…And What Does That Look Like?
TIA is a free charter school with 100% of the graduating seniors accepted to college. That is an amazing statistic and shows the level of commitment that TIA staff has for their students. They specifically create opportunities for students to grow in leadership, travel and have experiences that prepare them for college. But many people feel that college planning only begins in high school.
Prepare for College in Grade School and Middle School
At a young age, parents and teachers should start talking with children about what careers spark their interest. At TIA, preparing students with the college mindset starts in Kindergarten. When they are in middle school, students should visit occupations that interest them. Career fairs are another option like the one Tucson International Academy has every year. Even though the student may not choose a career path at this point, a general idea will help guide them towards the right college.
Believe or not, students can start applying for scholarships in grade school as young as 5 years old. While you may not be able to use these scholarships right away, the money can be put in the bank to help pay for college later.
College Prep in High School
TIA offers many extras that help each student get accepted to college like assistance from a Student Success Coordinator (currently Mr. Basurto). The school also offers students opportunities to take trips to visit college campuses in person, as well a sponsored trips to foreign countries. TIA hosts high school events like Senior Day, FAFSA Night, Senior Interviews, Facing Dragons and the Career Fair, which are all geared towards helping their students go to college and be successful in life.
College Planning Freshman & Sophomore Year
All freshman and sophomore students start choosing high school courses based on college requirements. Colleges require the basic general courses such as two years each of Social Studies and Science, four years each of Mathematics and English Language Arts, and two years of Foreign Language. Certain colleges, however, may require more advanced classes such as Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, and others.
College Planning Junior Year
Junior students should be signed up and well prepared for college PSAT, SAT, & ACT entrance tests that are taken throughout the year. Free practice tests are available on various online websites. This is also when many high school students start researching scholarships, although some may have started in previous years.
College Planning Senior Year
The summer before a students senior year they should be applying for scholarships if they haven’t already started their search prior to that. By the beginning of their senior year, students should have narrowed down their college choices and applied to those colleges (if they haven’t they should do so now) and filled out their FAFSA information online. While some seniors wait until the spring of their senior year to apply for scholarships, it’s best to have started this process well before then. The earlier you start the process, the less overwhelming it can be and the more options you will have at receiving scholarship money.
TIA is a College Prep School – How They Help Their Students
TIA is very serious about their role as a college prep school. The position of Student Success Coordinator was created with basically one goal: to give individual attention to every TIA student on their way to college. That navigation starts as early as the student’s freshman year and follows through with help applying to colleges and for financial aid. The Student Success Coordinator gives one-on-one attention to each student. Being able to help them with their particular circumstances, abilities and interests are what makes the difference at TIA. Each student is given the assistance he or she needs to fill out applications, write the required essays, and explore the financial aid and scholarship options. That is why 100% of TIA’s graduating students get accepted into college!