School to Life

Posted by Webmaster on June 30, 2012 in School to Life |

Contact chair: schooltolife [at]

High school counselors are the students’ best resource for college information and after high school opportunities. Encourage your students to take advantage of them. District’s counseling web page.

Updated: July 14, 2012

New resources added regularly. So check back.


The Differences Between Community Colleges, for-profit sector: Key differences include oversight, service and financing.

Scholarship Search May Be Worth a Full-Time Effort: According to this article from the Chicago Tribune, students who spend their time searching for money to pay for college may be better off than those who find a summer job.


Students should meet with their high school counselor about these scholarships and other resources.

  • Plano ISD University Ready is a resource to help students and parents with readiness for post-secondary education.
  • Collin College Destination College offers workshops and other resources.
  • Collegewise offers free seminars on the college admissions process in the DFW area.
  • College for All Texans provides resources for finding and selecting a college.
  • DFW International Community Alliance: Has a Guide to Scholarships for New Americans and Minority Students on the website, listing over 100 opportunities. To view the scholarship listing, go to the Resource Center and view “Scholarships.”
  • Innovation Opportunity Camp: The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas offers a two-week camp to teach students how to turn their ideas into new businesses and solutions for the world. Through team-based learning, business simulation games, and interaction with successful entrepreneurs and UTD faculty, students will learn about entrepreneurship as a career option — how to build a successful new venture and turn it into a career.
  • Mike Mansfield Fellowship is an intensive two-year professional development program that’s open to U.S. federal government employees with an interest in the U.S.-Japan relationship. Fellows spend a year in Japanese language and area studies training in Washington, D.C., followed by a year working in Japanese government or ministry offices. For more information, visit the Web site.
  • My Possibilities: My Possibilities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving adults with disabilities. It’s s a full day, full year continuing education program in Collin County for disabled Texans who have aged out of secondary education.
  • Plano ISD Counseling page
  • Plano ISD Family Education and Guidance Services
  • Scholarship resources:,, and
  • Accredited online colleges in Texas
  • ACT and SAT Test prep course review


Please note that the information here to aid students in planning their scholarship search. Available scholarships and application deadlines may be changed without our knowledge by the offering organizations. Please remind students to follow up with the organizations to verify requirements and deadlines or meet with their counselor. Some of the high schools include scholarships in their enews. Counselors also have scholarship resources. This gives you a taste of the diversity of available scholarships and programs.

  • Varsity Tutors Scholarship Contest Varsity Tutors holds a monthly $1,000 college scholarship contest where students must write an essay in response to a monthly prompt. Visitors to the Varsity Tutors scholarship webpage are able to vote via social media for submitted entries. The top five entries with the most votes are reviewed by Varsity Tutors at the end of the month and one winner is subsequently chosen to receive the $1,000 college scholarship. Interested students can enter the contest here:
  • Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture sponsors several scholarships. For more visit the Web site
  • The Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck on Prom Contest is open to students age 14 years or older who are attending a high school prom in the spring. US citizenship is required. Entrants must enter as a couple (two individuals) and attend a high school prom wearing complete attire or accessories made from duct tape. Visit the Duck Tape contest web site for details.
  • Kohls Kids Who Care Scholarship program for ages 6 to 18. For more visit Kohls’ Web site
  • Tall Clubs International (TCI) offers a $1,000 scholarship for tall people, the Kae Sumner Einfeldt Scholarship. Individual chapters may also offer local awards. Women who are at least 5’10? and men who are at least 6’2? are eligible for the award. Candidates must be under 21 years old and plan to attend college in the fall. Visit Tall Clubs International website.
  • The David Letterman Scholarship was established by David Letterman in 1985 to provide scholarships for telecommunications students at Ball State University. The awards are intended for average students who nevertheless have a creative mind. Winners are selected primarily based on creativity. Visit the scholarship page for details.
  • Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. Scholarship Foundation is open to African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander or Native American students who are interested in a career in law. Applicant must be in the top 20% of their class, have a minimum combined SAT score of 1650 or equivalent ACT score, and demonstrate a financial need to attend college.
  • Texas Telephone Association Foundation Scholarship
  • Martha J. Hunt Scholarship: $500 scholarship open to seniors who attended Mendenhall Elementary School and will enroll in an accredited undergraduate degree program at an accredited college/university in the fall. Based on financial need and merit. Requires one-page paper stating goals, personal history (extracurricular activities, awards, etc. and three recommendation letters. Application deadline is in March.
  • Balanced Man Scholarship–Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity: Fraternity has several chapters offering the scholarship. Deadline is in March.
  • Tall Texans of Dallas Minimum height (5’10? for females, 6’2? for males–in stocking feet). Selection also based on academic achievement, school activities, volunteerism and employment. Deadline is in March.
  • Scovell Scholarship Foundation: 10 scholarships of 3,000 will be awarded to North Texas graduating high school seniors with leadership abilities, high moral character, demonstrated financial need and a connection to sports. Must continue their higher education in the state of Texas or at a Big 12 Conference or Southeastern Conference university. For additional information and application visit or via the Scovell Foundation link on Completed applications will be accepted through March deadline.
  • The Career and Technology Association of Texas lists several scholarships at
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Dallas Branch: $1,500 — Applicant must be interested in pursuing a career in Civil Engineering. Postmark deadline is in March. Visit
  • Plano Retired Teachers Association $1,200 — Open to any senior planning to pursue a career in education. Requires: a transcript, resume, brief statement of financial need, a one page statement of goals and values and a recommendation from a current teacher. Postmark deadline is in March.
  • Chi Zeta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – $1,500 — Open to African American female seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum ACT score of 18/SAT score 900 (critical reading & math). Selection is also based on rank, extracurricular activities, leadership, community service, personal essay and recommendation letter. Applicant must have applied and/or have been accepted to their school of choice.
  • Dallas Metro North LO of Texas Business Women, Inc. – Open to graduating females of PISD. Applicant must submit an application form, a one-page statement of qualifications and career advancement plans, and three references. Due date is in March.
  • Greater North Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. – Applicant must be an African American female or male graduating high school senior in the class of 2010 and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Requires an official transcript, a short essay, and two recommendation letters. Completed applications must be mailed by March deadline.
  • Gwen Pharo Scholarship offered by The Public Affairs Luncheon Club ($2,000), is awarded to a graduating senior who demonstrates high standards of scholarship and community leadership. Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and have volunteered in school and community activities and/or political organizations, services, or causes and /or have worked at paying jobs. Requires an essay. Applications must be received by March deadline.
  • LULAC National Scholarship Fund – LULAC councils award scholarships to qualified Hispanic students who have applied to colleges/universities (including 2 year colleges) or vocational schools that lead to an associate’s degree. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal residents. Complete applications are due to local LULAC council by March deadline.
  • Plano-Richardson Alumnae Panhellenic $1000 — Scholarship is open to senior girls who will complete the Panhellenic sorority recruitment process. Applications available in March Applicants must also register for recruitment/rush (form is available on website).
  • Alpha Delta Kappa Scholarship - Open to graduating females planning to enter the field of education. Applications must be postmarked by March deadline.
  • Slough Foundation -Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, be a U.S. Citizen, and be a Texas resident at the time of application. Results of FAFSA required. Additional information and application is available on their website. Completed applications must be postmarked by March deadline and received in the Slough Administrator’s office by April due date.
  • Heritage Land Bank Scholarship – $2,500 — Open to seniors who intend to pursue an education in an agriculture related field. Requires a photograph and brief essay. Postmark deadline is in March.
  • Collin County Texas A&M Mother’s Club – Open to students who will attend Texas A&M, College Station in the fall. Requires application, one page paper stating reason for wanting to attend Texas A&M and an official transcript. Information and application are available online at
  • Parker Women’s Club Scholarship Will be awarded to an outstanding graduating senior who is a Resident of the City of Parker.
  • Stars on the Rise Scholarship sponsored by the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is open to all in the Greater Dallas area pursuing higher education. Academic rigor, community service and/or employment, and SAT/ACT scores are considered in the selection process. Visit for application deadline information.
  • Ozarka “Every Drop Counts” Earth Science Scholarship – requires an essay. Application at (under the “Doing Our Part’ section, bottom page).
  • Plano ATPE (Association of Texas Professional Educators) $1,000 — Applicant must intend to major in education. Requires three reference letters and a one page essay. Completed applications are due early April.
  • Frisco RoughRiders Foundation Scholarship – Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and participate in at least one athletic activity (Marching Band will count as an athletic activity) in their senior year and in at least one extracurricular activity in their senior. Requires an essay and two letters of recommendation. For an application, visit Deadline is early April.
  • Collin County Master Gardeners Scholarship $1,000 — Open to seniors who reside in Collin County and intend to major in one of the following: Botany, Entomology, Environmental Science, Forestry, or Horticulture. An essay and one teacher reference is requires. Deadline is mid-April.
  • Plano Principal’s Association $1,500 — Open to seniors who will attend an accredited undergraduate degree program at an accredited college/university with a minimum 12 credit hours per semester. Applicant must seek a degree in the educational field and/or related degree working with children. Completed applications are due mid-April.
  • Annual Essay Contest on Ayn Rand’s Novel for 11th and 12th graders – Prizes vary depending on contest. To see rules and guidelines and to submit your essay, go to
  • Hedgcoxe Elementary PTA Scholarship $500 to a graduating PISD High School senior who attended Hedgcoxe Elementary School for at least two years including 5th grade. Applicant must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be planning to attend a two or four year college. Requires a 500 to 1500 word essay on “How My Years at Hedgcoxe Impacted Me,” a personal history (extracurricular activities, awards, etc.) and two recommendation letters from non-family members. Email for an application. Deadline is May 1.
  • Goldreich Orthodontics Scholarship $1,000 — Open to students who will attend a two/four year college/university. Requires an essay on “The Importance of a Smile” and senior photo. Deadline is early May.
  • Plano Conservancy for Historic Preservation, Norwood M. Brenneke Scholarship $2,500 — for students who will be seeking a degree in Historic Preservation, Urban Planning, Architecture, Art/Architectural History, Archaeology , Anthropology or Engineering. Selection is base on financial need, merit and interest.
  • THE FASHIONISTAS of Dallas scholarships This is a non-profit organization whose mission is to sponsor exhibitions and educational programs that are a cultural platform for Dallas and the international fashion world. THE FASHIONISTAS also raise money to provide scholarships for local fashion-design students. Questions may be directed locally to: Jillian Prado PS Styling, c: 214.801.7889, Deadline is May 31st.
  • Delta Kappa Gamma – Future Teacher Recruitment Grant Female seniors with genuine interest in teaching as a profession. Selection is based on merit as well as financial need. Deadline is March 24. There are several awards, ranging from $500 to $1,000.
  • Dallas Metro North Chapter of Texas Business Women – Female seniors from Plano or Richardson ISDs. Deadline is March 31. There are several awards, ranging from $500 to $1,000.
  • Plano West Swim and Dive Team Booster Club Scholarship Seniors on the Plano West Swim and Dive Team who plan to attend college in the fall. Deadline is April 1. There are two awards of $250 each.
  • Stars on the Rise Scholarship (sponsored by Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) is for Seniors, regardless of their ethnicity, who are planning to attend college in the Fall. Deadline is April 2. There are several awards, ranging from $500 to $20,000.
  • PCI Health Training Center Scholarship Seniors who plan to attend PCI Health Training Center to study in the Medical Assistant, Medical Office Assistant or Patient Care Technical program, and who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. Deadline is April 15. There are three partial scholarships and 15 full scholarships available.
  • Collin County Texas A&M Club (CCAMC) Scholarship Seniors who reside in Collin County and who plan to attend Texas A&M – College Station in the Fall. Deadline is May 3. The amount of the award is unknown at this time.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship (sponsored by The Plano Community Forum) – Minority seniors who attend a PISD senior high school. Deadline is April 24. There are several awards available, ranging from $250 to $1,500.
  • Joycie Turner Scholarship (sponsored by Collin County Economic Development Corp.) – Collin County seniors who plan to attend a two-year or four-year college or university or a two-year technical training school in the fall. Deadline is July 16. There are three awards, ranging from $1,500 to $3,500.
  • Wolfpack Soccer Scholarship Seniors who are on the Plano West Men’s Soccer team and who are planning to attend college full-time in the Fall. Deadline is March 30. There are two awards, one for $500 and one for $300.
  • The National Association of Secondary School Principals and Prudential Financial Spirit of Community Awards: These awards honor both middle level and high school students for outstanding acts of community service.
  • Nestle Very Best in Youth Program wants to recognize students who believe they can make a positive difference in their community. These students will also receive $1,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. More information and applications are available on the web site or in the Counseling Office.
  • NASA Texas Aerospace Scholars Program: TAS consists of programs for high school juniors, and community college students.
  • Robertson Scholars Program: For those interested in applying to Duke or University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Robertson Scholars Program allows students to take advantage of the faculty and other resources of these two universities.
  • The Welch Summer Scholar Program (WSSP) is for students interested in science research.
  • Each year the Princeton Prize in Race Relations seeks to honor students in grades 9-12 who are doing outstanding work in their schools or communities to advance the cause of race relations.
  • The Texas United States Senate Youth Program is for high school students who demonstrate leadership and an interest in government.
  • Wendy’s High School Heisman Program recognizes the nation’s most esteemed high school senior men and women for excellence in academics, athletics & leadership.
  • AES Engineers Scholarship is open to seniors. You are not required to be taking Engineering courses to be eligible.
  • Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is open to seniors.
  • TCU Texas Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award Program recognizes young high school age entrepreneurs for their success in business. Choose TCU and your scholarship money doubles.
  • Elks National Foundation’s Most Valuable Student is sponsored by the Plano-Richardson Lodge #2485.
  • AXA Achievement Scholarship, in association with U.S. News & World Report offers college scholarships to high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their activities in school, the community or the workplace.
  • Haz La U Educational Grant Program–Hispanic Heritage Foundation partnering with Colgate-Palmolive “to encourage young Hispanics to “Haz La U” (Make the U) and get on the path to higher education”.
  • CoServ Electric–W. Tip Hall Jr. Scholarship–applicant’s permanent residence must be served by CoServ Electric and have a minimum of one year membership with CoServ.
  • Ron Brown Scholar Program–open to African American current high school seniors.
  • Gates Millennium Scholars – Seniors who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American students, who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Al’s Formal Wear Scholarship – Seniors who plan to attend college in Fall 2011 and who are at least 17 years old.
  • Club Z Tutoring Annual Achievement Award: Applicants do not have to be a Club Z student.
  • P.E.O. STAR Scholarship – Female seniors who have a minimum GPA of 3.0, who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents and who excel in leadership, extracurricular activities, community service and academics. See counselor for details.
  • National Association of Black School Educators Scholarship – Seniors who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander or Hispanic American, who have a minimum 3.0 GPA and who plan to attend college in Fall 2011.
  • NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award – Seniors who plan to attend an accredited college or vocational school in Fall 2011 and who demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and initiative through examples such as starting his/her own business or participating in organizations such as DECA, Junior Achievement, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship or through other initiatives.
  • Texas Engineering Foundation Scholarship – Seniors who plan to enroll in an accredited engineering program in Texas.
  • Hunt Leadership Scholarship – Seniors who plan to attend Southern Methodist University and meet requirements.
  • RMHC National Scholarship Program (Ronald McDonald House Charities) – Seniors who plan to attend a two-year or four-year accredited college on a full-time basis with limited financial access.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Scholarships – Various. See website for info.
  • UNT Dallas Scholarships - Varies. For students planning to attend UNT Dallas.
  • Dallas Jewish Community Foundation – Awards scholarships to students in the Dallas area.
  • Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds Scholarship Awards Program – Awarded to outstanding students in the Dallas area.
  • Texas Student Housing Authority Scholarship – Seniors who are accepted into a Texas college or university in Austin, College Station or Denton and who plan to live in a Texas Student Housing off-campus facility.
  • KFC’s Colonel’s Scholars – Seniors who plan to attend a Texas public college or university, who have a GPA of 2.75 or higher, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who can demonstrate financial need.
  • Hightower Elementary PTA Alumni Scholarship – Seniors who attended Hightower Elementary for at least two years (including their 5th grade year), who plan to attend college in Fall 2011 and who have a minimum 2.5 GPA. The award is $500.
  • USA Funds Access to Education Scholarship – Seniors who plan to attend college and who have a family household income of less than $35,000 for 2010; must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with Green Card.
  • American Association of University Woman (AAUW) – Plano/Collin County Branch – Multiple scholarships. Visit the scholarship page on the website for info.

Tips from the senior high school counseling centers

Plano Senior

  • Statistics show that unemployment rates drop in direct relationship to how much education you receive. College is becoming even more important to having a job than it used to be. Of the fastest growing job categories, 90% require some education after high school.
  • Everyone is different. When considering your future career and higher education don’t fall prey to the influence of others. Do some personal exploration in choosing your career, training and education. It is a long and progressive process, so the sooner you start the better.
  • Colleges care about the courses you take in high school. The more you challenge yourself when choosing high school courses, the more college options you will students. Students planning on attending a four year public school in Texas immediately after high school graduation need to graduate on the State Recommended graduation plan.

Plano West

  • Take a personality/career inventorywhile you are in high school and try to discover something you are interested in or good at. Withthat information, plan to pursue some type of certificate or degree. (These inventories are available online.)
  • If you really don’t like school, seriously research the community college certificate programs. There are many interesting and funcertificates that you can earn in subjects you truly enjoy, that will qualify you for jobs that will enable you to move out of your parents’home and become self-supporting.
  • If you really want to pursue a university degree, learn all you can in high school, so that your grades will be an accurate reflection ofthe dedication and commitment you have, to successfully reaching the goals you have set for yourself.

Plano East

  • Consider applying early. College admissions deadlines are earlier every year! Getting an application in early often gives you an advantage.
  • Take the toughest courses you can handle. A student whose curriculum includes a good number of advanced placement and honors courses has an edge over someone with slightly higher grades with a less rigorous curriculum.
  • Choose your schools well. The applications most easily dismissed are from those who have not thought at all about why they are a good match for a certain school and, therefore, have trouble making a plausible case in their essays. It is much easier if you do your research and choose the school rather than applying to numerous universities/colleges in the hopes that at least one will accept you.
  • Get to know your counselor. Your counselor not only provides you with invaluable information, they will possibly need to write a letter of recommendation for your college application.

Also, here’s a schedule for juniors and seniors for the college application process so you know what to expect and when.

Spring Junior Year

Counselor will set up an appointment (usually between early February and late April) to meet with the student and parent to discuss:

  1. Student academic progress.
  2. Graduation requirements and course selection for Senior Year.
  3. College admission requirements and application process.

Fall Senior Year

    1. Student will need to stay on top of college application process and deadlines.
    2. Student should meet with counselor to discuss:
  • College choices.
  • Application process again.
  • Counselor recommendations.
  1. If the Counselor is to complete a report and write a recommendation letter the students should get this information to the Counselor a minimum of two to three weeks BEFORE the deadline.

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