College Counseling

April College Counseling News

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

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

Mock Application Review            May 1         Central Catholic HS                         6:30-8:45 PM

Jesuit College Fair                         May 25       Jesuit High School                           6:00-7:30 PM


Students should stay in touch with their college counselor! We love to hear good news but are here to offer support should your daughter be disappointed. Each student should have good choices, but it may take time to work through a grieving process and refocus. Please remind your daughter to update Naviance with her decisions and her college choice.

Reply Date Rights and Responsibilities. In the college admissions process, May 1 is the deadline for students to let colleges know their decisions. Unless she was admitted under an Early Decision deadline, your daughter can wait to respond to an offer of admission and/or financial aid until May 1. If she has any questions or concerns about the May 1 deadline, please have her check in with her counselor.

What if students are waitlisted?  Some colleges and universities may offer students a place on a waiting list rather than a clear admit or denial. What should be done about a waitlist offer?

  • Your daughter should carefully read the information the college has supplied about the waiting list.  Students need to affirm they want to remain on the list for further consideration.
  • Your daughter should check in with her college counselor for any additional insight.
  • Even if she hopes a waitlist option will work out, if your daughter does not hear anything by May 1, she needs to deposit at her next best choice to save a space.

By May 1 – A student must notify each college that offered her admission whether she will attend or decline the offer.  She must pay the deposit at the college she plans to attend.  She should let the others know she has made a different choice. (An email to an admission office is sufficient.) Students may only send a deposit to one school. Double depositing is unethical and can result in a college changing its admission decision. St. Mary’s will only send a final transcript to one college.


Meeting your College Counselor: If your daughter still has not met with her college counselor, please encourage her to do so. In addition, if you have not filled out the junior parent questionnaire in Naviance, please get in touch with Meg Bowman at to figure out how to access the questionnaire. This parental input can really help us as we understand where your daughter is in the process and how we can help.

College Lists. Using information from the questionnaires and our conversation with each student, we have developed an initial college list in Naviance. This list is not meant to be a list of schools your daughter should apply to, but offers schools to consider and a place to begin research. Once a student chooses where she will apply next year, we want to make sure she has one affordable option she is excited and pleased to attend.

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. If your daughter has not yet registered, please look over the calendar with her and choose a date that works for your family.

SAT and ACT Testing Dates

ACT Testing Date         Registration      Deadline           SAT Test Date     Registration Deadline

June 10                                     May 5, 2017                              June 3                      May 9, 2017

Free Standardized Test Preparation: SMA students have two options for free online test preparation. Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board to offer personalized test prep, based on students’ PSAT results. Students can link their College Board and Khan accounts and get started practicing for the SAT. For both the SAT and the ACT, an online prep service, Scorebeyond has offered their premium application for SMA students for free. They also offer their personalized tutoring service at a reduced rate. Check in with your college counselor for more details.

Teacher recommendation requests: Just after break we held a class meeting with juniors to discuss the how they request letters from teachers to support their college applications. Because most of our students apply to four year colleges, most will require two teacher letters of recommendation in addition to a counselor letter of recommendation. To spread the work load fairly across the faculty, we ask juniors to fill out a form requesting who they would choose to write their letters. Although we can’t promise everyone her first choice, we try to provide each student with at least one of her top choices. The form will be due Monday April 17.

Summer Opportunities at SMA: This year the College Counselors are offering two different classes over three sessions to help juniors reflect on what they might want in a college and begin working on their college applications. These opportunities are appropriate for students concerned about over-busy fall schedules. Check out the course descriptions and registration information is in the summer catalogue:

Upcoming Events:

Sophomore College Night, Tuesday, April 25, 7:00-8:30 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 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 30, Noon, University of Portland Chiles Center –This spring fair offers students the opportunity to meet with admissions officers from a wide variety of colleges. Juniors and sophomores should attend. Preregistration is not required but it can make the fair feel more efficient:

Mock Admission Review, Monday, May 1, 6:30-8:45 p.m., 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 help clarify how applications are evaluated and provide helpful perspective on the admission process. Space is limited; students and parents can register here:

Jesuit College Fair. Thursday, May 25th, Jesuit High School 6:00-7:30 p.m. Interested students and parents are welcome to attend this fair to get acquainted with participating 15 Jesuit colleges and meet with admissions representatives. SMA Juniors will have their own fair with the same colleges during Junior College Prep Day at SMA on May 24.