With winter break approaching, college and career specialist Mary Buckner said she ad-
vises students to take advantage of the resources around them, from information about college to special programs such as WANIC and apprenticeships.
“Whether it’s books from the career center or advice from counselors, students should explore and ask questions, no matter what grade they’re in,” Buckner said.
According to College Board, exploring summer opportunities during winter break is beneficial for all students. Students can look for jobs, internships or volunteer programs related to their field of interest.
College visits are also applicable to all grades. Buckner said she recommends planning visits for mid-winter and spring break.
“Even if you have no interest in attending the college you are visiting, it will help you learn what to look for in a college,” Buckner said.
For students who aren’t college bound, there are various other programs offered that prepare students to enter a variety of careers.
“Apprenticeships are unique opportunities for seniors, which many students aren’t aware of. You earn money while you learn,” Buckner said.
According to USA Today, an apprenticeship is a valuable alternate career path from college. These programs involve trade careers such as the electrical and plumbing field and allow you to enter the workforce in as little as two yeas. Students can get college credit and certification through the pro-
gram. The Running Start program is unique as students earn dual credit:high school and college credits. In the program, juniors and seniors take college courses at community college. According to the Washington State Board, December is a good time to attend information sessions. This is an-
other option apart from the AP and IB programs, which are both offered at Inglemoor.
WANIC Skill Center is a possible route for juniors and seniors interested in Career and Technical Education (CTE). This can be used for high school and college credits and could lead to industry certifications.
WANIC summer courses are extended to freshman and sophomores. There are many alternate options and routes available for students based on their interests.
To prepare for the different options, there are certain areas students at specific grade levels should focus on, according to counselor Lettie Hobbins.
Buckner said freshmen should take classes they are interested in and start to ponder areas
they are passionate about.
“Identifying likes and dislikes is key in this step,” Buckner said.
Participating in extracurriculars is important too to take a break from academics and add
to your resume.
“Colleges like to see students that are engaged in their community, Hobbins said.” What stands out to colleges are the activities or extracurriculars that students have been committed to over time.”
In sophomore year, students should prepare to register for classes in February.
“Students that are hoping to take either AP or IB classes in their junior year will be well-prepared for the rigor if they are doing well in Pre-AP/IB classes,” Hobbins said. “Students should develop good study habits and time management skills.”
As students approach their junior year, winter is the best time to start researching colleges, attending college fairs, studying for the SAT or ACT and searching for scholarships, as explained in the Junior/Senior handbook.
Students can begin taking their SAT or ACT for the first time as well, or wait until the spring.
“We recommend all students take the SAT or ACT at least once during the spring of their junior year, so they have the ability to retake before applications are due starting in November of their senior year,” Hobbins said.
In December when PSAT scores become available, juniors can use their results to assess
what areas to focus on for the SAT or ACT and subject tests.
As stated in the handbook, during the winter, seniors should continue submitting college
applications and checking for scholarships in the Career Center and college websites. They
can apply on the Scholarship Foundation of Northshore website.
“Always do your best and ask questions,” Buckner said.
Talk to anyone you are comfortable with in your community to get to know more about
their careers or careers you might find interesting.