(All) Seniors planning post-high school future

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Every senior in the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District submitted an application during the month of October to continue their education beyond high school.

West St. John High School and East St. John High School participated in Louisiana College Application Access Month. Coordinated by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, the goal of Louisiana College Application Access Month is to assist 12th grade students with navigating the complex college admissions process and to ensure that students apply to at least one postsecondary institution.

Although it’s called College Application Access Month, it also includes students whose interests may lie outside four- or two-year colleges. Seniors had the choice to fill out an application for a university, technical college, the military or to begin a career.

More than 300 East St. John High School students explored their options for after high school at the school’s college fair.

“When presented with the opportunity to participate in Louisiana College Application and Access Month, we knew this would be a great event at our high schools,” said Jenna Chiasson, director of school improvement for the district. “Our goal is to not only prepare our students academically for life after high school but to open those doors and to truly make college accessible.”

Each high school wrapped up the month with a College Application Day, when school staff, LOFSA staff and volunteers helped students fill out and submit their college applications.

However, the schools spent the entire month getting students ready. Students and parents were reached individually and in group sessions to apply to colleges, secure an FSA ID and complete the FAFSA.

Both schools hosted college fairs during the month.

East St. John High School hosted its annual College Fair on Oct. 2, where more than 300 seniors gained access to specific information from college representatives. Students were able to speak one-on-one with admissions counselors regarding admissions requirements, scholarship opportunities, campus life and university ratios.

Recruiters from more than 25 universities, community colleges, technical institutes and military branches were on hand at West St. John High School on Oct. 4 to talk to students about admissions, academic requirements and financial aid. National Guard representative Aileen Landry also came out during the month to help students interpret their ASVAB results.

East St. John High hosted Coffee with the Counselors on Oct. 26. Counselors provided information about Louisiana graduation requirements, ACT test dates, Taylor Opportunity for Students (TOPS) Scholarship requirements, FAFSA information and other helpful tools. Counselors also assisted parents after each of the four sessions in obtaining an FSA ID and completing the FAFSA Application. Parents were also welcome to attend a FAFSA Blitz on Oct. 28, where additional one-on-one assistance was provided to parents and students in completing the FAFSA.

WSJH senior Deja Frank said she feels her school does a great job of helping its students prepare for college.

“They make sure we have everything we need,” she said. “Our counselor calls seniors and invites them to sit down and talk about what we need to do.”

Chiasson said events such as the ones held in October, and throughout the year, are important ways the schools prepare not only students, but their families, for the next step.

“Providing our parents and students with support in completing applications and gaining college knowledge will set our students up for successful futures,” she said.