SANDPOINT — During Sandpoint High School's College Application Week, 192 seniors applied to college, submitting 524 applications.
As they entered the school's library, some students knew exactly where they were applying, while others used the opportunity to learn more about Idaho schools to see which might be most suited to their chosen path.
"I'm going to DIT, which is the Divers Institute of Technology, a commercial diving program in Seattle," said 17-year-old SHS senior, Miles Luce.
Luce said he plans to become a commercial diver, which includes things like underwater salvage and underwater welding. He is a certified PADI diver already and has been diving around the world, as well as four years of welding experience. He was confident he would get into DIT, but just in case he applied to Boise State as a backup, because they have a good computer science and computer engineering program.
SHS senior Hailey Kedish, 18, knows she wants to go to school to become a social worker, but she wasn't quite sure which college she wanted to attend, so on Wednesday, she said she was going to spend the time looking at her options. She will need to attend college for six years, but first, she plans to do an internship with her aunt in San Diego, Calif.
"It all began when I was in a mentors program last year," Kedish said, referring to the school's Connections program, which began in 2016.
She realized she enjoyed working with and helping others, and set her goals in the direction of social work.
"I think that this class is one of the most dedicated group of seniors that I have seen," said senior class counselor Linda Sprinkle. "They are goal oriented and they are really looking forward to their postsecondary education."
When SHS was a pilot school for the College Application Week in 2013, it was the first school to work with North Idaho College, which waved its application fee for the seniors applying throughout the week.
"Now it's turned into this statewide initiative with a new Apply Idaho application," said Jeralyn Mire, SHS postsecondary counselor.
The State Board of Education launched Apply Idaho, which is an online application that allows Idaho students to apply to one or more of Idaho’s public colleges and universities in one place.
"And the other great thing, the state of Idaho and the higher education institutions, they've waived the fee for our Idaho students," Mire said. "So it really takes away a barrier for students to come up with that $50 or $60 application fee. So that is really a neat thing for our students."
Mire said even for students who don't plan to go to college right after high school, it is still a chance for them to experience the process, so if they do decided to apply in the future, it will be familiar. And it is not just for students going to traditional college, or Idaho colleges for that matter. Students can utilize the time to apply to anywhere they want to go.
During College Application Week, the seniors also had a chance to complete an application for the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship, which provides up to $3,500 for tuition and fees at Idaho colleges and universities. Last year, Mire said, eight SHS seniors were awarded Idaho Opportunity scholarships.
Students who wanted to apply for other scholarships or federal financial aid were able to utilize some of the time and help available to them as well during the week. All SHS seniors who participated in College Application Week also had the opportunity to win prizes through a raffle drawing, which included a lot of swag from colleges like North Idaho College and the University of Idaho.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.