Step 3 – Plan to Keep Learning After High School
Generally, universities are larger and offer more majors and degree options than the other types of colleges. In addition to liberal arts majors, they may offer engineering, architecture, health, and other programs. At most universities, you can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Most universities contain several smaller colleges; for example, colleges of agriculture, teaching, and liberal arts. You may have to apply to a specific college within the university and take most of your classes within that college. At a university, you can prepare for many types of careers or for further study in graduate school.
Community colleges are the most common type of two-year college. These colleges prepare you to continue your education or to enter the workforce immediately. They offer associate degrees that get you ready to transfer to a four-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree. Other types of associate degrees and certificates focus on career readiness.
Community colleges are often an affordable and convenient option; they charge relatively low tuition to in-state residents. Many students can also save money by living at home.
Vocational-Technical (Vo-Tech) and Career Colleges
A vo-tech or career college offers specialized training to students who are interested in a particular industry or career. At these colleges, students are not required to take general education classes in all subjects. You take classes only in your field of study – for example, culinary arts, firefighting, dental hygiene, or medical-records technology. When you complete your program, you receive a certificate of completion or an associate degree.
A military academy or service academy (in American English) is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in the officer corps of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard, which normally provides education in a service environment, the exact definition depending on the country concerned.
Three types of academy exists: high school-level institutions awarding academic qualifications, university-level institutions awarding Bachelor’s degree-level qualification, and those preparing officer cadets for commissioning into the armed services of the state.
Step 4 – Keep Your Grades Up
Did you know that one of the strongest indicators of college success is your 8th grade math level? That’s right. Your math classes are a strong predictor of whether or not you will make it into a community college or a four-year college or university and earn a degree on time.
Having a strong grade point average (GPA) has become increasingly important in college applications. Striving hard to increase your GPA is a surefire way to ease your way into College Success.
Your GPA is calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of credit hours attempted. Your grade point average may range from 0.0 to a 4.0.
|A=4 grade points||B=3 grade points||C=2 grade points||D=1 grade points||WF/F=0 grade points|
|Example Student Transcript|
|Course||Credit Hours||Grade||Grade Points|
|Biology||3||A||3 x 4 = 12 Grade Points|
|Biology Lab||1||B||1 x 3 = 3 Grade Points|
|English 101||3||C||3 x 2 = 6 Grade Points|
|Mathematics||3||F||3 x 0 = 0 Grade Points|
|10 Total Credit Hours Attempted||21 Total Grade Points|
To get the example student’s GPA, the total grade points are divided by the total credit hours attempted.
|Total Grade Points||21|
|divided by||= 2.10|
|Total Credit Hours Attempted||10|
You can total your current semester courses and credits with our online GPA Calculator (above).
To calculate your cumulative GPA, total the credit hours and then the grade points from all semesters. Divide the total grade points by the total credit hours.
Here are some tips to raise your GPA or keep it perfect.
- Attend class regularly. Some teachers give extra credit for attendance.
- Take notes in every class. By doing so, you get to record important pointers in your teacher’s discussion. It also helps improve your listening skills.
- Avoid overloading. Take only classes that can fit into your schedule. You’ll tend to cram more if you have too many subjects.
- Have a regular study time. Make yourself accustomed to studying frequently.
- Using flashcards is a plus. It will help improve your familiarity with mathematical equations, vocabulary words, and scientific formulas. You’ll find it easier to solve math problems and essay-writing exams.
- Study for your exams in advance. Limit your review to at least one week before the day of the test to keep your mind fresh and relaxed.
- Make solving mathematical problems a habit. This will improve your analytical-thinking skills and help get you prepared for the harder questions on exams.
- Be friends with your classmates. It is easier to study if you are cordial with the people around you. You can also ask them for help in topics you are having difficulties with.
- Befriend your teachers. You will feel less pressure if you know your teacher is an ally and resource.
Step 5 – Explore Careers and College Options
1) Take the Personality Test link here.
2) Use the results of your Personality Test to start exploring specific occupations and career paths.
3) Check out our Career Videos. We have videos to help you learn about careers and jobs from MPB’s Job Hunter and Hinds Community College.
4) Once you’ve got an idea about what you want to do with your life, you need a plan to make it happen.
5) Go to your school counselor or library for additional help and information.
1) Talk to someone who went to college. Ask a lot of questions! Your teachers certainly went to college, so ask them what it was like!
2) Visit colleges to get a sense of what it really is all about.
3) Explore our College Discovered to see what life beyond high school will be like.
4) View and print a copy of your Grade Level Checklist and start down a path of college success.
Step 6 – Talk to Your Parents About Saving for College
There are many ways to save for college – set aside money every week, open a savings account at your bank, fill a mason jar.
529 Plans are also a popular option. A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution to help families set aside funds for future college costs. They are called 529 Plans, because they were authorized by section 529 of the IRS code.
Mississippi offers two savings plans, administered by the State Treasury Department:
MPACT allows Mississippi residents to pre-pay for college tuition and mandatory fees (thus locking in the rates) at Mississippi public colleges and universities or for private or out-of-state colleges based on Mississippi’s average tuition rates.
MACS is an investment program that allows families to invest money for tuition, books, room and board, required supplies, and graduate school. MACS funds may be used at any accredited college or university anywhere in the U.S.
The Five P’s of College Scholarship Opportunities
Scholarships may be offered by colleges and universities, businesses and corporations, foundations, and local organizations. There are five core areas that scholarship committees across a variety of colleges and universities take into consideration when evaluating prospective students.
The 5 P’s measure:
- Your Performance in school
- Your Personality
- Your Participation in interests outside the classroom
- Your Potential to benefit from higher education
- Your school’s Profile
State Financial Aid
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant.) Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.
How much can I get?
The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012) is $5,550. The amount you get, though, will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs) will be considered first for a FSEOG. Just like Pell Grants, the FSEOG does not have to be repaid.
How much can I get?
You can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on when you apply, your financial need, the funding at the school you’re attending, and the policies of the financial aid office at your school.
The Federal Work Study Program provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of postsecondary education. Students can receive FWS funds at approximately 3,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Hourly wages must not be less than the federal minimum wage.