We Love Our BELA Families!
You have a community in BELA.
We truly value the relationships we have with our BELA families and we’re here for you. We respect the trust that you place in us to help guide your student’s educational journey and we will work every day to deliver on our promise to you. We’re here to support you, to partner with you and to cheer on your student’s success.
We believe in transparency and we are committed to an open line of communication. Our doors (as well as our phone lines and emails) are always open and we look forward to seeing and hearing from you!
Please take some time to look over the information for families in this section. You’ll find key documents and resources here, including our Student and Family Handbook and college success resources.
BELA students will attend and complete college.
True to our mission, BELA works closely with all our students and families to navigate the college admissions process and ensure a successful college experience:
- College Success Program; weekly college readiness courses
- Overnight college visits
- SAT/ACT test preparation
- Academic advising
- Career exploration
- Personalized student and family college counseling re: scholarships, financial aid and the college application process
College Readiness Milestones
BELA’s College Success program ensures lower school students are taking the first steps on their journey toward college beginning in the 9th grade. As students progress through the curriculum, their readiness for college increases. They will learn to develop sound study skills, research the different types of colleges, understand the basics of financial aid, write a resume, practice interviewing skills and apply for summer opportunities to strengthen their college applications.
By their junior year, students are well on their way! They understand the different types of financial aid available and they should be applying for aid with a close eye on the deadline dates – generally, the earlier, the better. They should also have completed a college list and be working on the first draft of their personal statement and teacher recommendation requests.
Almost there! Thanks to all the work you’ve done up to this point, you’re more than ready to take the final steps. In the fall of your senior year, you’ll complete and submit applications to your colleges of choice. By spring, you’ll know where you have been accepted – and you’ll decide where you will attend college!
It can be overwhelming to decide where you would like to attend college with so many options available. Start by thinking about the following: majors offered, location, size, cost to attend, extracurriculars and requirements for admission. Which of these factors is most important to you? Once you’ve narrowed down your list of choices, take some time to visit the college campuses that interest you. If an in-person visit is not possible, many colleges now offer comprehensive virtual tours, along with sites like:
A personal statement is an essay you write to show college admissions officials who you are. It is a great way to demonstrate your uniqueness! The essay is an opportunity to display who you are, what you value and why you would be a good fit for a particular program.
Start early so you have enough time to brainstorm, outline, write and revise your work. Read examples of other students’ personal statements. Look to your teachers and advisors for guidance. They can review your essay and offer suggestions.
Your teachers and counselors have experience writing recommendation letters and they want to help you succeed! Ask someone who knows you well. Give them plenty of time to write the letter and be sure to follow up and thank them.
Applying and Financial Aid
Yes! You don’t know how much you can afford until you apply and find out how much aid you can receive. Most students receive financial aid to help pay for college costs. You may be eligible for financial aid in the forms of grants and scholarships (money you don’t have to repay) and loans (money you do have to repay) and work-study programs, which allow you to work part-time to earn money to help pay for college expenses. Some institutions also offer grants and scholarships for first-generation students.
You must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal student aid. October 1 of the year before you go to college is the first day to apply for federal aid (FAFSA). College, state and private financial aid deadlines vary. Aim to file for federal aid as soon as possible after October 1. This site can provide more information:
Filling out FAFSA application
2020 tax returns and W2 statements
This video describes the different types of financial aid:
This college preparation checklist will answer many of your questions and can help keep you on track:
College Preparation Checklist
Parent Portal and Policies