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College Counseling Update - March 2021

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Do not rule out the benefits of a Liberal Arts education - According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, when hiring recent college graduates, employers place the greatest priority on demonstrated proficiency in skills and knowledge that cuts across the majors. Most valued are written and oral communication, teamwork skills, ethical decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge in real world settings.


SENIORS

Final Semester - Keep Grades Up
From the University of Michigan: “Senior admitted students should be cautioned that “senioritis” doesn’t set in. We expect all aspects of their academic performance to be consistent with their academic record. Please note that continued high standards of behavior and conduct continue to be important.”

Admissions decisions are contingent on the successful completion of all course work.  Admissions officers reserve the right to question poor second semester performance and, in some cases, to reverse an admissions decision that has already been made. We have examples of students whose grades dropped second semester resulting in their receiving letters from the college or university they planned to attend informing them their acceptance will now be re-considered.

Do Not Double Deposit
Each year some seniors have a difficult time making up their minds about which college to enroll in after they have been accepted. Students may NOT send deposits to more than one college. This is called “double depositing” and is an unethical practice. Should the colleges involved determine that a student has “double deposited” your son’s admission may be jeopardized. This practice is unfair to other applicants. The “double depositor” is taking up a spot that could go to another student, who will instead be wait-listed or turned down. It is an acceptable practice to deposit at one college and maintain your name on a wait list at another. However, indicating to two colleges that you will be attending by sending deposits to both should not be considered.

There’s Money Out There
Our college website, www.lschs.org/college has links to numerous scholarship search sites well as a variety of posted scholarship opportunities. Do not miss out! Your son should notify Mrs. Palopoli of any scholarships that he is applying for and bring all admission, scholarship, and financial aid award letters to Mrs. Palopoli as he receives them.

Return Award Letters
In March, your son should begin receiving merit and need based grant awards and financial aid packages from the colleges to which he applied. After he compares award letters, he should pick which college he wants to attend and return the signed award letter to the chosen college. Pay close attention to deadlines for accepting the award package. Deadlines are usually within four weeks after receiving the award letter. If he misses a deadline, he may risk losing a scholarship, grant, or loan assistance.

Communicate with faculty and the College Counseling Department. Please encourage your son to thank the teachers who may have written letters of recommendation on his behalf. Also, please remember to have your son bring copies of all college acceptance and scholarship letters to Mrs. Palopoli in the College Counseling Center and to update his decisions in Scoir.

Decline Admission Offers To Other Colleges
After he has chosen, committed, and deposited to a college, your son should write a note or email declining admission to colleges where he has been accepted but will not be attending. Also, if your son knows now that he is not going to attend a college to where he has been accepted, he should withdraw as this may allow students on a wait list at that college to be accepted and awarded the aid previously held for your son.

Submit Deposit and Housing Application
Once your son knows which college he wants to attend, he can submit a housing application and deposit if he will be living on campus. He needs to do this as soon as possible because most rooms are assigned on a first-come first-served basis. The National Reply Date is May 1, 2021.

NCAA

Students who are planning to participate in Division I or II athletics in college must complete the online NCAA Eligibility and request that a transcript be sent. See Mrs. Palopoli in the College Counseling Center.  Transcripts will be sent to the NCAA upon request and again after graduation.  The Guide for the College Bound Student Athlete and the Eligibility Quick Reference Sheet are useful tools in navigating the process. Since the Class of 2016, the minimum GPA to participate in Division I collegiate athletics as a freshman is 2.30.


JUNIORS

Thank you to the 246 parents of juniors who attended College Information Night via Zoom in January. The college counselors appreciate your interest and support. If you have not yet done so already, please complete the Parent Perspective and College Criteria form as soon as possible.

A wealth of information is available on the Internet about the College Search process. A good starting site is our comprehensive website www.lschs.org/college. The College Counselors are continuing to meet with juniors in Advisory Class once a cycle and in person.  The syllabus and assignments for the College Counseling Group Advisory Pass/Fail class can be found in Open LMS. There have been three assignments so far. Between class and in person meetings, your son will have had at least ten interactions with a college counselor by the end of the semester. He will be offered valuable information and support. His level of engagement will affect the outcome of the college search and admission process.

Past parents and students have found the book College Match to be a helpful resource. Please note that the book is available through La Salle’s Campus Store at a discounted price.

College Visits
According to our current seniors and recent graduates, visiting college campuses is most important in making a good decision. Please refer to La Salle’s school calendar to take advantage of the Easter Break from March 27, 2021 through April 6, 2021. Please confirm campus tour and admission information sessions beforehand as each college has different offerings and restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic.

All juniors are strongly encouraged to attend the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) virtual colleges fairs that will be offered throughout the spring. The Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC) will also be offering virtual college fairs in March, April, and June. More information to follow.

Course Registration and Grades
Course registration for senior year will begin in March and juniors are expected to select their courses by Friday, March 26, 2021. Parents and students should become familiar with the course offerings in the Program of Studies. Juniors will receive an overview of the course selection process in Group Advisory class. Since many admission decisions will be based on the junior year GPA in college preparatory courses, we suggest that students take their academic responsibilities most seriously. While participation in activities is a factor used to tip the scales in the admission process, primary focus is on the student’s GPA, course rigor, and SAT or ACT scores.

Standardized Testing
On January 19, 2021, the College Board announced that they will no longer offer SAT Subject Tests effective immediately and are discontinuing the optional SAT Essay after June 2021.

Thank you to those that registered for the SAT School Day on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Registration closed January 26, 2021.

Create a timeline for registering and taking standardized tests keeping in mind any academic, extracurricular, or personal commitments, e.g., athletic schedules. Juniors should make plans to take at least one, but more likely two standardized tests by June 2021. Please become familiar with the differences between the SAT and ACT. If you think that your son may qualify for a SAT/ACT fee waiver based on financial need please encourage them to see Mrs. Palopoli. Please keep in mind that colleges accept either the ACT or SAT. No preference is given to either test. Also, please keep in mind that there are over 1,700 colleges and universities that are test optional.

Juniors are encouraged to take a practice test to find out which standardized test they may possibly perform better in. Most test prep companies, including Kaplan, offer these evaluations for free. Now that students have taken the PSAT, many of them will want to decide which test they should take next, the SAT or ACT. Khan Academy has partnered with the College Board and Kaplan has partnered with the ACT to offer free test preparation. A complete schedule of tests and registration deadlines is available at www.sat.org (SAT), and www.act.org (ACT).

When registering for the SAT or ACT, your son is reminded to use his legal name, the name that is on his transcript, to avoid confusion in the college application process. Also, we recommend that students use suitable email addresses (preferably their La Salle school email) when corresponding with colleges keeping in mind the impressions they are creating. Our school code – 393370 – should be entered on the registration so the college counselors receive the test scores.

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