A Guide to Your Future

College applications. Essays. Scholarships. Post-high school plans. These words are enough to get just about every upperclassman’s blood pressure up, and even though these are to be expected, many high schoolers have no idea how to navigate prepping for life after high school. This is a list of tips and tricks to help juniors and seniors get a serious start on a college plan.

Application Deadlines

A lot of colleges offer an early decision deadline, but what exactly is that? While it may vary from institution to institution, the early decision is a binding decision in which, if you are accepted into the university, you are obligated to attend. This is not the same thing as an early action plan, which is non-binding and essentially means that you find out whether or not you are accepted earlier. Unless a student is dead-set on a certain college, applying early decision is not the best option.

Applications

The applications themselves are the main component colleges will look at to get a feel for a student academically. The important part here is to be aware of deadlines. Most colleges accept the first round of applications by November 1 and the second round of applications at the beginning of January. While students have often been told not to brag and boast about ourselves, college applications are an exception. Guidance counselor Rachel Robinson encourages students to really showcase themselves and show off everything they have done and accomplished during their high school years.

Essays

College essays are one of the most daunting parts of applying to colleges. English teacher and senior class sponsor Carol Fullington shared her advice for students prepping their essays. “I think the first thing students can do is look into the essays earlier and not procrastinate. The looming deadline amps up the stress, so do them early. Secondly, look at all the essay prompts, many of them are essentially the same type of question or prompts, so save your essays, so you can tweak them for each application and not feel like you have to do a total rewrite. Third – ANSWER THE PROMPT. Many times students try to overgeneralize their situation or experiences, and they don’t really answer the prompt with specific detail. If it asks about financial hardships, be specific about your situation and why you NEED the money.”

FAFSA

FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form completed by prospective college students to determine their eligibility for financial aid. The form takes into account many aspects of a student’s current financial standing to find an aid package that best fits the needs at hand. The form opened on October 1 year, and is still open for students to complete. The guidance department is available for any assistance or questions pertaining to FAFSA, and for more information and links to forms, visit studentaid.gov.

One Stop App

If you are applying to multiple colleges, going from site to site and filling out more or less the same information for every application can be an unnecessary hassle. To help minimize this, there are sites available that compile all of that information into one convenient location. The Common App has over 900 colleges and universities that accept their applications, and The Coalition has over 150. These sites allow students to compile all of their information into one spot that can be used for any number of potential colleges

Scholarships

College can be very expensive. However, what many students do not realize is that there are hundreds of thousands of scholarships given out each year; last school year, over $1.7 million worth of scholarships and fellowships were given out to incoming college freshmen. To help students, the guidance department has included an updated list of scholarships for seniors in the senior Google Classroom page. The list included both local and external scholarships our students may be eligible for. When in doubt, just apply! You never know what scholarships you may be the perfect fit for.

Story by Michael Hannon

College Fair Nov. 30

On Tuesday, November 30, PHS will be hosting a college and career fair for all high school students to attend. The event will take place in the upper gym from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and up to 50 colleges and businesses will be in attendance. More information will be available closer to time.

“It is a really weird time of the year for seniors because most of them have already submitted applications, but this is a chance for them to look and make sure they didn’t miss any colleges. It is also really geared towards juniors who need to start thinking about. It is a really good opportunity for them to learn more not just about college but about entering the workforce as well,” said College Advisor Cody Martin.

Story by Michael Hannon

Pride of Paoli on to Semi-State Saturday

On Saturday, October 30, the Pride of Paoli marching band will be traveling to Franklin High School to compete in the ISSMA Open Class D Semi State. The Pride will join 19 other bands in their class from around the state in a fight for the top ten spots, which would qualify them for state. The Pride will perform at 2:45 p.m.

“I am super confident in the band and I am so excited to see how we do up against our biggest competitors,” said drum major senior Angie Ceja.

Story by Michael Hannon

Survey Says: We Need Help

Hannon is Stressed — And You Are Too

Recently, I sent out a survey to staff and students asking two questions: on a scale of one to five, how overwhelmed are you on a day-to-day basis, and what do you do to cope with that stress. The results were concerning. Of the 169 who replied, 82.7 percent of those surveyed placed themselves at a three or higher for how overwhelmed they feel.

For the second question, “What do you do to cope with stress?” there were two common answers that really stood out. One was that many people turn to music to help them deal with their stressors and emotions.

Music Helps

This is not a new strategy unique to our school. According to research done by the American Psychological Association, listening to music increases the body’s production of antibodies and reduces stress hormone levels. Students may not understand the science behind it, but they know that music has a powerful effect on how they feel. As a music student, I have firsthand experience with the benefits of music. Playing my instrument is always therapeutic, as it is something I do not have to think about. I can just let my feelings flow through me and come out as something beautiful. When it is not convenient to play an instrument, just popping in my earbuds and listening to my favorite albums and instrumental music helps improve my mood and takes my mind off of things.

On Earbuds

Our current policy prohibits headphones in the classroom and blocks most streaming services on student Chromebooks. Could a change to the headphone policy provide a resource for students who could benefit from the stress-relieving properties of listening to music?

In my opinion, yes. I believe our policy should be updated to make music more accessible to students whenever there is time to do so without the possibility of classroom disruption.

Mindfulness

Other than listening to music, the answer that really stood out was that many students just do not know how to cope with being overwhelmed. They do not have the tools to help them get through tough situations. This is concerning, as students and teachers alike are under rigorous performance standards, and with no way to deal with that stress, it can have negative effects. There is a possible solution to this issue that has already been implemented at Throop.

Kara Schmidt, a community member and founder of SoINBody, began working with elementary students before the pandemic, teaching them mindfulness and yoga skills. She also did a trial run with Carol Fullington’s 2019- 2020 speech classes, coming in twice a week to practice mindfulness and yoga with high school students. I had the opportunity to be in that speech class, and those mindfulness lessons were some of the most helpful things I have learned in my high school career. I think this sort of experience should be available for all students at the high school, seeing as we are more vulnerable to mental strain as a result of our education. The easiest option would be to create a mindfulness club which meets once a week during homeroom or even after school, giving students a chance to take a break and practice something that could be beneficial for them.

Talking about mindfulness can be difficult because there is just not enough common knowledge on the subject for most people to really know much about it and how to practice it. However, if the school implemented new policies and programs which had students’ best interests in mind, and that engaged in mindfulness improvement, we might see our data shift in a more positive direction.

Story by Michael Hannon

Padgett Prepares for the Road

Senior works toward CDL Career after Graduation

The post-pandemic job market has proven to be very difficult thing to navigate.
Lost River Career Co-op has implemented a new program into their curriculum to help students start strong in careers after high school. LRCC is now offering a Certified Driver’s License program for high school students to take.

Currently senior Jericho Padgett is the only student enrolled in the program.

“It is a lot of hard work, but it is going to be very rewarding for me in the future,” said Padgett.

The class is taught by Tim Golden, an experienced tractor trailer driver. The program focuses on tractor trailers, which are the typical semi trucks you would see on the highway, and all of the skills needed to operate one, such as basic operation and on-road and parking skills. The class is a one-semester course that takes place during fifth, sixth, and seventh period each day, but can also be a two semester course.

“The class sounds overwhelming, but it’s not. It’s a lot more fun than a person would think. There is a lot of work, but once you get that CDL, you get it for life and you will always have a job available,” said Golden.

Up Next

In the fall, students work towards earning their learner’s permit and eventually their operating license. They have to complete three exams throughout the semester, as well as an in-person pre-trip exam.

Once completed, students can begin work-based learning in the spring. This allows students to not only get experience during their spring semester, but also allows them to make money during the school day. Padgett has already received offers from local trucking companies.

“A student can be making money during their senior year and still get three credit hours for taking the class. It’s nice to have some spending money to use on the weekends,” said Golden.

For More Information

In February of 2022, the requirements to obtain a CDL in Indiana will be changing. In the past, anyone wanting to get their CDL would just have to complete a test at the local BMV. However, starting in February, they will be required to take a three week CDL course, which can cost anywhere between three to five thousand dollars. Since LRCC offers this program, students can obtain their license without any additional costs.

For more information about joining the program speak to the guidance department.

Story by Michael Hannon