What Do You Wish You Knew?

Aysha Mirza, Editor-in-chief

Oftentimes students have questions but don’t know who has the answers or even feel embarrassed to ask. I took it upon myself to survey students on the most common unanswered questions then asked Martin counselor Karen Peters and College counselor Lani Gordon to answer them. They were able to offer their own wisdom in hopes of helping the student body feel better informed.

What students want to know…

  • Are AP and Dual credit really worth it?

“If students  are looking to boost their GPA, AP classes will do that. But dual credit will not have any effect. This way, students can focus on other classes that can raise their GPA while still taking an advanced course. But if you’re taking AP for the boost but making less than a C, it may be a better option to move to regulars. Something to also consider with AP is the test required to be taken in order to receive credit for the class at the end of the year. No matter the score, colleges can still see the results on the transcripts. Money wise, both AP and dual credit classes can help alleviate class expenses with most career plans.” -Karen Peters

  • How do my grades affect gpa and class rank? How can I make sure I succeed with this?

“If in a weighted class, a lot of people will think an A is just an A. But there is a point system regarding GPA based off of this chart. (Going to include a visual chart for this). This ultimately decides a student’s class rank. The higher the GPA, the better class rank a student will have.” -Karen Peters

  •  I think we focus so much on preparing for college and so little about what happens next after getting in. What should I expect after college?

“The transition into college and afterwards can be a difficult time. At every campus there is a career center where all concerns and questions can be answered. There will also be resume workshops, interview practice and job fairs. As for Martin, in the spring we are planning to hold a presentation for seniors on the college transition.” -Lani Gordon

  • How does the college application process work?

“There are several different aspects to the process. Options include CommonApp, Apply Texas, or the individual university application that they have on their website. Every application process is going to include the application itself, the application fee or waiver (if a student qualifies for one), an official transcript sent, and if required, the SAT/ACT scores. Some schools in addition to that require essays, recommendation letters, or interviews. I recommend students look at the colleges they are interested in and make a list to keep track of what each university requires. But for a two-year college, all that is needed is an official transcript. There are no SAT/ACT requirements with usually no to little fee.” -Lani Gordon

  • How do I get a good job that allows me to provide for myself and my family?

“If money is the priority, I would suggest starting to look for jobs based on the starting pay, mid salary,and  highest pay for whichever jobs interest you. But what I always tell students is that people are happier when they like what they do, so rather than looking at the money, look at what you enjoy and find interest in, because ultimately this is what you would be doing every day.” -Lani Gordon

“A resource that many students don’t know they have is Xello which is found in their RapidIdentity. This can help students navigate career plans based on the demand or salary. It also provides different colleges and majors based off of these answers with the cost, location and living.” -Karen Peters

  • What is the TSI and why should I take it?

“Most students assume it is a test to get in dual credit. They don’t realize that they have to have it if they are not exempt from the SAT scores. To be exempt you have to make a 530 on the math SAT and a 480 on the reading SAT then you never have to take the TSI. But the purpose of the TSI is that you have to make a certain score so that you do not have to go into remedial classes that you pay for in college but receive no credit. Now if a student chooses not to go to college, I still recommend they take the TSI because the score is good for up to five years. So if they choose to take a course sometime, they would already have the TSI done.” -Karen Peters

  • Can grades determine my future?

“It can determine what happens after highschool, but after college there really is no effect. But if there is a course in college requiring a class that you might have failed or a job that requires you to know these skills, what you did in that class might have an impact.” -Lani Gordon

  • I’m worried about my eligibility for college when I apply for them. I don’t think I’ll be ready for my SAT. What resources do I have that could help?

“Khan academy will always be one of the best resources. It provides a schedule with released SAT tests for practice. Ever since 2016, College Board and Khan academy teamed up to make sure every student has free access to the test prep so everyone really should take advantage of this. But if a student prefers in person learning, Reading teacher Lori Craig runs a SAT prep class every summer, fall and spring at the school.” -Karen Peters

  • What options do students have if they do not want to attend college?

“There are so many options like cosmetology, automotive, plumbing, HAVC – these all require certification that you can get from TCC, so it’s not really college. There is also the military option. But not getting a degree can also make it more likely to start with the starting level and have to work yourself up, whereas if you attend college, you can start with a higher level job probably with a better salary as well. But if any freshmen or sophomores have any inclination that they want to go into cosmetology or automotive, let their counselors know now. These classes have to be started freshman or sophomore year. And these are both classes where you receive a certification for free at the end of senior year worth $20,000.” -Karen Peters

  • How are we supposed to settle on one career?

“People change their minds a lot and no one is asking you to settle on one career choice. If you have an idea of what you like, that’s definitely a place to start. But if you decide on something and get to college and realize that it is not for you, it’s encouraged that you change it because you don’t want to go through and get your degree, pay for it and feel like it was a waste of time and money. But while you’re in high school, if you do have an idea, you are able to take classes and try it out. That way you get a better idea before you get to college.” -Lani Gordon

What students need to know

  • “A common misconception is that community college is less expensive. And that’s not always the case. If you are looking at the total cost for four years, it can be more because people think that the first two years would be less expensive than after they can transfer to a university. But universities don’t give high enough scholarships in this case, making it actually even more than what it would be to just attend a normal four year university.” -Lani Gordon
  • “When applying for colleges, don’t stick to just one. Have a back up plan because you never know what can happen. Every student has two college visit days in their senior year and they should take advantage of that because life on campus can really determine a student’s success.” -Lani Gordon
  • “College application fees get expensive. So if a student is on free and reduced lunch, they get four free application waivers and two SAT fee waivers. There is a new form that has come out called the Socioeconomic Form which can be found by asking your counselors.” -Karen Peters

   It’s understandable to feel embarrassed or afraid to ask simple questions. But counselors and teachers are always there to ease any worries. If you need to contact your counselor for any questions their qr codes are below.