ST. ANTHONY, Idaho - The Idaho State Board of Education is jumping on a national initiative to have every high school senior apply for a post-secondary program. It's called College Application Week, and Idaho is testing out its pilot program in 18 high schools statewide.
"It's pretty stressful, seeing if you will make it or not make it," said Justin Bell, a senior at South Fremont High School in St. Anthony. Bell has not started applying to college, but he does want to go.
"I am thinking Snow College in Utah or Utah Community College. I want to be a diesel mechanic," Bell said.
By the end of this week, he and all of his senior classmates at South Fremont will have submitted at least one application.
"The state has an initiative now that by the year 2020, 60 percent of our students should be college graduates. Right now, Idaho is next to the bottom in the United States," said Renee Ritter, a counselor at South Fremont.
That's where College Application Week comes in. The first step to reaching that goal is applying.
At South Fremont, the big application is Thursday. Seniors will take over computer labs for the day. Counselors and teachers will help them through the process for applying to any post-secondary program.
"They are supposed to have pre-written their essays for the colleges that require them, not all universities do require an essay, but we hope that they are prepared," said Ritter. If an application requires a fee, students will complete the application at school and the payment at home. The school already requires students to take a standardized college admissions test, so students should already know their scores.
Students have help preparing all week long, including filling out a form with their top three schools and if there are any special requirements. College admission representatives will also be available. Then, students can write their dream schools and majors on posters in the halls. There are also stacks of prizes, including a laptop computer, for motivation.
If this year's program is successful, the State Board of Education hopes to expand College Application Week statewide next year.