Beginning the Post-Secondary Planning Process
Welcome to junior year! Though it is hard to believe, the post-secondary planning process will begin this spring. However, there are some events prior to that which juniors and their parents should be aware of.
First, we encourage all juniors to take the PSAT in October. Juniors should take the PSAT again in the junior year even if they took it as sophomores. It is only the junior year scores that are used in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Guidance counselors will visit junior homerooms to tell students when it is time to sign up, which they do in the Guidance Department. Scores will come back to Guidance in December; each junior will then have an individual appointment with his/her counselor to go over the scores. Counselors return the tests, answer key, and score reports to the students at that time, all of which can be useful in preparing for the SAT.
Secondly, we invite juniors and their parents to Financial Aid Night, which will be held in November. Although this meeting is primarily for parents of seniors, it can be useful to understand how the process of financial aid works ahead of time. For the date of this event, please go to “financial aid” under the above “college” tab.
In February of junior year, the junior class will have two group meetings with the guidance counselors to go over in detail the future planning process, including a “to-do” timeline, use of the Naviance website, registration for the SAT or ACT, local test preparation organizations, Internet resources, campus visits, and for athletes, how to register with the NCAA Clearinghouse. Between February vacation and April vacation, each junior should schedule a full-period appointment with his/her guidance counselor to formulate and discuss plans, review the transcript, and get any other questions about the process answered.
Parents are invited in February to Junior Parents’ Night to a presentation by a college admissions officer and then a smaller group question-and-answer session with their child’s guidance counselor.
Finally, juniors should look ahead at their calendars to see when they can start visiting colleges. Both February and April vacations are good times for high school juniors to visit, as the colleges are in session and students can thus get a sense of the campus culture. To visit a college, simply go to its website, click on the link for undergraduate admissions, then on the link to “visiting campus.” Times and dates will appear; the student schedules whatever is convenient and then arrives at that time and date at the admissions office. These visits are casual, and typically include a campus tour conducted by a student at the school and a group information session with an admissions officer.