Thursday, October 22, 2020

How parents can help children deal with all the changes COVID-19 might throw at them

Parents can encourage children to practice coping skills that will help them better navigate sudden change and uncertainty, Alvord says. “The key is to be mentally flexible, learn how to problem-solve, and accept change as a challenge rather than an obstacle.”

Why your kid might need new lessons in resiliency

 Read the Article Here

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

UNC System Virtual Open House 10/26-10/30

 Monday, October 26- Friday, October 30, 2020

The UNC System will host its first-ever Virtual Open House, giving North Carolinians in all 100 counties an opportunity to explore the state’s options for public higher education. A series of eight virtual sessions will highlight the unique learning opportunities at the 16 constituent universities.

The sessions, hosted in conjunction with North Carolina Countdown to College, will run from October 26 through October 30, 2020. Each UNC System university will offer a thirty-minute presentation that features faculty, staff, and current students. In addition to providing a broad campus overview, each presentation will highlight five unique and often-overlooked institutional features and attributes. Admissions counselors will also be on hand in a separate chat room to answer specific questions students and their families might have.

To attend any of these sessions, please register here. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Bethany Meighen, Vice President for Student Affairs, at

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Mini Workshop for Parents #11- It's Not What the School Costs; it's What You Pay That Matters!


Schools are not created equal. Some schools have a lot of money while others do not. After considering financial aid, it is likely that you can pay less at an expensive out-of-state or private school than you would pay at the local state school. Yet, too many parents only consider the price tag and eliminate expensive schools as an option without considering the financial aid available. Let us help!

The HEFAR Group is a non-profit company with a mission to help make college more affordable for everyone. As one of the top college funding advisors in the country, we know every loophole available to help you get more free money for college. Click above to view this week’s Financial Aid Mini Workshop.

If you like the information in our Financial Aid Mini Workshop, click below to view our full-hour recorded webinar, Beat the High Cost of College!

You can also Click Here to see what others are saying about The HEFAR Group.

Georgetown University to visit the Carolinas - Oct 21 - 6pm

 The Georgetown University Office of Undergraduate Admissions invites you to participate in a virtual information session for students in

North Carolina and South Carolina!

Join us for an upcoming event to learn more about academic life and student experiences on the Hilltop.

Wednesday, October 21st
6pm ET

Register Here

Caroline Faris, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions, will gather online with a current Georgetown student for a program featuring a formal presentation followed by a Q&A session.

Accommodation requests related to a disability should be sent to Georgetown via this form by Friday, October 16th at 4pm. 
A good-faith effort will be made to fulfill requests.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Intro to the FAFSA | Introducción y Proceso del FAFSA

 The Coalition just opened registration links for Intro to the FAFSA | Introducción y Proceso del FAFSA.

At this event on October 27 at 8 p.m. Eastern, they will hold concurrent sessions, one in English and one in Spanish, that prepare students and families to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Admissions and financial aid counselors at Coalition schools will be on hand to answer questions about the process. Learn more and register →

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Helping parents get their teen to college


               Take Advantage of These 3 Types of Aid

Extra Help: College Admissions

Helping parents get their teen to college

College is expensive, but families can rely on grants and scholarships, work-study aid, and student loans to make it more affordable.

To receive aid from the federal government, families must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Additionally, many colleges ask that families submit the CSS Profile or complete additional applications for institutional scholarships.

The financial aid process could be its own college course – it’s got a language of its own and requires significant research and time to master. Maximize the amount of aid your teen receives by avoiding these 10 common FAFSA mistakes and learning more about the types of aid available. Grants and scholarships, for example, do not need to be repaid, while some student loans must be repaid in full and others can be forgiven eventually.

This is a bonus edition of Extra Help. Have questions about how to apply for financial aid not answered here? Send them here:

This edition of the newsletter was written by Emma Kerr. The U.S. News Education newsletter team is Josh (@byJoshMoody) and Emma (@emmarkerr).


Grant and scholarship aid is the most desirable form of financial aid, experts say, so be sure your teen avoids these common mistakes when applying for scholarships. One major pitfall: Reusing essays for multiple scholarships.

The federal work-study program allows students to earn money to pay for college. Learn more about how students can qualify for work-study and how much a student can earn.

If your family is considering student loans, be sure to borrow a manageable amount. For the first time in at least 10 years of data that U.S. News has collected, the average total student debt among recent college graduates who borrowed to pay for school exceeded $30,000, setting a new record high.

About one-third of FAFSA applications are selected for verification, which requires families to provide documentation like tax return transcripts or a signed copy of the necessary income tax return. Be ready in case it happens to you by doing these four things.


Enter your preferences and profile information here, and we'll show you a personalized ranking of which schools are the best fit for you.

"We hear from borrowers every day who cannot afford their student loan payments, who cannot put food on the table… When you look at the most distressed student loan borrowers who are in default, they are often in the single digits, less than $10,000."

Cody Hounanian, program director of nonprofit advocacy group Student Debt Crisis.

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Do you have a question about the college admissions process? Write to us at and we'll answer submitted questions in a future edition of Extra Help.

If you are not already receiving this newsletter automatically, sign up here. For the latest from U.S. News & World Report, like us on Facebook and follow U.S. News Education on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Extra Help: College Admissions: FAFSA


Don't Leave Money Unclaimed: File the FAFSA

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, is a crucial step when applying to college. Students must fill out the application to receive federal financial aid in the form of grants, loans or work-study stipends. The 2021-2022 FAFSA officially opened last week on Oct. 1. The deadline to file the FAFSA is June 30, 2022, but students can – and should – get a head start by filing early, which may be required by certain colleges and may be advantageous to families living in states that distribute aid on a first-come, first-served basis.

Whether your family files the FAFSA shortly after it opens or later on, it's important to do so. A Sallie Mae poll found that only 71% of families filled out the FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year, possibly leaving much-needed financial aid on the table. Don't miss out – learn more about how to file the FAFSA and why your family should complete the form sooner rather than later.

Resume Builder: Free Online Resource

Students and parents are encouraged to check out the recently published resources and tools from Resume Builder that could be helpful for  applying to colleges or submitting scholarship applications.

It’s easy for teen students to overlook the potential professional value within their current experience. Oftentimes, they don’t realize the foundational professional skills they are building and showcasing in class projects, extra curricular activities and clubs, volunteer work, and even in entry level minimum wage jobs. Resume Builder resources and tools aim to help high schoolers create resumes that can frame their current life experiences in a way that highlights them as well rounded, quality individuals for their college and scholarship applications. 

Learn more about it here: 

Monday, October 5, 2020

College Foundation Of North Carolina Updates


NC Countdown to College 2020 Events

Join cfnc for a month of live virtual events and How-To videos to support high school seniors in completing three important college enrollment steps: Residency, FAFSA, and applications.

Weeks 3 and 4 are designated as College Applications Weeks. During this time (10/19/20- 10/30/20) many NC colleges and universities will waive their application fees!!

See who is waiving their fees

October Events Calendar

Parent Workshop 10/8 : Raising Resilient Children

The pandemic, social distancing and isolation puts a strain on our families.  How do we help our children to manage their feelings and become resilient in dealing with this on-going stress?  In this interactive workshop, parents and caregivers learn how to cultivate children’s ability to: express feelings appropriately; build a positive outlook; develop coping skills; and deal with stressful life events.

The presenter for this presentation is funded by a grant that requires collecting information about the attendees in order to meet goals related to equity--ensuring that the services are being provided to families from all of Durham’s communities. No names or identifying information will ever be shared!  Please take the time to fill out this form to help with data collection.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a member of the Student Services Team.  We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, October 8th at 6 p.m. 

Register for the Workshop Here

The Student Services Team:

Cindy Gittens, School Social Worker,

Melissa Meckes, Elementary School Counselor,

Tonya Farrish, Middle School Counselor,

Jill O'Kane, High School Counselor,

Monica Holmes, Counseling Intern,

Friday, October 2, 2020

Food and Nutrition Support for Families

 Free Food Boxes available for families in need – Saturday, October 3rd – 11 am

 See flyer from El Centro below.

NC Countdown to College!

  •   NC Countdown to College is a month-long initiative to increase the number of students who pursue post-secondary education by assisting high school seniors with the college admissions process (residence, FAFSA, and applications) and ensuring that each participating student submits at least one admissions application. This initiative includes College Application Week, when many NC colleges and universities waive application fees.

 THIS YEAR COLLEGE APPLICATION WEEK HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 2 WEEKS which means 2 weeks of free applications October 19 through 5:00 p.m. October 30 for those institutions that are waiving fees!

•  Over 40 North Carolina schools will waive their application fees on during these two weeks!
•  Advise your students to start on to ensure they benefit from the fee waivers. We cannot guarantee that fee waivers will extend to other application platforms, like Common App.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Seton Hall Virtual Open House


Seton Hall is always looking for great minds at work. That’s why they'd like to personally invite VAHS students to attend their  Virtual Open House experiences this fall.

Student are invited to  register for one of four available dates. to have a chance to:

  • Better understand the application process and financial aid
  • Learn about Honors and leadership programs
  • Explore the First-Year Experience at Seton Hall
  • Hear from real Seton Hall Pirates in a Student Panel
  • Attend several major-specific academic sessions
  • Take a virtual tour

Seton Hall is a top college with world-class academics, distinguished faculty, and impressive rankings for return on investment and affordable tuition. Check it out to see what Great Minds can do!

HOBY Youth Leadership Seminar For Sophomores

The 2020-2021 HOBY program is kicking off another cohort of youth leaders that will give back to our communities through leadership and service. Since 1958, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) has provided transformative leadership development training that has positively impacted the lives of over 600,000 high school students in the U.S. and abroad. Voyager Sophomores are invited to participate in HOBY’s flagship program for high school sophomores: The State Leadership Seminar.

Selected students will spend 3–4 exciting days exploring leadership from an individual, group, and societal perspective while collaborating with students from throughout the state. Students return from HOBY with a new sense of self-awareness and an elevated confidence in their individual potential. They will be inspired to make a positive impact in their schools and communities and will be equipped with the leadership skills to enable action. 

Registration will open on October 1st for all State Leadership Seminars. These seminars will take place between April and June 2021 with plans for both in-person and virtual attendance as local conditions mandate. 

Interested sophomores should contact their Advisor, English Teacher, or Guidance Counselor.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

5 Great College Application Resources

How to Write a Successful Common App Activities List - You only get 150 characters on the activities list for the Common Application. How do you make the most of that space? Here's a guide.

How to Use the Common App Additional Information Section - Many students underutilize this important section, or feel they have to jam every last detail of their lives into their personal statement. Here, I share a handful of things that you might consider sharing in this *optional* section.

How to Write the "Why Us?" Essay - The "Why Us?" essay is one of the most common supplemental essay prompts. Your mission: to demonstrate—through specific details and examples—why you’re a great match for a particular school. This guide walks you through it.

The College Application Hub - Working on your "Why this major?" or extracurricular essay? Trying to figure out how to get great teacher recommendations? Not sure how to prepare for your college interview? Chances are, it's on this page. I keep this one bookmarked.

Tackling the Optional COVID-19 Question in the Common App - This guide will show you how (or if) you should answer that optional 250 word question in the Common Application on COVID-19.