Comets in the Classroom

Mr. Steven Undseth's Bible class provides students with a framework for critical thinking helping students better understand God's word.

The worries of college and graduation are close at hand for Hillcrest students. Preparing for post-secondary studies doesn’t mean a student can’t enjoy high school, but headaches are avoided for students who start thinking of their transition to adulthood early. College discussions help students consider what they should pursue in life and what steps to take in attaining their goal. Mrs. Ruth Juliot, Hillcrest’s guidance counselor, gave suggestions for where high school students should prepare in their steps toward college.


“Sophomores may feel like college is a long way off. However, things they do now will help them when the time comes,” said Mrs. Juliot. Sophomores tend to think their worries center on obtaining good grades and surviving high school, but there are actually other tasks a sophomore can do to help them later in high school preparation for college. 


Class grades and students’ grade point average (GPA) are very important. College admission decisions oftentimes are decided by a student’s GPA. 

There are other activites a sophomore should consider. Mrs. Juliot tells sophomores that “getting some work and volunteer experience in your areas of interest is good as well, it helps you to know what you may eventually choose as a college major and future career.”


Juniors in high school also need to stay on top of college preparation. A junior should sign up for both  the ACT and SAT. Taking at least one of the tests twice will undoubtedly increase performance on the standarized exams. Juniors should study for the exams during summer vacation, taking the exams in the spring of their senior year. 


Mrs. Juliot also advises special college visits. Most students should accomplish this before their junior year of high school to gather a feel for the college campus. 


Senior year for some is a time to enjoy the final year of high school, but college preparation should continue. Seniors should apply to at least two colleges prior to the start of their senior year in high school. Having taken the ACT or SAT test as juniors, students will have the necessary information to complete the college application process.


There are large amounts of forms that seniors need to complete before graduation. The federal application for student aid (FAFSA) will open in January of a student’s senior year. International students need to complete the TOEFL test if they are planning to attend college in the United States. 


Once students receive communication from colleges they’ve applied to they need to compare admission packages the school offers. Financial aid, scholarships and housing costs are important to parse in choosing a school to attend. 


Hillcrest’s rigorous graduation requirements prepare students for college. “The AP and honors classes we offer help students learn to study, compose essays, and think at a college level,” said Mrs. Juliot. “I have heard positive feedback from past graduates, appreciating the preparation they received.” 

99% of Hillcrest graduates from the past five years attend either a two year or four year college after their time at Hillcrest. “A good portion of our local students, and some from out-of-state, about 20%, attend our own M-State here in Fergus Falls; having excellent programs at a much lower cost than many four year schools. The remaining 79% choose to attend a variety of four year schools. Some popular choices are Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA; Bethel University and Northwestern in St. Paul, MN; University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN; NDSU in Fargo, ND; MSUM in Moorhead, MN; and UWEC in Eau Claire, WI,” reported Mrs. Juliot. 


The guidance office at Hillcrest is full of resources for students to use. Across from the office there are bulletin boards and magazine racks full of informative material. There are also SAT/ACT study materials, books on colleges and information on possible majors. The school bulletin and website also give ACT/SAT test dates and scholarship information. 


Mrs. Juliot is a very good resource as well. She hopes that students will use these resources to help with college preparation. Still she is continually impressed with Hillcrest students noting there is a lot going on, and she likes seeing students assert themselves and work towards the plan God has for them. Mrs. Juliot is in the guidance office Mondays, Wednesday, and every other Friday.