College Counseling - March Update
College Counseling Department
Gerard M. Brett
Director of College Counseling
College Counseling Website of the Month
Final Semester - Keep grades up.
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. 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. Students should not drop classes and must notify us if they change their schedule. Please note that continued high standards of behavior and conduct continue to be important.”
There’s money out there. Our college website, www.lschs.org/college has links to numerous scholarship search sites as well as a variety of posted scholarship opportunities. Don’t miss out!
File financial aid forms. Be sure to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Many colleges have priority deadlines – many of which have passed. This application must be completed in order to apply for state, federal, and institutional financial aid and deadlines must be met. Before filling out the FAFSA, register for a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. This will serve as your electronic signature. It is important to fill out the form completely and to estimate if necessary. It is better to meet the deadline and make changes later than to miss the deadline and potentially miss out on financial aid. You can file the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. We strongly encourage everyone to fill out the FAFSA. At the very least it will make your son eligible for several low interest loans such as the Federal Stafford Loan (www.staffordloan.com). If there are extenuating circumstances that a college financial aid officer at a college where your son has been admitted should know, do not hesitate to report these changes or circumstances to the colleges.
Certain colleges may also require either their own institutional financial aid form or the College Scholarship Services (CSS) Profile www.collegeboard.org/profile. Be aware of colleges’ requirements and meet the deadline
Return award letter. In March or April, 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 two 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 bring copies of all college acceptance and scholarship letters to Mrs. O’Connell in the College Counseling Center.
Decline admission offers to other colleges. After he has chosen and committed to a college, your son should write a note declining admission to colleges where he has been accepted but will not be attending. This will allow students on a wait list 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 1st.
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.
Students who are planning to participate in Division I or II athletics in college must complete the online NCAA Clearinghouse Eligibility form and request that a transcript be sent. See Mrs. O’Connell in the College Counseling Office. 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.
Thank you to the parents of juniors who attended College Information Night in February. The college counselors appreciate your interest and support. If you have not yet done so, please send the college criteria and parent’s perspective forms to the College Counseling Center 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 webpage: www.lschs.org/college.
The College Counselors are continuing to meet with juniors in Advisory Class once a cycle and in person. Encourage your son to make an appointment with his college counselor. The class is divided alphabetically by student’s last name:
Brother William DiPasquale, FSC A-F
Mr. Gerard M. Brett G-N
Mrs. Mary Kay Mullen O-Z
By the end of this semester your son will have met in class and in person at least 12 times with a college counselor. He will be offered information and support. His level of engagement will affect the outcome of the process.
The syllabus for the College Advisory classes can be found on the Student Portal. There are weekly reading assignments in the College Match textbook. The first Junior Questionnaire Packet is due March 21st.
According to our current seniors and recent graduates, visiting college campuses is most important in making a good decision. It is most informative if the visits occur while students are on campus so we strongly encourage visits during this second semester. Possible dates for visits are the Easter holiday break. Information about making a college visit and questions to ask on a college visit is available in Chapter 5 of College Match, ‘Learning from Campus Visits’. Students should send a follow-up email to the college admissions office after the visit.
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 registration for senior year is in progress. The parent signature forms are due by Friday, March 28th.
Take advantage of the test preparation module ‘Prep me’ in Naviance. Short sample tests of the SAT and ACT can be taken to determine which of these two formats is best suited to each student. Full length practice tests and tutorial packets are available at this site. Registration deadlines and test dates for each test are available on our webpage. SAT/ACT results need to be sent by the student from the testing service to the colleges and universities where he will apply.