Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Finance the Future

Posted 03/01/2016 by Paula Mortel

The Future Center provides important resources for all students pursuing the college path. photo by Andrew Villescas

Students are encouraged to visit the Future Center to learn about college scholarships and financial aid details.

With college admission decisions on the horizon, upperclassmen are adjusting their focus toward college preparation. With college and scholarship application deadlines quickly approaching, seniors are making decisions regarding where they want to attend college in the Fall of 2016.

Seniors are at a crucial point regarding their college decisions. Students should be wrapping up their application process if they are applying to four year universities. Moreover, applying for scholarships and financial aid is recommended in order to receive great opportunities, and it is essential that students pay attention to critical deadlines. Future Center advisor Rena Maez explained, “Turning in both scholarship and financial aid applications on time benefits a student’s chance of receiving financial aid.” A variety of scholarship opportunities are available; they are divided into merit-based, need-based, and miscellaneous categories. Merit-based scholarships are determined by college applications, and depend on a student’s GPA and their SAT and/or ACT scores. Need-based scholarships are based on family income, including the Daniels Fund Scholarship and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Many seniors are also taking advantage of other scholarships that are targeted toward specific subjects of interest. Scholarships provide students with several advantages and significant benefits. The Daniels Fund scholarship offers a full ride scholarship to the winner’s school of choice, and also provides extra support to students with tutoring. Additionally, the Gates Millennium Scholarship supports funding for minority students interested in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or other science fields. Meanwhile, the Denver Scholarship Foundation offers $3,000 a year for four years, a scholarship based on a student’s financial situation, along with their academic achievements. This scholarship can be applied to nearly any school in Colorado, so students should talk to Maez about this opportunity.

Many other scholarships are available, but students must actively search for them. Maez sends out emails to  seniors with a link to a six page document following up with instructions on how to apply for scholarships to any college or university. Students are welcome to drop by the Future Center, as Maez is always available to answer students’ questions, as well as to provide guidance for scholarship applications or essays. “The Future Center not only helps students prepare to achieve their goals, but it also gives students insight on what their futures could look like,” mentioned senior Keith Joyner. There is a wall of folders posted in the Future Center devoted to college scholarships, which are organized based on the scholarship’s month of due date. Additionally, students can visit and for assistance.

For many students, finding the perfect college takes a great deal of time and research, but the strain can be lessened by using Naviance. Naviance provides students with college planning tools, giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions and narrow down their options. The program supplies links to college websites, along with various scholarships pertaining to the specific desires and needs of students. Students can utilize Naviance by going to Whether it’s matching several colleges to an individual’s interests, or comparing admission rates at a student’s top college choices, Naviance helps to keep aspiring students organized. “This program keeps you organized and it’s easily accessible. It allows your teachers, principal, and counselor to keep track of your progress,” explained senior Franz Torres.

Paying for higher education without outside assistance is not a reality for everyone. With the help from FAFSA, students gain access to financial opportunities including grants and loans to help them attend their college of choice. It is a free application that 99 percent of colleges in the United States expect students to fill out if they hope to request financial aid. In order for students to be eligible to apply, they must submit their most recent tax information into their financial applications. Students should visit Maez or their counselors for assistance on this valuable resource, along with other possible methods of financial aid.

It is critical that seniors apply for scholarships and financial aid in order to increase their future opportunities, in addition to keeping track of upcoming deadlines. The Future Center is always an available workplace for students, and Maez and the counselors are good resources for information regarding future plans and opportunities.