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Wednesday, October 19, 2016


It's time to submit that all important FAFSA to determine 1) if you qualify for free federal aid; 2) if you qualify for student/parent loans; 3) how much money you will need for your FRESHMAN year of college. Because FAFSA eligibility is done yearly, you need to update your parent's tax information yearly, too.  For some of you, deciding which parent claims you may be tricky (but it's usually the parent you live with the most).  Click on this link to find a document that may help you.  WHO IS MY PARENT ON FAFSA.   

Remember, FAFSA is FREE.  Don't go to a .com website where you have to pay to file your FAFSA.  The correct site is

We have a Senior FAFSA Day scheduled for Saturday, November 12 from 8:30 a.m.--12:30 p.m.  If you have not already scanned tax documents to your drive, you will need to bring them with you.

WRITE DOWN your FAFSA ID, as well as the PIN you create for yourself and a parent.  You will have to use them EVERY YEAR you file FAFSA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

OCTOBER 2016 Grapevine

Here's the latest edition of the TRIO Upward Bound Grapevine.  Lots of dates and great information, so you are up-to-date.  Follow this link for a PDF version:  
The Grapevine October 2016

You can also view it in a super cool magazine format at this link: October Grapevine (Magazine format)

Happy reading!

Friday, October 14, 2016


By today, all TRIO UMUB students will have report cards/progress reports.  

Before you lose it., snap a photo and send it to Mrs. Buff at (205) 516-5007.  Good or bad, we need to know.  All students who submit their report cards by Tuesday at NOON will have their names in a drawing for some REALLY COOL tech accessories.

If you need tutoring--or just need to do homework--text Mrs. Buff (or see her in Comer 108 during Academic Session nights) and we will get you placed in Think Tank Tutoring.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Do you need to catch up (or get ahead) on Cultural Enrichments (you need 24 by April of your Senior Year).

This post will be published tomorrow as a Thoughtful Thursday:  We are adding an additional Cultural Enrichment event for Tuesday, October 11th, on a very timely subject.  We have watched the news about tragedies with racial unrest and police actions with sadness.  Come and be a part of the dialogue of what we can all do to safeguard our communities.  

The UM President’s Office will host “Better Together:  A Conversation on Race and Law Enforcement,” in LeBaron Recital Hall.  TRIO UMUB students will need to sign in with Mrs. Gilbert in the lobby at 6:15 p.m.  The event should conclude at approximately 8:00 p.m.  Parents can also attend this event.

The symposium will feature an impressive lineup of guest panelists.  These include Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego, Reverend Arthur Price, Jr. of the 16th Street Baptist Church, and Nichelle Nix, the director of Minority Affairs for Governor Robert Bentley’s office.

For more information, click on this link: BETTER TOGETHER

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


With thousands of public and private colleges and universities in the United States, there are quite a few options out there. Nearly every school will have something that may be attractive, but which one is right for you? Regardless of ranking—regardless of anything—that is the key question. Keep your preferences, personality and goals in mind when considering colleges. Here are some categories and criteria that may help.
Academic Choices. You may have some idea of a possible major and career path, so reviewing the choice of courses at an institution of higher learning will quickly clue you in on whether it's a good fit. One reason many students ultimately choose a college is its strength in a particular area of study: nursing or engineering, perhaps, or even an emerging field such as health-care economics or global environmental change. On the other hand, if you don't have a concentration in mind, you may want a school that offers the maximum options.
Athletics. There are Division I sports schools (football stadiums that hold 80,000+ fans) or smaller schools where you don't have to be a superstar to play on a collegiate team. There are other schools with no particular athletic focus. What do you want in terms of opportunities to participate?
Big Schools vs. Small Schools. Undergraduate populations can be small—under 2,500—or large—35,000 and even more. You may fear getting lost in the shuffle at a big school and assume you'll have closer relationships with classmates and professors at a small one—but that's not necessarily true.  At even the largest universities you may be able to find your own niche. Some big schools even have smaller class sizes and better student-to-teacher ratios than small schools. Likewise, some really small colleges have specialized programs of study that may best fulfill your desire to focus on a single discipline or field.
Diversity. Some schools have a multicultural student body, including students from across the country and around the world. Others have a plurality/majority of students from one ethnic, religious or racial background. The composition of the student enrollment will have a profound effect on your college experience, so give this category especially careful consideration.
Location, Location, Location. The location of a college will make a huge difference in your college experience. A diverse urban center can be a never-ending source of stimulation, while a rural locale may provide so few distractions that you may find it easier to focus on studies. Plus, if you love nature and outdoor recreation, you may want to be someplace outside a city. Maybe a suburb near a major city? Keep your weather/climate preferences in mind too. If you hate rainy or cold weather, there are certain parts of the country you may want to leave off your map entirely.
Living Situations. How comfortable are the residence halls? Are they modernized? Air-conditioned? Will you live on campus, close to classes, or off-campus? We recommend taking an online tour of residence halls at any school in which you have serious interest. Better yet, visit in person—and spend the night.
Class Size. This is the average number of students enrolled in each class. The lower the number, the more personalized attention your student will receive from the professor.
Reputation. OK, this brings us to a myth: The idea that a degree from a top-of-the-line college or university will give you more bang for your buck. In fact, many graduates of lesser-known schools achieve as much as students from the Ivy League. In truth, most graduates of high-profile schools succeed because of the character that got them admitted—and students of equal character can do just as well, regardless of their school's reputation. Still, it's smart to ask about a school's track record for retention, graduation and successful job and graduate school placement.  

For a reprint of this article, click on this link: