Planning for post-secondary education can be intimidating for students and parents alike, but preparing for college can be easier than you think. The dedicated educators and support staff working with Indianapolis Public Schools high school seniors help to make the transition from high school to college a much smoother and less painful experience for all. Here’s a quick look at what students and their families should be doing throughout the year to stay on track:


Submit your FAFSA. With a fast approaching deadline, we encourage all of our students planning to attend a college or university this fall to submit their FAFSA application – the state deadline in March 10 at midnight, central time. There are also school level timelines to watch for; pay close attention to college deadlines to ensure all of the proper paperwork is filed appropriately.


Research. Make sure that you do plenty of research on the college admission requirements to ensure you are meeting all of the criteria to start on time.


Schedule your ACT/SAT’s. Most colleges have score standards for standardized testing. If you haven’t done so already, check the requirements and get your test scheduled immediately. School counselors can assist with test prep and scheduling.  


Apply for Colleges! Gather a list of colleges that you are interested in and prepare your applications carefully, paying close attention the application requirements and deadlines.


Apply for Scholarships. College is an excellent investment, but if you do not have the financial support of a scholarship, it can get pricey. Be sure to submit your scholarship applications to minimize your out of pocket costs.


In 2015, over 800 IPS graduates were awarded $19,136,677 scholarship dollars to pursue their academic interests. As our graduation rates continue to climb to new heights, we are consistently seeking to improve student achievement by providing wraparound supports to ensure success.


Sam J., one of our college bound seniors from Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School will soon make a final decision between Purdue University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology; much like his father, he will pursue higher education within the engineering field. Sam’s biggest challenge this year as a high school senior, staying motivated, “it’s kind of scary, you know the whole growing up thing,” says Sam.


In preparation for college this fall, Sam has been hard at work to ensure a smooth transition “being in a IB preparatory school means that they are prepping us for college. Our counselor Mrs. Harris is very involved and helpful.” Sam credits the support from school staff and the use of Naviance, a new college and career readiness tool available to all IPS students, as major components in his college prep efforts. “It allows students to keep track of what they’re doing,” enabling them to track and find scholarships, apply for and track college applications and much more. Sam shares some valuable advice for the incoming seniors for the 2016-2017 school year, “use the resources available to you and stop whining and actively hating the work, just do it, get it done.”


Daniela L. from the new Simon Youth Academy (SYA) has had several challenges this year as a senior. Transitioning to SYA at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, Daniela started with the odds stacked against her, “She had not been fully committed to school because of personal issues and work, but quickly realized how important her high school education is for her future,” says Teresa James-Robinson, Coordinator for Simon Youth Academy at Circle Centre Mall. “Daniela is a remarkable young lady. Her achievements here at the academy and her acceptance to college are a testament to what students can accomplish when they are focused, driven to succeed, and persevere despite adversity.  We are very proud of her!”


Daniela has been accepted to Ivy Tech Community College and is on track to start this fall. “This journey has been kind of scary and at times I was nervous, but now I am very excited about going to college!” says Daniela.


We couldn’t be more proud of the many talented and hardworking students throughout our district. We encourage our scholars to keep up the hard work and pull through for a strong finish this May.