Financial Aid | October 2021
A Note from Stephanie
In this Newsletter
A Note From Stephanie

Featured Article

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

Class Specific Monthly Focus

Major Spotlight

Standardized Testing

Job and Volunteer Opportunities


In Other News

Helpful Resources
Happy Fall!

With the first quarter almost under our belts, I feel like we are hitting our stride. The College & Career Center is very busy with senior applications, college rep visits, and the launch of some exciting new initiatives.

Over the last two years, I have noticed that many students struggle with what they "want to be when they grow up." To help students make those connections, we are launching a new initiative this Friday during Academy. Career Corner - An Informal Conversation is a collaboration with Joel Compton and our History Department. Each month we will host a local business professional to speak about their career path.

We are also excited to announce our new College Connect program for first-gen and limited-income students. Our mission is to bring the college conversation to the "dinner table" and introduce first-gen students to all the possibilities beyond high school. It will launch on October 14th with a pizza lunch outside of our office (see below for more details).

October also marks the beginning of the official financial aid season. This newsletter is dedicated to providing resources and information to help you navigate the nuances of the process.

As October continues it is easy to feel the pressure of college deadlines. Take a deep breath, know you will get there and you are not alone in the process. Remember to find balance in your life and create moments for yourself to step away and reset.

Stephanie Brady
College and Career Center Director

Keep in touch & stay up to date:
Featured Article

Five Reasons To Consider
Submitting the FAFSA
Your family may be thinking, “Why submit the FAFSA? We are concerned about paying for college, but we won’t qualify for financial aid.” The short answer is— there are reasons you should! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the official form that students and their families use to apply for college funding from the federal government. States, individual colleges and universities, and private scholarship programs also rely on the application’s information for federal aid. The FAFSA opens October 1st and must be prepared annually by current and prospective applicants to determine eligibility for federal need-based aid. Yet, there are advantages to filing a FAFSA, no matter your income level.

Never Assume: There is a common misconception that financial aid is only for families with high financial need. The truth is that the eligibility for financial aid is complex and considers many factors besides income and assets (amount of dependents, students in college, etc.) Contrary to popular belief, there are no set cut-offs or financial thresholds. Families who think they won’t qualify for need-based financial aid can be surprised. 

Gatekeeper to Merit Aid: Merit aid is financial aid awarded to students based on academic or extracurricular achievements. How schools choose to award merit aid varies by institution. There are colleges where filing the FAFSA is required for merit awards. In other words, the school only awards merit aid to students who have filed the FAFSA. So, depending on the school’s policy, your student could be missing out on free money based on their hard work by not filing the FAFSA.

A Form of Demonstrated Interest?: To guard their yield, colleges want to admit students they believe will enroll. Because colleges know students who submit a FAFSA are serious about attending, some schools may see submitting a FAFSA as demonstrating interest. Also, suppose you are a family without financial need. In that case, submitting a FAFSA lets a school know you are full-pay and provides the school with the information they sometimes use to balance their enrollment needs and financial health.

Access to Federal Student Loans: Federal student loans are loans provided by the federal government, with terms and conditions set by law each summer. They include many benefits such as lower fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans not typically offered with private loans. These loans are only available by submitting a FAFSA. The FAFSA also allows students to participate in work-study programs. We always recommend exploring federal options before looking at other types of loans. 

Better Safe than Sorry: If 2020 taught us anything, it is that you never know what the future may hold. While your family may not currently have financial need, circumstances can change. Filing the FAFSA is the best protection against future need because the school already has the FAFSA on file, and it is easier to make adjustments or ask for aid mid-year. 

Regardless of your family’s financial circumstances, consider submitting a FAFSA. It keeps doors open and can show colleges you are serious about attending!
Upcoming Events and Deadlines
October 1: Cal State Application Opens
October 1: FAFSA and CSS Profile Applications Open
October 2: SAT (Miramonte)
October 5: FAFSA Information Session | 7:00 - 7:45 p.m. | In person
October 7: CSU Workshop (Virtual) | 6:30 | Zoom Link
October 13: SAT (Miramonte)
October 14: College Connect Launch | Lunch | College & Career Center
October 16: PSAT for Juniors and Sophomores
October 20: National Merit Recognition | 2:30 p.m. | College & Career Center
October 22: Last day to submit essay to C&CC for review for November 1 deadline
October 23: ACT
Class Specific Monthly Focus
National Merit Recognition
Congratulations to the 23 Commended Scholars and 1 Semi-finalist in the Class of 2022. These students achieved an NMQT score of 207 or above on the PSAT taken in their junior year. We will be celebrating their accomplishment on October 20th with a sweet treat. Please note: all qualifying scholars should have received an email from Ellen Conners a few weeks back.

Evening CSU Application Workshop (Virtual)
Due to the rally during Wednesday's Academy, we have rescheduled our CSU application workshop to Thursday, October 7th. Zoom Link

October Academy Sessions**
October 8 | Career Corner - An Informal Conversation | Mr. Compton's academy
October 13 | Common App Activities and Honors
October 20 | Tackling the PIQ's
October 27 | General Essay Help
**Students must sign up in Teachmore to attend
Looking Toward College - Junior Parent Presentation
It was nice to see many of you at our recent junior parent presentation. Here is a link to the slides.

Get to Know Your Teachers
The student-teacher relationship is important to success in high school. It allows students to access another level of learning and can provide emotional support as well. Building those relationships is especially important after distance learning; we all need to get to know each other better. Also, remember that junior-year teachers are the ones writing letters of recommendation. So, stop by an academy or pop into office hours!

Rep Visits
We have already hosted close to 100 colleges during our College Rep Mondays. Many of you have taken advantage of the opportunity and are getting a great first introduction to the uniqueness of each institution. If you would like to participate please find a complete list and registration information on Naviance.
Consider beginning community service work, if you haven't already found a program or opportunity you enjoy. Giving back to the community is a great way to feel connected. Any volunteer hours you complete can also be submitted to earn the Miramonte Community Service or Presidents Volunteer Service Awards. Please visit our website and Helper Helper for a complete list of opportunities
First Years
Hopefully, you had a great introduction to the many clubs at Miramonte during the Club Day kick-off at the end of September. Getting involved in a Miramonte club is a great way to meet new people and form new friendships. It's definitely not too late to join!
Standardized Testing
Standardized testing has been one of the hottest topics in college admissions over the last 18 months. Students have struggled to get test dates and colleges have had to adapt to their review processes in the absence of test scores. While we still remain in an environment with nearly two-thirds of colleges not requiring tests for the Class of 2022, it is important for future classes to plan to take a test at some point before the fall of senior year (typically spring of junior year). This is an ever-evolving topic so please reach out with any specific questions you might have about your own testing plan.

PSAT for Sophomores and Juniors
Miramonte will be hosting the PSAT on Saturday, October 16th. As a sophomore, this is a great opportunity to take a practice test to help you decide whether you would like to focus on the SAT or ACT in an official capacity. Sophomores should consider this a baseline test and do not need to prepare for it.
Spotlight On A Major
Bachelor of Science

Students of architecture will take classes in architectural theory, design, and
history; drafting; project management and site planning. Most architects
earn their degree through a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree program.
Many earn a masters degree in architecture, which can take 1 to 5
additional years. For more information check out

Suggested MHS Classes to prepare you for a major in Environmental Science

Intro to Engineering Design
Principles of Engineering
Photo/Digital Design
Digital Electronics

In addition, you might explore some Architecture Design and Technology options at DVC

Career Outlook

Architectural Drafter
Building Surveyor
Industrial Designer
Interior & Spatial Designer
Landscape Architect
Lighting Designer
Production Designer
Project Manager
Urban Planner
Structural Engineer

Colleges to Consider

Cal Poly Pomona
University of Nebraska
Penn State University
Drexel University
University of Arizona
Howard University
Miami University Ohio
Northeastern University
University of Minnesota
University of Oregon
New Initiative - College Connect
We are very excited to launch our Miramonte College Connect initiative! This initiative welcomes all first-generation and limited-income students and their families. 

Our mission is to build a supportive college-going community for first-generation and limited-income students at Miramonte. College Connect aims to empower students and their families by creating a network to engage in the college conversation and explore 2 and 4-year post-secondary paths forward. 

  • Introduce college-specific vocabulary
  • Help students navigate their path to college
  • Exposure to 2 and 4-year post-secondary options
  • Provide application assistance
  • Connect students with mentors
  • Presentations regarding financial aid and paying for college

2021-22 Events
September 22 | 6:00 pm Virtual Event | College Application 101 for First-Generation students & limited-income families

October 14 | Lunch | Pizza and a College Conversation 

November 3 | 6:00 pm | Cash 4 College Workshop (Virtual Event for Senior Families)

December 2 |Lunch | Casual Conversation w/First-Generation Guest Speaker

February | Evening Presentation on College Affordability (date TBD)

March 17* | Lunch | College Representative Presentation (Sonoma State)

April 21* | DVC Field trip
*March and April dates are not yet confirmed.

Please reach out to Ms. Brady or Ms. Freeborn in the C&CC with questions or to opt in to direct communications.
AAUW (American Association of University Women) Scholarship
The AAUW is a national organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. The scholarship application can be found at The deadline for applying is February 15 The AAUW is searching for well-rounded girls who:
  • Are committed to community service
  • Enrich their school communities through extracurricular activities
  • Have a vision or plan for how their future will include their passion for community service
Please see Naviance for more information and how to apply.
In Other News
Differences Between the FAFSA and CSS Profile

Jeff Levy sat down with Grown and Flown and answered some of the most difficult and confusing questions parents have about financial and merit aid and completing the FAFSA.
Paying For College In Four Steps
Confusing. Stressful. Complicated. These are the most common descriptors my students use when we first start the conversation about paying for college. 

How Merit Aid is Awarded
Most colleges and universities now use a “merit” aid strategy to solicit teenagers. Your eighth grader probably ought to know how it works.

Walking Through the FAFSA

A great resource to walk you through the FAFSA.

Helpful Resources
Miramonte College and Career Center