College+and+Career+Counselor+Dedra+Muhammad+works+on+recommendation+letters+for+students.+

Cherish Hollie

College and Career Counselor Dedra Muhammad works on recommendation letters for students.

College And Career Counselor Answers Frequently Asked Questions

Crimson Crier: What is the most important thing students should keep in mind when choosing colleges to apply to?

Dedra Muhammad-College and Career Counselor:

1. Choose a dream school, one in the middle, and the most practical one.

  1. What do they hope to gain from attending?
  2. What is the occupational outlook for the career they are seeking?
  3. How do they expect to pay for college?
  4. If applying to multiple colleges, consider using some of the common applications like Common Application, Coalition App, the Black Common App, etc.
  5. Keep checking to make sure applications are completed.
  6. Don’t apply to a school because you like their football team or because you think they have a beautiful campus, or because your best friend is applying there (Smile)

CC: If students need help applying to colleges, how can they get in touch with or meet with you?

Muhammad: Seniors applied to colleges during College Applications Week. They received individualized assistance all week. Juniors should be paying attention to timelines and applying before or during College Applications Week whenever they are seniors. Seniors noted from the College and Career Google Classroom that if there was a 5% chance they would be attending college, they should apply during CAW and take advantage of the free applications.  In November, students should be applying for as many scholarships as possible and concentrating on keeping their grades up. Juniors and sophomores need to be going on virtual visits to help narrow their choices, and they need to be taking career interest inventories to help them explore majors. By doing this, they will be prepared to apply between August and October of their senior year. Any seniors who still have not applied and need help can contact Ms. Muhammad

The College and Career Center is available to all students. Mrs. Muhammad will schedule appointments for specific times to meet. (Cherish Hollie)

CC: Many students do not believe they can afford to go to college, what ways can they get assistance? 

Muhammad: Community college is the least expensive route. There are many advantages to attending community colleges. Many students race to expensive four-year universities without considering the benefits of starting at a two-year college. Below are some benefits of attending a community college.

  1. Lower Tuition & Fees

Attending a community college for two years enables you to get all your basic classes out of the way while saving a significant amount of money. This, in turn, reduces the amount of money you’ll have to borrow when you transfer to a four-year school. And you can still apply for scholarships and financial aid for community college, which will further lower your attendance cost.

  1. Opportunity to Improve Your Transcript

Achieving straight A’s in a community college can help you earn scholarships that previously wouldn’t have been available to you.

  1. Lower Living Costs

If your dream school is in another state, moving and finding an apartment to rent or paying for a dorm room is a significant expense.

  1. Easier to Work

Community colleges understand that their students need flexibility, which is why they offer more night and weekend classes than you’ll find at a four-year school.

  1. More Support

Basic courses at a four-year school often have 150 to 300 students, while the same class at a community college may have 25 to 35 students.

  1. High-Quality Professors

Some people assume that community college professors are lower-quality than those at four-year institutions. This is a myth. Community colleges are full of highly qualified, talented professors, and there are many reasons why they choose to teach at a community college rather than a university.

CC: What are some of the most important scholarships to apply for that most students qualify for?

Muhammad: Scholarships to apply for by Dedra Muhammad

CC: What do students need to fill out most college applications and the FASFA?

Muhammad:

College Application

  • ACT scores (unless they are test-optional
  • Driver’s license
  • Email address
  • Major
  • Social Security #

FAFSA:

7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2021-22 FAFSA® Form

  • Your FSA ID
  • AND ONE parent or guardian will ALSO need a FSA I.D. to get started.  In other words, whoever claims you on their taxes or takes care of you would be the one to apply for a FAFSA I.D.
  • Use the Tax Retrieval Tool when prompted
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your 2019 tax records
  • Records of your untaxed income
  • Records of your assets (money)
  • List of the school(s) you are interested in attending.

CC: Why is it important to go to some kind of schooling after graduating high school?

Muhammad: Increased opportunities for higher-paying jobs—that is the main reason.  Statistics show (USA Today) that college graduates earn $1 million more over their lifetime than high school graduates.

CC: How can you assist students in their college journey? 

Muhammad: I can help by listening to your plans and helping to guide you. Each student is different and finding out what you want is important. Sometimes, what students want is buried behind what they’ve always been told they wanted and peer pressure. Students must find their own voices and desires. I can also help students think about college in a practical way. I have a lecture series called, “I want this but my (mama) wants that. Students must understand that usually, their parents/guardians are their biggest advocates. They have traveled the road students are attempting to journey. Discussions about college or other postsecondary plans should start early with family team members.

CC: How do students request transcripts or letters of recommendation?

Muhammad:

  1. When completing collegiate forms online, you must enter my name and email address as your counselor: Dedra Muhammad * [email protected]

When students enter the wrong counselor information, it causes a delay.

  1. Transcripts are ordered online via Parchment unless you are completing a Common Application and need to list a counselor. To order a transcript, go to our web page, click, “For Students,” and follow the prompts. Here is the link: Transcripts Transcripts are free. If you are prompted to pay, please contact our registrar, Ms. Fiorucci at [email protected]
  2. If you need me to complete anything for you, please alert me! Do not rely on a link from an external source making it to my inbox. When students need something completed, they should use the “Request for Form Completion.”  When requesting letters of recommendation, students should include a resume’ at the very least or the Meeting My Seniors form.  They can also expect to have a Zoom meeting with me if I have never met them.  A

CC: Where can students find a list of scholarships to start applying for?

Muhammad: Here are scholarships and scholarship search engines.

Muhammad posts scholarship information daily on a bulletin board in the College and Career Center. (Cherish Hollie)

CC: What factors should students consider when looking at what school is best for themselves?  

Muhammad: Start with Kuder, as there are three short career interest inventories and a way to match students with colleges. A feature like this is also on the College Board’s website. Go to al.kuder.com and use Clever to sign in.  All students already have an account.

CC: Who should students talk to when considering multiple different schools that all fit their needs? 

Muhammad: Do a cost analysis and find out which school is most suitable. They will not all cost the same, so, which one is the least expensive? If money is no object, then start ranking the schools on personal desires like location, median ACT score of other students, retention rate, that is, the number of students who complete their freshman year and return for their sophomore year.

CC: What is the average cost for schooling in Alabama and how can students determine how much they will be paying out of pocket for schooling?

Muhammad: It is estimated to be around 26,500 per year however, this is much less when community colleges are considered.

CC: What schools nearby do you think are best for low-income students? 

Muhammad: Whether students are low income or not, community colleges are the least expensive. By the same token, low-income students can look into special scholarships to attend the most expensive schools in the Nation.  Low-income students can qualify for Pell and other grants to help offset education.  Therefore, the entire financial aid packet must be considered because schools are not categorized by one’s income when all other factors are considered.  However, to save money, students can consider Drake or Calhoun. Drake offers cybersecurity, welding, underwater welding, cosmetology, etc. and at Calhoun and other community colleges, students can get many of their basic courses out of the way at a fraction of the cost.

CC: How can students narrow down their list of majors, or if they have no clue what ways can they shorten the long lists available at each school? 

Muhammad: Do not stress about a major if, after taking interest inventories there is still a void.  Students should select colleges that have their two-three top majors.  In this way, if they change their minds midway, they would not have to transfer schools.  Students typically do not have to “declare” until the start of their junior year in college. To narrow down the list, one must study the field. If possible, do job shadowing, watch youtube videos, check out surrounding careers…explore, explore, explore. One of my sons wants to be a radiologist.  I ask him often to tell me everything there is to know about a career in radiology, and I expect to hear more advanced knowledge each time we discuss it. Become a master now at what you hope to gain mastery in while in college, and it will help narrow down your choices

CC: What are some other options besides going to a four-year college whether it’s a university or a community college?

Muhammad: In today’s world, the sky’s the limit. Take cybersecurity for example- students can earn six figures without going to college if they take the necessary certifications. Students can attend a two-year college and make six figures in that field. With real estate the training is approximately 9 months, and students can rapidly advance in that career.  Insurance and mortgage underwriters can get started with no degree. However, students must understand that when they have “letters” behind their names, more doors will be opened and they will be trusted. Earning a degree shows discipline which is a characteristic that can aid in one’s future endeavors.

Crimson Crier: What is the most important thing students should keep in mind when choosing colleges to apply to? 

Dedra Muhammad:

1.Choose a dream school, one in the middle, and the most practical one.

  1. What do they hope to gain from attending?
  2. What is the occupational outlook for the career they are seeking?
  3. How do they expect to pay for college?
  4. If applying to multiple colleges, consider using some of the common applications like Common Application, Coalition App, the Black Common App, etc.
  5. Keep checking to make sure applications are completed.
  6. Don’t apply to a school because you like their football team or because you think they have a beautiful campus, or because your best friend is applying there (Smile)

CC: If students need help applying to colleges, how can they get in touch with or meet with you?

Muhammad: Seniors applied to colleges during College Applications Week. They received individualized assistance all week. Juniors should be paying attention to timelines and applying before or during College Applications Week whenever they are seniors. Seniors noted from the College and Career Google Classroom that if there was a 5% chance they would be attending college, they should apply during CAW and take advantage of the free applications.  In November, students should be applying for as many scholarships as possible and concentrating on keeping their grades up. Juniors and sophomores need to be going on virtual visits to help narrow their choices, and they need to be taking career interest inventories to help them explore majors. By doing this, they will be prepared to apply between August and October of their senior year. Any seniors who still have not applied and need help can contact Ms. Muhammad

CC: Many students do not believe they can afford to go to college, what ways can they get assistance? 

Muhammad: Community college is the least expensive route. There are many advantages to attending community colleges. Many students race to expensive four-year universities without considering the benefits of starting at a two-year college. Below are some benefits of attending a community college.

  1. Lower Tuition & Fees

Attending a community college for two years enables you to get all your basic classes out of the way while saving a significant amount of money. This, in turn, reduces the amount of money you’ll have to borrow when you transfer to a four-year school. And you can still apply for scholarships and financial aid for community college, which will further lower your attendance cost.

  1. Opportunity to Improve Your Transcript

Achieving straight A’s in a community college can help you earn scholarships that previously wouldn’t have been available to you.

  1. Lower Living Costs

If your dream school is in another state, moving and finding an apartment to rent or paying for a dorm room is a significant expense.

  1. Easier to Work

Community colleges understand that their students need flexibility, which is why they offer more night and weekend classes than you’ll find at a four-year school.

  1. More Support

Basic courses at a four-year school often have 150 to 300 students, while the same class at a community college may have 25 to 35 students.

  1. High-Quality Professors

Some people assume that community college professors are lower-quality than those at four-year institutions. This is a myth. Community colleges are full of highly qualified, talented professors, and there are many reasons why they choose to teach at a community college rather than a university.

Students can find college magazines and brochures in the College and Career Center. (Cherish Hollie)

CC: What are some of the most important scholarships to apply for that most students qualify for?

Muhammad: Scholarships to apply for by Dedra Muhammad

CC: What do students need to fill out most college applications and the FASFA?

Muhammad :

College Application

  • ACT scores (unless they are test-optional
  • Driver’s license
  • Email address
  • Major
  • Social Security #

FAFSA:

7 Things You Need Before You Fill Out the 2021-22 FAFSA® Form

  • Your FSA ID
  • AND ONE parent or guardian will ALSO need a FSA I.D. to get started.  In other words, whoever claims you on their taxes or takes care of you would be the one to apply for a FAFSA I.D.
  • Use the TAx Retrieval Tool when prompted
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your 2019 tax records
  • Records of your untaxed income
  • Records of your assets (money)
  • List of the school(s) you are interested in attending.

CC: Why is it important to go to some kind of schooling after graduating high school?

Muhammad: Increased opportunities for higher-paying jobs—that is the main reason.  Statistics show (USA Today) that college graduates earn $1 million more over their lifetime than high school graduates.

CC: How can you assist students in their college journey? 

Muhammad: I can help by listening to your plans and helping to guide you. Each student is different and finding out what you want is important. Sometimes, what students want is buried behind what they’ve always been told they wanted and peer pressure. Students must find their own voices and desires. I can also help students think about college in a practical way. I have a lecture series called, “I want this but my (mama) wants that. Students must understand that usually, their parents/guardians are their biggest advocates. They have traveled the road students are attempting to journey. Discussions about college or other postsecondary plans should start early with family team members.

CC: How do students request transcripts or letters of recommendation?

Muhammad:

  1. When completing collegiate forms online, you must enter my name and email address as your counselor: Dedra Muhammad * [email protected]

When students enter the wrong counselor information, it causes a delay.

  1. Transcripts are ordered online via Parchment unless you are completing a Common Application and need to list a counselor. To order a transcript, go to our web page, click, “For Students,” and follow the prompts. Here is the link: Transcripts Transcripts are free. If you are prompted to pay, please contact our registrar, Ms. Fiorucci at [email protected]
  2. If you need me to complete anything for you, please alert me! Do not rely on a link from an external source making it to my inbox. When students need something completed, they should use the “Request for Form Completion.”  When requesting letters of recommendation, students should include a resume’ at the very least or the Meeting My Seniors form.  They can also expect to have a Zoom meeting with me if I have never met them.  A

CC: Where can students find a list of scholarships to start applying for?

Muhammad: Here are scholarships and scholarship search engines.

CC: What factors should students consider when looking at what school is best for themselves?  

Muhammad: Start with Kuder, as there are three short career interest inventories and a way to match students with colleges. A feature like this is also on the College Board’s website. Go to al.kuder.com and use Clever to sign in.  All students already have an account.

CC: Who should students talk to when considering multiple different schools that all fit their needs? 

Muhammad: Do a cost analysis and find out which school is most suitable. They will not all cost the same, so, which one is the least expensive? If money is no object, then start ranking the schools on personal desires like location, median ACT score of other students, retention rate, that is, the number of students who complete their freshman year and return for their sophomore year.

CC: What is the average cost for schooling in Alabama and how can students determine how much they will be paying out of pocket for schooling?

Muhammad: It is estimated to be around 26,500 per year however, this is much less when community colleges are considered.

CC: What schools nearby do you think are best for low-income students? 

Muhammad: Whether students are low income or not, community colleges are the least expensive. By the same token, low-income students can look into special scholarships to attend the most expensive schools in the Nation.  Low-income students can qualify for Pell and other grants to help offset education.  Therefore, the entire financial aid packet must be considered because schools are not categorized by one’s income when all other factors are considered.  However, to save money, students can consider Drake or Calhoun. Drake offers cybersecurity, welding, underwater welding, cosmetology, etc. and at Calhoun and other community colleges, students can get many of their basic courses out of the way at a fraction of the cost.

CC: How can students narrow down their list of majors, or if they have no clue what ways can they shorten the long lists available at each school? 

Muhammad: Do not stress about a major if, after taking interest inventories there is still a void.  Students should select colleges that have their two-three top majors.  In this way, if they change their minds midway, they would not have to transfer schools.  Students typically do not have to “declare” until the start of their junior year in college. To narrow down the list, one must study the field. If possible, do job shadowing, watch youtube videos, check out surrounding careers…explore, explore, explore. One of my sons wants to be a radiologist.  I ask him often to tell me everything there is to know about a career in radiology, and I expect to hear more advanced knowledge each time we discuss it. Become a master now at what you hope to gain mastery in while in college, and it will help narrow down your choices

CC: What are some other options besides going to a four-year college whether it’s a university or a community college?

Muhammad: In today’s world, the sky’s the limit. Take cybersecurity for example- students can earn six figures without going to college if they take the necessary certifications. Students can attend a two-year college and make six figures in that field. With real estate the training is approximately 9 months, and students can rapidly advance in that career.  Insurance and mortgage underwriters can get started with no degree. However, students must understand that when they have “letters” behind their names, more doors will be opened and they will be trusted. Earning a degree shows discipline which is a characteristic that can aid in one’s future endeavors.

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