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Parent Resources » Counselor's Corner

Counselor's Corner

Rachel Sims, M.Ed. LPC-I K-12 Guidance Counselor

To Email Her: CLICK HERE


Hey Texas Leadership Family! This homepage is here to help you if you have any questions concerning your emotional needs, grades, courses, college applications, and testing. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to me via email and I’ll be there to support you along the way. Click on the following sections below for resources.


Meet Your Counselor  |

Hello Eagles! My name is Miss Sims, and I’m excited to be the New Guidance Counselor for Texas Leadership of Arlington (TLA)! I’ve been in the Education System 8 years, and I’ve finally found my home with TLA! I am from the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area, and graduated from The Colony High School. After graduation, I furthered my education at Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, as well as a Master’s Degree in Counseling & Guidance. I’m currently enrolled in Liberty University to earn my Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. I’m also a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern. I love to travel, and have been to 19 countries. I love to hike, sky dive, or anything that says Adventure! I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of you and your children, and so happy and excited to be a part of this Eagle Family.


I am here to serve you, so if you ever need anything, my email is listed above for any questions, comments, or concerns.



Contacting Your TLA Counselor  |


We are working remotely to help our students, teachers, and staff. Reach out to your counselor via email if you have any questions or concerns.



We understand that the mental health needs of our students continue, even when we are not in school.
If you have concerns about the mental health or well-being of a child in your care, please use the resources below to assist in getting them the support that they need, or call 9-1-1.



Cook Children's Emergency Department
886 6th Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76104
(682) 885-4095 


JPS Emergency Department
1575 S. Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76104 


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Toll-Free: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Toll-Free (español): 1-888-628-9454
TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889) 
Website in English: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 
Website in Spanish: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/en-espanol/


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 
SAMHSA Hotlines SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline Toll-Free: 1-800-985-5990 (English and español) 
SMS: Text TalkWithUs to 66746
SMS (español): “Hablanos” al 66746
TTY: 1-800-846-8517
Website in English: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline  
Website in Spanish: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/espanol  
SAMHSA’s National Helpline Toll-Free: 1-800-662-HELP (24/7/365 Treatment Referral Information Service in English and español)   

Parents, we know the transition from middle school to high school can be a little frightening for both parents and students. We are here to help you with that transition. Please call us anytime with questions or concerns you have as you go through this process. We look forward to getting to know you and your student.


FRESHMAN CHECKLIST  |  https://www.collegeraptor.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Freshman_College_Checklist.pdf


Now that you're in 9th grade, it's time to evaluate your career plans. By starting early, you'll be better prepared. (from www.pathwayspse.com) or browse the College and Career tab.


  • Don't neglect your study habits! Keep up the good work, and continue to improve your study skills.
  • Continue to explore post-secondary credit opportunities including college, technical schools, special purpose schools, apprenticeships, and the military related to your selected career interest.
  • Talk to your guidance counselors, advisor, teachers, family members or trusted adults about your plans for college.
  • Create a Plan of Study (POS) to keep track of your courses and grades. You may get a copy of your POS or graduation plan from your counselor
  • Start thinking about the colleges you want to attend. Find out about college entrance requirements for the schools you're in which you are interested. Browse the college and career tab
  • Create a file of the following documents and notes: report cards, lists of awards and honors, school and community activities, and volunteer work. This can be documented in the form of a resume. Very handy!
  • Find out about AP and other honors-level courses you can take in high school to help you prepare for college or earn college credit. Explore post-secondary credit opportunities including college, technical schools, special purpose schools, apprenticeships, and the military related to your selected career interest.
  • Continue to get involved in campus and community activities.
  • Take the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT), to evaluate your skills in English, math, reading and science reasoning. It's good practice and your scores won't count towards your college application.
  • How are you spending your summer? Volunteering and educational programs can help give you a better idea about what kind of training or career would be right for you. Consider a youth apprenticeship, internship or other work-based learning programs.
  • Change can be difficult. Try taking some small steps towards independence this year, perhaps with more responsibility around your house.

By the time you’re a sophomore, you may have already realized why preparing for college requires a four-year plan. Your current school work and activities are beginning to pile up, so it’s natural for you not to think about anything but the present. Check back with your counselor and see how you are doing academically and whether you’re on track with your yearly plan.


A couple of recommended sophomore tasks include taking the PSAT to familiarize yourself with the ACT and SAT testing format as well as beginning the search for where you might want to go for college and what you might want to do professionally. This sophomore-year checklist also contains a few links to give you even more information on what you need to know to prepare.

You don’t need to wait on anyone else to get started with these steps. Keep asking questions and taking initiative!


SOPHOMORE CHECKLIST  |  https://www.collegeraptor.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Sophomore_College_Checklist.pdf


The Junior year of high school is usually the most difficult. Not only is it the year in which you take your toughest classes, but it’s also the year in which talk about college prep is the most intense. But don’t worry; you still have time to do what you need to do. Continue to meet with your counselor and ask questions to make sure you’re academically secure to graduate high school. You can also make sure you know the academic requirements for the colleges and universities you might want to attend and see if you are academically secure for those, too. What’s more, you can attend college fairs and narrow down your choices, you can visit and tour them, you can apply for scholarships and job shadow, you can update your résumé, and you can talk to your parents about finances. Your junior year is also when you can take and/or retake the ACT and SAT. That’s a lot to do, but your teachers and counselors know about your to-dos and are ready to help and cheer you on.


By the end of the year, you should have a pretty good idea of your top colleges of choice and maybe an idea of your desired career. Your junior year can be stressful, but these steps can help it feel more manageable.


By the end of the year, you should have a pretty good idea of your top colleges of choice and maybe an idea of your desired career. Your junior year can be stressful, but these steps can help it feel more manageable.


JUNIOR CHECKLIST  |https://www.collegeraptor.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Junior_College_Checklist.pdf


You made it to your last year of high school! Congratulations are in order, but don’t relax just yet. It’s important that you finish strong without giving in to "senioritis." During your senior year, you can now apply to the colleges you narrowed your choices down to. You can also continue to retake the SAT or ACT. And, of course, make sure you keep in touch with your advisor to ensure you’re on track for graduation.


Senior Checklist  |   https://www.collegeraptor.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Senior_College_Checklist.pdf


High school can be the fastest four years of your life, so a clear plan to prepare for college can keep you from rushing through your college search and applications. Cherish each moment and know that we are cheering you on!!
Information about Dual Credit (Coming Soon)!
Information about the SAT / ACT / TSI Testing (Coming Soon)

College Application Deadlines

Early Decision

  • If you are applying under “Early Decision Admission,” you are required to commit to that college or university at the time of application.
  • You should apply under early admission only if you know that you can make a well-reasoned, first-choice decision.
  • You may apply to other colleges but may have only one Early Decision application pending at any time.
  • Colleges will respond to requests for financial aid at or near the time admission is offered.
  • If admitted, you must enroll unless the financial aid award is inadequate.

Early Action

  • You are permitted to apply to a college or university of your choice and receive a decision early in the senior year, well in advance of the normal spring response dates.
  • You will hear early regarding your admission, are not committed to attend, and may apply to other colleges.
  • If you are applying for financial aid, you must follow the aid application deadlines set by the institution. • Check with the college on specific deadlines but you are encouraged to make a commitment as soon as a final choice is made. Early Notification This is when the college is tightening its admission criteria and has moved up its deadline to assure a diverse group of students attend in the fall. The college/university still has a specific deadline date but waiting until deadline date may be too late.

Regular Decision

  • A regular decision is a plan in which institutions review most of their applications before notifying most candidates of their admission.
  • In this process, colleges set a deadline for completing applications and will respond to completed applications by a specified date.
  •  If you are applying for financial aid, follow aid application deadlines set by the school.
  • You may apply to other colleges.
  • The college will specify a date when the notification of the decision regarding enrolling is required but it will be later in the senior year.

Rolling Admissions

  • This is a term used to describe the application process in which an institution reviews application as they are received and offers decisions to students soon after they are made.
  • If you are applying for financial aid, follow aid application deadlines set by the school.
  • You may apply to other colleges, and you will not be required to make a decision regarding enrolling until later in the senior year (date specified by the college).

Wait List

  • A term used by institutions when they delay offering or denying admission, but there is a possibility of admission in the future.
  • Colleges offer admission to wait list candidates if too few regularly admitted candidates accept their offers of admission.


Need help finding the college that's right for you?

Check out https://www.collegedata.com to search for colleges that match your personal preferences, or find any college by name. Learn more about the colleges in your match results with the best collection of information about more than 2,000 U.S. colleges and universities!


 College, Career, and Military Prep Practice Tests, Tutorials, Computer courses, Flashcards, Career/ College finder



Username: j220907

Password: learn19!






Common Application (Application for Private schools



Apply Texas - (Texas Application for all Colleges)



Do not be afraid to apply to a college due to costs!! Apply for financial aid to that school and it might become a possibility. This section is an introduction to the financial aid process. It is not intended to be an encyclopedia of all existing financial aid programs. It should be used by both you and your parents as you look for the best financial aid package to fund a college education.

  • Financial aid programs were developed to help students pay for college.
  • Funds from the state or federal government, civic groups, churches, employers, and even the colleges themselves enable more and more students to attend an institute of higher learning.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • Detailed information is provided on the following pages in the Financial Assistance Application Process area.
  • Sources of Financial Aid at College: Since the best source of financial aid is through the institution of your choice, it is very important that you contact the financial aid director at the college(s) you are considering. The financial aid director is your primary contact for financial aid throughout your college career.

Types of Scholarships for Financial Aid

Scholarships are usually based on need or achievement. Many scholarships are awarded from the college based on merit. These are available from national, state and local donors, contests, employers, parents’ associations, and many other sources. Scholarships do not have to be paid back.
  • Grants: Grants are federal, state, or local money based on financial need that do not have to be repaid.
  • Combat Deployed Exemption: The legislature of the State of Texas has recently enacted a change to the Education Code. This code allows dependents an exemption from payment of resident tuition. A student who is a dependent child, including stepchild, of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who is a Texas resident or entitled to pay resident tuition (military waiver) and who is deployed on active duty for the purpose of engaging in a combat military operation outside of the United States is eligible for this exemption. Contact your institution for more information and criteria.
  • Work-Study Programs: Work-study programs provide jobs on or off campus for students who demonstrate financial need. Most students work between 10 and 20 hours a week.

  • Loans: Student loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. These include subsidized loans, un-subsidized loans, and parent loans Some are based on need while others are available to any borrower.


Applying for student financial assistance can be complicated. The first and most important step in the application process is to complete the FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the principal application document and the information that you provide on this form serves as the basis for determining your eligibility for the federal student aid programs. You will need to complete the FAFSA for most scholarships and all grants/loans. In addition to the FAFSA, many colleges and universities require students to complete one or more supplemental application forms and a fee may be charged.


Use the online applications at www.fafsa.ed.gov

  • A personal identification number (PIN) is needed to complete the application.
  • Find out from your college aid office whether there are additional forms you need to complete to be considered for institutional or state aid.
  • Complete the forms as instructed and mail them to the appropriate office(s).

Find out the college’s priority deadline for applying for aid.

  • This information should be in the college catalog online or can be obtained by calling the financial aid office.
  • In the appropriate area of the federal application form, indicate which college(s) you want the analysis of the federal application sent.
  • Be sure to give the correct spelling and addresses for your colleges of choice, so your information will be forwarded to them.


When the analysis of the financial information you have provided is complete, the information will be made available to the colleges.

  • Contact the college aid office and make sure they have all the information needed to consider you for local/state aid. If not, provide it promptly.
  • You will receive a summary statement called a Student Aid Report (SAR), which should be reviewed very carefully. Follow instructions for making corrections and return the form. Keep a copy of the corrected form.

When the college finishes working with the SAR information, it will put together a financial aid package containing the types of aid they can offer each student.

  • You will be informed of your aid offer via an award letter from the college.
  • If accepting the offer, you must sign the award letter, return it to the college and keep a copy.
  • If rejecting the offer, let the school know immediately so the financial aid can be offered to other applicants.
  • The school will send you any additional applications it needs to process your request for financial aid.
  • If your family financial situation changes during the year, inform the financial aid office. You will have to provide additional documentation to receive more aid, but schools may be able to provide more money.


What Information is needed? Sometimes students and parents are surprised when they are asked to provide personal financial information for financial aid. Most or all of the data is collected from you to meet requirements of the federal government and to ensure that the financial aid programs are administered fairly for all students. In addition to a financial aid application, you may be required to provide federal tax returns for the student and the parents.

  • Total Income includes: 1) income from tax form, 2) IRA/KEOGH payments, 3) Social Security benefits, 4) AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), and 5) other untaxed income.
  • Standardized Allowances are: 1) Federal income tax paid, 2) Social Security payments, 3) state and other taxes, and 4) income protection allowance based on number of members in a household or in college.
  • Net Worth includes: 1) cash, savings and checking accounts, 2) non-home real estate/investment equity, and 3) net worth of business.
  • Student contribution is: 1) savings from work and gifts, and 2) untaxed income.

Tips for Completing the FAFSA Form:

  • Be sure both student and parent(s) remember to sign electronically.
  • For income reporting, parents often use their W-2 form. They should take the Adjusted Gross Income from their last 1040 federal tax return.
  • Parents should list the actual taxes paid as shown on their last 1040 federal tax return.
  • Students/parents should include Social Security, child support, Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), etc.
  • Divorced parents should list only their own income and that of their current spouse.
  • Fill out a separate application for a Stafford Loan (if required)
  • Check with your college’s financial aid office to verify how they process student loans.
  • Round off numbers to the nearest dollar when filling out portions.
Selective Service Registration



Scholarship Information

You may have read that “millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed each year.” Is this true? It may be, but often for very simple reasons such as that the rules for awarding some scholarships are so restrictive that few students are eligible. For example:

  • Some eligible students don’t apply, apply late, or make mistakes on their applications.
  • The scholarship process requires time, work, and dedication on the part of you and your parents as well as school personnel. Many times those who are the most organized and the most diligent in the application process are the ones who receive scholarships.
You and your parents have the responsibility to:
  • Request FAFSA pin number for online application purposes.
  • Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after October 1, of your senior year. Forms are available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  • Investigate scholarships through the scholarship files in the Guidance Office or online.
Individual college scholarship information may be found at the college’s website.
  • Contact the financial aid director of the college(s) you are considering as soon as you have applied. Financial aid is assigned on a first come, first- served basis.
  • Investigate possible scholarship opportunities available via your parents’ employment, the college or university you will attend, community organizations, and other sources such as the internet.
  • Watch for scholarship opportunities from large corporations, department stores, and restaurant chains such as Target, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, Sears and Whataburger. While these are nationally competitive, local merchants often give awards of smaller amounts with the opportunity to advance to the next level.
  •  Investigate scholarship publications available in the library. You may also buy books on scholarships at local bookstores.
  • Become familiar with your school’s computer software. Check with your Guidance Office about the process and availability of accessing the computers.
  • Necessary scholarship information is available for free through the Guidance Office, internet and public resources.
  • Beware of businesses that offer scholarships searches for fees. We do not recommend paying for these services.

Military Academies  |

Opportunities in education and training are available for men and women in all branches of the Armed Forces. In peacetime, one of the major functions of the armed services is training. All branches of the services now prefer to take high school graduates for specialized training. Training in the armed services can range from a few weeks to a year depending upon the field of specialization. Some of the training is related completely to military service, but much of it is applicable to jobs in civilian life. Your options include the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and U.S. Merchant Marines. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, ASVAB, is the most widely used multiple-aptitude test battery in the world. As an aptitude test, the ASVAB measures your strengths, weaknesses, and potential for future success. The ASVAB also provides you with career information for various civilian and military occupations and is an indicator for success in future endeavors whether you choose to go to college, vocational school, or a military career. Tutoring is available for the ASVAB online at www.march2success.com.


Academy Preparatory Schools  | 

The Academy Preparatory Schools, popularly known as a “Prep School,” are designed to academically, physically, and militarily prepare qualified young men and women to enter an Academy. Candidates who apply for appointment directly to the Academy need not reapply for the Prep School because, if you do not meet admission requirements, you will automatically be considered for a Prep School appointment. Admission is generally limited to enlisted members on active duty and athletes. Successful completion of the Prep School improves the chances for appointment as an Academy cadet, but appointment is not guaranteed. If one receives an appointment to a Prep School, eventually an appointment to an Academy, then five years of postsecondary education is required for graduation. Register for one of the summer military academy camps.


United States Service Academies  |

Appointments at the United States Service Academies are few; therefore, it is important to contact your chosen academy by the spring of your junior year. Every student is on a full scholarship in an intense training program to meet the demands of leadership and success.

  • Air Force Academy: The Air Force Academy prepares cadets for careers as Air Force officers with a reserve commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force when they graduate. The Academy offers a Bachelor of Science in 26 different majors. www.usafa.af.mil
  • Coast Guard Academy: The Coast Guard Academy offers a Bachelor of Science in one of eight technical or professional majors. Included in the curriculum are professional skills necessary to the Coast Guard’s work. www.uscga.edu
  • Naval Academy: The United States Naval Academy offers an academic program with tradition and state-of-the-art technology. The Academy offers 25 majors with an emphasis on practical experience in leadership and professional operations. www.usna.edu
  • United States Military Academy at West Point: The United States Military Academy at West Point offers an academic program for 36 majors with extensive training and leadership experience.


NCAA eligibility  |


Eligibility (Needs to be completed by the end of Junior Year)


Playing Sports In College  |

Are you interested in playing your sport in college? Here are some helpful websites and information: