THE COLLEGE SEARCH PROCESS EASTRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL

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1 THE COLLEGE SEARCH PROCESS EASTRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL

2 Note to Parents and Students The purpose of this packet is to assist you through the post high school planning process. Knowing that this is a stressful time for you and your son/daughter, our department has gathered information throughout the years. It is our hope that this information will assist you in the process of choosing plans for life after high school. The Counseling Center is where students can obtain college, career, military and financial aid information. This is where students meet with college representatives that visit Eastridge. Students may visit the Counseling Center during their study halls and after school. There are computers available for student use. The office is staffed each day until 3:30 p.m. Throughout this time, please do not hesitate to call your child s counselor with questions, comments, and/or concerns. We are looking forward to working with you to make the best plans for your interests, talents, and goals. Sincerely, The EHS Counselors Counselors and their Caseloads Kathleen Healy ( ) Student last name beginning A-Fo, AVID Grade 10, ESOL Travis Hooper ( ) Student last name beginning Fr-Om, AVID Grade 11 Mona Dibble ( ) Student last name beginning Or-Z, AVID Grade 9 &12 Doreen Goossen ( ) All IB Diploma and STAY Students, AVID Grade 9 & 10 1

3 Timetable for Juniors and Seniors Planning on Attending College Junior Year Fall/Winter Take the PSAT offered in October. Meet with college representatives in the Counseling Center. Go over PSAT results with your counselor. Attend college fairs around Rochester. Complete School Nominated Scholarship Application found in the Counseling Center to qualify for school-nominated scholarships. Division I & II athletes must register online at the NCAA Eligibility Center at February/March Meet with your counselor to plan a schedule for senior year and discuss post-high school plan. Review SAT /SAT Subject Test/ACT dates. Students can register online at and NOTE: More colleges are now requesting that SAT/ACT scores come directly from the respective organizations. Students qualify for four free score reports when they register. Decide on actual test dates and register. Use study halls, activity periods, and after-school time to browse college materials in the Counseling Center. Use online resources and printed materials to prepare a tentative list of colleges you are interested in and would like to visit. Attend College/Financial Aid Information Night at Eastridge High School. April/May/June Continue to research colleges online and contact them for further information if needed. Plan spring and summer college visits with your parents. Register to take the SAT/ACT. Summer Schedule campus visits. Finalize the list of colleges to which you are applying. Complete your resume and scholarship application. Pay close attention to Lancer Lines and the Counseling Center website for important information. The Lancer Lines is an electronic newsletter located on our district website that includes vital information regarding scholarships, summer programs, volunteer experiences, financial aid, test dates, colleges and much more. Also, visit the Counseling Center website link found at for upcoming events and information. 2

4 Senior Year September/October Determine how you are going to apply, whether it is through the Common Application, SUNY Application, or individual college/university application. If using the Common Application, it is recommended that students waive their right to access letters of recommendation. Create a list/spreadsheet for each college with deadlines and admissions requirements. SAT /ACT Test Registration - Do This in Early September! Register for SAT Subject Tests, if required. Register online at NOTE: More colleges are now requesting that SAT/ACT scores come directly from the respective organizations. Students qualify for four free score reports when they register. Ask teachers/coaches, with a written request, for supportive/positive letters of recommendations. The request form can be found in the Counseling Center. You should have at least two recommendations. Ask an English teacher to help you with editing the college application essay. Continue making college visits and browsing through college/career material. Attend college fairs and financial aid information nights. Meet with college representatives in the Counseling Center. Begin to apply to colleges. Note the college application deadline dates and adhere to them. If you have not done so, complete the School Nominated Scholarship Application or update your application from junior year. Research and apply to applicable scholarships. November/December Continue the college application process. If applying online, make sure to complete a transcript request form so that we can send required information to all colleges. See Mrs. Miller in the Counseling Center for the form. Watch the deadlines for early admission programs. All applications are sent (mailed) from the Counseling Center. It is YOUR responsibility to bring in the application(s), check(s) and supportive documents to Mrs. Miller in the Counseling Center. Allow 12 working days for applications to be processed. The application packet will include your transcript and counselor recommendation. All other recommendations, such as from teachers and any other person, need to be mailed directly to the colleges by the person writing the recommendation. Please provide them with a stamped addressed envelope for mailing. NOTE: If completing the Common Application, all information is processed online and students only need to complete the transcript request form found in the Counseling Center. Complete the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile needed for some private schools. December through June Listen to announcements and check the Counseling Center for any information on scholarships. Continue to read the Lancer Lines for important information and check the Counseling Center website. Fill out the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA) online at Please note: The FAFSA cannot be filled out until after January 1 st. The number to call for information on the FAFSA is Complete scholarship applications OR submit name for scholarships listed in Lancer Lines, on website or announced. 3

5 Early April All colleges/universities will notify you by this time if you have been accepted or not. The more competitive colleges may take longer. Mid April If you are unhappy with the financial aid package at colleges where you have been accepted, call the financial aid office to discuss it. Late April/Early May Send deposit to selected college. Note deadlines for deposits. Notify by letter or phone all colleges that accepted you, whether or not you plan to attend. Notify Counseling Center of your choice of college along with any scholarships, grants, and awards received. Continue reading Lancer Lines and check our website! 4

6 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AS YOU BEGIN THE COLLEGE SEARCH Your Talents and Interests As you consider colleges, keep in mind the academic subjects and extracurricular activities that you do well in and most enjoy. Your interest in them will most likely continue in college, and you can explore them in more depth. However, remember that you will be able to try new subjects and activities, too. In deciding what kind of education best meets your needs, one choice you will make is between a liberal arts or specialized education. Specialized Education Specialized education will train you for a specific job or career. Perhaps you would like to be a commercial artist or photographer, an interior designer or a licensed practical nurse. Maybe your interests are in construction technology or agriculture. For fields like these that require technical expertise, you should consider specialized education. You will find that it is most commonly offered at a large university, community college, or technological institute. Liberal Arts and Sciences A liberal arts education is broad. You will study literature, languages, and the natural and social sciences. There also might be options to study computer science and business, and to set up a career internship. Studies have shown that a liberal arts education teaches you reasoning and how to be a creative and flexible thinker. You will learn to speak and write persuasively and to solve complex problems. More and more, employers value these qualities. A liberal arts education will help you understand the world around you and develop your interests, talents, and values. If you enjoy a variety of subjects and think you could succeed in a number of areas, then you probably should consider the liberal arts and sciences. Large or Small College You will quickly discover in your search that colleges range in size from a few hundred students to 30,000 or more - the size of a small city! What size is right for you? At a smaller-sized college or university, you might enjoy more personal attention and better access to equipment and facilities. You may find it easier to get involved in activities outside of class. Also, you would probably have more contact with professors and be more likely to get into the courses you want to take. Large state schools usually offer many courses in a wide variety of fields with technical specialties such as engineering or forestry. Class size probably will be larger, especially for lecture courses. Facilities and equipment are likely to be extensive, but used by many people. College Costs College costs have risen sharply in recent years, at public and private schools alike. Before you cross a college off your list because of its price tag, think about this: Financial assistance is available for qualified students at all colleges and universities across the country. In fact, many colleges and universities that charge a lot also provide more financial aid. With financial aid, you may find that it costs you no more to attend a higher priced school than one that appears to cost less. Do not allow initial costs alone to determine your future. The extra cost of attending one school rather than another is small when you divide it by the number of years this education must serve you. 5

7 Other Factors In what clubs, activities, and sports would you like to participate? Do you seek opportunities for international study? Is the college s distance from your home important to you? How close or far away should it be? Are you looking for a particular type of climate or scenery? Do you want access to outdoor recreation? Is diversity of students important to you? Would you like to go to school with people from other parts of the United States and from other countries? Would you prefer a residential college, where most students live on campus and take part in college activities on the weekends? Would you prefer a commuter campus? Is the size of the town or city in which the college is located important to you? Do you want to attend a college with a particular religious affiliation? WHAT DO COLLEGES LOOK FOR IN PERSPECTIVE STUDENTS The students set the tone and atmosphere of a college or university. Knowing that, admission officers try to fill the freshman class with interesting, creative, and sensitive young people. Most college representatives are eager to match you with their college only if you will enjoy it and are likely to do well there. A mismatch, while sometimes unavoidable, can be costly for both the student and the college. Grades and Courses in High School are Most Important Your high school record will be the most important factor in whether you will be admitted to a particular college or university. Good grades in all your courses throughout high school show that you are willing to work hard and have an interest in a variety of subjects. A poor grade or two in high school does not necessarily mean you won t be admitted to a selective college. If your grades improve, even late in your high school career, most colleges will notice. Colleges also consider the diversity and difficulty of the courses you have taken. Success in the tougher courses (honors, accelerated, IB, or Advanced Placement) suggests you will do well in college. Most colleges prefer that students take four years of English, four years of mathematics, four years of science, three or more years of social science, and four years of a foreign language. Scores on Standardized Tests The widely used tests are the SAT and the ACT. Usually, these tests are taken during the junior and senior years. Almost all four-year colleges require either the SAT or the ACT. How important are your test scores? College guidebooks and admission materials often list the average test scores of students at a particular college or university. Keep in mind that this is an average, not a minimum. The scores of students admitted to the school are in a range extending below, as well as above, that average. An increasing number of colleges list a range that shows the scores of the middle 50 percent of the students who attend the school. Some students perform better on the ACT, so it is a good idea to take both exams. College admissions officers are fully aware, too, that some students do not test well. Slow reading speed, unfamiliarity with the test format, or fear may cause a student to perform poorly on standardized tests. For these reasons, virtually all colleges also consider other factors when they select students. They look at grades, class rank, recommendations, essays, and a student s special talents and achievements. If you receive test accommodations, you must see your counselor to complete the Students With Disabilities form. 6

8 Extra-Curricular Activities Most colleges, liberal arts colleges especially, look for a variety of students with diverse interests. Colleges notice students involved in theater, musical groups, special interests clubs (such as photography or debate), student publications, athletics, or student government. Of course, colleges also look for students who belong to academic groups, such as honor societies, language clubs, science clubs, and the like. Part-time work, interesting summer adventures, or unusual experiences may also be important to some colleges. Recommendations Colleges differ when it comes to recommendations. Most require a recommendation from your high school counselor. Some also ask for references from a teacher and/or an adult you know well, such as an employer or a member of the clergy. It is important that these people know you well enough to provide valuable insights about you. They will be asked about your intellectual strengths, your personality, and what you do outside of class. We suggest that you have one teacher recommendation, in addition to the school counselor recommendation. This letter should be written by a teacher who knows you well. All students must request a letter of recommendation in writing and should include a resume, which highlights in-school and out-of-school activities. Be sure to double check the admission requirements to your specific schools and verify the number of letters of recommendation needed as they vary school to school. Essay Many colleges require an essay as part of the application. This can be an intimidating task. Instead, try to view it as your chance to express yourself. Admissions officers are not looking for a particular correct answer on the essay. They want to find out what you are like as an individual. Your English teacher is a good resource for help with this part of the application process. The Interview Some colleges require an interview, though many do not. If the college requires or recommends one, see if you can schedule it during your campus visit. As with any interview, be on time and come prepared. If you know you will be delayed, call ahead. Also, review the information and notes you have on the college and prepare a list of questions ahead of time. Take the list along, so you are sure to cover everything you wanted to find out. In your interview, you will probably be asked about your background, interests, hobbies, goals, and why you are applying to the college. It is natural to be a little nervous. Try to see it as a conversation in which you ask questions, too. If you do that, you will be more likely to relax and enjoy the experience. Below are some questions you may wish to ask in your interview, or when you talk with an admissions counselor: In your interview you could ask What is distinctive about the college? Does your college have academic programs that fit my interests? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the college s advising system? What extra-curricular activities are there on campus? What are the facilities like? What kinds of campus jobs can I get if I qualify for work-study? Are there new programs or facilities that will be available in the next couple of years? What are the college s recent graduates doing now? Is it likely I ll be admitted? Is the college need-blind in its admission policies? What academic support services are available to students? 7

9 Scholarship Application All students should complete a scholarship application if they want to be considered for scholarships nominated by the school. Scholarships are posted in the Lancer Lines and on the Counseling Center webpage link found at Any interested students should see Mrs. Miller for applications. Campus Visits No publication/website, no matter how thorough, can give you a complete picture of a college or university. A campus visit is the best way to see what a college is like. Advanced planning with the admissions office is important to help you make the most of your visit. Most colleges encourage campus visits and many publish special brochures to help you plan one. When you have decided to visit a campus, call or the admissions office. Tell them the date you would like to come and the approximate time you expect to arrive. If you want to stay overnight in a residence hall, ask if they can make arrangements. During your visit, try to meet with someone from the admissions office and take a tour of the campus. Talk to students, have a meal in the cafeteria (many colleges will treat you), and pick up copies of the student newspaper and alumni magazine. Some colleges also can arrange for you to meet a professor who teaches a subject you enjoy, or a coach of a sport you play. People s views about a college or university can vary widely, so try to talk to as many people as possible. Whether your visit lasts an hour or a day, you should get all your questions answered. You already may have thought of a lot of questions. Here are some additional questions you might want to add to your list: When you talk to students, ask How many hours a week do you study? Is this typical of students here? Are campus jobs readily available? Are faculty members interested in students and accessible outside of class? Do many students go home on weekends? Is the food good? Is it possible to study in your dorm/residence hall? What s the library like as a place to study? to do research? What do you like most about this college? least? How easy is it to get the classes you want at registration? If you had it to do again, would you still choose this college? What activities are available for students? If you attend a class, ask Are students interested in the material? Is there time for questions and discussions? Do students participate? Are students prepared for this class? Am I intellectually challenged by what is taking place in the class? Do I feel that the students are learning either new facts or new ways of thinking? Is there good rapport between professors and students? Would I feel comfortable as a student in this setting? As you tour the campus, ask yourself Are the older buildings in good repair? Are there new buildings as well as older ones? Is lab equipment up-to-date and plentiful? Are rooms in residence halls pleasant? Quiet enough to study? 8

10 Are common areas in the residence halls attractive? Are there laundry and kitchen facilities? What is the cafeteria like? Are the grounds well kept? Is the setting and architecture appealing? What is the surrounding town or city like? Would I feel comfortable here? Are the buildings handicapped accessible? When your visit is over Try to write down your impressions of the college while they are still fresh in your mind or take pictures. The following questions may help you assess your visit: Were the people you met friendly and did they answer your questions fully and candidly? Did you feel that the students were the kind of people you would like to get to know? Did you sense that the college was interested in having you as a student? Did you like the social atmosphere? Did the campus itself impress you in any way? What do you think about the quality of instruction? What do you feel about the academic demands and atmosphere? Would you like to spend more time there? If you cannot visit Sometimes it s impossible for you to visit a campus. You can still get the feel of a college by talking to recent graduates or current students who are from your area. The college s admissions office can give you the names of these people. Many college representatives travel to interview students at schools or hotels nearby. Write or call the admissions office to find out when a representative will be in your area and to make an appointment to see him or her. Also, check to see if there are virtual college tours offered online. How many schools should I apply to? There is no magic answer to this question. It will depend on your range of interests and the kind of institution you want. Your goal is to find a good match between you and the school and to be accepted at schools where you would like to attend. Applying can be an expensive process, so you should do some thorough research before you actually complete an application. Narrow your choices to a manageable number. Include a wish school, which will be your long shot. It s okay to aim high. Financial Assistance All colleges and universities expect you and your parents to contribute as much as you can to the cost of your education and college costs may strain your family s budget. They will do their best to bridge the gap between what you can afford and what the college costs. Financial assistance comes in several types: grants and scholarships, loans, and work-study. Grants and scholarships are outright gifts of money. Most of the time, they are based upon need. Sometimes, though, they are awarded for academic excellence and promise, or for special achievements or abilities. Loans are a significant part of most aid packages. They must be repaid, but most often not until after you graduate. Interest rates are competitive with other type of loans. The pay-back period on college loans varies from two or three years up to 30 years. 9

11 Work-study is a part-time job on campus. For instance, you might work in the library, or be a resident advisor, lifeguard, or food-service worker. The job is arranged through the financial aid office. Funding for financial aid comes from the federal government, state government, private sources, and the colleges and universities themselves. Colleges determine what you can afford on the basis of information you and your family provide on confidential forms. You can pick these forms up at your high school counseling office. To be considered for federal grants and loans, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on line at The FAFSA can be submitted after January 1 st of your senior year. Some colleges and universities also require that you complete the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile or their own financial aid form in order to be considered for the college or university s own grants and loans. Read each college s brochures carefully to find out which form(s) to submit and when to apply for assistance. Make sure you don t miss important deadlines. If you and your family will not be able to support the full cost of your education, you should apply for assistance. At many high-quality colleges and universities, one-half to three-fourths of the students receive financial assistance. Entrance Tests: Which ones must I take? SAT 1 The SAT Reasoning Test is a three-hour, 45-minute test that measures critical Reading, Math, Writing and Verbal Skills. It is designed to show your potential in college. This test is accepted by most of the colleges and universities in the country. You should take this test for the first time in May or June of your junior year and October or November of your senior year to improve your score. ACT American College Test measures skills in four curriculum areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science Reasoning. The ACT is a three-and-a-half-hour test that colleges all over the country accept. The ACT format is one with which students are more familiar, as it is similar in design to the standardized tests which are traditionally given in school. Students take this test in the spring of their junior year and again in the fall of their senior year if they would like to improve their score. The ACT also offers a writing test which is optional. Students should check to see if this required. Statistics show that some students tend to be more successful on this test. SAT Subject Tests The SAT Subject Tests are given in a variety of subject areas. They may not be taken on the same day as the SAT. The more selective/highly competitive colleges require this test. In order to place yourself in this category, it is highly recommended that you take the subject area tests. You may take up to three subject area tests at one time. Choose the subject areas that are either required by the colleges you are applying to or are most in line with your preferred majors. Students need to check to see if the colleges to which they are applying will accept the SAT, ACT, or either one. Students need not take the ACT or SAT over and over again. Scores do not vary significantly from one sitting to the next. More colleges are now requesting that SAT/ACT scores come directly from the respective organizations. Students qualify for four free score reports when they register. 10

12 Note: Our High School Code Number for the ACT, SAT and SAT Subject Test is: If you plan on taking the SAT or SAT Subject Test at Eastridge, the test center code for Eastridge is: The test center code for taking the ACT at Eastridge is: What is the purpose of the SAT, SAT subject test, and ACT? If you seek admission to any college (even those going to MCC) these scores matter. Most admissions offices are not singularly dependent on these scores but consider a variety of other measures including courses taken, grades earned, class ranks, and activities. However, these tests are an equalizer and the competitiveness of your admissions application is greatly strengthened by above average scores. Colleges and universities do use test scores and it is to your advantage to do as well as you can. You are strongly advised to take both the SAT and ACT. You will have the opportunity to retake SAT s again in October/November of your senior year to improve your scores. There are a number of prep classes offered in the Rochester area and through Monroe Community College. The Counseling Center has information and distributes it as it becomes available. Other Options for After High School Military Service If you are thinking of the military as an option for after high school, you will need to: Take the ASVAB offered each year by the Armed Services. Arrange to speak with the recruiter for the branch of the service that interests you. This can be done through the Counseling Center. We will have the recruiter meet with you in the Counseling Center. If you would like to arrange further meetings, we suggest having the recruiter meet with you in your home so that your parents can understand the process and have the opportunity to ask questions. Work If it is your intention to join the work force when you graduate, there are a number of things you need to do to prepare. If you have not completed a resume as part of a course at school, this needs to be done. Interviewing skills need to be reviewed. Your counselor is available to assist with all of this. Computer Information and Websites The Counseling Center has computers that can be used for research. Students can access information about jobs, special programs, financial aid, scholarships, and colleges. Students can also use the computers to complete college applications. Some useful websites and a brief description about each are listed below. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search - This is a website that provides an interactive online college search resource where students can search for colleges that meet their needs and preferences, see detailed profiles on thousands of colleges! - This is a site with detailed information about colleges. It also offers programs about college fairs. Access the link to the Counseling Center website which contains a great deal of important information and upcoming events. 11

13 - Search colleges by state, major, and a host of other factors. Take a virtual tour of some colleges and ask their experts questions about the college admissions process. This website will automatically re-route you to the careers and colleges website. - Students are able to input information about their high school program, background, interests, and receive a profile of colleges that match. - By combining a database of 3,300 two-and four-year colleges with multimedia tours, CollegeView gives students and parents a general overview of a college, plus a direct option for requesting additional information. - This site includes the information on how US News ranks colleges in America. Career Exploration Websites This website is sponsored by the Federal Family Education. Loan Program and includes information to help plan your career, select a school, and pay for your education. Explore vocational and technical careers at this site. Scholarship Websites - This is advertised as the Internet s largest FREE scholarship search. Submit your own personalized profile over the web and your results will appear within five minutes. This website walks students and parents through the entire going to college process including a free scholarship search. On this website there are trivia questions, word scrambles, and brainteasers for students to answer and possibly win $500 scholarships. This is a free scholarship search which requires the student to complete a profile which is protected with a password. - World s largest search for scholarship information that requires the student to complete a profile. This profile asks for information regarding sports, hobbies and unique characteristics. Financial Websites

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