College Counseling

January College Counseling Newsletter

College Counseling Newsletter

January/February 2016

Upcoming College-Related Events (see below for additional information):

  • Junior College Night, February 9, St. Mary’s Academy, 6:45-9:00 p.m.
  • College Bus Trip, March 29, St. Mary’s Academy, 7:30-3:30 p.m.
  • Sophomore College Night , April 28, St. Mary’s Academy, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
  • PNACAC College Fair, April 24 , University of Portland, Noon-3:00 p.m.
  • Jesuit College Fair, May 18, St. Mary’s Academy, 12:50-1:30 p.m.

PSAT UPDATE

We anticipate receiving the paper score reports for sophomores and juniors from the College Board at the end of January and will send them to you promptly. Students should be able to see their score reports online through their individual accounts with the College Board. If your daughter is having trouble with her College Board account and can’t see her scores, please have her get in touch with her college counselor and we can help her access her them.

SENIORS

Many seniors have heard from their colleges about admission decisions, while others are finishing up their applications. As a group they are looking forward to getting the rest of their decisions and their financial aid awards so that they can make the most informed decision by May 1.

With the end of the first semester, our office is preparing to send seventh semester transcripts to each college on a student’s list. To be sure we are accurate, students must complete the Seventh Semester Transcript Request in the About Me section of Naviance. If your daughter has not done so, please encourage her to complete this request right away.

If you have a senior and you are interested in receiving need-based financial aid, you should submit the FAFSA to each of your daughter’s colleges as soon as possible and certainly before their financial aid deadline. You do not need to wait until your 2015 tax return is complete in order to fill out the form. Estimating your family’s income is sufficient. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The sooner you complete the FAFSA and any other form the college requires, the more quickly your daughter will hear back from financial aid offices. Please know the applicable financial aid deadlines and policies at each of your schools; these deadlines are rarely flexible. Please contact us if you are not sure what you need to do to apply for aid.

We require students applying for outside scholarships that require letters of recommendation and/or transcripts to complete the SMA Materials Request Form available in our office. This form helps us meet deadlines and confirm which documents are required. These pink Request Forms should be submitted at least two weeks before any given deadline in order to expedite all submissions efficiently (paper or electronic) .

JUNIORS

We are excited to begin our work with juniors! Our calendars are open for juniors to schedule an appointment with their college counselor. Prior to meeting with us, students need to complete the Junior College Counseling Questionnaire found in their Naviance account. This questionnaire helps your student get started thinking about and planning for her college applications. From her responses we will develop an initial college list in Naviance. This list is not meant to be a list of schools your daughter should apply to, but offers a variety of schools that will give her a place to begin her serious research. We also ask that parents fill out the parent questionnaire in their Naviance accounts. If you can’t access the questionnaire, please get in touch with Meg Bowman, meg.bowman@smapdx.org.

Tuesday, February 9, is Spring Junior College Night. This evening program is designed to give juniors and parents insight into several aspects of the college planning process. The program will consist of three separate 40 minute sessions. Parents and students often divide and conquer. Guest speakers from several local colleges and universities and the college counselors will be present on the following topics:

            Researching and Selecting a College

            Understanding the College Admissions Process: How Colleges Choose?

            Making Sense of Financial Aid 

            Transitioning to College

            Writing the College Essay

We would like all juniors to take the SAT or the ACT by June of this year. We recommend taking the optional writing section on either test. We can help your daughter consider her testing requirements and options during our first meeting, but please check the test registration deadlines and register for the date(s) that work best for your daughter and your family. It is possible to register ‘late’ for a given testing date, but space is limited and the fees increase substantially.

SAT and ACT Testing Dates

ACT

Testing Date: April 9 or June 11

Registration Deadline: March 4 or May 6

SAT

Testing Date: March 5, May 7, or June 4

Registration Deadline:  February 5, April 8, or  May 5

 

Spring break is often a good time for juniors to begin visiting colleges that they are interested in (including local ones) and that meet their college objectives and interests. For hints about planning a college visit and what to think about while touring a campus, please consider the information on College Visits and Interviews in the SMA College Counseling Handbook (available in the documents library section of Naviance).

Additional Details about Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, March 29: College Bus Visit. We will be taking 40-50 juniors and sophomores to visit Portland State, University of Portland, and Reed College. This trip is intended to give students an opportunity to get on three campuses and speak as a group to an admissions officer. Registration forms will be available in February; priority will be given to juniors. There will be a charge to cover the bus fee and lunch. Scholarships are available.

Thursday, April 28: Sophomore College Night is an essential introduction for parents and students to the college search and application process at St. Mary’s. Families are introduced to Naviance, the St. Mary’s web-based college information system, and provided with a general outline of how we support students in their college application process. Sophomores and their parents should make plans to attend.

Sunday, April 24: The PNACAC Spring College Fair offers an opportunity for students to meet with admissions officers from a wide variety of colleges.

Regards,

Kimberly, Carolyn, and Meg