For high school seniors, the end of the year can mean more than just winter break. College application deadlines are looming, or in some cases already past, then there are financial aid forms to fill out and scholarship searches to begin. Maybe you’re still exploring a career path or just looking for the best way to find a job. If you’re fortunate enough to have a great school counselor helping you maneuver through this maze, consider yourself very lucky indeed. But even with this advantage, you’re one among the possibly hundreds of students your counselor sees. So, where else can you get the information you need? Why, the library, of course!
The virtual librarians at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District have done an awesome job putting resources front and center where teens can find them. Log onto the website at www.lvccld.org and select the “Teen” button on the right side of the page. From there, you’ll find several choices, among them: Teen Topics, Homework Help 6-12, and even eBooks & eAudio Books. Each of these subject headings contains career and college information to help you plan your post high school future.
Choose “Teen Topics” and you’ll find “Beyond High School” which has links to nine websites ranging from Fastweb for easy scholarship searches, Federal Student Aid for information on student loans and FAFSA filing, College Board for SAT registration, college searches and the application process, and Peterson’s for students interested in career and technical schools, community colleges, or studying abroad. While the same general information may be presented, it’s still a good idea to check out several websites for the specific areas they specialize in and to make sure you’re getting a complete picture.
Click “Homework Help 6-12” on the Teen page and you’ll see a corkboard of icons, among which is “College and Careers” where you’ll find a host of topics like “choosing a school,” “entrance exams,” “finding a job,” “GED,” or “resumes and cover letters.” Or, you can hit the “Hot Topic” button at the top of the Homework Help page and you’ll be directed to a subject list. Under “Education” is “Colleges and Technical Schools” with links to the Nevada Technical School Guide, CSN, Nevada State College and UNLV along with more listings for career planning, entrance exams, choosing schools, etc. Yes, there’s a little bit of overlap, but there are also new links under each topic choice.
Also on top of the Homework Help 6-12 page is the icon for “Online Tutors and Tests” for access to “Learning Express” and “Brain Fuse.” Both websites offer practice tests for the ACT and SAT. In addition, Brain Fuse has a writing lab where college essays can be reviewed, while Learning Express has learning centers for college preparation and job search skills, including essay writing, career guidance, and licensing practice tests.
eMedia savvy teens will find downloadable books for their mobile devices or computers by selecting eBooks & eAudio Books on the “Teen” page. Once there, click on eBook Non-Fiction and under Education you’ll find ebook titles like “Getting Ready for College,” “Teens’ Guide to College & Career Planning”, and “Cool Colleges 101.” For downloading, you’ll need your library card and pin number, so be sure to have that handy.
In fact, you’ll want to keep your library card and pin number close at hand when you’re accessing the library’s website from home. Some links will require it. And consider setting up an account if you’ll be using Learning Express or Brainfuse, so your work can be saved and updated. Other linked websites–like College Board and Fastweb–will ask you to set up an account to save your college searches, keep financial aid information, or process exam registration, so do consider it, especially if it’s a website you’ll be using frequently. And don’t forget that the library district carries an extensive collection of books to help prepare you for that most important next step after graduation—in whatever direction it takes you!