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Santa Maria District Reminds Students That November Is ‘Apply for College Month’

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District students need to know that November is “Apply for College Month” with a focus on University of California, California State University, Allan Hancock College and private colleges.

Allan Hancock College has moved up its application period to enable high school students and others to apply now for the fall semester. That means high school students will be able to participate in an orientation and take advantage of priority registration, while applying for federal student aid, grants and scholarships earlier. They will also have time to study and take the required START test, which is an English and math placement exam for incoming Allan Hancock College students, according to Ernest Righetti High School career specialist Vicki Dirkes.

University of California and CSU applications must be turned in by Nov. 30. Many private school applications are also due Dec. 1. At Hancock, the application period opens Nov. 1 and continues through the summer and fall.

“For those who plan to attend Hancock, we absolutely encourage them to complete the application process now, before end-of-year events and deadlines add to their busy schedules.  By applying now, students will be able to connect with counselors to develop their educational plans and prepare to transition into college,” said Nohemy Ornelas, vice president of student services at Allan Hancock College.

Ornelas recommends all high school seniors, no matter what their college plans, take the step to apply to Hancock now.

“We strongly suggest university-bound students not only complete their university application, but also the Hancock application," she added. Giving students options is the best approach. Completing the Hancock application does not commit the student to enrolling, it simply gives him or her the opportunity."

“As soon as I heard Hancock was going to be taking applications and getting the ball rolling sooner I was ready to jump on it," said Chloe Williamson, a senior at Righetti High School. “I love planning ahead and know what is coming up for my future, especially knowing that time is going to fly by and that I’m going to be at Hancock very soon. Doing this will make it possible to be first up register for my classes, so why not take that opportunity?"

Dirkes, who is urging all to have their applications completed by Nov. 21 because of the Thanksgiving break, knows her students will make the most of the opportunity Hancock is offering.

“During the fall, there is a lot of excitement surrounding college applications and I always thought that community college students felt a little bit left out," Dirkes said. "Now they will be engaged, more apt to complete FAFSA and apply for scholarships. I am thrilled Hancock is doing this rather than waiting until spring."

Although the application period begins Nov. 1 at Hancock, registration for fall classes begins May 2015.

— Kenny Klein is a media affairs coordinator for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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