High School - Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (2024)

  • High School Requirements and Graduation
  • Texas Education Agency’s College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR) Indicators
  • Honors Terminology
  • Graduation Support Services
  • High School Credit Acceleration and Recovery
  • College Preparatory and College Credit-Yielding Courses
  • College, Career and Military Exploration
  • College Readiness
  • Saving and Paying for College
  • College Admissions and Applications
  • Assessment
  • Transition to College
  • Career Readiness
  • Military Readiness
  • List of High School Counselors by Campus and Assignment

High School Requirements and Graduation

Graduation Requirements and Endorsem*nts
During the 83rd Texas Legislature, House Bill 5 changed high school graduation requirements for high school students entering 9th grade, beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. It established one graduation plan – Foundation High School Program (FHSP) – with opportunities to earn endorsem*nts and performance acknowledgments. Below is a snapshot of the graduation requirements. CFBISD provides a detailed high school course description guide, the High School Educational Planning Guide, to further assist with course selection and graduation planning.

Foundation PLUS Endorsem*nt(s) 26 credits

4 credits English-ELA I, II, III, one credit in any authorized advanced English course

4 credits Mathematics-Algebra I, Geometry, two credits in any authorized advanced course

4 credits Science-Biology, at least one of IPC, Chemistry, or Physics and advanced Science courses

4 credits Social Studies+- World Geography, World History (local requirement),U.S. History, U.S. Government (.5 credit), Economics (.5 credit)

2 credits World Language or Computer Programming
1 credit Physical Education
1 credit Fine Arts
5.5 credits in Electives
-may include CTE or certification courses to satisfy endorsem*nt requirements

Additional Local Requirements:
.5 credit Health
1 credit Social Studies World History+

+One locally required credit in Social Studies is included in the total of 4 Social Studies credits.

*Foundation Plan WITHOUT endorsem*nt allows for:

4 credits in English, 3 credits in Mathematics, 3 credits in Science, 2 credits in Social Studies, 2 credits in World Languages, 1 credit of Physical Education, 1 credit of

Fine Arts, 0. 5 Health, 1 World History, 0.5 Government, 0.5 Economics and 3.5 electives.

Distinguished Level of Achievement 26 credits

4 credits English-ELA I, II, III, one credit in any authorized advanced English course

4 credits Mathematics-Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra IImust be one of the math credits, one credit in any

authorized advanced course

4 credits Science-Biology, at least one of IPC, Chemistry, or Physics and advanced Science courses

4 credits Social Studies+- World Geography, World History (local requirement), U.S. History, U.S. Government (.5 credit), Economics (.5 credit), or Personal Financial Literacy (.5 credit)

2 credits World Language or Computer Programming
1 credit Physical Education?
1 credit Fine Arts
5.5 credits in Electives
-may include CTE or certification courses to satisfy endorsem*nt requirements

Additional Local Requirements:
.5 credit Health
1 credit Social Studies World History+

+One locally required credit in Social Studies is included in the total of 4 Social Studies credits.

Performance Acknowledgements

Dual Credit

  • 12 College Credit hours with a grade of 3.0 or higher,
  • Complete all ELA requirements with a min GPA of 80

And add one of the following:

  • 3 credits in the same World Language with a min GPA of 80
  • Pass Level 4 or higher World Language with a min GPA of 80
  • 3 credits in World Language with a min GPA of 80
  • AP World Language score 3.0 or higher
  • IB World Language score 4 or higher, or

ELL Student Only

  • Participate and meet exit criteria for a bilingual or ESL program
  • Scored Adv high Level on TELPAS, orAP/IB
  • Score 3 or above on an AP Exam
  • Score 4 or above on an IB Exam (HL), orCollege Entrance Exam
  • PSAT score of commended or higher
  • College Benchmark score on two out of four exams on the ACT
  • SAT 1250-Reading/Math combined
  • ACT score of 28 w/o Writing, or

Business Industry/Certification

  • Obtain a business or industry certification

STATE ASSESSMENTS REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION: English I, II; Algebra I; U.S. History; Biology. QUESTIONS? Contact your student’s campus or visit www.tea.state.tx.us/graduation.aspx

Endorsem*nts show specialization and accomplishment in certain disciplines and are earned by successfully completing selections of courses within the specified category. School counselors meet with students to determine the endorsem*nts students plan to earn toward their graduation plans.


STEMBusiness/IndustryPublic ServicesArts/HumanitiesMultidisciplinary
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

  • Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Architecture and Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology and Communication
  • Business, Management and Administration

  • Finance

  • Hospitality and Tourism

  • Information Technology

  • Manufacturing

  • Marketing

  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics

  • Education and Training
  • Government and Public Administration
  • Health Science
  • Human Services
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security
  • Social Studies
  • World Languages
  • Fine Arts
  • Allows a student to select courses from the curriculum of each endorsem*nt area and earn credits in a variety of advanced courses from multiple content areas sufficient to complete this distinguished level of achievement.

Personal Graduation Plans (PGPs) Created in 8th Grade
The personal graduation plan is a working document used by counselors to track student completion of graduation requirements. Starting in middle school, counselors educate students on the many program choices available in high school, assist them in understanding endorsem*nt options required for graduation, and advise them on various course sequences to earn an endorsem*nt. Students also explore career clusters and learn about the skills needed to do specific jobs.

How Credits Are Earned in High School/Grade Level Classification
Credit is earned for courses in high school according to passing grades in each course. Each semester of a course is worth .5 credits, except in special courses such as career practicum where the class is more than one class period per day.For more information about grade levels, credits, and classification, please refer to the current High School Planning Guide.

Grade Point Average and Class Ranking
Grade Point Averages (GPAs) and class rankings occur twice each school year for high school students - in January and June - after semester grades are finalized. Senior calculations are also calculated in early October to allow for accurate rankings of all in the class who might apply for early admissions. Seniors are ranked again for Graduation Honors purposes after the third nine-weeks grades are reported and finalized.

It is possible that not every course grade found in a student’s record is included in the GPA so simply adding the grades listed on a transcript and dividing by the count does not always equate to the calculated GPA done at the district level. Please refer to the Educational Planning Guide for more information. CFBISD uses a weighted grade scale out of 100 for ranking but also reports an unweighted College GPA on a 4.0 scale. Both are noted on the bottom right of the transcript. Students can view their current GPA and rank in their Student Self Serve account.

Early Graduation
A junior shall be eligible for reclassification as a senior if the student has developed a plan with his/her counselor to satisfy ALL requirements for graduation by the end of the student’s third year in high school. For more information about early graduation, please refer to the current High School Planning Guideand speak with your high school counselor.

Texas Education Agency’s College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR) Indicators

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) lists ways high school students can demonstrate readiness for college, career, and military endeavors after high school. Rather than being required for high school graduation, the CCMR criteria exist in part to provide students with indications that they are prepared for college and the world of work.

Progress toward these indicators is also monitored to determine how well schools are preparing students for life after high school. Many students meet several of the criteria during their high school careers. CFBISD strives for each graduate to meet at least one of the CCMR indicators through high school programming. TEA adjusts the list of CCMR indicators from time to time according to new options available to students.

Students and parents may use this checklist to understand and plan for ways to meet CCMR benchmarks and readiness criteria. School counselors meet with students yearly to select the courses that will best prepare them to meet their graduation and postsecondary goals and are an excellent resource for postsecondary planning.

Honors Terminology

Honor’s Breakfast
The Honors Breakfast recognizes the Honor Graduates for the current graduating class with a ceremony and breakfast. The event is attended by teachers, staff and parents during this annual event. The Class Valedictorian and Salutatorian are announced at this time.

Honor Graduates
Honor graduates are considered to be an important part of the District's educational program. They shall be determined through a system that establishes class ranking based on predetermined criteria.

Campuses recognize the valedictorian (first ranked graduate), salutatorian (second ranked graduate), top ten (first through tenth ranked graduates), and top ten percent (highest ten percent ranked graduates) of each graduating class. Honor graduates must have completed the Recommended or Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program for graduation.

Calculation of Grade Points for Class Ranking
The valedictorian, salutatorian, and honor graduates shall be determined by their rank in class through academic grade points, which shall be calculated at the end of the third nine weeks of their senior year. The grade average shall be calculated as the third nine-week average times 0.125, plus the course history grade average times 0.875. High school rank in class shall be determined using the weighted numeric grade average.

Valedictorian and Salutatorian
To be eligible for valedictory, salutatory, or top ten student honors, a student shall have attended high school in the District continuously for two school years, commencing with enrollment no later than the end of the last Friday in September of the student's junior year, until graduation.

Breaking Ties
In case of a tie in weighted GPAs, the District shall apply the following methods, in this order, to determine recognition as valedictorian or salutatorian:

Compute the weighted GPA to a sufficient number of decimal places until the tie is broken.

Calculate a weighted GPA only using eligible grades earned in English, mathematics, science, social studies, and languages other than English.

If the tie is not broken after applying these methods, the District shall recognize all students involved in the tie as sharing the honor and title.

Presidential Scholars
U.S. Presidential Scholar is one of the highest honors for high school students in the United States. The program states that Scholars “represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in young people,” and the President of the United States symbolically honors up to 161 graduating high school seniors that match this distinction each year. Application is by invitation only; students may not apply directly to the program and schools cannot nominate their students.

Academic: Consideration for general program candidates is initiated based on test scores. SAT and ACT scores for each state are reviewed to determine a universal score to select both males and females from that state. Additional nominations can be made by the Chief State School Officer (CSSO) and partner organizations.

Arts: To be considered based on artistic achievement, students must participate in YoungArts. This national program nominates students who meet the U.S. Presidential Scholars requirements to be considered for selection.

Career and technical education: To be considered based on career and technical education achievements, students must be nominated by the CSSO.

U.S. Presidential Scholars are honored at the National Recognition Program in June in Washington, D.C.

Senior Walk
The annual tradition recognizes graduating seniors who have earned scholarships and have made marked academic achievements in their school career. Parents are among the invited guests to celebrate their soon-to-be graduates.

National Merit Scholarship Program
High School students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSC) by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) at the appropriate time in high school, usually as juniors.

NMSC uses a Selection Index score to determine recognition; the exact numeric score for recognition varies from year to year. About 50,000 students with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores will be recognized and will be notified through their schools in September that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.

Commended Students: Commended Students are recognized for their strong testing performance. This is a distinct honor and even though they do not qualify for National Merit Scholarships, some will qualify for special scholarships sponsored by partner organizations.

Semifinalists: Qualifying scores to be a Semifinalist vary from state to state and from year to year, but the scores of all Semifinalists are very high. About one third of the highest scorers qualify as Semifinalists. Application materials and requirements are provided to Semifinalists by their high schools and must be completed for consideration to be selected as a Finalist.

Finalists: In February, about 15,000 Semifinalists will be notified by mail at their provided home addresses that they have been selected as a Finalist. High school principals are notified and will provide a Certificate of Merit to each Finalist at their school.

Merit Scholarship Awards: From March to June, about 7,600 Finalists will be notified by mail at their provided home addresses that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship award. Winners of Merit Scholarship awards are selected from the group of Finalists based on required application materials that reflect student abilities, skills, and accomplishments and without consideration of gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Merit Scholarship awards are supported by some 400 independent sponsors and by NMSC's own funds. Sponsor organizations include corporations and businesses, company foundations, professional associations, and colleges and universities.

Special Scholarships: Every year about 1,100 non-Finalists receive Special Scholarships based on sponsor and NMSC requirements. These high-scoring candidates will be contacted through their high schools about application requirements for consideration.

National Recognition Programs
College Board's four recognition programs—National African American Recognition Program, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Indigenous Recognition Program and National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program—award academic honors to underrepresented students.

Students who take eligible administrations of the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams will be considered for awards. Students must also identify as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Indigenous, or attend high school in a rural area or small town. This is not a scholarship program; however, students can include this academic honor in their college and scholarship applications. Eligible students are selected based on the minimum scores in their state and a GPA 3.5 or higher. Additional information can be found at National Recognition Programs website.

Graduation Support Services

If students need additional support mastering academic content and materials, they can request and attend tutorials with teachers at their campus. Tutorial schedules and policies for each campus are available by request.

Families can hire a tutor at their own cost, but private tutoring does not take place on CFBISD property nor in conjunction with any sponsored CFBISD event on or off school property. A list provided as a courtesy to CFB parents is available but does not represent an endorsem*nt by CFB-ISD.

STAAR EOC Tutorials: Free tutorial sessions are offered during the school year and during summer school for students who need to retake EOC exams. Additional information and specific dates for each semester can be requested from campus counselors.

Counseling Services After-Hours
CFBISD has established a new Counseling Connections Center to meet the social and emotional needs of students. Services are available to all CFBISD students and their families. Confidential sessions are offered on a short-term basis with a solution-focused approach.

High School Credit Acceleration and Recovery

Credit By Exam (CBE)
Students enrolled in CFB may register for credit by examinations to advance to the next level of secondary coursework in a course they have not taken or under certain circ*mstances to earn credit for a course they took but did not receive credit. The criteria for credit and grade placement are based on legal and local district policies. Credit by examinationis offered to students free of charge. Students must see their counselor for approval and registration.

Students attempting CBE for acceleration must score 80% or above to earn credit for grade level/subject area coursework. CBE for credit recovery is available to high school students who have received prior instruction evident by a grade recorded on his/her transcript. Students attempting CBE for credit recovery must score 70% or above to earn high school credit.

A calendar for CBE dates, registration deadlines, and testing locations will be released each year; for questions or additional information, please contact cbe@cfbisd.edu .

Campus-Based Credit Recovery Labs
Students may repeat a course for credit recovery using CFB approved software on the high school campus. Administrative approval is needed for a student to recover a credit through online coursework. Grades earned for completing courses with district-approved software shall not be computed for determining class rank. Courses taken in recovery lab are typically not accepted for NCAA eligibility.

Each high school campus offers a credit recovery lab monitored by school staff where students may work on their online credit recovery courses.

Students who are not attending school in person and therefore are not scheduled into an in-person credit recovery class period may still participate in credit recovery courses from home upon the recommendation of their school counselors.

School counselors and recovery lab staff will work with students to determine how many recovery courses on which each student should focus at a time, and counselors will determine with the student whether the courses should be taken in addition to a full school day course load, or whether the recovery lab courses will be scheduled into the student’s current school day schedule. Some students find that it is helpful for them to focus on one or two credit recovery courses at a time.

Credit recovery online courses are based on mastery, and once the student has reached 100% course completion with a passing grade, the student will have finished the course and will no longer be required to communicate with the recovery lab staff for that particular course. The grade will be reported by the recovery lab staff member to the school registrar for transcript documentation. While the grade will be reported, it will not be calculated into the student’s grade point average.

Students taking credit recovery courses remotely through their high school campuses will be asked to complete the courses for which they register within the semester they are assigned. If a student finishes a credit recovery course before the end of the semester (for example near the end of November or December) and his or her counselor recommends that the student start additional credit recovery courses, the student will be encouraged to complete the course by the end of the current semester; however, if quality learning and course completion in a short amount of time is not possible, the student may be permitted to finish the course by the end of the following semester. Students will not be awarded credit for partial course completion.

Parent-student-teacher or parent-student-counselor conferences are recommended if a student finds himself or herself struggling with online credit recovery courses. We encourage parents and students to communicate early and regularly with school staff when a student is enrolled in credit recovery courses and feels additional help is needed.

Online courses currently available through the Edmentum credit recovery platform are:

  • Algebra 1A,B
  • Algebra 2A,B
  • Art History and Appreciation .5
  • Astronomy A,B
  • Business Information Management 1A,B
  • Biology A,B
  • Chemistry A,B
  • Child Development A, B
  • Creative Writing .5
  • Dollars and Sense .5
  • Economics .5
  • English 1A,B
  • English 2A,B
  • English 3A,B
  • English 4A,B
  • Environmental Systems A,B
  • Forensic Science (full year 1.0 credit course only)
  • Geometry A,B
  • German IA,B
  • German IIA,B
  • Government .5
  • Health .5
  • IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry) A,B
  • Math Models A,B
  • Music Appreciation .5
  • Physical Education .5
  • Physics A,B
  • Pre-Calculus A,B
  • Psychology .5
  • Sociology .5
  • Spanish 1A,B
  • Spanish 2A,B
  • Spanish 2B
  • Statistics (full year 1.0 credit course only)
  • US History A,B
  • World Geography A,B
  • World History A,B

New course options may become available as CFBISD searches for ways to provide additional quality options.

Under special circ*mstances, school counselors may recommend that students who are behind grade level in credits but who have never received prior instruction in specific courses consider acceleration through online courses. The first line recommendation for acceleration of this kind is enrollment in the night school program. The online course should be completed within the semester it is assigned.

Online courses currently available through the Edgenuity acceleration platform are:

  • Advanced Quantitative Reasoning A,B
  • Algebra I A,B
  • Algebra II A,B
  • Art I A,B (Reserved for seniors who need a fine arts credit in order to graduate on time)
  • Biology A,B
  • Chemistry A,B
  • Economics .5
  • English I A,B
  • English II A,B
  • English III A,B (English 3A includes a speech/debate assignment that requires interaction with the teacher)
  • English IV A,B
  • Environmental Systems A,B
  • Foundations of Personal Fitness .5
  • Foundations of Team Sports .5
  • Geometry A,B
  • Health .5
  • IPC (Integrated Physics and Chemistry) A,B
  • Mathematical Models with Applications A,B
  • Physics A,B
  • Pre-Calculus A,B
  • Psychology .5
  • Sociology .5
  • Spanish I A,B
  • Spanish II A,B
  • US Government .5
  • US History A,B
  • World Geography A,B
  • World History A,B

New course options may become available as CFBISD searches for ways to provide additional, quality options.

Night School
Night school for high school students will occur in virtual classroom format for the fall 2022 semester, and the spring semester format will be determined prior to the end of the fall semester. Please watch the CFBISD website and our Night School website for new information.

Each semester students who wish to participate in night school should email their school counselors as soon as possible to express their interest and to obtain confirmation from the counselor that the student is ready for the course/s he or she wishes to take.

Night school, while offered through online courses, is provided by teachers who grade assignments and have the ability to provide feedback and work in small groups and with individual students who need tutorials. Teachers may also provide re-teach mini lessons when students are not initially successful on the assessments within the online courses.

Night school course availability is contingent upon sufficient enrollment. Courses with low enrollment are subject to cancellation, and students intending to take those courses would need to arrange another option for obtaining credit through their school counselors. Questions about night school may be addressed to the night school principal, Mary Reed.

The night school format requires a certain level of individual determination and commitment, and students will need to structure their weekly schedules so that they can dedicate time for night school online instruction, completion of assignments, studying for quizzes and tests, taking assessments, and communicating with the teacher. The night school semester is shorter than the traditional school semester.

While the average lecture component of each course averages approximately 30 total hours per course, students will need to factor in additional time for assignments, assessments, studying, and tutorials with the teacher. Although it may vary by student and course, a very general time estimate would be to set aside a minimum of six to ten hours each week for each semester course in which a student enrolls. If a student commits to two semester courses, he or she should consider setting aside at least 12-20 hours each week to work on the courses. Students may find that they need to spend more or less time on each of their specific courses. Students are encouraged to consider the time commitment when making the decision to enroll in night school in addition to a full school day schedule.

Night school online courses are based on mastery, and once the student has reached 100% course completion with a passing grade, the student will have finished the course and will no longer be required to participate in the weekly check-ins with the teacher. The grade will be reported to the registrar of the student’s home campus before winter break. While the grade will be reported, it will not be calculated into the student’s grade point average.

Students may take two semester night school courses at a time (such as a .5 credit Algebra 1 semester A, and .5 credit US History Semester A).

Summer School
Information about summer school 2023 will be available on the CFBISD website after the schedule and format have been determined during the spring 2022 semester.

Correspondence Courses
Correspondence courses may be taken for first time credit or credit recovery with approval from the home campus. Credit to fulfill state graduation requirements may be granted for correspondence courses only under to following conditions:

  1. The institutions offering the courses are the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University, or other public institutions of higher education approved by the Commissioner of Education.
  2. Students may earn a maximum of three state-required credits through correspondence courses and may be enrolled in only one correspondence course at a time.
  3. Grades earned from correspondence courses shall not be computed for determining class rank.

Students are responsible for paying all fees for course materials and resources and for arranging proctors for enrolled courses. Administrative/counselor approval is required for correspondence course registration.

College Preparatory and College Credit-Yielding Courses

Honors Courses
Honors Courses prepare students for success in Advanced Placement college level courses in English, mathematics, social studies, and science. They are intended to ensure that middle and high school students develop the skills, concepts, and habits of mind needed for college.

Advanced Placement and AP Potential
The Advanced Placement Program (AP) allows students to take rigorous college level courses while still in high school. Students can take AP courses in English, math, social studies, science, fine arts, and world languages. If students have taken the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or PSAT 8/9, online score reports will indicate AP courses for which the student has potential for success.

Most AP courses are a full year in length and require substantial academic demands for students, including required reading and other assignments outside of the classroom and demonstrating the analytical skills and writing abilities expected of first year college students.

To demonstrate mastery of AP material, students participate in the AP exam for each course. AP courses are free, but there is a fee for the corresponding exams. This fee is reduced for students who qualify for the free/reduced meal program.

Entering college with credit earned through AP can save students time and money. Nearly all U.S. colleges and universities and many international institutions honor AP scores, but each institution will have their own policies for credit and course equivalents. To receive college credit for AP scores, students must send their official College Board score report to the college they plan to attend. Students should consult their school counselors to register for AP courses, and a list of AP courses may be found in the High School Educational Planning Guide.

Dual Credit
Dual credit courses are defined as courses in which students may receive both

high school and college course credit provided the courses meet both district and college guidelines. Concurrent enrollment means that the student is taking a college course for college credit while the student is still in high school. Dallas College welcomes students who meet the criteria for dual and concurrent enrollment. Students should consult their high school counselor to discuss whether the dual credit courses they would like to take fit with their high school and college plans. A list of available dual credit courses can be found in the High School Educational Planning Guide.

In order to receive the high school credit for a dual credit course, the course must be on the school district and college’s mutual agreement. Students who take courses outside this list may not earn high school credit because the courses are not approved for high school credit.

Students should be aware that dual credit courses are recorded on their college transcripts and that failing or earning low grades in the college course can affect the student’s college GPA. Dual credit students who do not make adequate progress may run the risk of starting college on academic probation due to the grades in their college courses. College credits earned through dual credit are transferable based on institutional policy, and students should check with the colleges to which they are applying regarding dual credit transfer requirements.

UT OnRamps Dual Enrollment
OnRamps is an innovative dual enrollment program, different from dual credit, led by The University of Texas at Austin. OnRamps gives students the opportunity to earn core high school and college credit hours from The University of Texas at Austin that transfer to any public institution in Texas. After receiving notification of their college grade, students who wish to reject the college credit/grade may do so if they do not wish to accept the college credit. A list of available OnRamps courses can be found in the High School Educational Planning Guide.

College Preparatory English and Math Courses
The TEA College Preparatory English Language Arts and College Preparatory Mathematics courses are intended for 11th and 12th grade students whose testing performance does not meet college readiness standards.

College Prep English is designed to help students meet college entrance requirements (such as the TSIA2 test) and to be ready for entry-level college ELA coursework. This course may count as an Advanced English credit to earn an endorsem*nt under the Foundation High School Program; however, student athletes should speak with their counselors regarding NCAA eligibility implications of taking this course.

College Prep Math is intended for 12th grade students whose performance on the college entrance exams does not meet college readiness standards. College Prep Math is designed to help students meet college entrance requirements (such as the TSIA2 test) and to be ready for entry-level college math coursework. This course may count as a 4th mathematics credit to earn an endorsem*nt under the Foundation High School Program. Student athletes should speak with their counselors regarding NCAA eligibility implications of taking this course

College, Career and Military Exploration

Xello (Middle School and High School)
Xello is an online college, career and military exploration and planning program that gives middle and high school students more control of their exploration and preparation for postsecondary success. Activities focus on assessing, recording and reflecting on strengths, skills, and interests and thinking critically about how to apply new knowledge to create plans.

Students may search for colleges and majors by many different factors, including location, cost of attendance, programs offered, average admissions criteria, and more. Xello has career interest surveys to help students define their personal preferences and align them with possible careers to explore. Descriptions of numerous careers are available, including the typical education needed to work in the field, median income, typical daily tasks, and more. Students may save searches and create a portfolio and resume, as well.

Xello can be accessed through the CFBISD’s Digital Resources for Students page on each campus website. Students will use their district username and password to enter Xello.

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program
The AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) College Readiness System is designed to equip students with the skills necessary for postsecondary success. Students participating in AVID classes employ WICOR strategies of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading to further their academic skills. Examples of these methodologies include focused note taking, higher-level thinking strategies, the utilization of planners and binders, and engagement in academic discussions with peers.

AVID campuses promote a college going culture through banners, pennants, college exploration activities and field trips. At the secondary level, AVID students are expected to take courses of rigor and tutorial support is provided to support students with higher level coursework. AVID high school students also receive guidance regarding the college application process including preparation for college entrance exams and applying for scholarships/financial aid. While not all students are able to participate directly in the AVID Elective course, campuses which have the AVID College Readiness System are encouraged to promote the use of AVID methodologies on a school-wide basis so that ALL students are able to acquire college readiness skills.

College Readiness

College Preparation Timeline and Checklist
This checklist in English and Spanish was created for students and parents by CFBISD counselors and administrators in order to simplify what families and students should do each year to prepare for college.

Satisfactory Academic Progress in College
Colleges and universities are required to create standards to measure a student’s progress toward completion of a college program of study. This is referred to as “SAP” or Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students applying for financial aid will be monitored for SAP regardless of whether aid was applied for or received during any academic period.

To continue receiving financial aid, a student must successfully meet certain criteria:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 each semester (GPA is calculated at the end of each semester)
  • Successfully complete 67% of all attempted credit hours
  • Credit hours may not exceed 150% of the minimum hours required to complete a program of study (EX. A student attempting an associate’s degree program (60 hours) must complete the degree within 90 attempted hours to maintain financial aid eligibility.

Students not meeting SAP during one semester may lose financial aid eligibility for the next semester. It is important to check with the college’s financial aid office for specific requirements and/or appeals to financial aid suspension, as these may vary slightly from college to college.

Saving and Paying for College

Traditional Savings Account
A basic savings account is intended for individuals to deposit money in a safe location while earning interest with the ability to withdraw funds if necessary. Most FDIC insured banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer savings accounts with a range of interest rates and requirements.

Education Savings Plan (529 Account)
Education savings plans are investment accounts for qualified higher education expenses, specifically including tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board, for an assigned beneficiary. Savings withdrawals from these accounts can be used at most U.S. colleges and universities and some institutions outside of the U.S. Plan withdrawals of up to $10,000 per year per beneficiary are also permitted for tuition costs at public, private or religious elementary or secondary schools.

Part-Time Job
Paid positions that require fewer than 30 hours each week are generally considered part-time employment, but many hourly schedules are available from employers that might be feasible for students.

Work Study
Federal Work-Study is a program that connects college students with financial need to part-time jobs. The program primarily focuses on community service work and work related to the student’s course of study if possible while providing the opportunity to earn money to contribute to uncovered educational expenses. Check with each school's financial aid office to find out if they participate.

Hazelwood Act
The Hazelwood Act is a tuition exemption benefit in the State of Texas for qualified Veterans and their dependent children who meet specific eligibility requirements. The benefit covers tuition and certain fees up to 150 hours at public colleges and universities. It does not cover living expenses or textbooks and supplies.

Homeless/Foster Youth Tuition Assistance
Young people living in foster care or experiencing homelessness may assume that college is out of reach due to financial constraints or lack of parental support. There is a specific status on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that allows these students to apply for aid on their own as an independent student. They may apply for financial aid without a parent’s signature or financial information.

After the FAFSA is processed, the college financial aid office may ask for documentation regarding homeless determination. Students should contact the high school district homeless liaison or their school counselor for a copy of this documentation. If a student becomes homeless following high school graduation, then a college financial aid administrator can review and make a determination.

State law in Texas exempts or waives tuition and fees at both state public colleges and universities for youth currently or previously in foster care.

A scholarship is financial aid that is considered “gift” aid, or monies that do not have to be repaid. Nationally, students are awarded millions of dollars annually for college. Scholarship dollars come from a variety of funding sources such as schools, corporations, private industry, nonprofits, charitable foundations, and community and religious organizations.

There are many trusted, well known search engines available to students to assist in finding scholarships. Scholarship search can be overwhelming. It is important to allow time to search, read, and review which scholarships are worth the time investment before applying. To facilitate the scholarship search and application process, the CCMR department continuously works to maintain an updated list of scholarships.

TIP: Students should never have to pay to use a search engine or apply for a scholarship. Pay sites are scams. Reputable sites will be free to search and apply.

Scholarship Search Engines

The following is a list of leading websites for free scholarship searches, application information and deadlines.

  • Fastweb: A free, comprehensive online resource for scholarships and other financial aid information. Search by targeted filters: major, state, ethnicity, etc.
  • Schoarships.com: A free, comprehensive online resource for scholarships and other financial aid information. Search by targeted filters: major, state, ethnicity, etc.
  • FinAid: A free, comprehensive online resource for scholarships and other financial aid information. Search by targeted filters: major, state, ethnicity, etc.
  • Big Future: College Board site providing detailed college information, including scholarship search by filter.
  • StudentAid.gov: US Dept. of Education site providing detailed college information, including thorough financial aid explanations, government assistance for college, student loans and scholarship search.

National Scholarships
The following is a list of some popular, well-respected national scholarships from corporate or philanthropic foundations. Each scholarship has specific eligibility and application criteria. It is important to observe all requirements and deadlines when applying.

Local Scholarships
Local scholarships are primarily funded through local community business partners, charitable organizations, churches, and school PTA’s. Seniors should regularly check with their counselors and counseling offices for up-to-date scholarship information. The following are examples of local scholarships available to students in CFBISD schools.

Grants are a form of financial aid that do not have to be repaid (gift aid). While some grants come from state, corporate, or private funds, the majority of grants are awarded from the U.S. Federal Government and are largely need-based. Students must meet strict federal requirements in order to be eligible for grant monies. The most familiar federal grants are the Pell Grant and The FSEOG Grant (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant). Other grants are available for specific student populations such as veterans, foster care youth, and students with disabilities.

The Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program. Students receive the Pell Grant by meeting a requisite level of financial need as determined by filling out FAFSA. The FAFSA process determines a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on the financial information provided. The amount of the Pell Grant award depends on the student’s EFC, the college’s Cost of Attendance (COA), and whether the student will attend full or part time. For the 2023–24 school year, the maximum Federal Pell Grant award was $67,395. This amount varies annually based on federal budgets and the economy at large. The Pell Grant program provides funds for all eligible applicants.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grant (FSEOG grant) program works differently than Pell. The federal government awards a certain amount of FSEOG funds directly to participating college financial aid offices, which then use the student’s FAFSA information to determine financial need. Funds are distributed to students with the greatest need on a first come, first served basis. FSEOG funds are limited and once distributed, are finished for the year. Students are therefore encouraged to fill out FAFSA early.

In Texas, several grants are funded by The Texas State Legislature and administered by the school’s financial aid office. Each individual institution may set its own priorities in making award determinations and distributing funds. Eligibility for these grants is determined by the financial aid office at participating colleges and universities using the student’s completed FAFSA or TASFA. Contact your college’s financial aid office for additional information on eligibility or availability of funds. Funding is limited, so students need to apply to colleges and submit FAFSA early.

Dallas County Promise
The Dallas County Promise is a last-dollar tuition scholarship program available to all eligible seniors in CFB.

Regardless of high school GPA or family income, Promise scholars have the opportunity to earn a last-dollar scholarship that will cover the gap between what a student’s state and federal financial aid covers and the cost of tuition at a Promise Partner college. Promise scholars also have access to a Success Coach and exclusive transfer scholarships at Promise partner colleges and universities.

The Promise is in the process of adding new college partners, and students may refer to the Dallas County Promise website for updates.

To be eligible, the student must be enrolled and attending a participating high school by the state attendance snapshot date, which is mid- to late-October of the student’s senior year, must graduate from a participating high school, and must complete all required steps by the deadlines identified for the student’s senior year.

Advisory teachers, school counselors and CCMR deans assist students with a pledge (sign-up process), college admissions application, and a financial aid application so that students have the help they need to complete all steps of eligibility.

In addition to Dallas County Promise, the Rising Star Scholarship covers the cost of textbooks for eligible Promise students attending a Dallas College campus based on income and high school GPA requirements. Promise + Rising Star scholars will also be matched with an in-person Rising Star advisor.

Financial Aid Overview
Cost of attendance (COA) is the financial amount required to attend a college or university. Most institutions will determine COA for the entire academic year. Programs that do not use a traditional calendar (e.g. an 18-month certificate program) often provide COA information that is based on their specific time period. It is important to review the specific period of time (semester, academic year, full program) of any COA information received.

For students attending at least half-time, COA is the estimate of

  • tuition and fees;
  • the cost of room and board (or living expenses for students who do not contract with the school for room and board);
  • the cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses (including a reasonable amount for the documented cost of a personal computer);
  • an allowance for child care or other dependent care;
  • costs related to a disability; and/or
  • reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.

There are two categories of COA: direct cost and indirect cost. While direct costs are the same for all students based on enrolled hours and housing, indirect costs listed on institution websites are often estimates of what an average student might spend.

Direct Costs are expenses that must be paid by every student and are paid directly to the university. They include:

  • Tuition

  • Fees

  • Room and board (if living on campus)

Indirect Costs are expenses that might not be paid directly to the university. Indirect costs usually differ from student to student. Some examples of indirect costs are:

  • Textbooks and Supplies
  • Transportation and Parking
  • Travel

Each institution will have their COA listed on their website. The College for All Texans website list of cost of attendance for colleges in the state of Texas.

Because the Cost of Attendance will vary between institutions, the financial aid awarded will be different as well. A financial aid award could consist of a combination of:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Work Study
  • Loans (if necessary)

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is used to determine how much financial aid a student might be eligible to receive if they attend a postsecondary institution. SAI is not the same as COA and is not the amount of financial aid award a student will receive. The amount is calculated by a formula established by law using student information from their financial aid application (FAFSA/TASFA). The calculations take into account taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security. Also considered are family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.

These values (COA and SAI) are used to determine financial need. Need based aid is calculated as the cost of attendance minus the estimated family contribution (COA-SAI = Financial Need). If this calculation determines that a student has financial need, the student still must meet eligibility criteria.

Students cannot receive more need-based aid than the total amount of financial need. The following example is provided by FAFSA:

If COA is $16,000 and SAI is $12,000, financial need is $4,000; so the student is not eligible for more than $4,000 in need-based aid.

Non-need-based aid is financial aid that is not based on SAI. After determining need-based aid, each institution will determine how much non-need-based aid that can be received by subtracting the amount of aid that has already been received. Financial aid awarded combines aid from all sources, including awards from the institution and from other scholarship providers. Students need to notify their postsecondary institution about any financial awards they receive to ensure that they are not over-awarded.

There are many sources of non-federal financial aid available for students who do not apply for federal aid. State aid is calculated in a similar way based on the cost of attendance and the estimated family contribution.

Selective Service
All US males between the ages of 18-26 are required by law to register with the Selective Service. The Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed to allow Congress to rapidly assemble a military force in times of national crisis. The “draft” has not been used since 1973. Registration is the law, but does not mean a male is being inducted into the military.

Why Register? It’s the law. Males who do not register are in violation of the law and will not be eligible for federal financial aid, state financial aid, and most state and federal employment. Immigrant students will also need to register before filing for citizenship. In Texas, males under the age of 26 are automatically registered when they apply for a state driver’s license or renewal, learner’s permit or state ID.

How to Register?

Online. Males with a social security number may register online at www.sss.gov. Males with no social security number can still register by filling out the form and mailing it in.

Post Office. The post office provides mail-back forms that can be filled out, signed and mailed in.

FAFSA. When filling out the FAFSA for financial aid, males can check “Register Me” on item 22 and the Department of Education will provide this information to the Selective Service.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Students apply for financial aid in one of two ways. For students who are Citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is completed. For students without a social security number (undocumented students), the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) is completed. Both applications are available beginning October 1st of senior year. The FAFSA is completed online and the TASFA is completed by downloading a PDF file and completing the paper copy. There is no fee for either application.

Both the FAFSA and TASFA allow students to access four types of financial aid:

  • Scholarships: awarded money that is based on need, merit or achievement that does NOT have to be repaid
  • Grants: awarded money often based on monetary need that does NOT have to be repaid as long as students meet the minimum requirements for enrollment, credit and GPA
  • Work Study: Students who demonstrate financial need may eligible to work jobs generally on campus for limited hours
  • Loans: Money is borrowed and must repaid with interest

Before beginning the FAFSA, both the student and parent must create an FSA ID, which is the online signature for the FAFSA form.

Key things to remember:

  • It is important that the student and parent use separate email addresses and separate phone numbers when creating the FSA ID. It needs to be an email account that is used frequently because important and time sensitive information will be sent.
  • One parent and the student will each create an ID and password following the listed guidelines. Be sure to write it down or store it in a safe place.
  • Pro tip: Create a google sheet with usernames and passwords for FAFSA, college applications and other college related accounts.
  • If the parent does not have a social security number, they will not be eligible to create an FSA ID, and will have to submit a signature page upon completion of the FAFSA. The student will still need to complete an FSA ID and the FAFSA form.

Gathering the Documents Needed to Apply

FAFSA requires specific personal identification and financial information. Depending on citizenship, dependency, and tax filing status, students will be required some or all of the following documents:

  • Social Security number
  • Parents’ Social Security numbers (if dependent student)
  • Driver’s license number (if applicable)
  • Alien Registration Number if not a U.S. citizen
  • Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information for student (if applicable) and parents (if dependent student)
  • IRS 1040
  • Foreign tax return, IRS 1040NR, or IRS 1040NR-EZ
  • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • Records of untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veteran’s non-education benefits, for student (if applicable) and parents (if dependent student)
  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (excluding the current residence); and business and farm assets for student (if applicable) and parents (if dependent student)

After FAFSA submission, application status can be checked online. The following information defines process and status indicators:

  • Go to fafsa.ed.gov or the myStudentAid mobile app and log in using FSA ID username and password.
  • Status indicator
    • Processing: The application is still processing. It typically takes three to five days, plus one additional business day to be made available to the schools listed on the application.
    • Processed Successfully: The application was processed and no further action is needed.
    • Missing Signatures: The application is missing the required student and/or parent signature(s). If the signature page was mailed, processing time will likely be extended.
    • Action Required: The application requires further action or documentation. Contact the institution(s) listed to determine what is necessary to resolve the issue.
  • Some students will be selected for verification; this might be indicated on the Student Aid Report (SAR) or in information directly from the school(s) listed on the application. Verification is the process used to confirm that the information in FAFSA is accurate and will require additional documentation to support the information that was reported.
    • Selection for verification is not punitive and does not mean that a student made a mistake. Students can be randomly selected for verification, and some schools verify all students' FAFSA forms. Students should provide the requested documentation to the school by the established deadline to receive financial aid.
  • CFB offers multiple opportunities throughout the year for students and parents to receive assistance in completing financial aid applications. Dates for these events can be found on the CFBISD CCMR website.

Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA)
Students who are not U.S. citizens or an eligible non-citizen must complete TASFA.To access the application, go to College for All Texans and select either the English or Spanish version of the TASFA. The TASFA is submitted directly to the Financial Aid Office for each university applied.

The following documents are also necessary:

  • TAX Transcript. Students have the option to submit a signed copy of the 1040 IRS TAX form instead of the tax transcript if completed
  • Selective Service Card (males only) – 18 years or older
    • Submit online or paper application mailed
    • In 4 to 6 weeks, males will receive a letter from the Selective Service with their selective service number.
    • A copy of this letter should be submitted to the college’s Financial Aid Office.
    • If the student is not18 yet, he should send the application when he turns 18
  • Residency Affidavit:
    • Complete the affidavit and have it notarized
    • Banks will usually notarize the document
    • If students do not have a bank for notary services, they can call CFBISD Educational Services at 972-968-6500 to ask for help locating a notary
    • Submit to the Admissions Office of each of the schools with application
  • Make copies of each of the items above and save them.
    • Students may ask school personnel to make a copy of the paperwork for them. Try to prepare the document (remove staples, have papers organized) before asking school staff to make the copy.

College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile
The College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile is an online application that allows students to apply for non-federal financial aid from approximately 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs. The CSS Profile is primarily used by private institutions to give a more complete picture of a families’ finances in order to distribute aid strategically. This application is completed in addition to the FAFSA application.

The colleges and universities requiring the profile are listed on the College Board website. Since many institutions don’t require the profile, students should check with the college to determine if it is necessary. A $25 fee covers the application and one college report. Additional colleges can be added for $16 each. Fee waivers are available to eligible students to cover the cost of the profile application and college reports.Please consult your school counselor with questions about fee waivers.

  • Documents– Most recently completed tax returns, W-2 forms and other records of current year income, records of untaxed income for the current and previous tax years, current bank statements, records of savings, stocks, bonds, trusts etc.
  • User Account – Students should sign in to their College Board account to verify and apply eligible fee waivers to the CSS Profile application.
  • Deadlines – To make sure the application will be considered, check deadlines specific to the college where it will be sent.
  • Submit- Review the application for completeness and accuracy. Complete the application certification. After submission, additional colleges or programs can be added to the application. Save a copy of the application for reference.

After applying for financial aid, students may be offered loans as part of the school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money that is borrowed and must be paid back with interest.

If students decide to take out a loan, they should review the source lender and the terms and conditions of the loan. Student loans can come from the federal government, from private sources such as a bank or financial institution, or from other organizations. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually have more benefits than loans from banks or other private sources. Learn more about the differences between federal and private student loans.

The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is the lender. There are four types of Direct Loans available:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but eligibility is not based on financial need.
  • Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required. Borrowers who have an adverse credit history must meet additional requirements to qualify.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans allow students to combine all eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer.

Even though students usually do not have to begin repaying their student loans immediately, they should not wait to review and understand their legal responsibilities as a borrower. When students sign promissory notes, they are agreeing to repay the loan according to the terms of the note even if they don’t complete their education, can’t get a job after completing the program, or didn’t like the education they received.

Students should focus on fiscal responsibility by tracking how much is being borrowed and thinking about how the amount of the loans will affect future finances. They should also review how much is feasible for repayment by researching starting salaries in the projected careers.

Students should understand the terms of their loans and maintain copies of loan documents. Payment schedules should be reviewed and verified in the event that reminders are not immediately received from the lender and contact should be maintained with the loan servicer. Students should notify the loan servicer when they graduate; withdraw from school; drop below half-time status; transfer to another school; or change their name, address, or Social Security number. If a student has difficulty or needs clarification, there may be options available to help keep the loan in good standing.

Colleges that Strive to Meet 100% Financial Need
A college or university that provides the total of an accepted student’s demonstrated financial need through grants, work-study, and scholarships, without student loans is considered a 100% meet need college. This does not necessarily mean college attendance will cost zero dollars. Most no-loan colleges aim to cover each family’s demonstrated financial need, which is the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution (EFC).The schools that offer these programs can vary from one year to the next due to availability of funds. Eligibility is determined by the information provided on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile.

Colleges that have a long-standing history of offering such opportunities to a large portion of their eligible students include:

  • Amherst College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Davidson College
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • US Air Force Academy
  • US Military Academy
  • US Naval Academy
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Yale University

In some cases, no-loan options are only available to first-year and transfer students. Others may focus on specific majors or programs, or limit it to only the first four years a student attends college. Ultimately, applicants will need to review details about the school’s financial aid program to see what may be available, as each school can handle the situation differently and the options may vary from one year to the next.

Many other colleges meet 100% financial need with a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study, and student loans. Students should check the financial aid office for university specific programs and deadlines of colleges in which they are interested in attending.

Excessive Undergraduate Hours
If a student has 30 or more semester credit hours (at any institution) over the number of semester credit hours required for a degree program, an institution of higher education may charge a resident undergraduate student tuition at a higher rate than the rate charged to other resident undergraduate students up to the cost of out of state tuition per credit hour.

Exceptions *

  1. Credit earned before graduation from high school and used to satisfy high school graduation requirements
  2. Credit earned by examination including AP Exams, CLEP, or SAT II
  3. Credit earned for remedial and developmental courses
  4. Credit earned at a private institution or out of state institution

Each university will determine the additional cost of tuition if a student is charged for excessive hours.

*Additional exceptions exist that may not be applicable to high school students.

Ref: Texas Education Code 54.014 and Texas Education Code 61.0595

College Admissions and Applications

Texas Education Agency (TEA) and THECB policies dictate that students who graduate with a GPA that places them within designated top percentages of their high school graduating class might be eligible for automatic admission when applying to certain colleges and universities.

The following information from TEA outlines the specific requirements:

In accordance with Texas Education Code (TEC), §51.803, a student is eligible for automatic admission to a Texas public college or university as an undergraduate student if the student earned a grade point average in the top 10 percent of the student's high school graduating class or in the percentage of qualified applicants that are anticipated to be offered admission to the University of Texas at Austin*, and the applicant

  1. Successfully completed the requirements for the Recommended High School Program (RHSP) or the Distinguished Achievement Program (DAP);
  2. Earned the distinguished level of achievement under the Foundation High School Program; or
  3. Satisfied ACT's College Readiness Benchmarks on the ACT assessment or earned on the SAT assessment a score of at least 1,500 out of 2,400 or the equivalent.

To qualify for automatic admission an applicant must:

  1. Submit an application before the deadline established by the Texas college or university to which the student seeks admission; and
  2. Provide a high school transcript or diploma that indicates whether the student has satisfied or is on schedule to satisfy the requirements of the RHSP, DAP, or the distinguished level of achievement under the Foundation High School Program or the portion of the requirements of those programs that was available to the student.

* Automatic Admission to The University of Texas at Austin
Senate Bill 175, passed by the 81st Texas Legislature, allows The University of Texas at Austin to limit automatic admission to 75 percent of the university’s enrollment capacity designated for first-time resident undergraduate students. The University has determined that it will automatically admit all eligible summer/fall 2022 and spring 2023 freshman applicants who rank within the top 6% of their high school graduating classes, with remaining spaces to be filled through holistic review.

College Admissions Checklist
Students may use this checklist from Big Future by the College Board to keep track of the steps to take when applying to colleges.

Admissions and Vaccinations
Students planning to attend an institute of higher education* are required to provide documentation that they received a meningococcal vaccination (initial or booster dose) within five years prior to enrollment. The vaccination must also occur at least 10 days before the enrolled semester begins.

* An "institution of higher education," for purposes of this requirement is defined by Texas Education Code Sec. 51.9192. Students not required to receive the meningococcal vaccine are defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Rules, Chapter 21, Subchapter T, §21.612, §21.613, and §21.614.

Admissions: Application Fees
A common but often overlooked cost of applying to college is the application fee. Fee waiver policies and requirements vary depending on the institution, and students who do not qualify for a fee waiver will be required to pay the application fee or submit other documentation of financial need (as allowed by the institution) before the application will be processed. Application fees can range from $0 to $100.

Texas Schools with No Admission Application Fee (Subject to change)

  • Austin College
  • Baylor University
  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Houston Baptist University
  • Howard Payne University
  • LeTourneau University
  • Saint Edward's University ($50 fee waived for those who apply by Dec. 1)
  • Southwestern Adventist University
  • Southwestern University
  • St. Mary's University
  • University of St. Thomas
  • University of Houston-Victoria
  • University of Texas-El Paso
  • University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • Trinity University ($50 fee for paper application)

Admissions Requirements: Completing the Forms

  • Follow directions carefully.
  • Each school will specify which parts of the application they require.
  • Some colleges require a supplement which can be submitted online or by mail.
  • Application fees vary by college.
  • Read each question carefully. Do not leave anything blank. If a question does not apply, write “does not apply” or “N/A”.
  • Spend considerable time on essays and statements. Consult with English teachers for proofing suggestions. This is a chance to stand out and to show creativity and uniqueness.
  • Always be truthful on an application of any kind. Do not try to overcompensate for a weakness by inflating activities or leadership roles.
  • Parts of the application that must be completed by counselors and or teachers should be distributed at least two weeks prior to the deadline.
  • Make copies of ALL completed forms and set up a file system. Write and store all login information.
  • Request and pay for transcripts for each school. Transcripts must be sent by the Registrar (sealed envelope) to be official if mailed.

Admissions: Priority Deadline
A priority deadline for college admissions is basically “not a hard deadline” meaning that the students can still submit their applications after that date, but applications that are submitted before the deadline will receive priority by the admissions team. November 1 is the priority deadline for most colleges that have one. If students submit their application after November 1, they still have a chance of getting accepted, but not until the school has reviewed all the applications submitted before November 1. If the school fills all its open spots with just applications received by the priority deadline, none of the applications received after the deadline will be considered, no matter how strong they are.

College Applications

The different parts of the admissions application allow students to share many types of information about themselves as a prospective student. Some institutions require more or less information than others (e.g. some colleges do not require essays, recommendation letters, or interviews). Students should verify the application requirements in advance of deadlines. The following list includes some of the most common requirements:

  • Application Form
  • Transcripts
  • Test Scores
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Essays
  • Auditions and Portfolios
  • Interview

The ApplyTexas Application
ApplyTexas is an online application system that allows both Texas and non-Texas students to apply to any Texas public university, as well as participating community and private colleges.

ApplyTexas allows students to:

  • Apply for undergraduate, international, and graduate admission
  • Copy a submitted application to another institution
  • Submit a college essay (three prompt choices can be viewed on the site)
  • Apply for scholarships
  • Research options and admission requirements for specific schools including application details, fees, deadlines, and degrees offered

Prior to applying, applicants will need to provide:

  • Beginning and ending high school dates and any college attendance dates
  • Employment information for past 2 years
  • Transcript information including exact titles and credits for high school courses and any courses being taken during senior year
  • A profile under My Account Dashboard with demographic information
  • A username and password (be sure to keep a record)

The Coalition Application
The Coalition for College Application states their mission as supporting lower-income, under-resourced, and/or first-generation students by connecting them with member institutions that “provide responsible financial aid and … bolster students’ success in college—and beyond.” The application also provides free, online college-planning tools.

The Common Application
The Common Application (Common App) allows students to fill out one application to apply to multiple institutions among their 900 member institutions, including public and private colleges and universities from the United States and twenty other countries.

Common App access is free, and students are able to request fee waivers, transcripts, and letters of recommendation from designated school staff through their application account.

College Essays
The college application essay or personal statement is an opportunity for applicants to introduce themselves to colleges and showcase their passions, opinions and personal insights. While not every college requires an essay as part of the application process, many offer the opportunity as an option or requirement of the scholarship application. Writing the essay should be planned with plenty of time to thoroughly reflect and proofread before submitting.

Helpful Tips:

  • Be honest and transparent. Highlight passions, goals, and ambitions for the future. Be creative.
  • Answer the question being asked and follow the prompt directions thoroughly. Some colleges will specify a particular essay question as required (ex. UT and TAMU require essay “A” on ApplyTexas). Other schools might provide choices for their essay questions.
  • Express ideas clearly with a unique voice. The essay should not be a resume or list of high school accomplishments. These will be highlighted elsewhere in the application. The essay should present ideas in a way to help the application stand out above others. Include details and personal anecdotes, as well as reflections. If writing about an experience, include personal influences and effects. Stay focused and avoid incoherence.
  • Proofread. Allow plenty of time for having the essay proofread, preferably by a teacher. Correct all grammar and spelling errors before submitting. The essay is a reflection of the student’s effort and personality.

Resources for Essay Writing

The Common App
Big Future
Princeton Review
Road to College

Early Action, Restrictive Action, Early Decision, and Regular Decision
Early Action (EA) is an opportunity to apply for college through a non-binding application with an accelerated admissions decision. Early Action I, if offered, usually requires a November submission for students to receive a decision by mid-December. Early Action II, if offered, usually requires a January submission; decision dates vary. Students are not required to attend the college if accepted through an Early Action application, but it can help students narrow their options because most schools allow students to submit an Early Action application to other colleges and universities. Applicants usually are still not required to notify the school of their decision to attend until May 1, the same decision day as Regular Decision.

Restrictive Early Action - also labeled as Restricted Early Action - (REA) is also a non-binding application, but students are not allowed to apply to other schools under any early application agreement; specific certification statements that only one early application will be submitted are required for most restrictive early action agreements. This type of application allows a student to indicate to a school that they are their primary choice and can increase their chances of acceptance. Applicants usually are still not required to notify the school of their decision to attend until May 1, the same decision day as Regular Decision.

Unlike EA and REA, Early Decision is a binding early application. Some schools allow students to apply early decision with them and also EA or REA with others, but many require students to submit only one early application if submitting with early decision. This can increase the chances of acceptance, but students should only use this option if the school is their absolute primary choice; if students are accepted, they must enroll at that school and withdraw any applications to other schools. The Early Decision application deadline is usually November for students to receive a decision by mid-December.

Specific policies for early applications for each institution vary and should be reviewed by students by visiting their website or contacting the admissions office before submitting applications.

Quest Bridge
Quest Bridge is a highly competitive but potentially very rewarding college scholarship application process for high school seniors who have shown outstanding academic ability despite financial challenges. Seniors can apply for free to some of the nation’s most selective colleges to be considered for early admission and a full four-year scholarship from the college.

Under “Who Should Apply?” Quest Bridge lists “Academically outstanding high school seniors from households earning less than $65,000/year for a typical family of four,” however, the website also states that they “take a holistic approach to reviewing applications and do not have absolute criteria for cut-offs for GPA, standardized test scores, income, or other factors.” Eligibility and academic achievement information can be found on the Quest Bridge website.

Finalists who rank colleges cannot apply to other colleges through Early Decision, Early Action, or Restrictive Early Action.

Students can join the general Quest Bridge mailing list.

As of 6/12/2023, the college partners listed on the Quest Bridge website were:

  • Amherst College
  • Barnard College
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Brown University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carlton College
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Colby College
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Colorado College
  • Columbia University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Davidson College
  • Denison University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Grinnell College
  • Hamilton College
  • Haverford College
  • Macalester College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Middleburry College
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • Rice University
  • Scripps College
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tufts University
  • The University of Chicago
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Virginia Vanderbilt
  • University Vassar College Washington
  • University in St. Louis
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Wesleyan College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College
  • Yale University

Students considering Quest Bridge should speak with their school counselors for additional guidance.

Letters of Recommendation
Colleges and universities often ask applicants to provide letters of recommendation as part of the application checklist. Following a few important steps will ensure that the process of requesting and receiving a solid letter of recommendation runs smoothly for the student and the provider.

Since not every college requires a letter of recommendation, students should research and understand which colleges do or do not require them before asking someone to write one. Writing letters is a time-consuming task for teachers, coaches, and counselors, so request a letter:

  • When the application specifically requires one, or
  • When the application will be strengthened by having one

Request a letter from a solid relationship who can speak accurately about strengths and personal characteristics. Typically, teachers and coaches have the greatest familiaritywith students and can speak to their academic and/or athletic talents and accomplishments. It is preferable to ask teachers from junior or senior year classes, as these teachers have a current perspective. Other individuals who might write letters include counselors, club advisors, job managers, and church pastors. Unless the college application specifies who the letter should come from, choose someone who knows enough to detail special skills and unique abilities. Most importantly, make the request far enough in advance to provide the writer with ample time to write a thorough and well-crafted letter (preferably 2 - 4 weeks ahead).

  • Ask in person: Whenever possible, request the letter face-to-face as it allows an opportunity to explain andexpress gratitude. If a personal request is not possible, frame the request in a professional, thorough email. Be sure to attach all the information, forms, etc. that the recommender may need.
  • Provide details: Provide the recommender with addresses, electronic links and due date information. Students should include a resume or senior profile which might include the name of the college(s) for which they are applying, a description of the intended major and/or career goals, any specific achievements, clubs or honors from high school, and any pertinent personal information that might help the writer highlight strengths.
  • Be polite & grateful. Respect that the person asked to write the letter may need to decline. Teachers are asked by many students and may simply have to decline, especially if the letter is needed in a short time frame. Ask early! Send a hand-written thank you note to all recommenders.

Admissions Acceptance Etiquette

There is etiquette for college acceptances. After receiving acceptance letters students are encouraged to follow these steps:

  1. RSVP, meaning that they need to let the college know that they intend to attend no later than May 1st.
  2. Students should not RSVP to more than one college. Students should consider waiting to receive all acceptance/ rejection letters, weigh all their options and choose the best match.
  3. Students should communicate with the other colleges in a professional way to let them knowthat they respectfully decline their invitations. Always say thank you!

High School Transcripts
A high school transcript is a student’s official academic record. It contains a record of all high school courses taken, grades and credits earned, grade point average and test scores. In CFBISD, transcripts also contain information regarding a student’s completed endorsem*nt(s) and performance acknowledgements earned, as well as overall class rank.Colleges require official transcripts as part of the application checklist. Students must also have a copy of their final transcript sent to the college they will be attending upon graduation.

Students must follow their campus’ policy for requesting and sending transcripts to colleges, including any possible fees or use of specific services (such as Parchment).

How do colleges evaluate a transcript?

Colleges evaluate students in a holistic manner and many factors influence admission decisions. Admission officers review student transcripts to get a sense of a student’s entire academic profile.

  • Academic overview: Overall GPA serves as an indicator of a student’s academic success, especially grades in college prep and advanced courses. Colleges will review GPA, grades, honors and AP participation, test scores, and class rank. They also note grade trends. For instance, if a student’s grades are weak early on, but continue to improve throughout high school, a college will notice this growth favorably.
  • Strength of curriculum: Academic rigor is as important as the grades themselves. Colleges look for students who take the most challenging courses available to them. Students who consistently challenge themselves by taking honors or AP classes have an advantage over students who only take regular options.
  • GPA and class rank: Colleges may consider GPA and rank when it is provided on the transcript. However, rank is considered within the context of the school’s profile, which courses are offered and a student’s participation in these courses.

Colleges tend to care more about the way multiple academic pieces fit together, rather than one particular aspect of the transcript. It is very important for students to regularly review their transcripts for accuracy and meet with their counselors to plan the best academic path.


About the PSAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and SAT
Students all across the U.S. take part in PSAT and SAT assessments each fall. These college readiness exams are important because they measure student learning as it relates to future success in college and career, and they can show students whether they are on track to be ready for college, according to the current grade level expectations.

In CFBISD, 10th and 11th graders take PSAT NMSQT. The test is administered at the high school campus, typically during a regular school day. Scores from the PSAT NMSQT version at 10th and 11th grade are used by the National Merit Scholarship Program to screen eligible students for recognition in various scholarship programs. The PSAT also uses statistics to share with students how likely they are to perform well in Advanced Placement courses in high school according to their scores. The SAT is used by many colleges for admissions requirements.

PSAT and SAT Test Structure
The PSAT, like the SAT, is designed to measure learning and application of learning. The test is divided into 2 main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Mathematics.

  • Reading: Measures knowledge and skills with an emphasis on words in context, command of evidence, and analysis of history/social studies, and science passages. Multiple choice questions are based on interpreting and analyzing reading passages and informational graphics.
  • Writing: Measures practical skills of proofreading and correcting passages for mistakes, improving passages or word choice and understanding the standard English conventions of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Multiple choice questions are based on a single sentence, narrative passage, or graphic.
  • Mathematics: Measures mathematical fluency in problem solving, understanding of operations, and application of math concepts. The primary focus is on algebra, problem solving and data analysis, and complex equations. Questions are multiple choice or grid-in answers. There is a section for calculator use and one without.

The best preparation for PSAT and SAT includes:

  • Rigor: Take challenging courses each semester
  • Discipline: Study, read, and complete homework each week
  • Preparation: Prepare for class, tests, and quizzes daily; practice on Khan Academy
  • Participation: Take an active part in class discussions and projects

Score reports provide students with summary analysis regarding areas of strength and areas of needed improvement before taking the SAT and going to college. The report is comprehensive enough to allow students to see exactly how they performed on specific questions and objectives and provides a benchmark to gauge college readiness after high school.

SAT and Digital SAT
The SAT is typically taken in junior or senior year and is accepted by almost all U.S. colleges. Some four-year colleges and open-admission colleges, including community colleges, do not require scores but may use them for placement or scholarships. Each college has its own admission processes and policies, and they use scores differently.

When scores are used in admission decisions, different colleges weight the scores differently. Students need to keep in mind that most colleges admit students with a wide range of scores. Some colleges use test scores, alone or in combination with other characteristics and achievements, to award scholarship funds. Some colleges may even automatically award a scholarship for a certain score.

The SAT is scored on a 400 to 1600 scale. The students will also receive subscore reporting for every test—math, reading, and writing and language—plus additional subscores to provide added insight into test performance.

Digital SAT
The Digital SAT Suite uses multistage adaptive testing (MST). The MST allows the digital SAT Suite to fairly and accurately measure the same things with a shorter, more highly secure test while preserving test reliability. Go to the Digital SAT Suite of Assessments for an overview of the Digital SAT content alignment.

Success Tips:
No penalty for guessing
No points are deducted for wrong answers. Students are encouraged not to leave anything blank.

The ACT college entrance test may be taken through the senior year, but scores must be received by the college application deadline. The average score on the ACT is 21, with 36 as a perfect score. However, keep in mind that different colleges may have different standards for what scores are typical for their campuses.

The ACT includes four content-designated sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science. These sections are presented in the same order during each testing administration, and students who register for the ACT with Writing will attempt the Writing section last. Each section is scored on a scale of 36 points, with the exception for Writing (scale of 12 points).

The best way to prepare for the ACT test is to take rigorous courses in high school. However, students might be interested in additional test prep tools such as the ACT Academy (free online learning tool designed to improve scores on the ACT test through video lessons, interactive practice questions, and full-length practice tests) and the ACT Online Prep (6-month subscription that offers access to an interactive test prep course with personalized learning paths, full-length practice tests, tools to track progress, daily goals, flashcards, and a game center).

SAT/ACT Comparison
The SAT and ACT are both used for college admissions and merit based scholarships. They are similar in content and style, both measuring the critical thinking, problem solving and comprehension skills needed for success in college. Most colleges accept either, but students should check college admissions criteria when deciding which exam to take and whether the essay is required or optional.

At a glance:

Test Sections

Writing & Language
Essay optional

Essay optional
Total Time

3 hrs

3 hrs 50 mins w/essay

2 hrs 55 mins
3 hrs 35 mins w/essay

Section Time

Reading: 5 passages, 65 mins
Writing/Language: 35 mins
Math (calculator): 55 mins
Math (no calculator): 25 mins
Essay (optional): 50 mins

Reading: 4 passages, 35 mins
English: 45 mins
Math: 60 mins
Science: 35 mins
Essay (optional): 40 mins


Credit for correct answers; no penalty for guessing

Score range 400-1600

(Evidenced Based Reading & Writing + Math)

Credit for correct answers; no penalty for guessing

Score range 1-36 per section

(Composite score= Average of all section scores)
Calculator UsePartial; one section withoutYes, whole math section

The two tests are very similar. When deciding which one to take, students may be advised to consider the following points.

The SAT offers slightly more time per section. Both SAT and ACT math test concepts from Algebra I and II, Geometry, and Trigonometry. The ACT math section tests more questions related to geometry and trig, while SAT tests more algebra. ACT math questions are all multiple choice and allow for calculator use, while SAT has multiple choice and grid-in answers and includes a section of questions not using the calculator. ACT includes a science section emphasizing scientific data, graphs, and analysis. The SAT includes scientific concepts in reading passages and math problems.

Both tests are designed to be taken beginning spring of the junior year. Some students take one of each, while others may opt to take one or the other multiple times. The best advice is for students to set aside time to diligently take an official practice test, compare scores and decide which one they want to take for college admissions.

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment 2 (TSIA2) also known in other parts of the country as Accuplacer, is part of the state of Texas program to help students, high schools, and colleges determine if a student is ready for college-level coursework. Students do not need to take the TSIA if they have met college readiness benchmarks on the SAT or ACT.

CFBISD high school campuses offer the TSIA2 during the school day in the fall and spring in order to help students meet benchmarks necessary for taking dual credit courses in high school, as well as to help students meet benchmarks that will help them start college with on-level courses.

TOEFL is a standardized exam that measures the English ability of non-native speakers who wish to apply for and attend English speaking colleges and universities. The test measures English language proficiency in the areas of reading, speaking, listening and writing as relevant to a university classroom. It is offered at over 4,500 test centers around the globe and is accepted at over 10,000+ colleges, universities, and agencies worldwide.

  • Administered online at a secure test location.
  • Test length is approximately 3 hours covering 4 sections and a 10 minute break.
  • Test fees vary by location. Average US price is $205 (includes up to 4 score reports if ordered at time of registration). Fee reduction process available to high school seniors for 50% reduction in cost.
  • May be taken multiple times, but only once in a 3 day period.
  • Free study/prep resources & practice tests

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
CLEP is a program of examinations that allow students to demonstrate mastery of college level content and earn credits towards a degree without taking the college course. According to College Board, CLEP was “created to help individuals with prior knowledge in a college course subject earn their degree efficiently and inexpensively.” There are 34 exams over five content areas: English Composition & Literature, History & Social Studies, Science & Mathematics, Business, and World Languages including Spanish, French and German. Each computer-based exam is administered at a CLEP testing center and requires 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete. The cost is currently $89 per exam. Scores are available immediately.

Colleges and universities develop their own CLEP policies for awarding credit. Students interested in CLEP exams should FIRST determine which exams their college accepts, the minimum required score, and how many credits will be awarded. Students are advised to speak with an academic advisor prior to scheduling CLEP exams to determine which exams, if any, fit into their individual degree plans. The College Board website provides a search tool to find colleges and view the varied CLEP policies. The website also contains free, useful study and prep materials.

CLEP test centers can be located at colleges and universities, independent testing organizations, military bases, and high schools. If planning to take a CLEP exam, it is advised to contact the test center immediately to confirm that they are currently administering the proposed exams. If not, find out if arrangements are possible to test at that center at a later date or find another test center by using the CLEP Test Center Search tool. CLEP scores can be sent to colleges and universities through the student College Board account.

More than 2,900 U.S. colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP. A college’s CLEP credit policy explains:

  • which CLEP exams are accepted by the institution
  • what CLEP score are necessary to receive credit
  • how many credits are awarded for a particular CLEP exam

The policy may also include other guidelines, such as the maximum number of credits a student can earn through CLEP. Before signing up for a CLEP exam, talk with campus counselors to figure out how an exam fits in with student education planning. For the most up-to-date CLEP credit policy information, be sure to check the institution's website.

Student Athletes and NCAA Eligibility
Students who wish to enroll in a Division I or Division II college are required to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. The purpose of the Eligibility Center is to verify both amateur and academic status, as each division has its own requirements.

Division I schools typically manage the largest athletic budgets and therefore provide the most athletic scholarships, along with a wide choice of academic programming. Division II schools also provide opportunity for student growth through academic achievement and athletic competition. In total, Division I and II schools provide more than $2.9 billion via athletic scholarships each year to approximately 2 percent of high school athletes. Division III schools may also provide a competitive athletic environment, but do not provide athletic scholarships or require registration with the Center.

The following are requirements for Division I:

  • 9th grade:
    • Advise school counselor about intent to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
    • Begin core courses (see requirements below)
  • 10th grade: Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center
  • 11th grade
    • Verify status of core courses and required GPA
    • Take the ACT or SAT
    • Submit scores to NCAA using code 9999
    • Ask counselor to upload official transcript to the Center at the end of the year
  • 12th grade:
    • Complete course work
    • Retake SAT/ACT if needed for higher score
    • Submit scores to NCAA using code 9999
    • Complete all academic and amateurism questions on the NCAA Eligibility Center site
  • At graduation: Ask counselor to submit final transcript along with graduation proof to the Eligibility Center

Academic Requirements for Division I:

  • Four years English
  • Three years of math (include Algebra 1 or higher)
  • Two years of natural/physical science (including one year of lab science)
  • One additional year of English, math or natural/physical science
  • Two years of social science
  • Complete 10 of the 16 core courses before seventh high school semester
  • Earn a core course GPA of at least 2.30
  • Earn the ACT/SAT score matching the core course GPA sliding scale

Division II Requirements:

  • Same course requirements as Division I
  • GPA 2.20 for core classes
  • Earn the ACT/SAT score matching the core course GPA sliding scale

Note: Classes of rigor are required for eligibility and credit recovery is not accepted except during summer school. Students who wish to attend a Division I or Division II college should begin serious preparation their freshman year to be considered for the highly competitive athletic scholarships.

Transition to College

College Visits
Key to choosing a college is finding the right fit. While website searches can provide good general information, visiting a college in person provides a hands-on opportunity to observe the campus atmosphere and culture with students and professors present. It also allows potential students to physically place themselves in different kinds of college environments to determine the learning atmosphere that is most appealing. College visits are very important to help students narrow down their college choices prior to applying and they also allow the prospective student to demonstrate a true interest in a specific school.

College visits can range from a few hours to overnight stays. Most visits will provide an information session and campus tour. The information session will generally include an overview of campus programs, housing options, available majors and classes, and highlight student life and culture. Often, an admissions and financial aid representative is present. The campus tour, often led by current students, will likely include dorms, dining halls, the library, the bookstore, fitness centers and other campus facilities.

Colleges vary in the way they conduct student visits. Interested students should check college websites or call the Admissions office to get details and/or make reservations. Larger schools such as UT Austin have very specific dates and visit instructions. Other campuses have a flexible visitation process and do not require reservations, but it is wise to ensure the college has a record of the visit. Most campuses welcome interested students to visit informally, walk around, collect admission and financial aid information and visit bookstores and student centers.

Attendance procedures in CFB allow a student to take up to two days during junior year and two days during senior year for college visits. Students should notify their attendance clerk prior to being absent and submit a verification from the university visited upon their return.

Summer Bridge Programs and Summer Orientation
Summer bridge programs are designed to improve a student’s preparation and facilitate the transition into the first year of college by providing students with academic skills and social resources. These programs occur in the summer ‘bridge’ period between high school graduation and the fall semester of college. Program content will often include intensive, targeted tutoring in math, reading and writing skills or may focus on “college skills” such as time management and study skills. Attending a summer bridge program gives students a head start on familiarizing themselves with college classes, course content, and support services on campus, while reducing the need for remediation.

Summer bridge programs vary by name and program design and may be voluntary or required by colleges prior to starting fall classes. Students, whose acceptance at university requires attendance at a summer bridge program, will be notified during the admissions process. Programs are typically 2-6 weeks in length depending on the college. Students are often organized into small cohorts, giving them the opportunity to make connections with other incoming freshmen.

Many Texas colleges offer summer bridge programs including: UT Austin, UTD, Texas A&M, University of Houston, University of North Texas, Prairie View A & M, Texas Southern, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Tarleton, and the Dallas College. Many other colleges nationwide offer similar bridge programs, as well.

College orientation, sometimes called “Welcome Week,” is an important way to prepare students for the upcoming freshman year and smooth the transition into campus life, while informing students about academics, housing and opportunities to join clubs and activities. Orientation is usually mandatory and requires a reservation. Some colleges have one-day events, while others sponsor multi-day, overnight programs. Students may be organized into random groups or by major. Many colleges offer a parent orientation at the same time their student attends. It is important for students to read all information regarding orientation prior to attending. Generally, a schedule of events, check-in details, and what to pack if staying overnight are provided ahead of time.

Typical orientation schedules include presentations, campus tours, academic advising, and fun team-building events. Students will learn about their meal plans, library services, health services, and residence hall rules and procedures. The most crucial part of orientation is creating the freshman schedule. Students will meet with their advisors to review academic requirements, discuss course offerings and plan the student’s schedule.

Orientation is designed to be fun and informative for students with the goal of reducing the stress of going to college. Good orientation programs provide students and families with a sense of belonging and comfort on the campus while learning about procedures and expectations. Students should receive orientation information from the Admissions Office after being accepted.

Career Readiness

High School Career and Technical Education Programs of Study

Students have the opportunity to explore and gain experience in fields of the career workforce through specialized sequences of courses, many of which lead to certification and licensing opportunities before students graduate from high school.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are described in the High School Educational Planning Guide, and an overview of programs and the campuses that offer each can be found on CFBISD’s CTE Guides page.

In high school, CFB students may choose from several different Programs of Study, such as:

  • Accounting
  • Agriculture
  • Architecture and Design
  • Automotive
  • Biomedical and Biotechnology
  • Business Management
  • Commercial Photography
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Cybersecurity
  • Design and Multimedia Arts
  • Aducation
  • Engineering
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fashion Design
  • Floral Design
  • Forensic Science
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Technology
  • Law and Criminal Justice
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Welding

Certifications and Licenses
To prepare students with relevant technical knowledge and skills for postsecondary education and careers in current or emerging professions, career and technical education programs offer sequences of rigorous courses aligned with industry based certifications. This alignment provides students the opportunity to earn workplace credentials in multiple career clusters. Completion of programs and awarding of certification varies based on the requirements established by the certifying entity.

Examples of industry certifications offered through CTE programs include:

  • Adobe Certified Associate Animate
  • Adobe Certified Associate Illustrator
  • Adobe Certified Associate Photoshop
  • Adobe Certified Associate Premiere Pro
  • ASE Automobile Service Technology Entry Level
  • ASE Brakes
  • ASE Electronic Systems
  • ASE Maintenance Light Repair
  • ASE Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling
  • ASE Suspension and Steering
  • Autodesk Certified Professional or User in Autocad
  • AWS D1.1 Structural Steel
  • Certified EKG Technician
  • Certified Veterinary Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • CompTIA Network+
  • Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)
  • Cosmetology Operator License
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business
  • Floral Skills Knowledge Based
  • Floral Skills Level 1
  • Medical Coding and Billing Specialist
  • Microsoft Office Expert - Excel
  • Microsoft Office Specialist - Excel 2016
  • Microsoft Office Specialist Word
  • NCCER Core Level I
  • OSHA 30 Hour General
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Refrigerant Handling (EPA 609)
  • ServSafe Manager
  • Texas State Floral Association Floral Skills Knowledge Based

Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a short introductory persuasive speech. It quickly introduces a person and describes their background and expertise. An elevator pitch is a great way to practice professional skills and to more effectively network with confidence. Students may prepare and practice an elevator pitch to prepare for interviews or before networking in order to build fluency speaking about their talents and aspirations.

It is called an elevator pitch because it is brief enough to be presented “in an elevator ride.” A well-crafted elevator pitch can be used in several different social and professional settings. If job hunting, an elevator pitch is a quick way to support interest for a prospective employer or recruiter. In social settings it allows for meaningful connections and good first impressions. Students can also use an elevator pitch to introduce and cultivate interest in others in regard to a project or idea.

An elevator pitch should be about 30 seconds long. Rather than being a rambling list of skills, achievements or experiences, it should highlight a specific skill or idea appropriate to the situation, while sounding genuine and conversational.

  • Make eye contact and speak confidently. Start with a handshake if appropriate
  • Provide a summary of background (Education, strengths or experiences)
  • Explain goals (Job, internship, or to make a contact)
  • Finish with a call to action (Opportunity to interview, send a resume, meet to talk further)

My name is John and I recently graduated from UT with a degree in marketing. I excel in website design and serve as social media director for the Chamber of Commerce. I’m interested in using my skills as a consultant to help small, independent businesses expand their markets. I’d love to meet with you again to share my portfolio and brainstorm ideas.

How to Write a Cover Letter
A well-crafted cover letter is another introduction tool to introduce oneself for a job application process. It is different from a resume, which simply lists the facts of education and work experiences. A cover letter allows for a more personal introduction to briefly highlight how specific skills and experiences fit into the target job. While some professionals warm against overreliance on a “template,” there are a few tips that will make letters stand out above the rest.

  • Emphasize specific skills or information that pertain to the particular job. Rather than trying to fit everything into a cover letter, highlight something unique within the provided qualifications; the resume is the place to list all pertinent work experience, education and training, and references.
  • A statement should be included to explain the reason for interest in working for the organization and why the candidate is best suited for the position.
  • Avoid using catch phrases or vague words. Instead of saying, “I am a problem-solver,” cite an example of an actual task in which those problem solving skills were successful. Describing an example of management or leadership from a previous job or school experience is a way to bring experiences into practice in the present and to showcase skills.
  • Conclude the letter on a positive note of intention such as “I look forward to hearing from you.” Always show gratitude and thank the reader for their time.

How to Write a Resume
A resume is a one or two-page document that summarizes a person’s education, training, and skills for a particular job or application. Employers receive dozens or even hundreds of resumes for job openings. A well-constructed resume is a personal marketing tool for highlighting one’s qualifications with the goal of securing an interview.

There are several different formats for writing resumes and many good websites for examples and choosing a template. For high school students who have little or no job experience, choose a format that highlights education and skills over job history. Before starting, make a list of all jobs, activities, achievements, certifications, and honors received. This list can be trimmed down to the specific items relevant to aparticular job or industry.

What to include:

  • Contact information- Name, address, phone number, and email address.
  • Resume objective/personal statement: A short persuasive summary (one to two sentences) of professional qualifications as they relate to the job description. This is a way to briefly introduce the candidate and spark interest in the resume.
  • Education: List the names and locations of schools and dates attended. Be sure to include any relevant training or programs attended. Highlight a few specifics.
  • Example:
    • Co-Captain, Varsity Soccer
    • Section leader, Marching Band
    • Treasurer, Student Council
    • GPA 3.4
  • Key Skills: In lieu of work experience, focus on specific skills. For example, if applying for an office job, list technical skills and any specific software or equipment of advanced mastery. Be sure to highlight examples of leadership by including any officer positions or roles in extracurricular or volunteer activities.
  • Work Experience: List any jobs and dates held. Be sure to include any full or part time jobs and the position. Example: Cashier, Tom Thumb; Delivery driver, Pizza Hut. Also include jobs such as babysitting or tutoring to illustrate initiative.

Military Readiness

Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
The ASVAB Career Exploration Program is a free, voluntary comprehensive career exploration and planning program that includes the most widely used multiple-aptitude test battery in the world. The program includes a validated aptitude test designed to help students explore the world of work and gain confidence in making career decisions. The ASVAB Program is for students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, as well as students in postsecondary schools.

Results of the aptitude test and the interest inventory enable students to evaluate their skills, estimate their performance in academic and vocational endeavors, and identify potentially satisfying careers. High schools will not forward students ASVAB CEP scores to military recruiters unless requested to do so with parent permission. Students’ scores from the ASVAB are valid up to 2 years from the date of testing if a student chooses to forward them to a military recruiter.

Most students who take the ASVAB CEP do not plan to enlist in the military but report that it helped them plan for their future. Whether planning on college, technical school, the military, or undecided, the ASVAB CEP can direct students to a career path that matches their skills and aptitudes. ASVAB testing will be offered on all high school campuses.

Military Branches
The United States Department of Defense oversees the military forces needed to ensure our nation’s security. With nearly 3 million service members and civilians, the Department of Defense (DoD) is our country’s largest employer. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard are the branches of the armed forces of the United States. The National Guard (Army National Guard and the Air National Guard) are reserve components of their branches and operate in part under state authority.

  • Army: The Army is the largest and oldest branch of the service and provides ground forces that protect the U.S.
  • Marine Corps: The Marine Corps is a component of the U.S. Navy and provides amphibious and ground units for security and combat operations.
  • Navy: The Navy is deployed globally, providing the U.S. peacetime protection and wartime force on, above, and below the water.
  • Air Force: The Air Force provides rapid, lethal air service and protection for the U.S. around the globe.
  • Coast Guard: The Coast Guard provides maritime safety enforcement, marine and environmental protection and military naval support. In peacetime the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security and in wartime is under the Department of the Navy.
  • Space Force: The Space Force was established within the Department of the Air Force and organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.
  • National Guard: Comprised of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, the National Guard supports combat missions, domestic emergencies, humanitarian efforts, homeland security, and more.

One goal of military service is to develop individuals who possess strong moral character, integrity, and job specific skills which are desirable to civilian employers after service is completed. About 85 percent of all jobs in the service do not involve direct combat operations. Therefore, many individuals choose to stay in the military and pursue life-long careers.

Educational benefits are available for service members during and after service. Each branch offers various tuition assistance programs to students. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a comprehensive program that pays tuition and fees, along with a housing and textbook allowance to eligible students.

Students interested in learning more about the military and what it can offer may consult their school counselors or CCMR Dean to be connected with a recruiter.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a college program offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares students to become officers in the US Military. Students (cadets) who participate in the ROTC commit to serve in the Military after graduation and receive a paid college education. Program requirements and eligibility vary by branch of service.

CFBISD offers a JROTC program at CreekviewHigh School and is open to all students in the district. The programs’ principles include citizenship, leadership, character and community service. Participation in JROTC does not require a military service commitment, but rather emphasizes life skills necessary to be a strong leader and citizen in preparation for life after high school.

Service Academies
Highly eligible students who want to experience military life while getting their college education can apply to one of the five service academies. All academies offer high caliber educational experiences and full four-year scholarships. Admission acceptance is highly competitive.

Criteria includes:

  • Top high school academic performance
  • High SAT or ACT scores
  • Athletics and extracurricular activities
  • Leadership experience and community involvement
  • A congressional letter of recommendation (not required by the Coast Guard Academy)

US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
US Army West Point, West Point, NY
US Air Force Academy, Air Force Academy, CO
US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY

Military Recruitment and How to Enlist

  1. Speak to a recruiter: Military recruiters respond to inquiries about branches, service, career opportunities and enlistment. Recruiters from multiple service branches may share a location. Recruiters also visit high schools and may be available to students on campus. Students should visit their campus counseling/student services office to find their campus recruiter information.
  2. MEPS: Military Entrance Processing Station: Recruits complete enlistment at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), often over the course of 2 days. MEPS is staffed with personnel from all military branches. There are three main considerations for determining an applicant’s qualifications: Aptitude, Physical, & Career.
  3. Aptitude: Take the ASVAB. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a free, multiple-choice aptitude exam that helps determine the careers for which an individual is best suited. It measures student strengths and potential for success in military training. There are two versions of the test. One is the ASVAB CEP (Career Exploration Program) and is offered at all high schools. It takes approximately three hours to complete with questions in standard school subjects like math, English, writing and science. Students taking the test are under no obligation to pursue military careers. The second is ASVAB administered at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) for enlistment. Both versions of ASVAB produce an individual’s scores related to academic strengths and different career fields, and include an AFQT score (Armed Forces Qualification Test) which determines enlistment eligibility.
  4. Physical: Pass the Physical Examination: A recruiter will discuss physical eligibility requirements with students beforehand. Candidates must pass a medical physical and demonstrate proficiency in various physical tasks.
  5. Career: During enlistment processing at MEPS, recruits will spend time selecting a job specialty with a recruiter. Several factors impact career selection such as the needs of the service branch, job availability, ASVAB scores, and physical requirements. If a candidate meets all the requirements of service enlistment, a contract or enlistment agreement will be signed.

Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) and Basic Training
If planning to join the U.S. military, the enlistment process includes a trip to MEPS, which stands for Military Entrance Processing Stations. Understanding what to expect during MEPS can help students prepare and improve their MEPS experience. MEPS facilities are operated by the Department of Defense using both military and civilian staff to determine an applicant’s physical and mental readiness for military service. MEPS processing usually takes two days, including medical screenings, aptitude tests, and enlistment procedures.

After enlistment, Basic Combat Training, commonly referred to as boot camp, is a soldier’s introduction to service in their military branch and initial training in discipline, values, and service specific basic skills.

Depending on the enlisted branch, basic training lasts from eight to twelve weeks. The assigned military occupational specialty (MOS) will determine additional training requirements.

Selective Service
All US males between the ages of 18-26 are required by law to register with the Selective Service. The Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed to allow Congress to rapidly assemble a military force in times of national crisis. The “draft” has not been used since 1973. Registration is the law, but does not mean a male is being inducted into the military.

List of High School Counselors by Campus and Assignment

CreekviewTina IglesiasA-C972-968-4827iglesiast@cfbisd.edu
CreekviewJanine KayD-H972-968-4825kayj@cfbisd.edu
CreekviewAlejandra RomoI-NE972-968-4826romoa@cfbisd.edu
CreekviewMelanie GotliebNG-SH972-968-4970gotliebm@cfbisd.edu
CreekviewJennifer WeatherfordSI-Z972-968-4804weatherfordj@cfbisd.edu
Early CollegeStacy Jones9th - 12th972-968-6250jonessta@cfbisd.edu
RanchviewWynter NashA-K972-968-5003NashW@cfbisd.edu
RanchviewTracey McLeodL-Z972-968-5004mcleodt@cfbisd.edu
RanchviewCynthia Williams972-968-5169williamscy@cfbisd.edu
SmithMiranda JacksonA-C972-968-6851jacksonm@cfbisd.edu
SmithKatina BoutteD-HI972-968-5204bouttek@cfbisd.edu
SmithItiel SarmientoMOO-ROS972-968-5242sarmientoi@cfbisd.edu
SmithLaDetra WoodsonRU-Z972-968-5227woodsonl@cfbisd.edu
TurnerSommer FloresA-Ca972-968-5428floresso@cfbisd.edu
TurnerDaisy HiguerosCe-Gr972-968-5427higuerosd@cfbisd.edu
TurnerMarisol NicholsGu-Ma972-968-6456nicholsm@cfbisd.edu
TurnerSuzanne SerrisMc-Ri972-968-5426serriss@cfbisd.edu
TurnerVeronica GarciaRo-Z972-968-5404garciaver@cfbisd.edu
High School - Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (2024)
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