College Counseling

SMA College Counseling Newsletter

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

Junior Q & A w/ Col. Counselors   March 1      SMA Commons                            2:10-2:55 PM

College Bus Trip                                   April 3        SMA/OSU/Willamette               6:50 AM-4:00

Sophomore College Night                April 25      St. Mary’s Academy                    7:00-8:30 PM

PNACAC College Fair                        April 30      University of Portland               noon-3:00 PM

Case Studies/College Fair               May 1           Central Catholic HS                     6:15-8:30 PM

SENIORS

Seventh Semester Transcripts. Seventh semester transcripts have been sent 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 and CSS Profile (if required) 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 1st. 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 Sheet 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 sheet,” the College Counseling Office Materials Request Form, which is available in our office.  This form helps us track and meet deadlines and confirm which documents are required.  Please give us time to submit documents correctly by giving us at least two weeks to gather materials.

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 schedule a meeting via her counselor’s electronic calendar. (These links are on the Naviance home page.) 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 suggests schools to consider and 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.

SAT and ACT Testing Dates

ACT DATE      registration       SAT Date    registration
    April 8            March 3     March 11 Feb. 28  (late fee)
    June 10               May 5      May 6  April 7
        June 3  May 9

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:

Q & A with the College Counselors, March 1. This event is to support juniors who missed Junior College Night because of the conflict with the rescheduled Encounter. All juniors are welcome to come and ask any college-research and application questions.

SMA College Bus Visit, Monday, April 3. We will take 40 juniors and sophomores to visit Oregon State and Willamette Universities.  (Registration open to juniors now; will open to sophomores on March 14th.) This trip acquaints students with two different kinds of campuses where they will tour and meet as a group with admissions officers. The registration/permission form is available in the counseling office or in the Naviance Documents Library (Forms and Handouts). There will be a $23 charge to cover transportation. Scholarships are available.

Sophomore College Night, Thursday, April 25, 7:00 p.m. This evening meeting introduces sophomores and their parents to the college search and application process at St. Mary’s. Families are provided with a general outline of how we support students in their college application process. Sophomores and their parents should plan to attend.

PNACAC Spring College Fair, Sunday, April 30thth, Noon, University of Portland Chiles Center –This spring fair offers students the opportunity to meet with admissions officers from a wide variety of colleges.

Case Studies and College Fair, Monday, May 1, 6:15-8:30 PM at Central Catholic High. 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 reveal how applications are evaluated and provide helpful perspective on the admission process. Space is limited, so watch for registration information in March.