Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates
If you are looking to get a copy of a Florida birth, death, or marriage certificate you can send a personal check or money order to:
Department of Health
State Office of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 210
1217 Pearl Street (32202)
Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042
The check should be made payable to the Office of Vital Statistics. A copy of a birth certificate is $9.00, a death or marriage certificate is $5.00. All letters or applications must include the signature, relationship/eligibility stated, and a copy of a valid PICTURE ID of the applicant. The telephone number to call to find out current fees is (904) 359-6900, keep in mind that it is a recorded message. For more information on retrieving records you can go to http://www.doh.state.fl.us. If you are looking for records from any other state you can go to National Center for Health Statistics.
Social Security Card
If you lost your social security card or never received one you can go to socialsecurity.gov and fill out an application for one. You can take or mail the SS-5 to the nearest Social Security office. Make sure to take or mail the originals or certified copies of your supporting documents along with the form. You will need to prove U.S citizenship and identity by showing U.S. driver’s license; State-issued non-driver identity card; or U.S. passport. If you already had a social security card your U.S. citizenship should be on file. If you are unsure where you can find the social security office or have any other social security related questions you can call 1-800-772-1213.
Copies of School Records
If you are looking for copies of your school records you can simply contact the office of that particular school and request copies. They may charge you for copies or you can go in to view any information they have. If you are having trouble with this your parent also has rights to view your records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, so just ask them to help you out.
Finishing High School
Make an appointment with your school guidance counselor to talk about what classes you need to graduate. Ask them to give you a list. In Florida, you need either 18 or 24 credits to graduate, depending on the program you pick. Go to the Florida Department of Education website for more information.
Bright Futures Scholarships
In Florida, you can get free college tuition or partial tuition paid by the state. You can also get free vocational tuition. To find out how to qualify, go to the Bright Futures website.
If you are 18 or receive a waiver if you are 16 or 17, you can take the GED test instead of finishing high school. For more information about the GED, go to the Florida Literacy Coalition website.
IB and Magnet programs
A magnet school is a school that offers specialized classes in a certain subject. The word magnet is used to refer to a school that offers students from other schools the opportunity to come to that school to study the subject that school offers. You can be from a different school zone and still get to go to the magnet school to be in the program. Many districts provide free bus transportation. Some counties offer magnet programs for elementary, middle and high school. At the elementary level, they offer programs such as aviation, foreign languages, math, science or fine arts. At the middle school level, there is usually a huge variety of electives that allow students to learn about careers such as medicine, architecture and pilot. High schools have programs like medicine, finance, animal science, technology, hotel management, culinary arts, and many more. Magnet schools allow students to study in a smaller classroom environment without the pressure of large traditional classes.
The International Baccalaureate program is recognized worldwide. It allows students who graduate from it, to get scholarships to Florida colleges, and entrance into some of the most prestigious universities in the country. It is best to start in the pre-IB program in middle school. This is a challenging and demanding curriculum but for those dedicated students, it can be a wonderful opportunity.
Taking the SAT/ACT
These tests are college entrance exams so if you plan on going to college you must take one of these tests. There are a few ways to prepare for these tests. You can:
-Take a mini free test online to practice and see where you need more help.
-Get a free study guide. You high school counselor might have one. If not, you can get one at the public library.
-Take the PSAT at school. This test is usually around ten dollars and is given at your high school while you are in eleventh grade usually in October.
- Take a prep course. Contact your nearest college or high school guidance counselor to get a list of some of the places that offer SAT or ACT prep services.
The tests are given a few times a year and you must register for the tests in advance. Here is the link for the dates for the SAT, http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/calenfees.html. Here is the link for the dates for the ACT, http://www.actstudent.org/regist/currentdates.html. Make sure to take a practice exam and get enough sleep before the test!
Once you get accepted into a college you will want to fill out the FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) form, you can find it here. This will allow you to receive money, if possible, for college. The questions on the form have to do with your parents’ finances. You can be awarded financial aid including, Pell grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans and work study programs.
Filling out Applications
Sometimes filling out a college application can get a little overwhelming, especially the really long applications. On the other hand some schools have very short applications. Most applications can be submitted electronically or mailed into the school. The first part of applications collects general information such as name, social security number, and area of which you plan to study. It will also ask for test scores to be sent in (such as the SAT/ACT). The second part of most applications asks you to introduce yourself. This can sometimes be in the form of an essay or recommendation letters. It will also ask you if you participated in extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs. And finally, your high school transcripts will be required. You can have your high school send them directly to the university(s) of choice. Make sure to make yourself stand out from others. Remember universities and colleges receive thousands of applications so make it an application an admissions person will not want to pass over!
How to obtain a Drivers License
Drug and alcohol class, Documents needed, How to get the manual
If you are between the ages of 15 and 17, you can obtain a Restricted License (learners permit). In order to get this you must take a DATA course (class on drugs, alcohol, and traffic awareness). The class is now offered online. Click here for the website. Then you need to obtain a Florida driver’s handbook to prepare for the DMV test. You can pick this handbook up at any DMV office or you can order it here. It’s free. You just pay for shipping, if you order it online. Once you have studied, you can go into your local DMV to take the test. Once you have passed the test, they will give you a vision test, and then you will receive your learner’s permit. You must have your learner’s permit for 12 months, where you can only drive with someone over the age of 21 between the hours of 6am to 10pm before you get your regular license.
To get your regular Florida drivers license, you must pass the DATA class and the written DMV test. Then you can make an appointment to take the actual driving test. When going to take the test you should bring with you your DATA class completion form and two forms of identification to show your birthday and social security number. The primary identification must be an original or certified birth certificate or social security card. There also is a fee required. Check with your local DMV for the exact amount.Florida DMV online is a good website to browse through if you have any other questions regarding your drivers license.
Florida law requires every car to be insured. When you register your vehicle you are required to show proof of insurance. Insurance.com and InsureMe.com are two websites the DMV suggests for finding the best rate on auto insurance for you. They will help you compare quotes and save, and they are free!
Volunteering is always important when applying for a job or applying to college. It gives you credibility that most managers and colleges like to see, as well as adding impact to your resume. Most newspapers have lists of where you can volunteer. Your school, church, or even where you work may also have other opportunities you might enjoy. Some organizations that always need volunteers are American Red Cross, Hands on Orlando, SPCA of central Florida, and Habitat for Humanity.