Getting into college isn’t easy. Paying for it can be even harder, which is why bright and early on a Monday Morning, an hour before the normal start of school, 31 seniors were hard at work thinking about their futures. Timm DiStefano, HS Counselor, runs a semester long course aimed at getting La Center Seniors into college with scholarship money to help them pay for it.
The class meets three times a week and focuses on college acceptance, scholarships, FAFSA applications and career planning. The class’s primary assignment is for every student to apply for 10 scholarships, one every two weeks–an often complicated, nearly always daunting process. Instead of focusing on scholarships with easy expectations and large numbers of submissions, instead the class focuses on local scholarships that are hard to get in a strategy to maximize the number of students actually receiving money. Applying for scholarships can be a grind and the course helps “keep the motivational fires burning.”
This year, the student’s also have access to Xello, an online career discover and prep program that takes student’s learning styles, interests and abilities and helps match them to careers that match those tendencies. Mr. DiStefano says the key to the program’s success is getting to know the students. By having a personal connection and knowing what they’re hopes and aspirations are, he can help them to achieve their potential and be sure funding won’t keep them from accomplishing their dreams.