College Counseling

College Counseling Newsletter: February 2016

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

College Bus Trip March 29 St. Mary’s Academy 7:30 – 3:30 p.m.
PNACAC College Fair April 24 University of Portland 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Mock Application Review April 25 Central Catholic HS 6:30 p.m.
Sophomore College Night April 28 St. Mary’s Academy 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Jesuit College Fair May 18 St. Mary’s Academy 12:50 – 1:30 p.m.

SENIORS

Seventh Semester Transcripts. We recently sent seventh semester transcripts to each college on a student’s list. Students should keep an eye on the college portals to make sure each school shows that this grade report has been received. They can contact us if there are any concerns.

Spring Application Deadlines. Seniors are still submitting final applications and hearing decisions. There are still many reputable schools accepting applications, so if there is a need to add or adjust the list of colleges, it’s not a problem. Students should work directly with their counselor to add colleges at this point.

Apply NOW for Financial Aid. If you are applying for 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.

Please know the applicable financial aid deadlines and policies at each school; these deadlines are rarely flexible. Contact us if you are not sure what you need to do to apply for aid.

Compare Financial Aid Awards. As a group, seniors 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 the notification deadline of May 1. It is a good time to put together a spreadsheet with costs and sources of funding down the first column, and listing the colleges of interest in the first row across the spreadsheet. By comparing financial information closely and also listening to their gut about which schools represent a good fit, each student can make a sound decision.

Use the Pink Form for Outside Scholarships. If your daughter is applying for outside scholarships that require letters of recommendation, transcripts, or forms to be completed, she will need to fill out a “pink form” (a.k.a. the SMA Materials Request Form), which is available in our office. This form helps us track and meet deadlines and confirm which documents are required. These pink request forms should be submitted at least two weeks before any given deadline.

JUNIORS

Junior Questionnaire. Juniors (and parents) who have not already completed their Naviance College Counseling Questionnaire can make our lives easier by jumping on this task. After they finish the survey, students can email their college counselor to schedule an appointment to come in and talk about college planning. Using information from the questionnaire and our conversation with each student, 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 rather it suggests schools to consider and is a place to begin research. We try to make sure each student has at least one affordable option, usually an in-state or Western Undergraduate Exchange university. Parents should also fill out the parent questionnaire in their Naviance accounts. For help logging on to Naviance, please get in touch with Meg Bowman, meg.bowman@smapdx.org.

Standardized Admissions Tests. 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 when we meet with her. Look over the calendar with your daughter and choose a date that works for your family. It is possible to register ‘late’ for a given testing date, but space is limited and the fees increase substantially. If she feels like she needs to do test prep, consider Khan Academy or the St. Mary’s test prep class being offered starting later this month. The registration form for the St. Mary’s test prep class is in the documents library of Naviance or can be picked up from Meg Bowman.

SAT and ACT Testing Dates

ACT Testing Dates: April 9 and June 11

ACT Registration Deadlines: March 4 and May 6

SAT Test Dates: March 5, May 7 and June 4

SAT Registration Deadlines: Late registration through February 23, April 8 and May 5

College Visits. Spring break is an opportunity for juniors to visit colleges that meet their objectives and interests. For help planning a college visit and what to think about while touring a campus, check the section on College Visits and Interviews in the SMA College Counseling Handbook (available in the documents library section of Naviance). Visits can be exhausting, so pace yourselves and find fun things to do along the way. Encourage your student to start the practice of gathering data and listening to her instincts about each school and how well it fits her objectives and personality.

Upcoming Events:

College Bus Visit, Tuesday, March 29. We will take 40 juniors and sophomores to visit Portland State, University of Portland, and Reed College. This trip acquaints students with three different kinds of campuses where they will tour and meet as a group with admissions officers. The registration/permission form will be available next week; priority will be given to juniors. There will be a $25 charge to cover transportation and lunch. Scholarships are available.

PNACAC Spring College Fair, Sunday, April 24, Noon. University of Portland Chiles Center – This spring fair offers students the opportunity to meet with admissions officers from a wide variety of colleges.

(NEW!) Mock Application Review, Monday, April 25, 6:30 p.m. Central Catholic High – This year, St. Mary’s Academy is partnering with Central Catholic High School to bring juniors and their parents the opportunity to experience a “mock” college application review facilitated by a college admissions officer. These discussions help understand how applications are evaluated and provide helpful perspective on the admission process. Space is limited, so look for registration information in March.

Sophomore College Night, Thursday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. SMA – This evening meeting introduces sophomores and their parents to the college search and application process at St. Mary’s. Families are introduced to Naviance, the web-based college information system we use, and are provided with a general outline of how we support students in their college application process. Sophomores and their parents should plan to attend.

Jesuit College Mini-Fair, Wednesday, May 18, 12:50-1:30 p.m. SMA – Interested students can use their lunch hour to get acquainted with participating Jesuit colleges and meet with admissions representatives.