Journey to College

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COLUMBIA - It's that time of year when high school seniors are making their post secondary school decisions. 

The Department of Higher Education is attempting to make that process easier with its new website, Journey to College. This website provides a central place to help students with planning, paying for and finishing college. 

The website helps students determine what higher education institution they should attend, submit admission applications and helps bridge communication between students and higher education institutions. 

The site also includes information on the three already existing outreach programs affiliated with the Department of Higher Education: FAFSA Frenzy, Apply Missouri and Decision Day.

Stephen's College Vice President for Enrollment Management Brian Sajko said all three of these programs are important for transitioning students from high school to their post secondary institution.

"I think the Apply Missouri piece is especially important because it really makes you look more in depth, Decision Day is to make you make the decision," said Sajko. "So FAFSA Frenzy and Decision Day are really more about making you take the steps to action, where Apply Missouri is really the more larger encompassing piece that really helps people know, you know, how the process works to get to college so that it isn't quite as frightening."

Director of Communications for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, Liz Coleman, said, "The most important thing about college is starting early enough. In that junior and senior year of high-school, you have to start thinking, do I want a 2 year, 4 year, or 1 year certificate, because that all affects the planning."

Junior at Stephens, Alexis Alexander, said her biggest struggle in the planning process was financial.

"When I was in high school I didn't, I mean I still don't really have a lot of money, so like planning that out with the FAFSA and everything you get really nervous," Alexander said. "I think, I didn't decide on Stephens until the last month of my high school career because I didn't think I'd be able to afford it."

According to Coleman, helping them start the process is just as important as them completing it.

"The main goal is to help students prepare for college by providing these resources, and then they'll finish with their degree," Coleman said.

Sajko said he thinks the website will serve as a great non-biased source for students currently at and considering attending Stephens College.

"I actually did consider sort of linking it to our admissions and financial aid site as a great resource," Sajko said.

Journey to College began as a College Day for for high school counselors to come and learn information to take back to the students. Now the students and counselors will have access to the same information virtually.