Official UMUB Calendar:

Email Management:

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Here are some links for new scholarships.  For students who plan to pursue degrees in STEM-related fields, there's BUNCHES of $$$

Also, make sure to scroll down in Blogspot to read about a fun scholarship--the DuctTape scholarship.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The Dell Scholarship is a highly prized scholarship that offers qualified students who have taken rigorous coursework (HONORS, AP, and DUAL ENROLLMENT) the opportunity to earn money for college.  All of the application is online.  Here is some of the details.

Our GPA requirement is GRIT, POTENTIAL, and AMBITION

  • Grit by overcoming personal challenges in your life related to your family, school, or community
  • Potential by participating in college readiness programs (such as Upward Bound) and seeking out academic rigor.
  • Ambition by dreaming of and obtaining a college degree.
You will be asked to write short responses (about 200 words) for 8 essay prompts.  Copy and paste the prompt and then start a new document in your drive folder FIRST NAME LAST NAME DELL ESSAY #__.  Then copy the prompt and begin.  The deadline is January 15, but you should begin NOW.   
For more information, go to 


November 28, 2017

I.                College Admissions (1 may be all you need, but consider different options).
II.              Your Senior Shared Folder (in Google Drive)
A.    Your transcript
B.    Your Highest ACT score (PDF)
C.     Tax Info
D.    Essays (start them as new documents in your Drive folder so that they are shared with me.)
E.     Updated Resume
F.     College and Career Goals
G.    Photo—this needs to be a headshot or a jpeg I can edit…NOT A SELFIE!
(Some scholarships require me to send a photo of you with my letter of recommendation).  Put in your Senior Drive folder.
H.    SAR—See below for more details.
III.            Letters of recommendation—request these in advance!   
A.     Use my OFFICIAL email address (
B.     Send me information about the scholarship (if it is not one listed below)
IV.            FAFSA
A.    Log back in to FAFSA and click on your SAR report.  SAVE AS First Name Last
B.    Name SAR and put it in your Senior Drive folder.   Check to make sure there are no mistakes. 
        V.    Scholarship Updates
A.    SmithDue January 4th.  The DECEMBER 2nd Super Saturday will be crucial to get this finished.
B.    Dell Scholarship DUE JANUARY 15. 
C.    GE-Reagan Scholarship—check email for details
D.    Regions “Riding Forward” Scholarship Due February .
E.     College Counts Scholarship —Due ONLINE in March; start now.  This scholarship awards for Honors, AP, and Dual Enrollment, but also income.
F.     Check email and blog for other scholarships due in January, February and March
G.   UMUB Tuition Scholarship  (One 3 hour class for 8 semesters is paid for by UM.  You must have attended UMUB ALL 4 years and UB summer every year and attend UM in the fall after you graduate to earn the UMUB Tuition Scholarship—Approximately $7,800 over 4 years)
H.    Local Scholarships (from your school, church, etc.)

VI.            College Navigator
A.    Check College Navigator ( ) to project TOTAL COST of attending selected your college.
B.    Use this information to help answer the question of why you want to attend a certain college on scholarship essays. 
VII.          Super Saturdays and Attendance
A.    Make the effort—work on Senior Portfolio, Scholarships, make up an absence!
B.    Set your priorities!

When starting documents, remember
1.    Start them in your Senior drive folder.  That way they will automatically share with me and Jamaica.

2.    Title them correctly First Name Last Name and then the Name of Prompt or Scholarship.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Are you interested for earning some $$$ for college?  Here's a scholarship opportunity for the CREATIVE (and even desperate).  Believe it or not, you can earn up to $25,000 for creating your prom attire--and there is even a category for couples!  Stuck at Prom is the coolest scholarship around.  Students (and couples) are challenged to create their own prom outfits made ENTIRELY from Duct Tape (the only brand allowed in the contest).  Then, you have to wear those outfits to the prom for the chance to win scholarship cash! 

Read the information and then look some of the winners' creations.  

To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must make their high school prom attire out of Duck brand duct tape.  Applicants must submit one photo of themselves--as a single entry or as a couple entry--in their duct tape prom attire to be judged on workmanship, originality, use of colors, accessories, and use of Duct Brand duct tape.  See website for full award and eligibility details.

Deadline:Apr 5
Range:$1,500 - $25,000

Monday, October 30, 2017


is Free Application Week.  

Below is a link to colleges offering FREE APPLICATION this week.  COLLEGE FREE APPLICATION WEEK

You can apply to up to 14 schools.  GET BUSY! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


I'm sure you are hearing about FAFSA at your school.  We have scheduled SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4th to help you get it filed CORRECTLY the first time.  
There are lots of details, so make sure you get all of the information entered correctly.  All of the TRIO UB staff and tutors will be available to help you!

Monday, October 9, 2017


Between now and January, the majority of scholarships will be due--especially the high dollar ones.  Where should you start?  I tell students to start this way--
1) Get a calendar and mark down specific scholarships you qualify for.  (For example, if you have had adversitites, the Horacio Alger Scholarship is due October 25th).  Here is the link:  HORACIO ALGER SCHOLARSHIP.  GET STARTED NOW, since there is a part I have to complete AFTER you do yours.  

2) Use your story on multiple applications.  The Horacio Alger and Smith have a similar question, as does the AAEOPP and SAEOPP Survivor Scholarships.  Once you do the hard part--writing it down--, you can let me edit it (and then you can use parts of it again).  

Friday, October 6, 2017


The University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound Programs are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a Math and Science grant from the U.S. Department of Education in the amound of $263.936.00 per year for the next five years.  This grant will allow us to serve an additional sixty (60) students from Bibb, Chilton, and Shelby counties.

The TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science program is designed to strengthen the math and science skills of participating students.  The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science, and to encourage them to pursue postsecondary degrees in related fields of study, and ultimately move on to careers in math and science professions.

This program will offer a six week summer residential program with intensive math and science training and skill development; year-round counseling and advisement; exposure to faculty members who conduct research in mathematics and the science; computer training; and student-involved scientific research under the guidance of faculty members and graduate students, who are serving as mentors.

This fall we will offer a one-time open enrollment for students in grades 9-12.  Students must have at least a 2.5 grade point average, be a first generation college student (neither parent graduated from a 4-year college), and/or from low-income household (a family of four annual income of less than $36,900). Students must also be interested in pursuing a postsecondary degree in math or science.     

Monday, October 2, 2017

SUCCESS 101: Practical Tips for SUCCESS

Follow this link to the Success 101 Power Point presented at the TRIO Upward Bound Parent and New Student Orientation on October 2.

SUCCESS 101: Practical Tips for SUCCESS

Friday, September 15, 2017


Here are the college visits for this fall.  Contact Mr. Barnes at if you would like to visit these schools.

Friday, September 1, 2017


It’s September 1st.  

For those Seniors who attended the TRIO UB Summer Component, you should have at least one Letter of Admission (from the University of Montevallo) if your ACT is above 18 and you have a 3.0 GPA.  

Not sure where you want to attend (or how many colleges you should apply to)?  I tell students that they need to think through their college choices in this way:

DREAM SCHOOLwhere you would like to attend if you have the $$$ and funding; it has your intended major and you have a competitive GPA (3.0 or higher) and ACT score (22--24 or higher).

REACH SCHOOLthis school has basic admission requirements, such as a competitive GPA of 3.0 and an ACT of 20—22 or higher.  This is a school where you have some funding to help pay for your education, since the cost of college attendance PER YEAR is $12,000—$18,000.

SAFETY SCHOOLthis is usually a junior college, or a college within a 30—45 minute drive) somewhere you can attend if you have a lower GPA and can take advantage of lower tuition.  You can often complete basic courses and then transfer to another school to focus on your major.  

Your Safety School might also be your Dream School or Reach school, but to be successful, you want to choose the RIGHT SCHOOL.  Take the time to research colleges, visit the campus, and then decide which college is the "right fit" for you.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Here are the dates for the TRIO Upward Bound Academic Sessions. Students check in from 5:00--5:25.  Classes begin at 5:30, and students are dismissed at 8:30.  New students will NOT attend the September 19th session.  New students should ride the bus for the October 2nd session.


For some Upward Bound students, that VERY special letter has come in--your first letter of college admission.  WHOO HOO!  And, while this is exciting news, there's more to be done.  

  • Before you snap a picture, use a small piece of paper to cover up your STUDENT ID number. Then, SHARE it--to the world if you want but especially for me.
  • Put your Letter of Admission in your senior binder so that, when we have our first Upward Bound Senior Success Seminar on October 3rd, we can scan your letter for your digital file.  You will thank me later for this, especially when scholarship committees ask for verification.
  • Review what the letter says to do next--log into your student account, attend a preview day, etc.
  • Look at departmental scholarships for your school.  These are sometimes merit-based, but other times, they want an essay, portfolio, or audition.  
  • Keep a check list of different college admissions and then figure out which college is right for you (based on academic interest, finances, and environment). 

If you applied to UM this past summer but haven't gotten a letter of acceptance, we need to figure out why.  Sometimes, they need more paperwork.  Othertimes, they want an Admission Fee.  (Remember the Request for Admission Deferral I gave you this summer).  If you need more of these, just let me know.

For others, who didn't meet ACT or GPA requirements, you need to get busy.  The deadline for the October ACT is September 16th, so you may want to go ahead and register now.  

It's important for ALL SENIORS to have an OUTSTANDING semester, because these are the grades scholarship committees will see last on your transcript.  SHOW YOU ARE COLLEGE BOUND!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Here is a link to a website where you can do a scholarship search by state:  Scholarship Search by State.   

Of course, if you want to search other states, you can--just remember that oftentimes, you will have to pay out of state tuition rates.

There are LOTS of scholarships listed here.  Look through the different pages--especially by school and see what scholarships are available at particular schools where you you are interested in attending.

Monday, August 21, 2017



Seniors, if you created a shared file in your Google Drive, I have uploaded a copy of your status report, which details Community Service and Cultural Enrichment totals.  

I know some of you are trying to update your resume and/or fill out scholarship applications, so this will help.  I am also trying to make sure your transcript is in your drive.  If you have an ACT score higher than the copy in your drive folder contact me so I can update that information, too.

Most importantly, stay focused!  Senior year can be fun, but it can become stress-filled if you don't stay on track.  Contact, either by calling or by text.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

QUESTBRIDGE--Deadline September 27

2017 National College Match

Apply by September 27 for full scholarships to top colleges

QuestBridge students have succeeded academically while experiencing long-term financial hardship.
We are looking for academically stellar students who have demonstrated a level of academic achievement that meets the admissions standards of our college partners. These are students whom you can envision thriving on the campus of a leading college. In addition, students must demonstrate ongoing financial hardship.
The characteristics below are based on successful QuestBridge applicants from previous years, and are not strict requirements or cut-offs:

Academic Achievement:

  • In the top 5% or 10% of their class.
  • Have received mostly A’s in the most rigorous classes available.
  • Strong standardized test scores (if taken).

Financial Qualification:

  • Household income is less than $65,000 a year, and often less for a typical family of four, with minimal assets.
  • Often eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Personal Circumstances:

  • Often in the first generation in their family to attend a four-year U.S. college.
  • Strong personal character and unusually high level of family responsibility (caring for siblings, part-time work to support family financially, etc.)
  • Extracurricular achievements, such as leadership or community activities.



I will put some of the links on FB, but I will try to list some of the major ones here.  You should CAREFULLY read the information to see if you qualify (most have GPA requirements, income levels (found on Page 1 of your parent's tax forms), essays, documentation of leadership and service to the community.  

The Horacio Alger Scholarship 
(DEADLINE October 25th)--Go to this scholarship link HERE. "The Horacio Alger Association honors the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and who are committed to supporting young people in pursuit of increased opportunities through higher education." 

You have a story to tell, and your essays should be thoroughly thought out and edited (put these in your Google Drive Senior folder and make sure it is shared with Mrs. Buff  View details about the scholarship here with this poster link Horacio Alger Scholarship Poster.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


It's time for the ACT again.  If you are a senior and have not scored what you want (20 minimum) or 30 for the full paid scholarships, look at the September and October dates--but check band schedules/other events that may hinder you.  PLAN AHEAD.  Most of the BIG scholarships have Dec. 1 or early Jan. due dates.

Friday, May 26, 2017


College Applicants, Beware: Your Facebook Page Is Showing

John Hechinger, Wall Street Journal
Updated Sept. 18, 2008 11:59 p.m. ET

High-school seniors already fretting about grades and test scores now have another worry: Will their Facebook or MySpace pages count against them in college admissions?
A new survey of 500 top colleges found that 10% of admissions officers acknowledged looking at social-networking sites to evaluate applicants. Of those colleges making use of the online information, 38% said that what they saw "negatively affected" their views of the applicant. Only a quarter of the schools checking the sites said their views were improved, according to the survey by education company Kaplan, a unit of Washington Post Co.
Some admissions officers said they had rejected students because of material on the sites. Jeff Olson, who heads research for Kaplan's test-preparation division, says one university did so after the student gushed about the school while visiting the campus, then trashed it online. Kaplan promised anonymity to the colleges, of which 320 responded. The company surveyed schools with the most selective admissions.

The vast majority of the colleges surveyed had no policy about when it was appropriate for school officials to look at prospective students' social-networking sites. "We're in the early stage of a new technology," Mr. Olson says. "It's the Wild, Wild West. There are no clear boundaries or limits."
The lack of rules is already provoking debate among admissions officers. Some maintain that applicants' online data are public information that schools should vet to help protect the integrity of the institutions. Others say they are uncomfortable flipping through teenage Facebook pages.
Colleges' recent interest in social-networking sites is leading many aspiring students to take a hard look at their online habits and in some cases to remove or change postings. With a high-school graduating class nationwide of 3.3 million students, colleges are expected to be sifting through a record number of applications this year.
Nicholas Santangelo, a senior at Seton Hall Prep, a private school in West Orange, N.J., says he expects colleges might look at his Facebook site but hopes admissions officers realize the postings reflect only a partial view of any student. "There are some things I might think about getting rid of," says Nicholas, 17, who is considering such competitive schools as Amherst College and Wesleyan University.
Sites like Facebook and MySpace let users set up online profiles -- including pictures, videos and other personal information -- then solicit others to join their network of online "friends." Users can exchange messages, often publicly, and sometimes offer detailed descriptions of their activities, dreams and fears.
The sites have inspired many a national conversation over privacy and exhibitionism. Some job applicants have already discovered the hard way that employers often examine the sites to weed out candidates. Representatives of the sites say users can establish online privacy settings that let their pages be viewed only by invited "friends." MySpace is part of News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal. Facebook is closely held.
But Kaplan and many high-school guidance counselors say students often don't restrict public access on social-networking sites and, in any case, damaging information can find a way to leak out. David Hawkins, director of public policy and research for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, a professional organization, says schools don't have time to scour the Internet systematically to check out thousands of applicants. But he says admissions officers at times receive anonymous tips, which may be from rival applicants, about embarrassing Facebook or MySpace material, such as a picture of a student drunk at an underage party.
In another recent study, Nora Ganim Barnes, director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, found that 21% of colleges used social-networking sites for recruiting prospects and gathering information about applicants. It's especially common when universities are awarding scholarships because it isn't hard to go online for a handful of finalists. "No one wants to be on the front page of the newspaper for giving a scholarship to a murderer," she says. "Everybody is trying to protect their brands."
Thomas Griffin, director of undergraduate admissions at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, says the school will do an Internet search, including Facebook and other sites, if an application raises "red flags," such as a suspension from school. Mr. Griffin says several applicants a year have been rejected in part because of information on social-networking sites. In a recent case, the university researched a student who disclosed on his application that he had been disciplined for fighting. The school found a Facebook page with a picture of the applicant holding a gun. "We have to use this information to make the best decision for the university," Mr. Griffin says.
Janet Lavin Rapelye, dean of admission at Princeton University, says the school hasn't rejected any applicant because of information posted on the Internet. Princeton doesn't have time to look at all applicants' online information, but if an offensive Facebook post came to the college's attention, the school would examine it, Ms. Rapelye says. "All of us would consider anything that would cause us to doubt a student's character," she says.
Greg Roberts, senior associate dean of admission at the University of Virginia, says his staff is free to check out anonymous tips about social-networking sites or make use of the information if the admissions committee is evaluating a "tight" decision.
Sandra Starke, vice provost for enrollment management at the State University of New York at Binghamton, says she instructs her staff to ignore Facebook and other sites because she considers postings to be casual conversations, the online equivalent of street-corner banter. "At this age, the students are still experimenting," she says. "It's a time for them to learn. It's important for them to grow. We need to be careful how we might use Facebook."
Marc Prablek, a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in suburban St. Louis, considers Facebook information "out in the public" and fair game for colleges. The 17-year-old, with some 550 "friends," says, "I don't have anything bad on Facebook," but he may tweak his profile to be "more sophisticated."
Marc, who plans to apply early to Stanford University, says he won't mention that he loves to read X-Men comic books. His Facebook literary picks currently include "Crime and Punishment" and "Pride and Prejudice."
High-school guidance counselors advise applicants, even if they restrict public access on their sites, to refrain from including anything that could hurt them in college admissions. They especially caution against foul or offensive language, nudity, or photos of drinking and drug use.
"Students need to be accountable for their actions," says Scott Anderson, director of college guidance at St. George's Independent School, a private school near Memphis, Tenn. When writing on Facebook or MySpace, he says, they should be thinking, "Is this something you want your grandmother to see?"

Write to John Hechinger at

Friday, April 21, 2017



In the college admissions process, nothing is more important than a student’s high school academic record.  You should know what information is included in this record and how colleges use this information.

Admissions Criteria

Colleges use some, if not all, of the information listed below when determining whether or not to accept an applicant.  Individual colleges, however, differ in how they evaluate this information.  For example, one college may place a great deal of importance of standardized test scores, such as the ACT.  Other colleges may focus on more factors, but the main three are these:
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) 
  • Academic Rigor
  • ACT scores

Colleges will review these three criteria using your high school transcript, which details the courses you have taken in grades 9-12.  A current cumulative GPA  (based on a 4.0 scale) is used.  It is crucial your GPA be a 3.0 or above for college admission.  For scholarships, a 3.5 GPA is recommended. High schools have “weighted” grades for Honors, AP, or dual enrollment classes.  By taking these rigorous courses, you can improve your GPA and even have a GPA higher than a 4.0 at graduation, which is VERY IMPRESSIVE.  The minimum GPA you should have is a 20, but again the higher the score, the more opportunity to earn admission and scholarships.  

Competitive scholarships, often called merit-based scholarships, often require GPA’s of 3.5 or above and ACT scores of 25 or above. The higher these two numbers, the more money available to you!

If you haven't been able to schedule a one-to-one SENIOR STRATEGY SESSION with Mrs. Buff before the start of school, don't delay!  We need a plan of action to get you on the path for a FANTASTIC FUTURE and a COLLEGE DEGREE!

Thursday, April 6, 2017


This Memorial Scholarship is established to honor the memory of our beloved mother, Mrs. Ora L. Jones, who passed away on May 30, 2011 from Congestive Heart Disease. Throughout her life she significantly impacted and influenced countless individuals by rendering sacrificial service. This scholarship is established with the following goal in mind: to help educate a child in order to motivate them to live out the principles modeled by our mother so that they can demonstrate a life of service by reaching back and helping somebody else along life’s journey.
To be awarded to: a High School Graduate of Shelby County or a surrounding area.
1.  Must have an acceptance letter to either a 2 yr or 4 yr College or University.
2.  Must have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.
3.  Must submit a 1000 word typed essay which depicts the importance of the scholarship and describes how they will use their education to give back to the community.
4.  Must provide a cover letter with the following:
a.  Full name
b.  Address, phone number, email, and name of high school you graduated from.
c.  A brief biography about yourself.
Deadline for entryApril 30, 2017
Scholarship to be awarded: by May 20, 20173 Scholarships awarded: $1,000 minimum each
“If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


University of Montevallo TRIO Upward Bound BRIDGE Summer Studies program

What is Bridge?  The TRIO Upward Bound program offers newly graduated Seniors to “BRIDGE” their summer after graduation and take a University of Montevallo class for college credit.  At the end of the course, students can transfer this college coursework to any college/university of their choosing.
What are the qualifications for Bridge?  All Bridge students must meet the following guidelines:
1)    Be accepted to the University of Montevallo for Summer I before April 17th (usually minimum requirements are an 18 ACT Composite and a 3.0 GPA).  GPA’s below 3.0 require a higher ACT score.
2)    Complete the Bridge application and submit it before April 3rd
3)    Have met all Community Service requirements (8 total), Cultural Enrichment requirements (24 total) before April 10th
4)    Have attended 12/16 Academic Sessions (or Super Saturday make up Sessions) per year.
5  Complete the TRIO Upward Bound Bridge Interview—April 17 and 18.  (You will be assigned a time for your interview once all of the above qualifications are satisfied).
What does the Bridge Summer Studies program cost?  Nothing.  The program pays for your tuition for 1 college class.  The TRIO UB program also provides room and board, fees, meals, books, tutoring, and supplies needed for the class (an approximate cost of $5,000).
Are there additional benefits of the Bridge program?  For students planning to attend the University of Montevallo in the Fall, it is wise to complete the Bridge program.  At the completion of the Bridge program, students who have attended UB every summer qualify for the University of Montevallo Tuition Scholarship, which covers one 3 hour course for 8 semesters (approximately $700 x 8=$5,600 over four years) as long as you maintain a 2.5 GPA.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Today, March 2, is National Read Across America Day.  This is from my favorite book (OH THE PLACES YOU'LL GO), but this afternoon, I'll be doing the AAWU Adelante Book Group, where I will be reviewing I'M JUST A PERSON by Tig Notaro.  If you need CE credits, this would be a quick 1 hour credit.  The fun starts at 4:00 at Carmichael Library.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Hello There!

College Marathon

JUNIORS AND SENIORS:  Join us for the Greenlight to College Marathon, Saturday February 25th. Comer 108 from 8:30--noon.  If you have an internet connection you can also work from 1:00-5:00 for more opportunities to win.

During this FREE, online event you can enter a raffle to earn a chance to win up to $100 every hour and qualify for a $1,000 scholarship.

You must upload evidence of the following to enter the raffles: