Seniors make post-graduation plans

Krystle Wagner • Oct 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — On Friday morning, seniors filed onto a section of bleachers in Grand Haven High School’s Field House wearing bright-green shirts with “#IHaveAPlan” on them.

Throughout the week, GHHS seniors filled out applications and sent out their transcripts during the annual Applied Week.

Last week, Spring Lake seniors made their plans.

Tri-Cities College Access Network (TCCAN) advisor Jana Reenders said Applied Week events at both local schools were a “great success.”

Since Applied Week was on different weeks at the two Tri-Cities-area high schools this year, Reenders said it made it so that she, TCCAN Director Kim McLaughlin and college admissions officers could concentrate on each school.

“Our daily presence at the school was a good reminder for the students to begin or finish their college applications,” Reenders said.

Brooke Schaut, 17, plans on attending Grand Valley State University to achieve a degree in teaching. Schaut said she and fellow GHHS senior Shianna Woodwyk participated in last year’s Applied Week because she’s in the Early College program, which allows high school juniors to work toward earning an associate’s degree from Muskegon Community College along with their high school diploma.

One of the highlights of Applied Week was hearing teachers share their stories about the colleges they attended and how their experiences helped prepare them for their careers, Schaut said.

Families can receive assistance filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during the free FAFSA Help Night, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at Grand Haven High School.

Seniors who haven’t yet made a plan need to create a Parchment account in order to send their transcripts, Reenders said.

Reenders said that more than 60 percent of seniors at both schools had either applied or started working on college applications before Applied Week. She said that is a “huge hats off to parents and school staff cultivating the importance of education after high school.”

Having many students already apply or start the process allowed TCCAN representatives, high school counselors and college advisors the chance to concentrate on students who didn’t yet have a plan and needed help and encouragement, Reenders said.

“I feel very confident that the seniors from the Class of 2017 from both Grand Haven and Spring Lake were able to walk away from their respective Applied Weeks being able to say ‘I have a plan,’” she added.

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