FRESHMAN AND SOPHOMORE COLLEGE INFORMATION PACKET

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1 LOWER DAUPHIN HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELING DEPARTMENT FRESHMAN AND SOPHOMORE COLLEGE INFORMATION PACKET Lower Dauphin High School Counseling Office 201 South Hanover Street Hummelstown, PA Lower Dauphin High School Counselors Mrs. Farren Schmidt, Class of 2014 (717) Mrs. Tanya Dreon, Class of 2015 (717) Mr. Nathan Espenshade, Class of 2016 (717) Mrs. Lori Beaver, Class of 2017 (717) Mrs. Debra Love, Counseling Office Secretary (717) Mrs. Kathy Weber, Counseling Office Secretary (717) Lower Dauphin High School Fax (717)

2 Your Education Timeline Use this timeline to help you make sure you re accomplishing everything you need to on time. Fall NINTH GRADE As soon as you can, meet with your counselor to begin talking about colleges and careers. Make sure you are enrolled in the appropriate college-preparatory or tech-prep courses. Get off to a good start with your grades. The grades you earn in ninth grade will be included in your final high school GPA and class rank. College might seem a long way off now, but grades really do count toward college admission and scholarships. Explore your interests and possible careers. Take advantage of Career Day opportunities. Get involved in extracurricular activities (both school and non-school sponsored). Talk to your parents about planning for college expenses. Continue or begin a savings plan for college. Look at the college information available online at through the Naviance program, or on individual college websites. Investigate summer enrichment programs. TENTH GRADE In October, take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) for practice. When you fill out your test sheet, check the box that releases your name to colleges so you can start receiving information from them. Take geometry if you have not already done so. Take biology and a second year of a foreign language. Become familiar with general college entrance requirements. Participate in your school s or state s career development activities. Winter Discuss your PSAT score with your counselor. The people who read college applications aren t looking just for grades. Get involved in activities outside the classroom. Work toward leadership positions in the activities that you like best. Become involved in community service and other volunteer activities. Read, read, read. Read as many books as possible from a comprehensive reading list. Work on your writing skills you ll need them no matter what you do. Find a teacher or another adult who will advise and encourage you to write well. Spring Keep your grades up so you can have the highest GPA and class rank possible. Ask your counselor about postsecondary enrollment options and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Continue to explore interests and careers that you think you might like. 2

3 Begin zeroing in on the type of college you would prefer (two-year or four-year, small or large, rural or urban). If you are interested in attending a military academy, such as West Point or Annapolis, now is the time to start planning and getting information. Contact college Admissions Offices and ask for their academic requirements for admission. Begin to visit college campuses. Read all of the mail you receive from colleges. You may see something you like. Attend college fairs. Keep putting money away for college. Get a summer job. Consider taking SAT II Subject Tests (if needed for admission to more selective colleges) in the courses you took this year while the material is still fresh in your mind. These tests are offered in May and June. 3

4 Checklist/Calendar for Parents 9th Grade This is the first year that admission officials will see on your child s transcript and, thus, a good time to take stock. What strong academic interests should be encouraged? What areas should be strengthened? If your child has any inkling of career goals, consider what prerequisites may exist. This is especially true in scientific and technical fields. Use your school s course listings to sketch out a Four-Year Plan that includes all classes your child will take throughout high school. Think about which extracurricular activities your child plans to continue. Have past passions been outgrown? September/October Be aware of your child s academic adjustment. Are course levels appropriate? Urge your child to engage in meaningful activity, in and out of school. Consider community service. Begin an Activities Record that lists all participation, along with a brief mention of accomplishments, awards, and leadership positions. January Evaluate academic progress so far. Are grades up to par? Are course levels on target? Do study habits need improvement? Is your child enjoying extracurricular involvement? If not, assess what changes might be made. Begin thinking about worthwhile summer plans (study, camp, job, volunteer work, travel, etc.). May/June Evaluate and update Four-Year Planning Form and Activities Record. Finalize summer plans. Develop a summer reading list. 10th Grade Classes chosen in grade 10 often determine which courses (and course levels) your child will be qualified to take in the important junior and senior years. September Contact the guidance counselor about a warm-up PSAT/NMSQT for sophomores in October. Ask the guidance department about college fairs in your area and college admissionrepresentative visits to the school. Encourage your child to start investigating by attending one fair and a session or two with representatives at school. Warning: This may be too early for many students. Don t push it! October Save the date for the PSAT/NMSQT. Are first-semester classes going well? Extracurriculars? 4

5 December Questions about PSAT scores? Contact the guidance counselor. If necessary, discuss strategies for improving weak areas. January Evaluate academic progress so far. Are grades up to par? Are course levels on target? Do study habits need improvement? Is your child participating in extracurricular activities? If not, reevaluate. Begin thinking about worthwhile summer plans (job, study, camp, volunteer work, travel, etc.). May/June Oversee registration for next fall s classes and activities. Urge your child to select (or continue) the most challenging classes possible and at least one community service activity. Finalize summer plans. Develop a summer reading list. Summer Make sure your child has a job or participates in constructive activities throughout the summer. Summer study, jobs, and volunteer work always rate high with admission officials. If your child has a career goal in mind, help organize a "shadow day" where he or she spends time with someone at work in that field. The Web provides good (albeit excessive) college entrance information, as well as online applications to many institutions. Summer is a good time for students to check out some of the many sites available and bookmark favorites, without jeopardizing homework time. 5

6 Weighting of Courses GRADE POINT AVERAGE AND CLASS RANK Courses offered in the Lower Dauphin High School curriculum vary considerably in their degree of difficulty. This range of course difficulty results from a program that is geared to provide for a broad range of student differences in abilities, interests, vocational, and academic pursuits. For this reason, grade points vary in accordance with the levels of difficulty of the course. This weighting factor is necessary to assure that an element of fairness exists in determining the class rank of students. All courses ranked as Weight 1 (Career Prep, General) shall be recorded as the actual grade average. Courses ranked as Weight 2 (Tech Prep) shall receive an additional 2.5 percentage points to the grade average. Courses ranked as Weight 3 (College Prep) shall receive an additional 5 percentage points. Courses ranked as Weight 4 (Honors) shall receive an additional 10 percentage points. Courses ranked as Weight 5 (Advanced Placement) shall received an additional 12 percentage points. In computing the weighted grade point average, only academic courses (Weight 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) shall be considered. Excluded from the computation are most classes from Art, Driver Education, Health and Physical Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Technology Education, Music, Reading, and Independent Studies. Grade Point Average In computing the non-weighted grade point average, all courses are considered. To compute the non-weighted GPA, the percentages earned are converted to a 4.0 scale, added together, and then divided by the total number of credits. See chart below: Letter Grade Percent Quality Points 1.0 credit Quality Points 0.5 credit A A A B B B C C C D D D F 59 & below Quality Points 0.25 credit

7 The following charts are examples of how grading calculations are determined: STUDENT A Class Credit Final Average Weighted Percentage Weighted Average 4.0 Scale Conversion AP Statistics % +12% 92% 2.7 AP Physics % +12% 97% 3.0 CP English % +5% 95% 3.7 CP Government % +5% 80% 2.0 Spanish 3 Honors % +10% 90% 2.7 Phys Ed % Not included 0.85 Athletic First Aid % Not included 1.95 Chorus % Not included 3.7 Totals: 7.5 Wtd. GPA: 91.36% Non-Wtd. GPA: 2.95 STUDENT B Class Credit Final Average Weighted Percentage Weighted Average 4.0 Scale Conversion Honors English % +10% 90% 2.7 Basic Integrated Math % 0 (as is) 85% 3.0 Physical Science % 0 (as is) 75% 2.0 CP US History % +5% 85% 2.7 French II CP % +5% 85% 2.7 Band % Not included 3.7 Health % Not included 1.0 Phys Ed % Not included 1.85 Totals: 7.0 Wtd. GPA: 84% Non-Wtd. GPA: Class Rank Class rank is determined by arranging all students in order of their weighted grade point averages. This average is based upon the total points earned divided by the credits for academic courses taken. The computation will take place each marking period. Students that repeat courses, due to previous low grades or other reasons, shall have both grades computed in their class rank, but only one credit is awarded. 7

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9 College Fair Guidelines You should consider attending at least one college fair or college night in this area. The HACC college fair will be held on October 2, 2013, from 6:00 8:00pm in the Cooper Student Center. College fairs are excellent opportunities to efficiently contact college admissions staff and collect information about prospective schools. Questions to ask before attending the fair: How large of a school do you want to attend? What type of school are you looking for? How far away from home do you want to go? What type of environment (rural, small town, suburban, urban) do you want? What type of majors are you considering? What sports or clubs are you looking for? How much are you willing to pay for college? What type of admissions selectivity fits your academic profile? Questions to ask while at the fair: What high school courses are required for admission? What is the average GPA of the entering freshmen and SAT/ACT test scores for the previous year? What are the deadlines for admission and financial aid? What factors are most important in the decision: essay, high school transcript, recommendations, activities, or something else? What are the graduation and retention rates for the school? What are the job placement rates for certain majors that interest you? What kinds of scholarship opportunities are available? How many students receive financial aid? What is the average financial aid package at the school? How much does it cost to attend the school for a year (tuition, room/board, & fees)? What housing options are available? How many years of housing are guaranteed? How safe is the campus? Things to do at the college fair: Collect information about specific programs and colleges from the tables. Talk to the admissions staff. Get their name and give them your name. Fill out inquiry cards that are available. Doing this will get you on their mailing list. Things to do after the college fair: Make notes about what you learned while it is still fresh in your mind. Write down any questions that need to be asked later. Follow up on any contacts that you made at the fair. 9

10 GENERAL COLLEGE ADMISSIONS GUIDELINES 1. Take the time to consider the items on this checklist to help you make the best possible choice of a college. You can start to think about these items as early as ninth grade and should certainly have thought about all of them before your senior year of high school. If you have questions, talk to your high school guidance counselor and your parents. 2. Consider what you want to do after college before you think about what college you want to attend. Consider your abilities (what you are good at doing), your interests (what you enjoy doing), and your values (what is important to you). Be sure to talk with your parents, your friends, your teachers, and your guidance counselor to firmly establish your understanding of yourself. 3. Learn how to prepare for the careers you are considering. Different occupations require different preparation. You should select a college that will prepare you for the career of your choice. What college major and what type of degree are generally recommended for the occupations that you have in mind? Helpful advice is available online and from books, friends, parents, and your guidance counselor. 4. Locate colleges that will allow you to keep as many of your career options open as possible. This means finding colleges that offer all of the majors in which you might be interested. 5. Look closely at the entrance requirements of each college in which you are interested. Be sure that you take the courses in high school that best prepare you for college. 6. Think about other college characteristics that are important to you by making a list. The list should include: the size of the school, location, sports programs, and other extracurricular activities. Prioritize this list and discuss it with your parents, friends, and guidance counselor. 7. Learn the special terms that you will encounter in the admissions process by talking with a college admissions person and your guidance counselor. Some terms include: early decision, early action, rolling admission, advanced standing, deferred admission, class rank, etc. 8. Learn how you can pay for your college education by researching financial aid opportunities. 9. Make a list of colleges that have all the academic and nonacademic features that you are looking for. Use the Naviance program or go to to search for colleges based on a variety of criteria. 10. Research all of the colleges on your list. Gather complete information by looking online, attending a college fair or visiting the school directly. 11. Make a final choice of about five schools based upon your research. Make sure that each is a school that you would actually (realistically) attend. 12. Take the standard admissions tests that are required by each college on your list. Decide when you want to take these. Preparation courses and practice booklets are available as needed. 13. Study the application steps that each college requires: is an interview required, is an essay required, is a visit necessary, and what recommendations are needed? 10

11 14. Learn how to complete the application by presenting your academic record and personal characteristics in the best way. 15. Apply on time. Early in the senior year is best, but in any case before the stated deadline. Have someone read your application before submitting it. 16. After you receive offers of admission, make sure that you and your parents understand the financial aid package that you have been offered and respond directly to the school with your decision prior to the deadline. 11

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14 DATES TO REMEMBER Date Time Event Location September 21, :00 am 12:00 pm ACT Test LDHS October 2, :00 8:00 pm HACC College Fair HACC October 19, :00 am 12:00 pm PSAT Test LDHS November 2, :00 am 1:00 pm SAT Test LDHS November 13, :00 8:00 pm NCAA Seminar LDHS Library December 12, :00 pm PSAT Score Meeting LDHS Auditorium December 14, :00 am 12:00 pm ACT Test LDHS January 8, :30 pm Financial Aid Night LDHS Library February 5, :00 9:00 pm Parent Course Selection Program (grades 9-11) LDHS Auditorium March 5, :00 8:00 pm LVC College Fair LVC March 8, :00 am 1:00 pm SAT Test LDHS June 7, :00 am 1:00 pm SAT Test LDHS 14

15 Helpful Websites Students and parents are encouraged to log on to the Naviance Family Connection powered by Naviance to assist students with their college and career planning process. This comprehensive site utilizes many tools to assist in long- term career planning. Be sure to check out the scholarship listing too. Students and/or parents must log in to personal accounts, where one can access and save information. Please contact your counselor for your personal log-in ID. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) helps to create access to education for Pennsylvania students. They offer many tools and resources to help you and your family plan for higher education. The site contains information on the Pennsylvania State Grant program that allows eligible Pennsylvania residents to obtain financial assistance for undergraduate study at any PHEAA-approved institution of higher education. PHEAA offers a wide variety of special programs to assist students who meet specific criteria. Campus Champs gives the student-athlete vital information on how to find a school, reach out to college coaches, apply for admission, get student aid, improve your game, and increase your chances to succeed both on the field and in the classroom. This website is available to answer your student loan questions. The site features types of student loans, an interest saving calculator, repayment options and money management ideas. FastWeb can help you find money for college by searching 600,000 scholarships worth over $1 billion. Get expert tips on financial aid, careers, and more. Find your dream school with personalized matching against 4,000 colleges. Get recruited by colleges looking for students like you. Search for scholarships that match your profile, but beware of scholarship scams. Don t know a PLUS from a Perkins or a Stafford loan? Look here for information about student loans. Financial Aid application paperwork demystified find forms and instructions here. Tips on filling out the FAFSA and maximizing eligibility. Dozens of tools for calculation college costs, loan payments, savings and the expected family contribution (EFC). Includes a financial aid forecaster for juniors. This site offers resources for all aspects of the college search: researching, applying, and paying for college. It also offers career resources, PSAT information, SAT preparation, and AP information. Students can also register on-line for SAT tests at this site. This site offers a series of free study guides on a variety of standardized tests commonly utilized for admissions, licensing, and educational assessment. The goal of this site is to provide free study resources and study guides for students to be adequately prepared for their examination without having to pay costly test preparation fees. Test prep includes ACT, SAT, PSAT, and ASVAB. 15

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