Andrea Rivera-Maldonado

SAT preparation books are among the resources that the new college center hopes to offer to students.

Samantha Flaute, Reporter

The Parent Teacher Student Association is a vital organization at Seminole High School, since it is in charge of overseeing budgets and planning events for students and faculty. This year, the PTSA has raised enough money to bring a college center to SHS. The new center will open on Nov. 1 in the Media Center on the main campus and is welcome to all students.

The college application can be daunting to students — not only do they have to prepare the perfect test scores, transcripts, and essays, but they often have to navigate the confusing world of scholarship applications and financial aid with little outside help. 

“[The college application process] is very complicated and confusing, so the college center would be helpful,” said IB senior Vivian Rogers.

While many students scramble to get prepared during their senior year, it is also important for juniors and underclassmen to be equipped with resources so that they can get a head start.

“We don’t have any tips on how to apply for scholarships. That’s what I hope the college center changes. Students should be able to plan and know what they want in their future,” said sophomore PTSA member Sonal Mohan.

Huong Bui, founder of the college center and involved PTSA member, hopes to help students prepare for their future.

“I realized that there could be many parents and students out there who are not aware of the information required to prepare early and to maximize their potentials for academic and financial opportunities,” said Bui. “[The] goal is to help as many students as possible to go to college or to attain a career after high school based on their choice.”

In addition, the center will give students access to helpful resources, including application forms and college event details, and information about how to apply for scholarships and colleges. The center hopes to offer donated SAT and ACT prep books for students who cannot afford to buy their own. In order to offer necessary resources, the center will rely on donations and supportive funding from the PTSA.  

“Students can come to research college and career paths, learn about scholarships, internship and financial aid, and gain the information necessary to prepare for success starting in ninth and tenth grades,” said Bui.

The college center has been met with approval from both students and parents, including SHS parent and substitute teacher Jill Firestone.

“As a substitute teacher, I see some kids are excited about college, but also scared,” said Firestone. “It is a new experience for them and they don’t know what to expect. The college center will be a chance for kids to get excited about college and get information about colleges, as well.”

Although the concept of a college center is new to SHS students, a handful of other local schools, including Winter Springs High School and Winter Park High School, already have functioning college centers. Bui hopes to gain inspiration from these schools to tailor the program for SHS.

Winter Springs High School and Winter Park High School have been successful in organizing volunteers made up of parents and students to work closely with the school counselors to meet the needs of students in every grade. We plan to follow the models of these schools to provide an outstanding college and career center to benefit every student at SHS,” said Bui.

These centers service every student and are accessible at any time during school hours. The PTSA is looking for student members to assist with the college center, invite colleges for school visits, and help plan other school-wide events for further involvement in the college center.

“It’s really important to be involved and to know what’s going on with your school. We spend hours here every day, after all,” said Mohan.

With the aid of the college center, the PTSA hopes to help students understand how to apply to colleges and to scholarships, while also providing students with the resources they need to further their future.