A look into TJ’s Future Center and TJ Seniors who started the application process and took advantage of the free Colorado application days.
For high school seniors everywhere, the fall semester is one of the most stressful and important times of their high school career. During this time, seniors are busy finishing their second to last semester of high school, but also navigating the challenge that is the college application process. Both are extremely stressful activities that require a lot of energy from students. Thankfully, here at Thomas Jefferson High School, there is a place where students can go to get resources to help them navigate through the process and work on their applications without spending extra time outside of school.
The TJ Future Center allows students to do just that, and with the help of Emily Webster, the Future Center college advisor, students can access help in the process. Webster started working in the Future Center in January of 2020 and has enjoyed working at TJ ever since. She stated that, “I love working in the Future Center because I get to meet all of the fabulous Spartan seniors and learn about what their plans and hopes are for life after high school. I just enjoy supporting students through the college access journey.” The Future Center at TJ is meant to be a place where students can be comfortable and work hard to plan for their future after high school. Webster expressed that there were a few goals that she had for the Future Center as the advisor said she wants the center to be, “A welcoming place for students to come to get work done, to have fun, and to share good news.”
The college application process can be a lot for students to deal with, so having a place like the Future Center to go to can help them succeed further. The Future Center focuses on supporting the students to get through the applications for programs after high school such as: community colleges, technical certificate programs, or four year colleges and universities. The Future Center is there to also support students with financial aid, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and scholarships to help make sure college is affordable to more and more students at TJ. Many Spartans take advantage of this studious environment, about twenty to thirty students come to the Future Center per day throughout different periods and Webster sees approximately 75-100 per week. She noted that, “it’s a busy place, it’s rarely empty,” showing the dedication many Spartan students have towards their future.
One of the busiest days for seniors here at TJ and all throughout high schools in Colorado, were the Colorado Free Application days. The Colorado Free Application days allowed for students who attend a high school in Colorado to apply to colleges and universities in-state for free. Spartan seniors, including Lauren Simasko and Sawyer Beach, took advantage of the opportunity as a chance to apply to schools in Colorado. Both of the students mentioned that they were thankful for the opportunity to apply for free because of how expensive applications are. Simasko went on to say, “I think it’s crazy how much schools can charge just to submit an application. It was very helpful for me to not have to pay to apply to these schools, especially because I was applying to quite a few schools.” The three day period that spanned from October 19th-21st seemed like a huge success from TJ students as over 550 college applications were submitted over these days. Webster was super excited by this result and proclaimed that, “I’m so impressed with the work that seniors have done.” Webster and other staff such as counselors and admin were very supportive to the TJ seniors making the process very easy for students to apply. The efficiency that the Future Center provided for the application days allowed for many students to jump on the college process if they have not begun it yet or get even further in the process.
As for the students who have begun the application process already, they are trying their best to get through the college procedures, for instance financial aid or applications for many other schools. Beach, who also applied on the free Colorado application days, just finished the application process overall, applying to a total of nine schools throughout the US. She mentioned that the process overall was alright but, “It’s been difficult to get everything done in the time that it needs to be done.” A lot of applications to schools, especially those that are more competitive are time based and the earlier you apply the higher chance that you have to get into that college or university, so the stress that comes with the time crunch that you are under for the application process, as well as other stresses that come from regular school work is a lot for a student to be experiencing. Beach, however, has been using the Future Center at TJ a lot in the application journey saying that she’s been going, “Twice a week, every week, for about three months” and firmly expressed how Webster is doing a great job at helping students obtain the resources they need to succeed. The TJ Future Center has proven to be a great place for students to get through the stressful journey which is the college process. With the help of Webster and the comfortable environment she creates, it can only be expected that these Spartan seniors will succeed in the future!