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College & Career Readiness

AVID College Readiness System College & Career Readiness Framework

No matter what post-secondary path high school graduates choose, students must develop certain essential skills to design their own futures: critical thinking, collaboration, reading, writing, and relationship building. The development of these skills is rooted in belief in self. If students believe they are capable, there is a foundational confidence to learn and a resiliency to overcome setbacks.

When educators believe in students, learning and confidence are activated. With teacher support for developing a growth mindset and the academic skills they need for future success, students grow to see their capabilities and find their own way.

The AVID College & Career Readiness Framework requires input from both students & teachers:

What Students Do

  • Rigorous Academic Preparedness
    • Students possess necessary academic skills
    • Can successfully complete rigorous college & career preparatory curriculum
  • Opportunity Knowledge
    • Students engage in research opportunities
    • Set goals
    • Make choices that support long-term aspirations
    • Navigate transitions to the next level
  • Student Agency
    • Believe in & activate their own potential
    • Build Relationships
    • Persist through obstacles
    • Exercise their academic, social, emotional & professional knowledge & skills

What Educators Do

  • Insist on Rigor
    • Provide learning experiences where every student is challenged & engaged
    • Develop a greater ownership in student learning through increasingly complex levels of understanding
  • Break Down Barriers
    • Champion equity
    • Actively seek out & eliminate educational barriers
  • Align the Work
    • Align their practices & beliefs to the common purpose of preparing all students for college & career readiness
    • Prepare students for long-term success in college, career & life
  • Advocate for Students
    • Consistently advocate for equity & access to challenging coursework for all
    • Help students find their voice & achieve their aspirations through creating strong relationships & providing appropriate guidance

 To learn more about AVID employs the College & Career Readiness framework in schools, please visit their website: AVID CCR

Conley's College & Career Readiness Skills

David T. Conley, a professor of educational policy and leadership and director of the Center for Educational Policy Research in the College of Education at the University of Oregon, defines college & career readiness through a set of strategies or things that students should be able to: 

 Conley says that these strategies are leearned during a student's K-12 career through note taking, goal setting, collaborative learning & use of technology among others.

  • Think (Key Cognitive Strategies)
    • Problem Solving
    • Research
    • Communication
    • Interpretation
    • Precision & Accuracy 
  • Know (Key Content Knowledge)
    • Structure of Knowledge
    • Challenge Level
    • Value
    • Attribution
    • Effort
  • Go (Key Transition Knowledge & Skills)
    • Postsecondary Awareness
    • Postsecondary Cost
    • Matriculation
    • Career Awareness
    • Role & Identity
    • Self-Advocacy
  • Act (Key Learning Skills & Techniques)
    • Ownership of Learning
    • Learning Techniques

Texas Higher Education Coordination Board College & Career Readiness Standards

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has developed the Texas College & Career Readiness Standards in core content areas. These content based skills are the skills that THECB believes students need to master in order to be successful in an entry-level college course in Texas, whether it be a public or private college/university or technical school. 

The Texas College & Career Readiness Standards

The College & Career Readiness Standards underwent some revisions in the areas of ELA & Math. The revisions can be found by visiting the THECB Website

College 101

The college-going process is multi-faceted & often complicated for many students & parents. Whether you are the oldest sibling & a first generation college student or the youngest sibling in a family iwth many college-going & college degreed people, the college application, testing & financial aid processes are complex & vary from school to school. It is our goal to try to make navigating that process, from figuring out where to go to turning in all of those required deposits, forms & shot records , easier for Cleburne ISD students & their families. 

Below, you will find links to various websites & videos to assist in navigating the college-going process. These resources are designed to be accessed on an as needed basis (no need to read & watch it all today!) & will be posted here permanently so that you may access them at anytime. 

If you have specific questions about the college-going process that you cannot find in the links below, please contact your student's CHS counselor via the  CHS Counselor Webpage:

Choosing a College

Choosing the right college is not something that happens in a day. Instead, students & parents should begin to research colleges & universities over the student's secondary educational career.

In Cleburne ISD, students have the opportunity to take the College & Career Readiness course during their 8th grade year that allows students to research colleges & universities of their choosing. In addition, Cleburne ISD hosts an annual TACRAO college fair, which is attended by about 100 recruiters from colleges, universities, technical schools & the military. The TACRAO college fair allows studnets & parents to interact directly with recruiters to get school or military branch information & to get their questions answered straight from the source.

In beginning the journey of choosing a college, it is important to determine what is important to the student in choosing a school that will be a good fit. The link below provides a step by step guide in what to do to find a college that is right for you!

Starting your College Search

The Best Schools Choosing A Major Quiz

Big Future, a College Board website, allows students to research colleges by location, major, sports & sports program among others. Students may also compare colleges in which they are interested through Big Future's college comparison page: 

Big Future

Big Future Compare Colleges

Students & families may be overwhelmed by the college search experience- after all, there are over 3,000 colleges & unviersities in the United States. Learn the basics about types of colleges by clicking the link below: 

Types of Colleges

Planning for College

Knowing what to do & when is often the most stressful part of the college-going process. Get started by using the link below to build a plan: 

Big Future College Plan

Students & Parents may also follow the grade level guides for college planning provided by College Board, linked below: 

9th-10th Grade College Planning

11th Grade College Planning

12th Grade College Planning

Students who are undocumented can attend college! Learn what you need to know before you go in the article linked below:

What Undocumented Students Need to Know about College

Visiting a College

Visiting a College in Person

Under TEC §25.087(b-2), a district may excuse the absence of a student who is a junior or senior for up to two days per year for the purpose of visiting an accredited institution of higher education if the district adopts a policy to determine when an absence will be excused for that purpose and a procedure to verify the visit. 

In Cleburne ISD, juniors & seniors are allowed to take one college visit day per semester. Students wishing to engage in a college visit need to complete the college visit form,linked below, including counselor, instructor & AP approval.

College Visit Form

When a student is visiting their chosen college, they need to make sure they bring their college visit form with them to be signed or stamped as proof of attendance. 

Upon completion of the college visit, students will need to turn in their college visit form to the CHS attendance office. 

Students who do not complete the college visit form in its' entirety (includig college stamp or signature) & return it to the CHS attendance office will not receive an excused absence for their visit. It is essential that students complete the form, get proof of attendance & return the form to CHS to have their attendance coded correctly. 

If a student plans to visit a college that may take more than one day to visit because of travel or a specific, multi-day recruiting event, they must discuss their plans with their counselor who may provide approval on a case by case basis. 

Visiting a College Virtually

Students & parents do not have to travel to visit prospective colleges & universities! Many colleges are now offering virtual tours through their websites or through these virtual college tour pages:

You Visit

Strive Scan


Campus Reel


Colleges of Distinction

Testing for College (PSAT, SAT, ACT, TSIA)


The Prelimenary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is a suite of assessments designed by College Board to measure the skills students have learned in high school as well as their level of readiness for entry-level college courses. 

The PSAT consists of a reading test, a writing & language test & a math test with a section in which student may use a calculator & a section in which they may not use a calculator. 

The PSAT Suite of assessments include the following tests: 

PSAT 8/9


In Cleburne ISD, each student, starting in grade 8, is offered the opportunity to take one of the assessments from the PSAT suite of assessments free of charge as part of the CISD Day of College & Career Testing each October. 

Students in grades 8 & 9 take the PSAT 8/9 while students in grades 10 & 11 take the PSAT/NMSQT.

Students who test will receive access to a comprehensive, online score report that alerts the student to their current strength, areas for growth & current level of college readiness in each of the tested areas. Students & parents can learn more about PSAT scores by visitng the links below:

PSAT 8/9 scores


Students also have the opportunity to link their PSAT scores to a free, personalized PSAT/SAT practice site, Khan Academy. Learn how to link your scores below:

Linking PSAT scores to Khan Academy

In a student's third year of high school, they are eligible for the PSAT's National Merit Scholarship Program. Based on the testing cohort's scores, each year the National Merit Scholarship Corporation chooses a select few students to receive the National Merit Scholarship. Earning the distinction of becoming a National Merit semi-finalist or finalist is highly competitive, but opens up various oppotunities for institutional specific scholarship funds. Learn more about National Merit below:

National Merit Scholarship Program

National Merit Scholar Timeline


The Scholastic Aptitutde Test (SAT) is a college entrance exam designed by the College Board. The SAT aligns with the PSAT suite of assessments in that is measures the same areas of college readiness: reading, writing & language & math. Students also have the option to take the test with the essay. Students should consult with their prospective colleges & universities to determine whether they need to test with the essay. 

The SAT costs $52.00 without the essay & $68.00 with the essay. The SAT may incur additional fees, depending on the registration timeline, changes or being waitlisted to test. 

SAT Fees

Students may qualify to take the SAT for free using a fee waiver. To see if you qualify, please visit the link below: 

SAT Fee Waivers

In order to take the SAT, students must register online, by visiting

When students register for the SAT they will need to know the date they want to test, the testing deadline, their preferred testing location & they must have payment or waiver information. 

The SAT test is given on a Saturday at various locations across the country. It is important that students show up to their testing location on time & with all of their required materials. Check the SAT Test Day Checklist to find out what you need!

Students requesting accommodations for the SAT test as part of a 504 or IEP must do so through their high school counselor. College Board may require additional documentation prior to reviewing a request & request need to made weeks in advance to give College Board time to process the request & make a decision prior to test day. 

SAT School Day

Students have the option to test at their home campus during a school day if they so choose through the SAT School Day test. Cleburne High School offers the SAT School Day once in the Fall semester & once in the Spring semester to interested students.

Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, students have the opportunity to take one college entrance exam for FREE (SAT, ACT or TSIA)! The SAT School Day qualifies as one of the exams that a student may choose to take free of cost. Please note, students may take EITHER the SAT, ACT or TSIA for free- not all three. While a student is welcome to take as many tests as they choose, Cleburne ISD will pay for one test one time in either the student's junior or senior year. 

Students wishing to sign up for the SAT School Day need to consult with their high school counselor to determine the dates & sign up procedures. 


American College Testing (or the ACT) is a college entrance exam. The ACT test consists of english, reading, math & science. The ACT is designed to measure a student's level of college readiness in entry-level college courses. The ACT does have the option to test with the essay, but students should consult with their prospective colleges/universities to determine if they need to test with the essay.

The ACT costs $55.00 without the essay & $70.00 with the essay. The ACT may incur additional fees if the student changes their test option, registers late, etc. 

ACT Fees

Students may qualify to take the ACT for free using a fee waiver. To see if you qualify, please visit the link below: 

ACT Fee Waivers

In order to take the ACT, students must register online, by visiting ACT Registration.

When students register for the ACT they will need to know the date they want to test, the testing deadline, their preferred testing location & they must have payment or waiver information. 

The ACT test is given on a Saturday at various locations across the country. It is important that students show up to their testing location on time & with all of their required materials. Check the ACT What to Bring to Test Day Webpage to find out what you need!

Students requesting accommodations for the ACT test as part of a 504 or IEP must do so through their high school counselor. ACT may require additional documentation prior to reviewing a request & request need to made weeks in advance to give ACT time to process the request & make a decision prior to test day. 

ACT District Test

Students have the option to test at their home campus during a school day if they so choose through ACT District Testing. Cleburne High School offers the ACT District Test once in the Fall semester & once in the Spring semester to interested students.

Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, students have the opportunity to take one college entrance exam for FREE (SAT, ACT or TSIA)! The ACT District Test qualifies as one of the exams that a student may choose to take free of cost. Please note, students may take EITHER the SAT, ACT or TSIA for free- not all three. While a student is welcome to take as many tests as they choose, Cleburne ISD will pay for one test one time in either the student's junior or senior year. 

Students wishing to sign up for the ACT District Test need to consult with their high school counselor to determine the dates & sign up procedures. 

SAT vs. ACT: Which should I choose? 

The fact of the matter is that no one test is better than the other for the purposes of college admissions, but students may find that they prefer one test over the other. Furhtermore, colleges & universities may have a preference in which test you take depending on your specific major so always err on the side of caution & consult an admissions official for guidance on which test to take. The following links provide comparisons between the two tests:

Princeton Review SAT vs ACT

College Board SAT vs ACT

ACT webpage SAT vs ACT

 SAT vs ACT Infographic


The Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) is a series of placement tests for students enrolling in public colleges & universities in Texas. The tests help Texas schools determine whether you're ready for college-level courses.

The TSIA is a computer based test that allows you to know your results upon completion of the test. Some students may be exempt from taking TSIA if they have met college readiness standards on SAT or ACT or have successfully completed college courework.

TSIA Information from CollegeBoard

TSIA Information College for All Texans

Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, students have the opportunity to take one college entrance exam for FREE (SAT, ACT or TSIA)! The TSIA qualifies as one of the exams that a student may choose to take free of cost. Please note, students may take EITHER the SAT, ACT or TSIA for free- not all three. While a student is welcome to take as many tests as they choose, Cleburne ISD will pay for one test one time in either the student's junior or senior year. 

Students wishing to sign up for the TSIA need to consult with their high school counselor about making an appointment to test.

Applying to College

Application Systems

Students interested in applying to four-year colleges & universities should begin the application process in the Summer of their senior year. Most colleges applications open on August 1st, though some colleges (Texas A&M & Baylor to name a couple) open their applications earlier (A&M & Baylor both open July 1st). 

Students may apply to each college or university they are interested in attending individually through that school's website or they may use one of the application systems listed below: 

ApplyTexas Application

The Common App

Coalition for College Application

Universal Application for College

The application systems listed above are designed to serve as a one-stop shop for students wishing to apply to multiple colleges or universities. 

ApplyTexas is an application system designed for all public state colleges & universities (including 2-year schools) though it also houses some private college applications as well.

The Common App houses many public & private colleges & university applications. It specializes in colleges & universities that use a holistic review process for admissions. 

The Coalition App was designed to serve first-generation & low-income families by making the college application process easier to follow. It focuses on four-year institutions. 

The Universal App is similar to the Common App in that it houses applications from across the nation, but unlike the Common App, the Universal App houses institutions with all types of admissions processes. 

If you want to know more about the different application systems & compare, please visit the Texas OnCourse page, Comparison of College Application Systems.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines will vary by college/university. It is important that the student keep track of the deadlines for each & every college/university to which they apply. 

Even if a student meets automatic admissions criteria, the student must still apply & submit all necessary application materials by the college/university deadline. This also includes students attending college on athletic scholarships. 

Automatic College Admission (Top 10%)

Automatic College Admission for top 10% of graduating seniors

The state of Texas allows students who graduate in the top 10% of their class automatic admission into Texas public colleges & universities. 

Automatic admissions does not apply to Texas private colleges & universities or out of state colleges & universities. 

TEA Automatic Admission Information

TEA Automatic Admission Explanation

The University of Texas has permission from the Texas State Legislature to automatically admit only the top 6% of the graduating class instead of the top 10%. For more information about UT's automatic admissions polocy, please click the link below: 

University of Texas Automatic Admission Information

Students who qualify for automatic admission will be notified via their school counselor. Counselors will share a letter (similar to the sample below) explaining the requirements for automatic admission & how the University of Texas defines their automatic admissions policy. 

Sample Automatic Admission Letter

Writing College Essays & Getting College Recommendations

College Essays

First things first, ALWAYS write the college essay- even if it says it's not required! If a college or university is giving you an opportunity to tell them more about you take the opportunity! 

Admissions officials read those essays & in some circumstances, especially when a student is under holistic review, those essays can make all the difference. 

The college essay is your opportunity as a student to explain the things that a college/university would not see on an academic record. The college essay could be about the student's career goals/aspirations or perhaps an opportunity the student has had to impact their community. Either way, it's another opportunity to tell prospective colleges/universities why you deserve to be accepted. 

Essays are an especially good way to explain any potential negative information a college may see in an student's academic record. For example, a student may have seen a drop in their grades in their 10th grade year. When a college admissions official sees that, they may think that the student cannot handle a full,rigorous courseload, but, because of the essay, the college admissions offical now knows that the student experienced a drop in their grades in their 10th grade year because the student's mother was fighting cancer & the student missed school to take their mother to doctor's appointments. The information shared in college essays is confidential- it stays between you & the admissions official. Use the essay to explain any hardships or circumstances that may have had a negative impact on your academic record. 

Before you turn that essay into the college, get it read by a trusted adult. Many ELAR teachers assign college essays in class & are happy to read college essays & provide feedback for their students. Counselors are also happy to review college essays for students.

You can also use websites to share your essay online & have it reviewed. Some services are free while others have a cost:

Collegevine Essay Feedback

College Admissions Essay Editing Services

Princeton Review Essay Editing

Recommendation Letters

Having good recommendation letters for college admissions & for scholarships is wise, especially for those schools who admit students holistically. Recommendation letters let admissions officials & scholarship committees know additional information not featured in your application or transcript. It is important to ask for recommendations from people who can truly speak to your academic efforts & life experiences- not just people with impressive job titles. 

So who should you ask for recommendation letters? Teachers are often a great place to start. Because students interact with their teachers daily, teachers are able to speak about a student's growth & abilities over time.

Counselors are also great people to ask for recommendations because they have access to your long-term academic record. They can speak to the rigor of courses taken as well as academic performance throughout high school. 

Coaches, employers & mentors are also good resources for recommendations. Any adult who can speak to your character, work ethic & aspirations can provide the fodder needed for a great recommendation letter.

It is important that you request recommendation letters that are positive & specific- recommenders should know the purpose of the letter before they begin. Recommenders also need plenty of time to write an adequate letter. Generally, allowing the teacher, counselor, coach, etc. a couple of weeks to write a recommendation is best practice. A recommender may not write the letter if they are not given enough time or they may write a short, non-descriptive letter in order to meet the deadline. 

Finally, it is always helpful to provide the recommender with acopy of your academic resume. Those who write recommendations often want to provide a holisitc picture of all the ways a student is exceptional & so providing a resume to the recommender allows them to work in academic accomplishments, leadership roles, etc. 

U.S. News & World Report: How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for College

Paying for College

More so than ever before, students & parents wonder & worry about how they will pay for college. With rising tuition costs & plethora of requirements & paperwork, college can seem like an unobtainable dream. The information shared on this page is deisgned to give an overview of all of the possible options students & parents have in regard to financial aid. If students or parents have specific questions regarding their student's financial aid it is best to contact the student's high school counselor via the CHS Counselor Page.

It is important to note that most college students take on debt while earning their degree. In fact, the average college student graduates with about $20,000 of student debt & pays an average student loan payment of a little over $100 monthly. No one wants to take on unnecessary debt, but incurring student debt to earn a degree in a field in which you are interested & are passionate about is an investment into your future. The financial & personal returns of being in a career you value are worth the investment.

Typical Debt Load for Graduates of Four-year Schools


Every student who is a U.S. citizen attending college (two-year, four-year, graduate school or technical school) needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  

Apply for FAFSA

FAFSA Overview Video

Even if a student's family is able to afford to pay tuition for college, many merit based scholarships (those scholarships based on GPA, Class Rank, etc.) are requiring a completed FAFSA application in order to be eligible. 

The FAFSA application opens each year on October 1st. It requires the student's parent's tax returns from the prior prior year. For example, if a student is applying for financial aid for the 2020-2021 school year, the student & parents would need the parent's 2018 tax returns to apply for FAFSA. The FAFSA application also has other requirements which can be found on their site: 7 Things You Need Before Filling Out FAFSA.

Cleburne ISD, in conjunction with various community partners, hosts FAFSA workshops in which students & parents may attend to complete their FAFSA application under the guidance of financial aid experts. Students & their families are notified of FAFSA workshop dates via Skyward alerts & announcements on the CHS Counselor Website

Students will need to complete the FAFSA application every year that they are enrolled in college. It is vital that students & parents hold onto all usernames & passwords for the FAFSA so that they are able to complete the FAFSA each year in an efficient manner. 

How does FAFSA work?

Parents & students often ask how FAFSA works in determining financial aid. The Department of Education looks at the income that is reported for the student's parents (if they are a dependent of their parent) & determines how much a family is expected to contribute each year to their student's college education. Once families complete the FAFSA application they receive a Student Aid REport (SAR), which includes the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). That number is the amount the Department of Education think that families should be expected to cover for their student's education. 

Each year, the EFC may change due to changes in the student's & family's life circumstances. For example, if a student has more than one sibling in college, the EFC will decrease because the Department of Education will see that a family is contributing to multiple college educations. An EFC may change based on parental income as well. 

Many parents report that they cannot afford to pay the amount of money that is generated in their EFC each year. If this is the case, the parent and/or student may need to take out loans to cover the difference in tuition not covered by other financial aid. These types of loans will be addressed below. 

Types of Federal Student Aid Video


If a student is unable to complete the FAFSA, for exampleif they are not a U.S. citizen, then they may complete the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). TASFA will allow students to qualify, based on need, for state grants & loans.

Because the TASFA is a paper application, students using TASFA for financial aid purposes will need to submit a copy of their TASFA application to each school manually. Students may consult with their high school counselor for assistance in submitting their TASFA to colleges/universities. 


TASFA English

TASFA Spanish

TASFA Overview Video

Undocumented students may also qualify for other types of aid, including scholarships. More information about financial aid for undocumented students may be found in the links below: 

Big Future Undocumented Paying for College

College Board Para Los Padres


Scholarships fall into two categories: Merit based & need based. Merit based scholarships are awarded based on the accomplishments of the student while need based scholarships are awarded based on the financial need of the student to attend college. 

Scholarships may be international or national & may be state, county or community specific. Scholarships vary widely in their requirements, deadlines & award amounts. 

General Scholarship Websites:



College Board Opportunity Scholarships

Students & parents should NEVER pay money for a scholarship search, application or opportunity! There are many scholarship scams online that ask students & parents for payment or bank accout information- do not give anyone money to find you scholarships! 

 Local Cleburne ISD specific & Johnson County specific scholarships are available online for students to fill out in the Spring of their senior year. Students may access the general scholarship application through their Skyward account. Updated information on deadlines & requirements can be found by visiting the CHS Counselor webpage. The CHS counseling office also provides a running list of scholarship opportunities via their webpage that students & parents may check frequently for additional opportunities. 


Grants are some of the best types of financial aid because, as long as you meet the qualifications of the grant, you do not have to pay the money back awarded in a grant. Grants are usually need based & are awarded based on a student's FAFSA information. 

Federal Grants

Pell Grant: a need based grant awarded primarily to undergraduate students. The maximum amount a student may receive in a Pell grant varies from year to year. Students are eligible to receive a Pell grant for up to six years or until they receive their bachelor's degree (whichever comes first).

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This grant is awarded by institution & may not be available at all colleges/universities. Schools may award between $100 to $4000/ year for the FSEOG & it may vary from year to year in the amount a student may receive. .

Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant: Students may be eligible to receive this grant if they are not already receiving a Pell grant, but do meet the requirements to receive a Pell grant & have a parent or guardian who was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who diead as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11 & you were under the age of 24 at the time of the parent/guardian's death. Award amounts are equal to that of the Pell grant, but cannot exceed cost of tuition.

Teacher Education Assistance for College & Higher Education (TEACH) Grant: The TEACH grant is unlikeother federal grants because it requires you to take specific courses & obtain a job in a specific area in order to keep the grant from becoming a loan. A TEACH grant can provide up to $4,000/year to students to plan to enter into a career in teaching. If students do not follow all requirements of the TEACH grant then their grant will convert into an Unsubsidized loan. TEACH Grant Requirements.

Federal Grants

Texas Grants

Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG): a need based grant available to Texas residents attending Texas public technical schools, two-year colleges or four-year colleges.

Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG): Texas public colleges & universities determine their TPEG resources & so it varies depending on college/university. The TPEG grant is available to any Texas resident, non-resident or foreign student attending a public Texas college/university. 

Tuition Eqaulization Grant (TEG): The TEG is used to combat the cost of attending a private, non-profit university for students in need. Students must be Texas residents attending an eligible college/university in Texas to be eligible for the TEG. Students receiving athletic scholarships are not eligible for the TEG.

Texas Grants


Student Loans

Foremost, it is important for students & parents to know that there are many types of student loans & not all loans are created equal! Student loans exist at the federal & state level & some loans are public while others are private. 

See the information below to compare & contrast types of student loans:

Federal Loans

Direct Subsidized: Based on financial need, these loans do not incur interest while the student is enrolled half-time or more in college. Six months after graduation or six months after a student has left school, these loans will begin to accrue interest & must be paid back. Students do not need a co-signer to take out a subsidized loan.

Direct Unsubsidized: Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need & the amount of unsubsidized loans you may be offered is directly affected by the tuition of the college or uniersity in which you choose to attend. Interest begins to accrue immediately on Unsubsidized loans regardless of enrollment, grace periods or deferment. Students do not need a co-signer to take out an Unsubsidized loan. 

Direct PLUS Parent Loans: Like Unsubsidezed loans, PLUS loans are not considered need based. Instead, these are credit-based loans that parents may take out on behalf on their student. Interest on PLUS loans are exactly like Unsubisidized loans & begins to accrue immediately.

Federal Loan Information

Texas Loans

College Access Loan (CAL): made available to Texas residents attending Texas schools through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), this loan can cover from $100 to full cost of tuition. The CAL loan does require a credit evaluation & may require a co-signer for the student. The interest rate of the CAL loan is fixed & the CAL loan cannot be sold to another lender. Like federal loans, the CAL loan does begin repayment after a six-month grade period from the date the student graduates or is enrolled less than half-time. 

CAL Loan Information

Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program (TASSP): The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) offers students the opportunity to earn a degree & then join the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard, United States Coast Guard, United States Merchant Marines , or to become commissioned as an officer in any branch of the military for scholarship money. The TASSP can award $10,000 or the cost of tuition (whichever is less). If the student meets all of the requirements of the TASSP loan, then the loan becomes a scholarship that the student does not need to pay back. 

TASSP Loan Information

Private Loans

Private loans are numerous & vary widely by organization. Students & parents should seek out private loans as a last option as the interest rates on private loans are usually much higher than federal & state loans that can vary in their interest rates over time. Learn more about different types of private loans at FinAid Private Loans.

Work Study

When completing the FAFSA, students will be asked if they would like to be considered for the work-study program. If the student selects 'Yes' & qualifies, thay may obtain a work-study job on campus or with a campus partner organization. 

Work-study jobs are part-time jobs u

sually othe student's campus that allows the student to build their work schedule around their class schedule. Both full-time & part-time students may qualify for work-study. Types of jobs, payment amount & frequency vary by college. Once a student is awarded work-study, it is best to contact the college's financial aid office for more information & next steps. 


What is Work-Study Video

Going to College

So much of the college-going process is focused on admissions & financial aid that students & parents often forget to ask "what happens after I've been admitted?". 

Weigh your options

Once you've received decisions from the schools to which you've applied, you need to compare & contrast options in terms of financial aid offers, campus culture & student opportunities. It is likely that, after financial aid packages are granted, students & parents will be able to eliminate options because of cost. It may also be helpful to contact advisors at the colleges/universities you're still considering to talk courses, internship opportunities & college/major specific scholarships. 

Do some more research

Colleges need students in order to operate, but not all colleges value their students in the same ways. After weighing costs, consider the culture of the campus. How much of their messaging talks about getting students graduated? How much of what they send out is about helping current students succeed in their coursework/major area of study? If the colleges are holding campus events in person or virtually consider attending to get specific information. 

Make a decision

Eventually, you'll have to decide where to go. Keep in mind that all colleges/universities have deadlines. Even if they don't have a decision deadline, they will have housing deadlines that require non-refundable deposits! 

Pay Deposits

It is highly likely that you will have to pay a deposit at some point in the college-going process. While some schools require enrollment deposits (deposits to hold your place at that instititution) most schools require a housing deposit if you plan to live on campus or in off-campus, campus-owned housing. Students need to pay close attention to deposit deadlines because they vary greatly by schools & have serious consequences when they are not paid- like not having a place to live on campus!

When Should You Pay Your Deposit?

Finish High School

Sometimes, students confuse a college acceptance for a high school graduation. Though students may be accepted to college, they must still graduate from high school in order to attend the college to which they plan to attend. 

Don't take a back seat academically. Students are required to provide colleges with their finalized high school transcript upon graduation & that means that colleges & universities will see those final semester grades. Some schools have even been known to start students on academic probation their first semester of college because of poor grades earned during their last semester of high school.

Senior year will offer many opportunities for fun & friendship, but don't lose sight of the goal- graduation.

Attend Orientation & Register for Classes

The last piece of the college-going puzzle is to attend orientation & register for classes. Though some schools combine these processes, others separate the two. Once you've made the decision about where to go, figure out when you can attend orientation & when you should register for classes.

The first of many important relationships should begin at orientation and/or  registration- the relationship with your college advisor! Knowing who your college adivsor is, how to contact them & when you can meet with them in person is essential to your success in college. The college advisor is the person who can tell you what classes are offered, when they're offered & how long it's going to take you to graduate. They have a wealth of knowledge & are often the go-to source for all things college. Get to know your advisor well & keep the lines of communication open!

ACT What's After Acceptance

BigFuture Accepted-Now What?

Collegechoice After You Are Accepted

College for Undocumented Students

OnlineU Undocumented Student College Guide

Military 101

Students choosing to serve their country by joining the military have many options between branches of the military in which they may join & opportunities in how they may enlist. The links below are designed to guide students & their families through the recruitment process. Students who are interested in joining the milatry are encouraged to speak to military recruiters as well as their families & their high school counselor to ensure that all of their graduation & enlistment requirements are met. 

If you have questions about joining the military that are not answered in the links below, please contact your student's CHS counselor via the CHS Counselor webpage or contact the recruiter for the branch(es) in which you are interested in joining:

Air Force

 605 N Nolan River Rd. Cleburne, TX 76031

(817) 774-3280

1-800-423-USAF (8723)


1351 SW Wilshire Blvd #110 Burleson, TX 76028

(817) 426-5854

 1-888-550-ARMY (2769)

Coast Guard

 2240 Market Place Blvd Ste. 100 Irving, TX 75063

(972) 506-3047

Marine Corps

 605 N Nolan River Rd Cleburne, TX 76031

(817) 558-6860

1-800-MARINES (627-4637)


605 N Nolan River Rd Cleburne, TX 76031

(817) 645-6255

 1-800-USA-NAVY (872-6289)

Applying to a Service Academy

The United States military has five military service academies:

United States Military Academy West Point (Army)

United States Naval Academy

United States Air Force Academy

United States Coast Guard Academy

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Each academy has a competitive application process & requires a nomination from a United States Congressman, Senator or Vice President of the United States. 

Military academy recruits are often in the top 20% of their graduating class & begin the application process their Junior year of high school. 

To learn more about the various military academies, please visit the links below:

Testing for the Military (ASVAB)

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is an aptitude test given to military recruits to determine their career placement within their given branch. Each branch of the military requires a different minmum score for enlistment & each branch requires certain score thresholds depending on the career field. To best determine the ASVAB score needed for enlistment or career field interest, please contact the specific recruiter for each military branch.

The ASVAB is not designed solely for military enlistment. Rather, the ASVAB is an aptitude test that identifies strengths & career fields that support those strengths. 

Taking the ASVAB gives students access to information on over 1,000 occupations. It also provides information on a student's ability to learn new skills & serves as a predictor of success in various training & educational programs.

The ASVAB is offered free of charge to our students during Cleburne ISD's day of College & Career Testing. Students who choose to take the ASVAB test will receive their scores & a career exploration guide to understand their scores & aptitude in certain career fields.

For more information about the ASVAB, please check out their website. 

Joining the Military

It is important to understand that joining the military is branch specific. The health, age & testing requirements for joining the military vary between branches as do the career fields in which a student may choose. 

While it is best to speak to a military recruiter for specific information, the link below provides an overview for joining each branch of the military:

Career 101

Many students choose to enter the workforce post high school graduation. Students wishing to enter the workforce upon graduating are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the various Career & Technical Education (CTE) oppotunities offered to them as students at Cleburne High School. CTE students have the opportunity to earn certifications in various career pathways while enrolled at CHS that will allow them to start their careers as soon as they graduate. For more information about the various CTE opportunities we provide please visit the CTE Webpage:

Students wishing to enter the workforce upon graduation are also strongly encouraged to engage in career interest inventories to discover their strengths & interests prior to entering the workforce. The links below provide access to free,online career interest inventories. 

Finally, students who plan to go to work after they graduate from Cleburne ISD are encouraged to create a resume based on their knowledge, skills & abilities prior to graduation. Stuents should also seek feedback on their resume from their teachers, counselors & other trusted adults. Students should also practice their interview skills prior to graduation. Several high school courses offer students the opportunity to practice their interview skills & students may also consult with their counselor in mock interviews & interview skills. 

Assessing your career interests & abilities

Many students do not know what they want to do for their career beyond high school. Students are encouraged to explore their career interests through the 8th grade College & Career Readiness course & build a Personal Graduation Plan to mirror those interests. 

Linked below are several free career interest inventories for students to take to explore their career interests. Students are also welcome to take an assessment & make an appointment with their counselor to discuss the results.

Writing your resume

Texas Workforce Solutions North Central Texas

The Texas Workforce Commission provides services to local residents in job placement, resume writing & interview skills. Though the TWC's jobplacement & training services are reserved for adults beyond high school, many of their virtual workshops are available to students. For more information on the Texas Workforce Commission & to find virutal workshops, visit the TWC webpage.

Resume Writing 

Writing a strong, skill focused resume is a must for students looking to enter the workforce upon graduation. Students should write their resume & then get a trusted adult in their lives to proofread their resume & provide constructive feedback.

Interviewing for a career

It is essential that students practice their interview skills prior to graduation. Students should anticipate questions their prospective employers may ask & have answers prepared. Students should also research the organization to which they have applied.