College & Career Readiness

Polk County Public Schools is committed to preparing students for success long after they graduate. Our school counseling program provides comprehensive support to meet the academic, career preparation, and personal/social needs of all students. We know life after high school comes with many choices. We’re here to help students and their families make the ones that are best for them.

College & Career Fair

*SAVE THE DATE* The Polk District College & Career Fair is scheduled for Thursday, October 19, 2023, at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL from 6:00PM – 8:00PM.

Students and parents from all Polk County public and private high schools are invited to attend the Polk District College & Career Fair on Thursday October 19, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This FREE event will be held at Florida Southern College’s Jenkins Field House. By expanding to include careers, the district hopes to increase access and opportunity for students and parents. More than 50 colleges and area businesses are expected to attend. Families are encouraged to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to connect with representatives’ face to face. The Polk District College & Career Fair is a stop on the official Florida College Tour for Fall 2023.

Planning for High School Graduation and Beyond

As a high school student it is important to ensure that you are on track to graduate on time. Visit our Planning for Graduation Page to read helpful tips for students in grades nine through 12 and to review Florida’s graduation requirements.

Polk County Public Schools offers numerous resources to help students and their families prepare for what comes after high school, be that postsecondary education or entry into the workforce. Please utilize the resources below or contact your school counselor for more information.


Additional Resources

College Board Online — Provides online help for those interested in attending college.
FloridaShines — A central web resource for planning and managing the higher education experience.
Princeton Review Online — This site contains many tips designed to help individuals succeed in college and develop a career.
“So You Are Thinking About Dropping Out of School” — This site, presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contains information on unemployment in relation to educational achievement.

Financial Aid

Financial aid can be one of the most confusing and stressful parts of the college admissions process. To help you get started, Polk County Public Schools has compiled an overview of the forms of financial aid that may be available to you or your family and information on how to apply.


FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a form that current and prospective college students complete to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. For deadline information and instructions on completing the form, click below.


Polk Education Foundation Scholarships

The Polk Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization directly supporting Polk County Public Schools. Through the Foundation, various donors contribute scholarship money to assist students in continuing their education after high school. The Foundation also administers the Take Stock in Children scholarship and mentoring program, which help students prepare for the next phases of their education.

Other Scholarship, Grant and Loan Opportunities

Learn more about the wide variety of financial aid resources available by clicking below.


Types of Financial Aid

  • Grants or scholarships — This is money that does not have to be repaid. Grants are usually awarded based on financial need. Scholarships are usually awarded based on specific criteria such as academic achievement, test scores, activities, essays, etc. Sometimes financial need is one of the requirements for a scholarship.
  • Loans — This is money that must be repaid. Loans are often called self-help aid.
  • Work study — This is a program in which the college or other postsecondary institution locates a job for the student or the student may find employment on his own. Work study is often called self-help aid.
  • Financial aid that is awarded in a combination of the above is called a “financial aid package.”

Sources of Financial Aid

Federal Programs

  • Pell grants
  • Campus-based programs
  • Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Family Education Loans

State of Florida Programs

  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program
  • Additional programs administered by the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance
  • College/postsecondary institutional sources
  • Community sources
  • Foundations, corporate, or organizational programs
  • Florida Bright Futures and other Florida state scholarships/grants

The Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance administers state and some federally funded student financial assistance programs to assist eligible students in defraying the cost of postsecondary education. Need-based, merit-based, special interest and professional programs are available. Each program has specific eligibility requirements.

Click here for more information on state scholarship and grant programs and the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.