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Proper planning makes transition to college smoother
College Planning2.jpg
Upcoming senior Gage Walker visits MTSU’s website to check out its computer programming curriculum. “The hardest part is all the paperwork and there’s a lot to remember,” said Walker when talking about college planning. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Are you a parent or guardian of a soon-to-be high school senior? Naturally, you want to help navigate him or her during this busy time. This is a key year in the college planning process. 

Your child will be taking standardized tests like the ACT, watching their GPAs, learning about financial aid, sending out applications, and waiting to find out about admissions to colleges, universities, or trade schools. 

So, what more does your high school senior need to know before the school year starts? We reached out to WCHS Tennessee college advisor Shauna Brock and Boyd Christian School guidance counselor Deitra Dunlap. Take advantage of their advice and mark your calendar with these important dates. 

TN Promise

Application –

Deadline Nov. 1

What is it? A last-dollar scholarship that will cover the costs of tuition and mandatory fees after all other state and federal aid has been applied. It works at any of the state community colleges, any of the TCATs, and a select few four-year schools.

Important dates WCHS Students will be given a TN Promise packet during a meeting at school Oct. 21 during the school day. Seniors will have a mandatory meeting in the spring on March 10, 2020 at 5:30 pm. If students do not attend this meeting, they will not be eligible to receive TN Promise money.

2020-21 FAFSA

Application –

Opens Oct. 1

and closes Feb. 1

What is it? FAFSA is required for any student wanting to pursue a post-secondary education. This is where students are awarded federal and state money. The sooner the student applies, the more they will be eligible for. Some aid is given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Important dates If students do not fill this out by Feb. 1, they will lose TN Promise eligibility. If they do not fill it out at all, they will not be able to receive any financial aid for school. 

FAFSA Frenzy Day will be Monday, Oct. 14 from 8 to 11 a.m. at WCHS for parents to get help filling out the FAFSA as well as one evening on Thursday, Jan. 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. at WCHS.

Community Service

In order to receive TN Promise, students must complete eight hours of community service between Nov. 2, 2019 and July 1, 2020. Students then will have to earn eight hours each semester after that while using TN Promise money. 

College Applications 

Most college applications have a priority deadline of Dec. 1. However, some schools have a priority deadline of Nov. 1. It is very important students research these deadlines early in the fall semester so they don’t miss one.

College Fair

There will be a College Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 5 to7 p.m. in the WCHS gym with 30 to 40 schools in attendance. This is a great opportunity for students and parents to meet with the admissions representatives and learn more about admissions requirements, financial aid, etc.

Additionally, it’s highly recommended students get involved their senior year. Most scholarship applications will ask students to attach a resume of their community involvement and extracurricular involvement. Encourage your seniors to join clubs, volunteer their time, play sports or get a job. The more activities, the better.

“Get a folder for all your student’s college information including passwords and deadlines,” advised Dunlap. “This will help you and your senior stay on the right track and same page because when you miss a deadline, you’ve missed a deadline.”

For more info, contact Shauna Brock at or 668-5858 ext. 80229. For help from Deitra Dunlap, email or call 473-9691.