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Life after high school
English teachers Natalie Simmons (left) and Meg Doughty lead a seminar on writing college admission essays. Student reporters Mariah Haggan, Ariel Bronish (right) and Makaila Conley (not pictured) wrote about the various seminars and keynote speakers.
RUMFORD -- The seniors at Mountain Valley High School recently received a crash course about everything to do with life after high school.
According to student reporter Mariah Haggan, “Four sessions included college funding, the college application, the college essay, and the military. Each one was very informational and covered many relevant topics that college bound seniors need to know. There was also a mini session at the beginning of the day where the town manager and two selectmen were able to motivate and prepare the seniors for the day.”
“To start off our day, Carlo Puiia, the Rumford Town Manager, came in to talk to us about life after high school. He told us that it was alright if we wanted to get out of this town and get to see the outside world, but we are most likely to come back,” wrote student reporter Makaila Conley.
Rumford Selectpersons Greg Buccina and Jeff Sterling joined Puiia.
Another student reporter Ariel Bronish acknowledged, “Mountain Valley High School Seniors heard three men talk about how we needed to give back to the neighborhood and how we should go off to college but come back and work here. They gave us ideas of how we can start jobs in Rumford. They talked about their jobs and how there is always a way to give back.”
Admission Counselor Jamie Marcus from the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) shared important information about college admissions with the seniors.
Conley reported, “He told us how UMF is doing an application fee waiver if you apply before December 15.”
That’s a savings of $40 for applying early!
Haggan noted, “The college application presentation streamlined all the procedures seniors should know before taking on the application process, including relevant information about the common application and supplements that might be required from schools that accept it.”
Jennifer Hutchinson, Senior Associate Director of UMF Financial Aid, explained how financial aid is based on parents’ income.
“To determine need-based aid, students fill out a FAFSA form about our parent’s tax return,” Conley wrote. “Also as a student in high school if we have a job and make enough money will fill out our own tax return as well. Hudson mentioned March 1 is the FAFSA deadline.”
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The information on the FAFSA forms the basis of financial aid decisions at most community colleges and universities.
Bronish added, “Also when filling out FAFSA if you don’t know what you paid for taxes because your parents haven’t filed them yet then put down an estimated number because you can always go back and change it.”
Conley reported a very generous offer, “Hudson was very helpful and said she would come here to sit down with our parents to help fill out the form.”
English teachers Natalie Simmons and Meg Doughty presented a session on writing a college essay.
According to Bronish, Simmons discussed that it was really important to let the college know about you. “Colleges don’t care what your parents or sister or brother did last year at some park. They want to know how it affected you!”
Haggan recalled that Simmons and Doughty “listed the topics someone could choose if they were lacking inspiration, and there was still time to talk about letters of recommendation.”
Petty Officer Jeff A. Bennett, U.S. Navy recruiter from Auburn, provided an alternative to going directly to college as well as a way to pay for it.
A retirement age of 38 impressed all three writers.
“Officer Bennet told us how he will be retired in six years at the age of 38,” Conley wrote. “He’s been to 16 different states. He told us how the military will pay for our schooling and we will get paid while going to school.”
Bronish added, “(Bennett) talked about if you wanted to go to college, you could take classes while in the service. He said to everyone that they would pay you to go to college. They would also pay for you to take a vacation. You can travel everywhere and anywhere. He talked about boot camp and how it was just like summer camp.”
The student reporters summarized the day based on what they took from it.
“We learned that it is a long process to get into college but it is worth it,” wrote Bronish. “The college wants to work with you but you have to want to work with them. Put yourself out there. When join up for the military know that it isn’t all fun and games. You need to be strong for whatever you do. Just make sure that whatever you decide to do is the choice that you make and not someone else.”
Haggan concluded, “Overall, the day proved to be a very enriching opportunity for everyone involved and college bound.”
Haggan, Conley and Bronish are seniors. Since the school reporter toured Region 9 with her homeroom, the seniors offered to report on the senior seminars that occurred the same day.