Five Things to Do This Month to Get College-Ready

October is College Awareness Month in HISD and over the next four weeks, the district will be hosting a variety of activities and events for parents and students to learn more about colleges, scholarships, testing, and more. Here are five things parents and students can do in October to get college-ready.

1. Attend a College Fair

HISD high schools will be holding college fairs from now until Oct. 11. Parents and students will be able to speak with college reps, scholarship exhibitors, and learn essay-writing strategies. The Bellaire High School college fair on Wed., Oct. 2, will feature representatives from more than 170 colleges and is open to all HISD students and families. For a complete list of schools holding college fairs, click here.

2. Dare to Dream Big

Think you can’t get into an Ivy League or top-tier university? Think again. Many top colleges and universities provide full scholarships and financial aid for low-income students. Learn more at the HISD Ivy+ College Night on Oct. 29 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th St., 77092).

3. Take College-Level Courses

All HISD high schools offer a minimum of 15 Advanced Placement (AP) courses. HISD also pays for students to take the corresponding AP exams. In 2013, HISD students earned free college credit by scoring a 3 or higher on more than 7,000 AP exams. For more information on how to enroll in an AP course, talk to your campus counselor or college access coordinator.

4. Know and Prepare for Tests

HISD pays for all juniors to take the SAT College Entrance Exam during the school day. However, there are a variety of other free tests HISD students will take this month that are designed to expose and prepare them to the early demands of college and career-planning. All HISD 9th, 10th, and 11th-graders will take the PSAT College Readiness Exam and 8th graders will take the ReadiStep assessment.

5. Register for Naviance

Naviance is an online, college and career-readiness tool that HISD students and parents can access for free. Naviance’s college-planning tools allow students and families to make informed decisions about their options by comparing colleges and universities, exploring scholarship opportunities, tracking college applications, and accessing a variety of other college research materials. To sign up, talk to your campus counselor or college access coordinator.