Class of 2021 College Handbook - College and Career Center - MANATEE HIGH SCHOOL - School District of Manatee County

Class of 2021 College Handbook - College and Career Center - MANATEE HIGH SCHOOL - School District of Manatee County

  Class of 2021
College Handbook

College and Career Center
Manatee High School 941-714-7300
                                                 Principal: David Underhill

                                             College and Career Center
                                   (Administration Building 2nd floor – by Guidance)
              Linda Norris – College and Career Advisor – - ext. 71974

                                                 Guidance Counselors
                            Counselors are designated alphabetically by last name:

                  A - D: Jennifer Johnson – - ext. 71927

                  E - Li: Joanne Chmielewski - - ext. 71929

                  Lj - Re: Shirely Mitchell – -ext. 71931

                  Rf - Z: Jodi Rivera – – ext. 71932

                                                 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Plan for College/Career
       MHS Resources……………………………………………………………………….3
       Senior Timeline ..…………………………………………………………………….4
       College Options...…………………………………………..….……………………...5
       Researching/Visiting Colleges ...………………………………...…………………...6
       State College of Florida .……………………………………………………………..7
       Manatee Technical College ……………………………………………………..……8
       Assessing Your List of Colleges …………………………………………………….9
       SAT/ACT Information …………………………………………………..………..…10/11

Apply to College
       Application steps/process ….……………………………………………..…………12
       FAQs ………………………………………………….………………….…………13
       Common Mistakes ………………………………………………………….………14
       Essay Tips ………………………………………………………………….……….15
       Letters of Recommendation ……………………………………………………..….16
       Resume …………………………………………………………………………..….16

Pay for College
       Cost of Attendance ………………………………………..…………………..……..17
       Four Key Steps to Financial Aid …………………………….………………………18
       Federal Student Financial Aid – FAFSA ………………………..…………………..19
       State Aid/Florida Bright Futures …………………………………..…………………21
       Financial Aid/Scholarships Websites ...…….……………………….……….……....22

Helpful Websites ……………………………………………………….…………….………23

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                      Page   2

MHS Resources
College and Career Center
The College and Career Center at Manatee High School serves as a resource for students as they prepare
for the next step after high school. Individual meetings are by appointment (complete a request slip or
send an email); students may stop in before or after school. Services include:

         * resources for college exploration
         * college application assistance
         * resume samples and tips
         * college essay tips
         * SAT and ACT test information and prep resources
         * scholarship opportunities
         * career exploration resources

Class of 2021 Schoology
A course has been set up in Schoology for the Class of 2021. Go to Schoology>Courses>Class of 2021>click
“Updates” (on the left)>see new posts and scroll down for past posts

Guidance Counselors
See your Guidance Counselor, designated alphabetically by last name.

Manatee High School Website
    •    The College and Career Center page on the MHS website provides information to students and
         parents. College news, important dates, checklists, and the scholarship list are included. Be sure to
         visit the site often to stay up to date on College and Career news. The site Click on the “Academics” tab, then on “College and
         Career Center”.
    •    The Guidance page on our website has your counselor’s contact information, information about
         community service procedures and Dual Enrollment details. Click on the “Academics” tab, then on
    •    The Registrar’s page on the website is where you order transcripts for colleges and scholarships.
         Click on the “Academics” tab, then on “Registrar”.

Opportunity Board
Be sure to check the Opportunity Board often for the latest College and Career Center news and information.
Located in the hallway between the cafeteria and Media Center, the Opportunity Board is where we post:
       * scholarship opportunities
       * SAT/ACT test date reminders
       * college info

MHS E- Newsletter
All families are encouraged to sign up to receive the MHS E-Newsletter, which includes the latest news,
important dates and reminders about programs at MHS. Go to the MHS website and sign up for the email

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                            Page   3
Senior College Planning Timeline 2020-2021

                                     Important Dates for College Applications
  September 2020
  * Register for the SAT/ACT if you need to take/re-take the tests (See page 11 for testing dates)
  * KNOW application deadlines – they come early for some schools
  * Be proactive – spend time researching colleges online, attending their virtual events, etc. Colleges can’t visit MHS
        in person right now, so you need to take the initiative to seek information. (see page 6)
  * Finalize the list of schools you will be applying to and gather application materials for each; APPLY!
  * Attend the School District’s Virtual College Fair Information Sessions with specific colleges. Dates/times posted
        on the Class of 2021 Schoology page.
  * Attend the NACAC Virtual College Fairs (see page 6)
  * Request teacher/counselor recommendations if needed (See page 16)
  * Submit all community service project verification/evaluation forms to your guidance counselor

  * Attend the MHS Financial Aid Night – Specifics TBD. Will be a virtual event.
  * Start/complete your college applications – including transcripts and SAT/ACT test scores
  * Confirm the accuracy of your transcripts through Guidance or Registrar
  * Federal financial aid application (FAFSA) available online beginning October 1st – - Check
        deadlines for each college
  * You may complete the Florida Financial Aid Application (for Florida Bright Futures and other state grants)
        beginning Oct. 1st –
  * Check the Scholarship List on the MHS website. It is updated weekly, so check it often.
  * Confirm that each college to which you have applied has received all materials, including transcripts and test
  * Keep working on scholarships
  * Study hard for exams
  * If planning to attend SCF, complete your admission application
  January 2021
  * If planning to attend SCF, complete your admission application and apply for SCF Foundation scholarships
  * Keep working on scholarships
  * If desired, schedule campus visits to colleges where you’ve been accepted to help you make your final decision

  * Follow up with colleges to which you have been admitted about housing, meal plan, orientation, etc.
  * Make sure you have submitted all necessary paperwork to the school you will attend.
  * May 1 – general deadline to notify a college of your intention to enroll (check each school since some have earlier
  * Complete the MHS Senior Survey as required by the district
  * AP exams
  * Request that your final transcripts be sent to the college you will attend (See page 12)

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                   Page   4
College Options

Post-Secondary Options: Decide Which Kind of Degree Is Right For You
Saying you want to earn a college degree could mean a number of things. Part of your college selection
process should be thinking about what kind of degree you want to earn, and which college can get you there.
Or, consider the career you desire and what type of degree is needed. Here are some of your options:

*Associate Degree
You receive an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree after completing two years of
study that are similar to the first two years of a four-year college program. Community (State) colleges (like
SCF) and some four-year universities offer associate degrees. After earning an A.A. or an A.S., some
students transfer to a four-year college to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree (in Florida we
call it the “2+2” Program). Others enter the workforce right away. Many careers require only an A.S. degree.

*Bachelor's or Baccalaureate Degree
You receive a bachelor’s degree after completing a four- or five-year, full-time program of study at a college.
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) are the most common. Other colleges award very
specific degrees, such as the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) or Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.).

*Vocational-Technical (Vo-Tech) and Career Colleges
A vo-tech or career college (like MTC) 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. The classes are hands-on career training for high demand jobs. When
you complete your program, you receive a certificate of completion (or an associate degree).
(Source: Adapted from College Board 2011)
Why consider a State College (like SCF)? (see page 7 for more information)
    •    Can be an alternative pathway to a 4-year degree (the 2+2 program)
    •    Save money – tuition is generally less
    •    Can still get financial aid
    •    Convenience – can attend full or part time and schedule courses around home/work commitments
    •    Close to home

Why consider a Technical College (like MTC)? (see page 8 for more information)
    •    Prefer hands -on learning
    •    Train for high paying, in demand jobs
    •    Shorter programs – some can be completed in less than a year

Research College Options Online
    •    Go to each college website and learn about their programs, admission process, student life, activities
         and majors.
    •    Request information from the colleges.
    •    Try Big Future – – a great online tool. You can type in the name
         of a college and see details including size, cost, majors and admission requirements. Or you may
         search for colleges using the “Match” tool

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                            Page   5
Researching and Visiting Colleges
College Fairs & College Visits
• School District Virtual College Events
This year the School District will hold Virtual Information Events for specific colleges/universities. The
schools, dates and times are posted on the Class of 2021 Schoology page. They begin September 8th and go
through early November. Students will have the opportunity to sign up for specific college sessions to learn
more about their programs, admission requirements and more. Spaces are limited. FREE!

• NACAC Virtual College Fairs
The National Association for College Admission Counseling is offering four FREE Virtual College Fairs this
fall. This is a chance to hear firsthand from those-in-the-know at hundreds of colleges and universities
nearby, across the country, and around the world. Event dates are: Sunday, Sept. 13th - 12 - 8 p.m. ET;
Monday, Oct. 12th - 1 - 9 p.m. ET ; Sunday, Oct. 18th - 12 - 8 p.m. ET; Sunday, Nov. 8th - 2 - 10 p.m. ET.
Learn more and register at
• Virtual Campus Visits
Students are also encouraged to look for virtual admission sessions/virtual campus tours for the colleges they
are interested in attending. Many also have live chat sessions where you can connect with an admissions
representative. These “visits” give you the chance to ask questions, talk to admissions representatives and see
the campus online. Often you can request to be added to a mailing list or to receive the college brochures.

Go to the college website for details, times and to sign up. It is an important part of the college decision
process. Visiting campuses – even virtually - will give you a better understanding of which college is right
for you.

Career Exploration/College Majors
There are many resources that can help you assess majors, career goals, interests and skills. Having a
career goal may help you determine what type of college is best for you. Here are just a few resources
that can help:

Major and Career Profiles – College Board -
The Big Future section of the College Board website is full of information on colleges and careers. Click
on “Explore Careers” then scroll to the bottom to “Major and Career Search” to see information on
majors and careers. Students can read more about specific majors, helpful high school courses, college
courses and related majors. Look at the related majors and explore the career categories for additional

Florida Shines -
FloridaShines works with the state's 40 colleges and universities and other partners to help you succeed in
school and beyond. This new website provides a wealth of information for students about colleges in Florida
as well as careers.
Search and browse careers/career fields

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                           Page   6

State College of Florida offers Associate’s Degrees as well as Bachelor’s Degrees in specific
academic majors. Many students choose the “2+2” option, earning their associate’s degree
from SCF and then transferring to a 4-year university to complete their bachelor’s degree.
Other students choose the A.S. degree programs which can be completed in about 2 years.
Learn more about SCF by visiting campus or their website –

1. Apply
Visit to fill out an application form*.
    Create a new account (username and password) for the application.
    Log into the application with the new username and password.
    Upload residency documentation for in-state tuition.

2. Complete Florida Residency

3. Submit Transcripts to the Office of Registrar
     High School and College/University Students: Submit your official high school
      transcript/GED (unless you have successfully completed a degree).
      Submit all official college/university post-secondary institution transcripts.
4. Test
Do I need to test? Visit to find out and learn how to schedule a test.

5. Complete Orientation and Registration
Visit to learn more.
    First-Time-in-College students will receive an email with orientation completion
   • ACT, SAT or PERT scores taken within the past two years sent directly to SCF
       Educational Records from the testing service, OR
   • Proof of successful completion of approved college readiness course(s) in math and/or
       reading and writing.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                           Page   7

Did you know that over 70% of all jobs require some kind of technical skill? That with some technical
careers you can earn more than college graduates? Did you know that there are employers for these careers
right here in Manatee County?

At Manatee Technical College students can train for secure, high paying careers in a variety of fields. MTC
offers short courses, one- and two-year programs, and apprenticeships.

Manatee Technical College is an adult post-secondary institution offering long-and short-term career and
technical education programs on a year-round basis. Manatee Tech serves adults and high school students
sixteen years of age or older who are interested in technical education for employment purposes. Some
programs are open for registration at any time during the school year. However, most programs have specific
entry dates. Anyone interested in enrolling should visit and talk with a guidance counselor, who will assist
you with career options. Appointments are not necessary, but recommended, for better serving you. Students
applying for admission to most programs at Manatee Technical College are accepted upon completion of the
application process on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students may need to take the Basic Skills Assessment
for some program – contact MTC for details. The admission process includes the following:

Follow these easy steps to qualify for and enroll in Manatee Technical College:
           1. Apply Online at
           2. Apply for Financial Aid by filling out a FAFSA
           3. Check your email for your MTC Dashboard login username and password.
           4. Once you have your user name and password, you can log into your student account and
              review what documentation you need to provide to complete your application.

Some of the Career Prep programs offered at MTC are:
Architecture & Construction (including carpentry, drafting and electrician)
Arts, A/V Technology & Communication (including digital design)
Business, Management & Administration (including accounting applications, legal admin. assistant)
Education & Training (including early childhood education)
Health Science (including EMT, nursing assistant, LPN, pharmacy tech)
Hospitality & Tourism (including baking and pastry arts, hospitality and tourism management)
Information Technology (including web development)
Law, Public Safety & Security (including fire fighter, Florida law enforcement acad.)
Manufacturing (including machining tech., welding)
Human Services (including cosmetology, personal trainer)
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics (including automotive service tech)

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                         Page   8
Assessing Your List of Colleges
As you develop a list of colleges that interest you, be sure you can answer these questions about them:
The Basics
• Where is the college? Can you locate it on a map? Is it too close to home? Is it too far? Is it too cold or
   too hot?
• Have you taken the course work the college requires for admission?
• What size is the college? How many students are undergraduates?
• Does the college offer majors that interest you?
• Is the college coed or single sex?
• What percentage of students live off campus?
• How many of the students graduate in four years? Five years? Six years?
• How many first-year students return for their sophomore year?
• How much does the program cost? What is the total per-year expense?
• What type of financial aid is available?
Where do you fit in?
• What are the college scores for the SAT or ACT? Where does that place you?
• What were the high school GPAs of most of the freshmen last year?
• Are the freshmen guaranteed on-campus housing? If not, where do they live?
• Are there extracurricular activities that interest you?
Visit the colleges’ Web sites, read the guidebooks and look at their literature
• What are their strong academic programs? (Ask a college representative, students, graduates, and
• What courses are required for graduation?
• Are the courses you need/want available each semester? At convenient times?
• Are there special programs that interest you (study abroad, internships, etc.)
• What is the social life like? What percentage of students join fraternities or sororities?
• Do the pictures and the language the college uses to describe itself attract you?
• What is your general impression of the college?
• Is the school accredited?
Admissions Process
• When are applications due?
• Does the college accept the Common Application? If so, does it require supplemental forms?
• What does the application contain? Are essays required?
• Is an interview suggested or required? Is an interview available from staff or alumni?
• When may you visit the college? What is the policy regarding campus visits?
• What are the financial aid deadlines? What financial aid forms are required?
Now answer these questions
• Am I a strong candidate for admission to this college?
• If I am not a strong candidate, what are my chances?
• Do I want to visit this college?
• What additional information do I need?

    Source: College Counseling Sourcebook, 4th Edition. 2007 The College Board. All rights reserved.
    Permission granted to copy this for educational purposes.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                            Page   9
SAT and ACT Testing
Students must register online to take the SAT and/or ACT. Students create an account and follow the
directions to register for a test. There are registration deadlines, so plan ahead. Your SAT and/or ACT
account is also where you will check for your scores. Scores typically are available three weeks after the test.
Remember, if colleges require official score reports, you can order from your account or you can list colleges
to automatically receive your scores as part of the registration process.

Be sure to PREPARE for these college entrance exams! Don’t just walk in on that Saturday morning and
hope for the best. Students should study for these tests, just like the preparation for any test. Make time each
week to take practice tests, review study guides, quiz yourself on vocabulary, review math concepts, etc.


Fee Waivers
Fee Waivers for the SAT and ACT tests are available from the guidance counselors for qualified students. Students
may receive fee waivers for 2 SAT tests and 2 ACT tests.

Students who use a test fee waiver for the SAT (or who used one last year) automatically get the second test for free.
Students do not need to see their guidance counselor for a second fee waiver. Log in to your SAT account to see
instructions for this new process.

College Application fee waivers – As you know, colleges charge an application fee when you apply. Many colleges
will waive their application fee for students who took an SAT or ACT with a fee waiver. Students who use an SAT test
fee waiver will automatically receive four college application fee waivers by logging in to their College Board
account. Students who used an ACT fee waiver may see their Guidance Counselor for a college application fee waiver
that they will send to the colleges they apply to.


The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free, online, personalized prep to help
students improve their SAT scores.
Go to to learn more and to create your account.
    • Personalized to you
    • Official
    • Instant

ACT provides free, online, personalized practice with ACT Academy.
Go to to learn more and create your account.
   • All the best resources
   • More than videos
   • Personalized for you

                  There are other free, on-line test prep sites (see page 23- Helpful Websites).

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                  Page   10
                                            $52.00 – no essay/$68.00 - with essay
                           (Essay required for some colleges – check each college for their requirements)
                                          REGISTER ONLINE AT

         Test Date                   Registration Deadline               Late Registration Deadline(phone/online)
         Aug. 29                     July 31                             Aug. 18(no late fee)

         Sept. 26                    Aug. 26                             Sept. 15

         Oct. 3                      Sept. 4                             Sept. 22

         Nov. 7                      Oct. 7                              Oct. 27

         Dec. 5                      Nov. 5                              Nov. 24

         March 13                    Feb. 12                             March 2

         May 8                       April 8                             Apr. 27

         June 5                      May 6                               May 26

             Go to the College Board website for updates, changes and to register

                                             ACT TEST DATES FOR 2020-2021
                                      $55.00 – no writing/$70.00 - with writing section
                        (Writing section required for some colleges- check each college for their requirements)
                                           REGISTER ONLINE AT

         Test Date                   Registration Deadline               Late Registration Deadline
         Sept. 12                    Aug. 14                             Aug. 28

         Sept. 13 (Sunday)           Aug. 14                             Aug. 28

         Sept. 19                    Aug. 14                             Aug. 28

         Oct. 10                     Sept. 17                            Sept. 25

         Oct. 17                     Sept. 17                            Sept. 25

         Oct. 24                     Sept. 17                            Sept. 25

         Oct. 25 (Sunday)            Sept. 17                            Sept. 25

         Dec. 12                     Nov. 6                              Nov. 20

         Feb. 6                      Jan. 8                              Jan. 15

         Apr. 17                     March 12                            March 26

         June 12                     May 7                               May 21

         July 17                     June 18                             June 25

                            Go to the ACT website for updates, changes and to register
NOTE: Not all test centers are available on all dates. Test centers may be forced to close for health/safety. Refer to above websites
                                         for details on their test cancellation policies/details.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                              Page   11
A complete application generally consists of several documents – the application and application fee, transcripts and
test scores. All must be received by the colleges before they can make an admission decision.
READ DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY – every school does things just a little differently!

1. The Application
Most colleges and universities require applications be submitted online. To begin an application, go to the college’s
website and click on “admissions” to learn about what is required and to access the application.

The applications may all be formatted differently, but generally ask for the same information, including personal
information, what classes you are taking your senior year, all school, community and volunteer activities, self-reported
SAT/ACT test scores and, sometimes, an essay. Read the directions carefully! Review your application
before you submit it. Check for spelling and grammar errors.

Students must also pay an application fee (usually around $40 per application). The application is not complete until
this fee has been paid. Once an application has been submitted, the college will provide information on how to check
your application status. It is important that you check your status to be sure all materials have been received.

2. Transcripts
You must have your official high school transcript sent to each college to which you are applying.* Your transcripts
will be sent by the MHS Registrar directly to the colleges that you request. Your transcript includes all your high
school courses, grades, test scores and volunteer hours.

Transcripts are ordered and paid for online. How to order:
    Go to the MHS website, click on the “Academics” tab and click “Registrar”; link is on the right side of the
    Follow the instructions to pay the $3 fee and input the address of the college(s)
    See the MHS Registrar’s office if you have any questions (2nd floor by Guidance)

To request a hard copy of your transcripts for yourself or to send with a scholarship application, follow these same
steps. Hard copies will be available for pick up in 48 hours.

You must send a final transcript in May to the college you will attend. Orders for your final transcript will be taken in
May 2021.

         Volunteer Service Hours
         Volunteer service hours are included on your transcript. Check to ensure your hours have been recorded.
         Due to the Family Education and Privacy Act, once a student is 18 years of age, a transcript, graduation
         diploma, and all information can only be obtained by the student. A student must provide a written release for
         the parent to pick up a diploma, transcript or any other information pertaining to the student.

3. Test Scores
Students must have official score reports from SAT and/or ACT sent to each college to which they are applying (if
required). To send your scores, log on to your SAT or ACT account and follow the links to send scores. If you have
registered to take these tests this fall, you can have your scores sent directly to the colleges by including that
information on the test registration form.

   * UF, FSU and many other state universities now use a student self-reported academic
               record form – see their websites for details and instructions
Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                    Page   12
College Application FAQs
Q. How do I apply to colleges/universities?
A. Most colleges and universities require that students apply online. Applications can be found on the college
websites under “Admissions”. Students must visit the websites of the colleges they are considering to learn
the admission process and requirements. Students will create a user name and password which allows them
to access the application, complete the application, save and review it before submitting it electronically.
Some colleges are part of the Common Application – a group of more than 900 colleges who share a
common application with supplements for each school. Another application group is the Coalition for
Access, Affordability and Success. Use whichever application the college recommends – check their
websites or call them if you have questions.

Q. When should I apply?
A. Application deadlines vary from college to college. It is important that students know the deadlines and
understand what must be received by that deadline. Students are encouraged to apply early in their senior
year – September/October. Some colleges have one deadline, while others use “rolling admissions”, meaning
they will review applications and make admission decisions once all materials are received from the student.
Students should always contact the college/university that they are interested in attending to verify the
application deadlines and procedures.

Q. How many colleges should I apply to?

A. That’s up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to apply to 4-6 colleges. You want to have options, so apply
to a range of schools – public, private, in-state, out-of-state, “reach”, etc.

Q. Besides the application, what else is needed?
A. The complete application consists of several documents – the application itself and application fee which
is usually submitted online, transcripts and test scores. All must be received by the colleges before they can
make an admission decision. Students must have their high school transcript sent to each college to which
they are applying. Students must also have official score reports from SAT and/or ACT sent to each college
to which they are applying. To send scores, students must log on to their SAT or ACT account and follow the
links to send scores. Students may have scores sent directly to the colleges by including that information
when they register for the tests.

Q. Should I apply if I plan to take the SAT/ACT again?
A. Yes, but know that if scores are required the application is not complete without test scores. Students may
apply, but without test scores, colleges cannot make a decision. Most college applications will ask for scores
taken to date and allow students to indicate if/when they will test again. The college/university may delay a
decision until it receives additional scores from the tests students have indicated they will be taking.

Q. What if I take the tests more than once?
A. Most colleges/universities will use the best of your scores. Many will “mix and match” the best of your
subscores. For example, if a student takes the SAT twice, the college may use the best Critical Reading and
Math scores and recombine them for a new total score. However, it is important that you understand the
policies of the colleges to which you are applying since some colleges/universities may not combine scores.

                              CALL THE COLLEGE IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS!
Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                         Page   13
Top College Application Mistakes
  Senior year is hectic, but do not let that influence the quality of your college applications. Take your
time, pay attention to detail and plan ahead, so you can meet the deadlines.

  Following are some of the top responses from counselors and admissions staff who shared the most
common mistakes on college applications.

      1. Misspellings and grammatical errors—This is a big pet peeve of admissions people. A
    misspelling on something as important as the application shows that either you do not care or you
    aren't good at spelling. Some students even misspell their intended major. However, do not stop with
    a spell check. Proofread for grammatical errors, too.

      2. Applying online, but the application isn't actually submitted—If you apply online, you
    should receive confirmation that the college or university received it. Confirmation could be an email
    message, a Web page response or a credit card receipt. Follow through and make sure that your
    application has been received.

      3. Not reading carefully—For example, if the form asks what County you live in, don't misread it
    as Country and write United States.

      4. Listing extracurricular activities that aren't—Those that make the list include: sports, the arts,
    formal organizations and volunteer work. Talking on the phone and hanging out with friends don't
    make the cut. Make sure your activity information is accurate. Colleges may check with your high

      5. Not telling your school counselor where you've applied—Let your counselor know which
    colleges you're applying to, and ask him or her to review your high school transcript before sending it
    to colleges. Sometimes transcripts have errors.

      6. Using an email address that friends might laugh about, but colleges won't—Select a
    professional email address. Keep your fun address for friends, but select an address using your name
    for college admissions.

     7. Not checking your email regularly—If you've given an email address, the college will use it.
    You don't want to miss out on anything because you didn't read your email.

      8. Letting Mom or Dad help you fill out your application—Admissions people know if your
    parents help or your admissions essay sounds more like a 45-year-old than a 17-year-old. It's fine to
    get advice, but do the work yourself.

       Adapted from © 2012 by ACT, Inc.

        Give yourself plenty of lead time to complete the applications – don’t wait until the day before a
      deadline. Take your time with the applications. Double check all your responses. And, once you are
                                         pleased with it, click submit.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                           Page   14
College Essay Writing Tips
Colleges and universities that require an essay will provide an essay question as part of the admission application. The
essay is an important part of the application --spend time on it, ask your English teacher for input, and don’t rush
through it. You are representing yourself to the admissions committee, so do your best work!

Write an Effective Application Essay
A great application essay will present a vivid, personal, and compelling view of you to the admissions staff. It will round
out the rest of your application and help you stand out from the other applicants. The essay is one of the only parts of
your application over which you have complete control, so take the time to do a good job on it. Check out these tips
before you begin.

Keep Your Focus Narrow and Personal
Your essay must prove a single point or thesis. The reader must be able to find your main idea and follow it from
beginning to end. Try having someone read just your introduction to see what he thinks your essay is about.
Essays that try to be too comprehensive end up sounding watered-down. Remember, it's not about telling the committee
what you've done—they can pick that up from your list of activities—instead, it's about showing them who you are.

Prove It
Develop your main idea with vivid and specific facts, events, quotations, examples, and reasons. There's a big difference
between simply stating a point of view and letting an idea unfold in the details:
 Okay: "I like to be surrounded by people with a variety of backgrounds and interests".
 Better: "During that night, I sang the theme song from Casablanca with a baseball coach who thinks he's Bogie,
   discussed Marxism with a little old lady, and heard more than I ever wanted to know about some woman's gall
   bladder operation."

Be Specific
Avoid clichéd, generic, and predictable writing by using vivid and specific details.
 Okay: "I want to help people. I have gotten so much out of life through the love and guidance of my family, I feel
   that many individuals have not been as fortunate; therefore, I would like to expand the lives of others."
 Better: "My Mom and Dad stood on plenty of sidelines 'til their shoes filled with water or their fingers turned white,
   or somebody's golden retriever signed his name on their coats in mud. I think that kind of commitment is what I'd
   like to bring to working with fourth-graders."

Don't Tell Them What You Think They Want to Hear
Most admissions officers read plenty of essays about the charms of their university, the evils of terrorism, and the personal
commitment involved in being a doctor. Bring something new to the table, not just what you think they want to hear.

Don't Write a Resume
Don't include information that is found elsewhere in the application. Your essay will end up sounding like an autobiography,
travelogue, or laundry list. Yawn.
 "During my junior year, I played first singles on the tennis team, served on the student council, maintained a B+ average,
    traveled to France, and worked at a cheese factory."

Don't Use 50 Words When Five Will Do
Eliminate unnecessary words.
 Okay: "Over the years it has been pointed out to me by my parents, friends, and teachers—and I have even noticed this
   about myself, as well—that I am not the neatest person in the world."
 Better: "I'm a slob."

Don't Forget to Proofread
Typos and spelling or grammatical errors can be interpreted as carelessness or just bad writing. Don't rely on your
computer's spell check. It can miss spelling errors like the ones below.
 "After I graduate form high school, I plan to work for a nonprofit organization during the summer."
 "From that day on, Daniel was my best fried."

This article is based on information found in The College Application Essay, by Sarah Myers McGinty, which is available through the College
Board online store. Source: College Board

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                                      Page   15
Letters of Recommendation
Some colleges, and many scholarship applications, ask for letters of recommendation. They may specify that
the letters be from a teacher or guidance counselor. To help teachers and counselors write your letter of
recommendation, the MHS College and Career Center has developed a form. It is optional, but highly
recommended. Forms are available in the College and Career Center.

The purpose of the form is to provide your recommender with information that will help him/her to write a
thoughtful letter of recommendation. You benefit by filling out the form thoroughly. You may also attach
your resume.

The form should be filled out fully and completely and provided to each teacher or counselor when making a
request. Please give teachers and/or counselors at least two weeks to complete recommendations.

Many college applications have a section where students can list their extracurricular activities, community
service, honors, awards and work experience. This allows the college to learn more about the student.
Generally, colleges are looking at the “quality” of your involvement versus the “quantity” of activities. It is
recommended that students create their resume ahead of time and then use it when completing college
admission applications.

Generally speaking, the resume should include:

Educational Achievements
       * Include items like AP+ program/College Preparatory Academy, Medical Academy, Honors/AP classes

Honors and Awards
        * Include any awards received. For example-- White M, awards for science fair, placing in competitions for
organizations like HOSA or TSA, being selected to receive an award or honor, etc. Give a brief explanation.

Extracurricular Activities
        * Include school-related activities including any leadership positions, sports, any programs that you attended or
were selected to attend. Be sure to give a brief summary of what you did.

Community Service
        * Include clubs or organizations where community/volunteer service is performed, including leadership
positions. This can include high school clubs (Key Club, etc.) that perform community service. Be sure to give a brief
summary of what you did.

Work Experience
      * Include any jobs held during high school. This can include babysitting or other similar activities.

It can be in bullet point format and it is important to quantify the activity – how many years you’ve been
involved and how many hours per week or per month you spend on the activity. Be sure to briefly describe
your participation so they get a clear picture of your involvement.

                    Sampled resume templates are available in the College and Career Center.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                  Page   16

Cost of Attendance
When planning for college, it’s important that students and their families understand the cost of attendance. Besides
tuition, students need to understand the other expenses, which include fees, dorm, meals and other expenses. In-state
tuition is much less than out-of-state tuition, so if you want to attend an out-of-state college, plan for the difference.
Private colleges and universities typically have higher tuition costs as well.

The information below from College Board explains the five main expenses.

Five Basic Groups of Expenses

There are five main categories of expenses to consider when determining how much your college education
is really going to cost: tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and
transportation. You can control some of these costs to some extent. And when you know how much you'll
need to spend on these expenses, it makes it easier to create a college budget.

   1. Tuition and Fees
    Tuition and fees are the price you pay for taking classes at your college. This amount can change based
    on your academic program, the number of credit hours you take and whether you're an in-state or out-of-
    state student. Some colleges charge "comprehensive fees" — the total for tuition, fees, and room and
    board combined.

   2. Room and Board
    Colleges usually offer a variety of dorm-room options and meal plans to students who live on campus.
    The charges vary depending on what plan you choose. If you decide to live at home or off-campus, you'll
    have your own rent and meal costs to consider in your college costs.

   3. Books and supplies
    You'll need books and other course materials. The yearly books-and-supplies estimate for the average
    student at a four-year public college is about $1,298. You may be able to lower these costs by buying
    used textbooks or renting them.

   4. Personal Expenses
    These include laundry, cell phone bills, eating out and anything else you normally spend money on.
    Figure out what you spend and add that amount to your budget.

   5. Transportation
    Whether you commute to campus or take the occasional trip home, you'll have transportation costs. Of
    course, these will vary depending on how you travel and how often. You may be able to find student
    discounts on travel costs. Don't forget to factor in the cost of gas if you own a car.

(Source: College Board)

     Get the specifics. These cost components should be listed in a college’s brochure or on its website.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                      Page   17
Four Key Steps to Financial Aid

1 Federal Aid -- FAFSA
Complete the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid at The FAFSA is
the key to federal grants (like the Pell Grant), federally-backed student loans and work study. It is need-based
aid. You can apply beginning OCTOBER 1st of your senior year. You will need federal tax information or
tax returns for the “prior-prior” year – for students who will graduate in 2021, that means tax information
from 2019. See the FAFSA website for details. You will be completing the 2021-2022 FAFSA – the school
year you will be in college.
EVERY senior should complete the FAFSA even if you think you won’t qualify, since colleges and
many scholarships use information from the FAFSA to determine if you are eligible for institutional
It’s important to complete the FAFSA in October of senior year – be aware of deadlines each college may

2 State Aid – Florida Financial Aid Application
Seniors must complete the Florida Financial Aid Application to be eligible for state aid, including Florida
Bright Futures and other state grants. Bright Futures provides scholarship money for students who will
attend college in Florida. It is merit-based aid - eligibility is based on GPA, SAT/ACT scores and
community service hours.
Seniors must apply between October 1 and graduation to be eligible. Go to to complete the Florida Financial Aid Application. It’s
important that you know and understand the eligibility requirements!
All students should apply-- even if they are not sure if they will qualify, if they are not considering going to
college, are planning to go out of state, are taking a year off or are enlisting in the military. There are state
grants in addition to Bright Futures for which you may be eligible. See details of eligibility requirements on
the above website.

3 Institutional Aid
Check for scholarships at the college you will attend. Many offer scholarships through their financial aid
office. Students may need to submit separate applications. Also, ask the specific department of the major you
will be seeking to see if they offer any scholarships. Scholarships may be need-based and/or merit-based.

4 Private Scholarships
There are many national and local organizations that offer scholarships. Some are specific to a major, an
ethnicity or require certain GPA/test scores, so students need to read each carefully for the eligibility
The College and Career Center at Manatee High School maintains a list of scholarship opportunities that is
posted on the school website ( – click on “Academics” then
“College and Career Center” to see the link.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                            Page   18
FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Why should I fill out the FAFSA® form?
If you don’t fill out the FAFSA form, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid! We’ve
heard a number of reasons students think they shouldn’t complete the FAFSA form. Here are a few:

“I (or my parents) make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”
“Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
“The FAFSA form is too hard to fill out.”
“I’m too old to qualify for financial aid.”

If you think any of these statements apply to you, then you should read Myths About Financial Aid
( The reality is, EVERYONE who's getting
ready to go to college or career school should fill out the FAFSA form!

When do I fill out the FAFSA® form?
The 2021–22 FAFSA form will be available on Oct. 1, 2020.

For the 2021–22 year, you can apply between Oct. 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.
However, there are a few federal student aid programs that have limited funds, so be sure to apply as
soon as you can once the FAFSA form is available for the year you’ll be attending school.

State student aid
You can find state deadlines at Note that several states have financial aid programs with
limited funds and therefore have a deadline of "as soon as possible (after the FAFSA form becomes

College or career school aid
Check the school’s website or contact its financial aid office. School deadlines are usually early in
the year (often in February or March, although some are even earlier now that the FAFSA form is
available in October).

Other financial aid
Some programs other than government or school aid require that you file the FAFSA form. For
instance, you can’t get certain private scholarships unless you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant—
and you can’t find out whether you’re eligible for a Pell Grant unless you file a FAFSA form. If the
private scholarship’s application deadline is in early to mid-January, you’ll need to submit your
FAFSA form before that deadline.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                      Page   19
You have to fill out the FAFSA® form every year you’re in school in order to stay eligible for
federal student aid.

What happens after I fill out the FAFSA® form?
Applying isn’t the last step; your FAFSA form has to be processed, and then you get an Expected
Family Contribution, which your college or career school uses to figure out how much aid you can
get. Find out more about what happens after you fill out the FAFSA form, including how aid is
calculated and when and how your aid will be paid out, on the FAFSA website.

Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and
password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm
your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal
student aid documents.

What is an FSA ID?
An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of
Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your
own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA®) site at

It’s important to understand that the student and the parent may not share an FSA ID: Your FSA ID
is your signature, so it has to be unique to you. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will
need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA electronically. If you have more than
one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications, but each child
must have his or her own. Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique mobile phone number
and/or email address.

When should I get an FSA ID?
You, and your parent if you're a dependent student, should get an FSA ID as soon as possible. You
can apply for an FSA ID at any time, but in some cases, you’ll need to wait up to three days before
you’re able to use your FSA ID, so we recommend registering early. If you don't have one by the
time you fill out your FAFSA form, you will be prompted to apply for one.

       Financial aid is not just for four-year colleges and universities. Any accredited
 college/university/technical school that participates in the federal student aid programs will
                           expect students to complete the FAFSA!

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                 Page   20
State of Florida Financial Aid
All Seniors should complete the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA). It opens
October 1st of senior year. In addition to the Bright Futures Scholarship, there are a number of
other state grants/scholarships included in this one application. Read the specific
requirements and full details on the Florida Student Scholarship & Grant Program

Florida Bright Futures
To be considered for Bright Futures, you must complete/submit the FFAA. There are several different
Florida Bright Futures scholarships – Academic, Medallion, Gold Seal Vocational and Gold Seal CAPE.
Please read the requirements for each carefully. Note: The Gold Seal awards can only be used for vocational

Students must complete the Florida Financial Aid Application during their last year in high school beginning
October 1 and meet requirements prior to graduation-- or forfeit all future eligibility for a Bright Futures
Scholarship. It is your responsibility to know and meet the requirements. Eligible students may only receive
Bright Futures award funding at eligible Florida postsecondary institutions.
Florida high school students who wish to qualify for the Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award
or the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award must meet the following initial eligibility
        • Graduate high school from a Florida public high school with a standard Florida high school
          Diploma, graduate from a registered Florida Department of Education private high school,
          earn a GED, complete a home education program, or graduate from a non-Florida high school
        • Complete the required high school coursework;
        • Achieve the required minimum high school grade point average (GPA);
        • Achieve the required minimum score on either the ACT® or SAT® college entrance exam; and
        • Complete the required number of service hours.

  These eligibility requirements are subject to change with each legislative session.
  Note GPA Requirement: unrounded, weighted high school GPA (calculated to two decimal places) in the 16 college-preparatory credits.
  Honors, AP and DE weighted .50 per year course. See Bright Futures website for details.

  * For details of the Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV) and Gold Seal CAPE Scholars, go to the Bright Futures
  website. Those awards can only be used to fund a career education or certificate program.

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                                                   Page   21
Institutional Aid/Private Scholarships
     Institutional Aid – contact the colleges
     Private Scholarships – check MHS Scholarship List and other databases

Helpful Websites for Financial Aid: - Understanding Financial Aid and How it Works – Federal financial aid – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – all students
should complete this beginning October 1, 2020 – key to receiving need-based financial aid - FSA ID - needed to sign your completed FAFSA - Navigating Your Financial Future - FLDOE - Information on financial aid - Hispanic Scholarship Fund - Scholarships for African American students– State of Florida financial aid
information, including Florida Bright Futures – complete application beginning October 1, 2020 – MHS website MHS College and Career Center page of school website -All
local scholarships will be posted here – check the site often, as new scholarships are added frequently. - Manatee Education Foundation Scholarship Source – national scholarship database scholarships for State College of Florida - local scholarships for SCF and MTC - Scholarship Search Big Future
aid/types/scholarships?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social& –
Federal Student Aid Scholarship Tips/Search

Manatee High School College Handbook 2020-2021                                                     Page   22
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