Vol. 8 November 2018 No. 3
The fall was busy as we met with seniors and college admissions representatives. We continue to hear loud and clear from the colleges that grades in college preparatory classes and the rigor of a student’s courses are two of the biggest factors a college considers when analyzing a student’s application. As we head into the winter term, it is crucial that all students put forth their best effort, especially as these are the last set of grades a college could potentially see.
This month we start our monthly college counseling class with the juniors. Below you can find more detailed information about the classes.
Finally as seniors continue to send out applications it is important to remember that students are responsible for sending applications, test scores, supplements, application fees, and any Early Decision agreement forms. If you have any questions, contact us.
This month's articles:
- For Senior Parents: Application Reminder; Be Kind to Seniors Month; The Final List; Applying for Aid
- For Junior Parents: College Counselor Assignments; Introduction to the College Counseling Curriculum; December College Counseling Class: What to Expect; Standardized Testing Information
We hope your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and as always please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Director of College Counseling
The following message was sent out to all seniors from the College Office and forwarded to all parents on November 1. While we specified November 1 deadlines in the email below, the information is true for all deadlines.
A FINAL REMINDER: You are responsible for sending applications, test scores, supplements, application fees, financial aid forms (FAFSA, CSS Profile) and any Early Decision agreement forms.
All transcripts and recommendations have been sent to colleges for November 1 deadlines*. Please make sure you are reading emails from your colleges. Many schools have applicant portals – please be sure you are setting up a portal if your school has one and you are checking your application status in your portal. Schools will not tell our office if something is missing – they only notify YOU.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We send your materials (transcripts and recommendations) several days before the deadline – typically 2 weeks ahead of time. Colleges see that these materials have been received on the date when we send them, but it typically takes admissions offices 1-2 weeks to process your materials and update their system. Often times your school will have your materials, but they have not updated your student portal yet. If you see that materials are missing from your application, please double check with your college counselor, but know that colleges record the date we send your materials in despite the fact that it takes them some time to process everything.
* If you did not notify your college counselor IN WRITING on a blue or pink sheet of an application deadline, we will not send your materials. As we have said many times, you must notify us IN WRITING of an application deadline at least 2 weeks ahead of your deadline.
Happy November 1!
-The College Counseling Office
November is one of those months in the life of a senior when the world can suddenly seem far too busy and confusing, and stress levels mount. People, real or imagined, are nagging from all sides to “get it in!” It’s meltdown time.
The seniors need support from all of us at this point. It comes in different forms: Sometimes supporting your children through the preparation of applications means sitting down and checking every line with them; for others, it’s a time to lay back and let the student work at his or her own pace, just handing over the credit card to pay the fees when the time comes. Take your cue from your child, and try to resist the temptation to nag unless you’re quite sure he or she is falling behind. If that happens, please call your child’s college counselor, and we’ll help take care of the problem as best we can. If we think things are on track, we’ll tell you. On the other hand, we have no problem saying, “Mom and Dad are right—get it done if you want a place to go next year!”
We will be mailing home a final college list for seniors during the week of December 10. A letter containing important information about the list and the applications will be included. The time between now and winter break should be used to help finalize your student's college list. Students should speak with their counselor before they leave for winter break to insure that their list is complete and that they are fully aware of deadlines. It is worth repeating again that students are responsible for sending all applications and supplements as well as their test scores directly from the testing agency to the colleges.
The dates are rapidly approaching when you need to apply for financial aid for your son or daughter. The two most common forms that you must complete are the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS Profile (College Scholarship Service). Both are used to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution. The results of the FAFSA are used in determining Federal Pell Grants, work study and loan amounts. The FAFSA is required of every applicant.
The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is a fee-based application distributed by the College Board. It is designed to give private member institutions of the College Board a closer look into the finances of a student and family, and is therefore more detailed than the FAFSA. The CSS PROFILE is required by many private colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for non-government financial aid, such as the institution's own grants, loans and scholarships.
The biggest differences between the CSS PROFILE and the FAFSA are:
- Submission dates: The CSS PROFILE can be submitted in the fall; FAFSA has been available since October 1.
- Specific questions: The CSS PROFILE contains questions specific to the school or program you're applying to; FAFSA contains the same questions for everyone.
- Different methodology: The CSS PROFILE determines your financial need differently than the FAFSA, taking into account such factors as home equity. In general, the CSS PROFILE asks for more detailed information than the FAFSA.
- Minimum student contribution: The CSS PROFILE requires this; the FAFSA doesn't.
- Greater reliance on professional judgment: The CSS PROFILE gives financial aid counselors greater freedom to grant aid based on a student's particular circumstances.
- Cost: CSS PROFILE costs $5 plus $18 for each school or scholarship program selected; the FAFSA, as the name implies, is free.
November College Class and College Counselor Assignments
Juniors began small group college meetings within our Omnibus program on October 25 and November 1. In this meeting juniors registered for Naviance, began a Student College Questionnaire in Naviance, and completed a counselor preference sheet asking them to list their top two choices for a counselor. We do our best to ensure that students are assigned to one of their choices; they will be notified who their counselor is before they head home for vacation in December pending their completion of the Student College Questionnaire in Naviance. We will hold the second small group meeting with the juniors on November 29 and December 6. During this meeting we will introduce many of the research tools in Naviance so students can begin to explore schools and create prospective college lists. We will have one additional meeting with all juniors before they leave for winter break to review PSAT scores. They will start to meet individually with their counselor in January.
College Counseling Curriculum
Starting this month, we launched our curriculum plan for our juniors. We believe that our students benefit from specific instruction on various topics related to applying to college. With more students applying either Early Action or Early Decision, we see the need to do more to help juniors get ready to complete application forms properly. Juniors will attend one college counseling class a month, which is a part of the Omnibus program. The classes are mandatory commitments.
These class meetings, which will also provide time for students to work on their essays and applications with support from us, will continue through the end of their senior year. We welcome any feedback you have on the classes.
Here is a tentative list of topics that will be covered each month:
- October: Register for Naviance; begin Student College Questionnaire; choose a college counselor
- December: Student College Questionnaire due; explore research tools in Naviance; review PSAT scores
- January: Personality survey to begin to define student priorities for the college process
- February: What to do on a college visit; interview tips; writing your own college recommendation
- April: Starting your college essay
- May: Finishing a first draft of the college essay; begin the Common Application
- September: Common Application workshop
- October: Common Application; essay and supplemental essay work day
What to expect from the December College Counseling Class
In December we will have our second round of small group classes with juniors. The curriculum began in November and continues on a monthly basis through their senior year (See “College Counseling Curriculum”). Here is what your students can expect from their meeting in December.
1) Overview of the College Process: Learning, Defining, Exploring, and Creating
- Learning: About yourself, colleges, search tools, and how to effectively use academic skills in this process (reading, writing, critical thinking, speaking, and organization)
- Defining: Campus culture, academic culture, location, opportunities, prestige, selectivity, and fit
- Exploring: Naviance, books, search engines, campus visits, college fairs, and meetings with your counselor
- Creating: Priorities, college lists, testing plan, self-recommendation, and essays
2) Research using Naviance: We will walk students through several of the online research tools in Naviance so they can begin exploring colleges and thinking about creating prospective lists.
Please remember, if you want more detailed information about the college application process, the College Counseling Handbook, our comprehensive college handbook, is always available on our web page on the Lawrence Academy website. The book describes in detail our approach to applying to college. The information in the handbook is organized to take you through all of the steps of the college application process. You can select specific chapters or download a PDF of the entire book. Please click on the following link to access it: College Counseling Handbook
Standardized Testing Information
Please register your LA student as soon as possible for the Lawrence Academy testing site if they wish to take the SAT and ACT at LA. Our site is very desirable and seats fill up fast.
Most juniors will take the December 1 SAT. The ACT on February 9, 2019 will likely fill all seats by the end of November/beginning of December 2018. Please register now if your student would like to take it at LA!
Refer to collegeboard.org (SAT registration) and actstudent.org (ACT registration) for registration information. Please note: Standby ticket holders are NOT guaranteed a seat.
If you believe your child qualifies for extended time you should contact Meg Whitworth in the Academic Support Office to discuss the process of applying for extended time. This process can take at least 7 weeks so families must reach out to Meg in a timely manner.
- Dec 1 SAT @LA
- Dec 8 ACT
- Jan 4 regular registration deadline for Feb 9 ACT
- Jan 18 late registration for Feb 9 ACT
- Jan 26 Junior Class College Day
- Jan 27 Summer Opportunities Fair & Gap Year Fair
- Feb 8 regular registration for March 9 SAT*
- Feb 9 ACT @LA
- Feb 22 late registration deadline for March 9 SAT*
- March 9 SAT* not offered @LA
- April 13 ACT not offered @LA
- May 4 SAT & Subject Tests @LA
- June 1 SAT & Subject Tests @LA
- June 8 ACT not offered @LA
- July 13 ACT not offered @LA
* March 9 SAT is not offered at LA