Questions with Counselors



  1. Can juniors start applying for scholarships? Can juniors also attend college visits on campus even though it’s primarily for seniors?

Any student from any grade level is encouraged to apply for scholarships. Scholarships for underclassmen are typically competitions, such as oratorical essays, written essays, or general knowledge competitions or based on an outstanding commitment to community service or leadership. Underclassmen can find these scholarships at a free scholarship search site like, which is one of the only scholarship search sites that do not sell a student’s personal information to other organizations.

Juniors and seniors may attend college visits information sessions, up to five per year, conducted by college admissions representatives visiting Seminole High School. Students must preregister for the session through the IB Office (across from the Principal’s Office) at least 24 hours in advance before school, during lunch, or after school only.

  1. What are the dis/advantages of going to community college for the first two years?

The advantages of going to a community college are a guaranteed admission with a standard high school diploma, smaller classrooms and cost effective. The disadvantage of a community college is it’s a non-traditional school (i.e. no sports or other clubs/experience that undergrads have no dorms).

  1. I was considering military to help pay for school. Should I enroll in college ROTC or should I enlist after high school? What are the benefits of each?

You can in enroll in JrROTC if you like. The benefits of enrolling in high school would be if you complete 4 years, it would give you a higher rank and pay when you enlist.  ROTC in college, get college paid for and graduate as a second lieutenant. If you enlist after high school you will start off in a lower rank compared to ROTC for college, but you can still get college paid for once you go

  1. How early should I start looking for scholarships? Does it matter if I wait until the last minute? If so, why?

Most scholarships are for seniors. Students can start looking early for scholarships that they would like to fill out their senior year.  Seniors need to begin as soon as school starts their senior year.  If they wait they could miss a scholarship deadline. Students should prepare a scholarship folder with acceptance letters, updated transcript, and recommendation letters from at least 3 faculty or community leaders. As scholarships come up they will have all their information readily available. Visit Seminole High School webpage, guidance tab, scholarships for updated list on a weekly basis.

  1. Why do I need my parent’s information if I’m the one going to college?

The federal government says your parents are responsible for your college education. The federal government will provide grants and other forms of college support only when the parents are incapable of paying for college, not when the parents are unwilling to pay for college.

Federal law assumes that the parents have the primary responsibility for paying for their children’s college education. The federal government provides grants and other forms of college support only when the parents are incapable of paying for college, not when the parents are unwilling to pay for college.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) distinguishes between students who are dependent and students who are independent. Parents of a dependent student are required to submit their financial and demographic information on the FAFSA. Parents of an independent student are not required to complete the FAFSA.

The definition of a dependent student for federal student aid purposes is different than the definition used on federal income tax returns. The definition of a dependent on the federal income tax return is defined by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, while the definition for federal student aid purposes is defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965. Whether the parents claim the student as a dependent on their income tax returns is irrelevant to the student’s status as a dependent for federal student aid purposes.

Before 1992, a student who was self-sufficient for two years was considered an independent student for federal student aid purposes. But this definition was prone to abuse and manipulation, so Congress changed the definition starting with the 1992-93 academic year. The new definition established a specific set of criteria for a student to be considered independent

College financial aid administrators may perform a dependency override to grant independent student status to an otherwise dependent student, but only in unusual circumstances. Unusual circumstances can include an abusive family environment (e.g., as evidenced by court protection from abuse orders against both parents) or when both parents are incarcerated, institutionalized or otherwise incapacitated. A student supporting herself is not considered an unusual circumstance.

The US Department of Education has published guidance in the Application and Verification Guide that indicates that college financial aid administrators may not grant a dependency override just because the student is self-sufficient, just because the parents do not claim the student as a dependent on their income tax returns, just because the parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education or just because the parents refuse to complete the FAFSA or verification. None of these scenarios, alone or in combination, is sufficient justification for a dependency override.

If parents of a dependent student refuse to complete the FAFSA, the student will not qualify for federal student aid. (A dependent student whose parents have cut off all support may qualify for unsubsidized Stafford loans, but only at the dependent student limits. The student will not qualify for other federal education loans, federal grants or federal work-study.) The student may also be ineligible for grants from other sources, as most colleges follow the federal requirements.

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  1. What if I’m not sure where I want to go to college, should I still apply or should I wait until I have come to a decision

Not every student will have those 1-5 colleges that they are absolutely sure about. That is why doing your research starting in the junior year is so important. I would encourage students to attend our SHS college visits, going on summer trips to colleges between your junior and senior year, and going to each college’s website to get your admissions information. If it is already your senior year and you are still not sure, it may be a little trickier as the earlier you apply the better. Whether you still apply to a school will really depend on whether you meet the admissions requirements for the university and also based on fitting in each college application fee into your budget. I would encourage sitting down with your counselor to discuss the specifics of your individual situation, in seeing if applying to a school you are not sure about is in your best interest.

  1. There are so many scholarships and sites. I feel overwhelmed, how can I sort things out and find what suits me?

Our advice is that you start with the, click “guidance”, then go to “scholarships” review the due dates and qualifications, and if anything suits you, plan accordingly.  Next, go to your top 5 secondary educational institutions financial aid webpages to review scholarships available. Finally, use scholarship search engines; never pay any fees for scholarship information.

  1. If I have a pass/fail class how do I handle that with applications? Same question applies for block classes.

If you have a class that is P/F, jus list it as Pass or Fail.  On the block classes, indicated that it is a 2 hour block class if you can.