Category Archives: ACT Prep

Planning for the Future Part 1: FAFSA

I was sending a link to my blog the other day and imagine my surprise when I saw:

Thoughts that ran through my head:

1) Holy crap–2,000+ subscribe to this blog?!?  That’s crazy.

2) Especially when I haven’t posted much this past year.

3) I should probably remedy that.

So my goal is to get the rest of my math stuff up for Algebra II, Precal, and Geometry, along with sharing some stuff from what I’m currently teaching: ACT Prep.


She’s a tri-colored corgi and about the sweetest pup ever! Which is good because she’s also quite the troublemaker as well. 🙂 Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@mathymeg07) for more pics of her and Addison.


In an effort to remain sane, last semester I decided to add some “plan for your future prep” to the class because I can only talk about apostrophes and commas for so long. I had the class research careers and colleges and we also discussed financial aid. I’ll be sharing my resources over the next month or so, but wanted to start today with the FAFSA.  (Note: in case this isn’t clear, I have NO training or recent experience in financial aid, college applications, or scholarships. I learned everything from the Internet and I should not be a substitute for professional legal or financial advice. 🙂 )

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve had to deal with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Imagine a tax form that was developed in the 1950’s and involves a student’s tax returns as well as the returns of his or her parents. Oh, and the form *just* determines how much money you can get for college and what kind (grants, loans, work-study). Oh, AND some of the money is first-come, first-serve, so it behooves you to submit it as soon as possible. No problemo, right? We all know our students are awesome at following complicated directions and filling out forms. But just in case, here are some things that you may to talk with your students about or at least give them the information so they can look it over with their parents.

  • Note the first word in FAFSA is FREE. So of course there are scam websites that offer to submit your application for a fee. Not only are you giving these scammers money, but you’re also giving them highly sensitive information! Only use the website. Underclassmen can also use the FAFSA4caster on the site to fill out a sample FAFSA and get an approximation of aid.
  • In 2016, they moved the opening date from January to October, which means this year’s seniors need to fill out and submit their form as close to October 1, 2017, as possible for Fall 2018 aid.
  • You must fill out a new FAFSA every year.
  •  Oklahoma’s UCanGo2 website has a great powerpoint in the “FAFSA toolkit,” as well as posters and parent flyers to download.
  • My favorite resource is the booklet (also available in Spanish) from I even made a companion worksheet for my students so they would be sure to read important information: (Google Doc here) Yes, more than one student asked me if they should count the corgis as part of the household number.
  • Depending on your student population, you may want to draw attention to page 4 and 5 of the Understanding FAFSA book. It discusses questions about being “too rich” as well as immigration/documentation issues.

Maybe your school is already on top of this, but if not, here are some ideas to help your student out: (a) plan a financial aid information night (b) email information to parents and students (c) make a plan with senior teachers about each course covering a different college topic throughout the year (maybe English could cover application essays, math can do loans, gov’t/econ FAFSA, and science scholarships) (d) make Fridays “Financial Fridays” and spend 5-10 minutes each week on a topic (e) work with your guidance counselors and/or librarians to make a presentation that can be given in senior classes.

Stayed tuned for more resources coming soon! And a big thanks and hug to all of my subscribers and followers!

Category: ACT Prep | Tags: ,

A Good ACT Score #MTBoSBlaugust

Trying to get back onto the Blaugust bandwagon! Man, does school ever take it out of you or what?!?

As you may know, I’m teaching ACT Prep this year. All the sections, not just math. With no curriculum. Oh, and have I mentioned I grew up in Texas where we take the SAT so I’ve never even taken it? (I am taking each practice test with them. We’ve just done the reading one and I got a 35/36. I feel like I’m back in high school again comparing scores…)

Did I mention that I was given no curriculum. No workbooks. No website. No books. No idea what I’m doing.

Which means the PrepScholar ACT blog is my new BFF. So far it has been the most helpful site I’ve found. The posts are very thorough and well-written. They also have hints for people that are middle-of-the-pack trying to improve and for those that are trying to get a perfect score. One thing I really liked was their What is a Good ACT Score? post. I liked it so much I modified it and made it into a day’s activity:

Good ACT score

(ugh, gdoc file here. I’m sorry.) (Thanks to Chris Haren for letting me know I had the complete wrong description for 75th percentile. It is now fixed in the pic & in the file!) The neat thing is they have a page for each college with GPA, SAT, and ACT scores-just google “schoolname prepscholar ACT.” And if you scroll to the bottom of the prepscholar page, it even has a little calculator that tells you your chances of getting in.

For example, here’s my alma mater: Samford University. It’s also fun when a student mishears it (as many people do) and we end up comparing it to Stanford University.

After the students got scores from five colleges, they figured out their goal scores. I then had them make a motivational poster with their goal GPA and ACT score to hang in the classroom because who doesn’t like a motivational poster, amirite?

I know most of y’all are not teaching ACT, but I thought it might be a good thing to file away for an emergency sub plan, weird scheduling day, or when you just can’t even.

Category: ACT Prep | Tags: ,