counselor at Hillcrest High. However, during UCAW, counselors and administrators will be on hand to help students every step of the way, she says.
“We bring every senior into the computer lab where we have counselors available to help them fill out their applications, answer questions, and talk to them about their financial aid options,” Gardner said during a Monday morning interview during ABC4’s “Good Morning Utah.”
“Family support is great,” she told ABC4 morning anchor Brian Carlsen, “but some students need additional support in completing those applications and we are able to provide that for the students.”
Gardner also said that many students cannot afford to go to college, so it’s so important for each one to complete the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is the federal form that students must complete in order to make themselves eligible for federal money used to pay for higher education. By filling it out, she said, students can become eligible for Pell Grants, Work Study Programs, and loans subsidized by the government.
Canyons has placed a heavy emphasis on competing the FAFSA, holding information nights for parents and students. While all CSD schools are seeing success with this effort, Jordan High was recently recognized as one of the top five schools in the state for FAFSA completion.
But there’s extra help for Canyons students who may need a little extra help to apply to the college of their dreams. Per tradition, the Canyons Education Foundation has pledged up to $10,000 to help low-income students pay applicable college-application fees.
Utah College Application Week, sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education’s StepUp to Higher Education campaign, complements the Canyons Board of Education’s mission to ensure all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate from high school.