P E N N S B U R Y H I G H S C H O O L Senior College and Career Planning

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1 P E N N S B U R Y H I G H S C H O O L Senior College and Career Planning

2 College Planning Timeline Senior Year in High School Review your transcript. Refine list of colleges and review your final list of colleges with your counselor. Organize and complete all applications. Work on essays use your resources, Naviance, College Board, parents, teachers. Schedule interviews if required or recommended. Send ACT and/sat scores officially. Ask two teachers to write recommendations. Supply them with the correct information (recommendation forms and stamped envelopes addressed to the colleges' admissions offices). Have your parents attend the Senior Parent Night in October at the High School. Complete a Transcript Release Label. Request that your transcripts be sent to the colleges you have chosen. Investigate scholarships. Call to ensure application is complete. Investigate institutional financial aid. Check application deadline. Apply for federal and state financial aid Send midyear grade reports to your colleges. Notify the Guidance Office of acceptances. Evaluate your financial-aid offers. You'll have to make a decision about where to go and notify your college. Look for information about housing, roommates, orientation and course selection. Complete the Senior Survey in May to ensure your final transcript is sent. Pack for your new home.

3 P E N N S B U R Y H I G H S C H O O L A U G U S T, INFORMATION FOR SENIORS 1. Graduation status will be officially reviewed early in the school year. Should you have a question about your status for graduation, see your counselor. 2. College bound students can take a final SAT or ACT depending on college choice. You should take these tests in October, November or December of your senior year. The majority of colleges require the SAT or ACT for admission consideration. Both tests are given at Pennsbury High School. SAT Test Dates ACT Test Dates October 3, 2015 SAT & Subject Tests September 12, 2015 November 7, 2015 SAT & Subject Tests October 24, 2015 December 5, 2015 SAT & Subject Tests December 12, 2015 January 23, 2016 SAT & Subject Tests February 6, 2016 March 5, 2016 SAT only; US only April 9, 2016 May 7, 2016 SAT & Subject Tests June 11, 2016 June 4, 2016 SAT & Subject Tests The School Code for both the SAT and ACT is You may register online for the SAT at Click on the Register for the SAT link on the home page. You may register online for the ACT at Click on the Sign-up Login link on the home page. On the SAT and ACT application form, be sure to include the colleges to which you want your scores sent. Students required to take the SAT II should consult appropriate college catalogs and schedule the tests accordingly. Remember to send your scores officially to your college selections. Pennsbury does not put students scores on their transcripts. 3. Class rank is computed cumulatively four times (at the end of 9 th, 10 th, 11 th and 12 th grade as well as mid-year of grade 12) based on all courses attempted and completed beginning with Grade 9. Physical Education/Health grades are not included in class rank. Updated transcripts including the cumulative GPA for 9 th 11 th grade will be available in early September. 4. The Financial Aid forms (FAFSA and Profile) are available on line. FAFSA - Profile - profileonline.collegeboard.com 5. The Pennsbury Scholarship Foundation application is available to students online in January through the Pennsbury School District website. 6. It is the student s responsibility to meet the deadline established by various colleges and agencies for all applications and admission forms. Discuss your needs with your counselor. 7. STUDENTS APPLYING TO COLLEGE ARE ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT APPLICATIONS EARLY. Some colleges have established deadlines for applying as early as November 1 st ; other colleges have deadlines of January 1 st. If you are applying to any Pennsylvania state college, we encourage you to apply before the end of October. Pennsbury High School special deadlines exist for Early Decision Applications and for applications that need to go out before the holiday rush: November 1st Deadline submit by October 17th (this includes all Early Decision and Early Action applications) November 15th Deadline submit by October 28th Thanksgiving Deadline submit by November 5th (this includes all December 3rd deadlines) Winter Break Deadline submit by December 5th (this includes all January 2nd deadlines) 8. You are encouraged to attend College Visits held in the school. These visits are advertised in advance through Naviance. You must register with the prior to the conference. Clear your appointment with your teacher before attending.

4 Naviance Family Connection Naviance is a comprehensive online program for use by the School Counseling Office, Pennsbury students and their families. The Guidance Department strongly advises you to become familiar with the many resources available through Naviance. Go to the Naviance Family Connection website: If you have an account - Login with your address and password. My user name is: If you have forgotten your account password, there is a link on the Family Connection login page forget password. If you have forgotten the address you used to register, or need further assistance, please contact your counselor. There is a great deal of information available to you through the Naviance system. Here are just a few areas of the site that you may find helpful throughout your career exploration, college search and application process. Enter User Name (your address) and Password Logging in will bring you to the welcome page.

5 WELCOME (HOME) PAGE Any messages for you from your counselor or the Guidance Office regarding applications, scholarships, etc can be found on the Welcome Page, as new messages. Click contact us to send your counselor an if you have questions. All Pennsbury High School Guidance Forms including the Transcript Request Form and Teacher Letter of Recommendation Request From can be found in the document library, under PHS College Planning information. View sample resumes from former Pennsbury High School graduates in the document library. This welcome page is grade specific. Grade Specific Announcements are posted on the site under updates. You will see the tabs for Home, Colleges, Careers and About Me! CAREER TAB My Personality Type: This survey can be found under the career tab will allow you to match your interests and personality traits with potential career fields. Your counselor will have access to your results and this may help in developing a list of potential colleges and/or majors. You can Explore Interests completing a Career interest profiler a tool that can help you discover the types of work activities and careers that match your interests. From there you can Explore Careers to see the type of training or education your will need, and outlook for that career. You may add these to my careers.

6 COLLEGE TAB You can use Family Connection to help you research opportunities. You can look up colleges by name (college lookup) or search for colleges based on selected criteria (college search). Then, you can see how your academic performance compares with past graduates from our school who have been admitted to specific colleges (compare me). You can use Family Connection to maintain a list of colleges that you re considering (My Colleges). That list is also available to your counselor. You can also link directly to the college or university s website for additional information. College representatives schedule information sessions at Pennsbury High School, these are posted online. Click on Upcoming Visits, or view the page for a particular college to see whether a session is scheduled. Click sign up if you wish to attend the session. This list is updated daily as we schedule college visits so check back frequently. You will receive an reminder about this visit print this out it is your pass. Your name will appear on the registration sheet to sign in when you arrive at the meeting with the college representative. By the end of junior year, start to narrow down your list of schools to 5 7 choices. Add to the list of schools you are considering and to the list of schools to which you will be applying. Filling out this information in Naviance DOES NOT ensure that your Pennsbury High School transcript or counselor letter of recommendation will be sent to the colleges listed. In order to officially request that transcripts be sent to a school you must complete the transcript release form and submit it to the guidance office. You may download a transcript request form from the document library. If you are using the Common Application, please complete the waiver that can be found under My Colleges. The Common Application website allows for you to download the teacher recommendation form or request that your teachers complete the form online. Teachers do not have access to Naviance, they will need a hardcopy of the common application teacher recommendation form. You may access the Pennsbury High School on-line scholarship database. The Scholarship List provides information for nominating yourself or applying for various scholarships which come through the guidance office. This list is updated regularly as we post scholarships so check back frequently.

7 ABOUT ME TAB INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT ME Journal Entries can include a list of visits you would like to attend, your essays or resumes. Family connection allows counselors access to view your entries. Complete Student Activity Sheet which is listed in the menu on the left of the screen. Your counselor MUST have this information in order to write your college recommendation in a timely manner. Have your parents complete the Parent Brag sheet. If they are not comfortable using Naviance, you can download and print out the brag sheet in the Document Library. Complete My Resume and My Gameplan. OFFICIAL THINGS Your profile information including name, address, GPA class rank and test scores. Please be sure to check for accuracy of this information.

8 HOW DO I CHOOSE WHERE TO APPLY? Develop a list of colleges that you can divide into: 1 or 2 reach schools 3 good match schools 2 safety schools Apply to them all. You ve probably already considered schools in each of these categories, but separating them into tiers will help you manage your expectations throughout the admissions process. While it may be impossible to know whether or not you ll be accepted to any given school, the best you can do is prepare yourself for the likely outcomes. REACH SCHOOLS If you re evaluating your chances of admissions at a particular school, and your assessment fails anywhere between I might just make the cut and It can t hurt to try, right? you ve found a reach school. You may be wondering why you d bother to apply to one or more schools where there is a significant likelihood of rejection. The real question is, Why wouldn t you? Given the gray area in the subjectivity of numerous admissions decisions, selection is not always clean cut. GOOD MATCH SCHOOLS The first indicator of a good match is usually academic compatibility between the student s grades and the academic quality of the school s freshman profile. But, not far behind are qualitative factors like location, size, religious affiliation, and yes, even social life. SAFETY SCHOOLS We call them safeties because in all likelihood they will accept you. In order to be considered a safety school, your SAT/ACT scores as well as your GPA should be above the particular college s admission average.

9 ADMISSIONS APPLICATION PROCESS R E G U L A R D E C I S I O N If you apply Regular Decision, you apply to the college s regular deadline (typically in early winter). Students can apply to more than one college Regular Decision. Decisions tend to be received between March and April. R O L L I N G A D M I S S I O N S If you apply Rolling Admissions, your application is reviewed when it is received. That is, as the applications come in, the admissions office reviews them and makes the decision on a rolling or on-going basis. Therefore, it is best to apply as soon as you have decided on the college. Notifications of decisions are mailed as early as a few weeks after receipt of the applications. As an out-of-state applicant to some large state universities, such as the universities of Michigan, Maryland, Delaware, Wisconsin, Colorado, chances of acceptance improve greatly if you apply before December 1. E A R L Y A C T I O N If you apply Early Action, you send your application in by a specific early deadline and will receive your decision mid-year, earlier than regular decision notification. (Some colleges now have two early deadline programs, typically in November and January 1). If admitted early, the candidate is not committed to enroll at that college and can choose to apply to other colleges. A few very select schools now offer Single Choice Early Action. For those schools you may only apply to one Early Action school, however, you may apply to as many regular decision schools as you wish. The candidate is not committed to enroll at that college. E A R L Y D E C I S I O N If you apply Early Decision, you send your application in by a specific early deadline and will receive your decision mid-year, earlier than regular decision notification. (Some colleges now have two early deadline programs, typically in November and January 1). The difference between Early Decision and Early Action is that the student must commit to that college or university if admitted. You will be required to sign a statement on the application agreeing to this binding policy. If admitted, the student MUST enroll. If admitted, the student must withdraw pending applications to other colleges. O P E N A D M I S S I O N This is an admissions policy whereby the college admits almost all applicants.

10 E A R L Y D E C I S I O N : Major Points to Consider 1. Applying Early Decision means, if accepted, the student will enroll at that college. The decision is binding, which means that the student must withdraw applications that have been submitted to other colleges and apply to no other colleges. 2. Early Decision should be discussed in detail with your counselor and parents. This decision must be well thought out and carefully considered. A student should only apply Early Decision if s/he has visited the preferred school or attended an informational session. 3. The only way to nullify an Early Decision commitment is if the financial package is insufficient; however this may not leave a student much time to apply to other colleges. 4. A student should request his/her teacher recommendations from a junior teacher in the spring of the junior year if s/he intends to apply to college on an Early Decision plan. A D V A N T A G E S 1. Applying Early Decision is a way of sending a strong message to that college that this is my definite first choice. 2. It can save time, energy and the cost of filing more applications. 3. If the college is a realistic match with your academic background, applying early might give you an advantage. D I S A D V A N T A G E S 1. Early Decision does not allow for any change if a senior has a change of preference or ideas for majors. 2. By agreeing to attend the college if accepted, the student is giving up the opportunity to compare financial award letters from other colleges that accept him/her. The student is also giving up the bargaining position. The Early Decision route is a risk for a family with moderate or high financial need. 3. The student applying Early Decision must have applications to other colleges ready to mail in the event of a deferral decision, rejection decision or insufficient financial aid. While getting admitted early can reduce stress, the impact of an Early Decision deferral or rejection letter can be very stressful to the student.

11 The College Interview Purpose: To help the college gather further information about your suitability as a candidate and to help you determine if this college is a good match. Before the Interview: Evaluate yourself: identify your strengths, interests, weaknesses. Compose a list of questions about this college and its admissions process. Dress comfortably but appropriately. At the Beginning: Shake hands with the interviewer; look the interviewer directly in the eye; know the interviewer s name-ask him or her to repeat it if you did not hear it the first time; introduce your parents, if they are with you, and then invite them to leave. The Interview: An interview can last an hour and can be divided into six different parts: Personal Background: Academic Background: Extracurricular: Academic Interest: College Choice: Why THIS School: Where you have grown up, your parent s occupation/interests, information about siblings and colleges attended by family members. The purpose is to put you at ease. Information about Pennsbury and your curriculum. Why you have taken certain classes and any academic awards. What activities mean the most to you and why? Have you had any specific roles within an activity? What are you interested in studying and how have these interests developed? What are you future career goals? What are you looking for in a college/university? What expectations do you have in a school? What brings you to this particular school? How does this school fit into your criteria? Questions to expect: Tell me about your high school what kind of environment does it have? What has been the most difficult course you have taken during high school? Is there a specific teacher or course that has really caught your interest? Can you explain why? What has been the most exciting academic project you done in high school? What has been your most significant academic accomplishment? Tell me what you have read outside of school lately. How would you use your talents at our university? What has been the most significant personal challenge you have ever faced? If I were to visit your school and talk with some of your friends, how would they describe you to me? What are your plans for after college? What specific questions can I help you with? After the Interview: Thank the interviewer, shake hands, say good bye. Write a thank you note to the person who interviewed you.

12 Sample Questions to Ask College Admissions Officers Students should take notes during the presentation and ask LOTS of relevant and intelligent questions. Please remember that you represent not only yourself, but also Pennsbury High School in each and every contact you have with a college or university. Setting Describe the size and setting of the campus. What are the top five states from which your students come? How is your institution unique? What distinguishes it from most other college and universities? What sort of academic calendar do you use: semesters, trimesters, one course at a time, etc? Academics What are the most popular majors? What is the average class size for introductory, general education classes taken by freshmen and sophomores? Overall, what is the undergraduate student-faculty ratio? What is the overall undergraduate average class size? How difficult or easy is it for freshmen and sophomores to enroll in courses they want? Who typically teaches freshman and sophomore courses professors, T.A. s? How easy is it to double major? How easy is it to major in one area such as science, and minor in another such as business? How writing-intensive is your curriculum? How available are faculty members? What are typical office hours? Do they give home numbers? Is there much informal student-faculty contact outside of class such as students and faculty having lunch or dinner together or playing sports together? Does each student have a personally assigned advisor, or is advising conducted by an advisement center? Does the student have an opportunity to select or change his/her advisor? Is there an early-alert system at the college whereby first semester students receive feedback about their progress before they receive their final grades? What services are offered to students needing help or tutoring? Does the college have any special programs or courses for college seniors designed to serve as a capstone experience that ties together the students university experiences? Describe student computing facilities. What is the ratio of campus computers (available for student use) to students? Admissions What are the ranges of SAT and ACT scores and grade point average of entering freshmen? What are the average SAT, ACT, and GPA scores?

13 Writing the College Application Essay Although you may wish for one, there is no formula for writing a successful college application essay. The approach you use should be determined by who you are rather than by any guidelines established by other people. The primary consideration is that the essay truly reflects your individuality and your special qualities. Therefore, find a topic that you care about passionately. If you write honestly about something that is vitally important to you, your readers will have an opportunity to see your world through their eyes. Remember that colleges want to know about your insides (feelings, interests, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and beliefs) rather than your outsides (family, experiences, activities.) Most of the information about what you have done appears elsewhere on your application. Do not repeat information the reader already knows. Do not tell them what a great school they have, how much you want to attend it, or how much you can contribute to the school. Rather than trying to think of an unusual topic or highly creative ways to structure your essay, spend your time on being honest. You are unique; be yourself! Our passions and interests are what make us unique and special. Colleges want real people. Begin now by keeping a journal of free writes (writings on topics or experiences that are special to you.) Focus on specific moments and recreate them on paper using sense memory. Use showing rather than telling in these recreations. When it is time to write your essay, read through those entries and look for phrases or ideas that leap off the page with honesty and emotion. Use those live places as focus of your essay. Remember there is no formula for the perfect essay; however, a few stylistic hints are helpful: Use showing writing, but also analyze those experiences; Vary your sentence structure; Avoid using I, focus instead on the character trait, activity or response of others; Write in the active voice; Avoid all forms of the verb to be; Be yourself and use what suites your personality How to take Charge of your College Essays Only one part of your college application isn t history the essay(s). Your grades, your SAT s, your extra-curricular activities for the most part reflect your past accomplishments. The essay is your chance to speak directly to the college admissions office and is the one part of the application over which you have complete control. As one Dean of Admissions put it, While everything else is engraved in stone, the essay is Silly Putty. Within every essay question, there exists a great flexibility for expressing yourself it is up to you to rise to the challenge of using the essay effectively.

14 COLLEGE APPLICATION CHECKLIST Complete your application ON-LINE If you use the Common Application: Complete the FERPA Waiver on the Common Application. Complete the Common Application Account Matching process by entering your Common Application address on Naviance under Colleges tab, then Colleges I m Applying To tab. On Naviance, add all the colleges you are applying to and indicate whether applying using the Common Application or not by clicking on Unknown to specify. Complete the Student Activity Sheet on Naviance, which is required for students requesting a counselor Letter of Recommendation. Parents may complete the Parent Brag Sheet on Naviance. Ask teachers for recommendations at least 2 weeks in advance of your application deadline. Provide each teacher with a completed Requests for Confidential Teacher Letter of Recommendation form*. Provide an envelope (addressed to the college) with 1 postage stamp for each recommendation that is to be mailed. Complete a BLUE transcript request form* for every college to which you apply and turn in to your Counselor. Review to see if your college accepts electronic transcripts. If they do not, you will need to provide an envelope (addressed to the college) with 3 postage stamps for each request. Include any forms that must be completed by the counselor. Have OFFICIAL SAT/ACT scores sent to each college. (SAT/ACT scores are not included on your transcript.) *The Transcript Request and Letters of Recommendation form may also be downloaded from the Naviance website Home Page under Doc Library.

15 Requesting Transcripts from the Counseling Office The Counseling Office is submitting transcripts and letters of recommendations online through Naviance. All seniors requesting transcripts must have an active Naviance account. To determine if your colleges accept online transcripts, please add your colleges to your list. The Delivery type indicates whether or not the college accepts online documents. Please refer to the descriptions below when preparing documents for your counselor: College or University does not accept online transcripts. Please provide your counselor with the Blue Transcript Request form and an envelope addressed to the college with proper postage and any Secondary School Reports that are required by the college. Online Transcripts and Counselor Recommendations accepted provide your counselor with the Blue Transcript Request form. No additional forms are needed. Common Application you must use the common application website to complete the application for this school provide your counselor with the Blue Transcript Request Form. No additional Common Application Secondary School Reports are needed.

16 Common Application User Name and Password If you have any schools who are accepting the Common Application you MUST complete a common application online and enter your address you used for Common Application along with your date of birth so your is account properly linked to Naviance. Penn State Applications PSU has an online partnership with Pennsbury High School. When you complete the online application for any Penn State campus, you will need to bring a Blue Transcript Request Form into your Counselor. A counselor cannot submit anything to PSU until you complete the entire application, include payment and hit submit. Once your application is submitted, PSU will accept your transcript.

17 Pennsbury High School SENIOR TRANSCRIPT REQUEST FORM Complete the following information and return this form to the Counseling Office: Name: Counselor Name: Date: Year of graduation: I authorize the release of my High School Transcript and Academic Information Student Signature NAME and ADDRESS of COLLEGE or SCHOLARSHIP, etc: You are responsible for providing the correct address and zip code for each college FORMAT FOR SUBMISSION OF TRANSCRIPT: Early Decision or Early Action Are you applying Early Decision? YES NO Are you applying Early Action? YES NO Regular/Rolling decision deadline: To determine the format your college accepts transcripts; please add your colleges to your list in Naviance. The Delivery Type indicates whether or not the college accepts online documents. SELECT THE FORMAT THAT APPLIES TO YOUR SCHOOL LISTED ABOVE: Common Application You must use the Common Application Website to complete the application for this school. Be sure the college is added to your Common Application list as well on No envelopes or forms are needed for your counselor. Online Transcripts and Counselor Recommendations are accepted. No envelopes or forms are needed for your counselor. College or University does not accept online transcripts. Please provide a pre-addressed envelope with 2 stamps. Penn State University has an online partnership with Pennsbury High School. When you complete the online application for any PSU Campus, complete the application and submit payment we can send your transcript electronically. COUNSELOR LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION: If you are requesting a letter of recommendation, you must complete the student activity sheet and resume in Naviance. Additionally a Parent Brag Sheet is needed. Counselor Letter of Recommendation requested No Counselor Letter of Recommendation requested STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES: (initial here) I understand that it is my responsibility to request SAT or ACT scores to be sent officially from the testing service.

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19 Request for Confidential Teacher Letter of Recommendation Student Name Date Name you prefer to be called address Instructions for the Student: Letters of recommendation from Pennsbury High School are confidential. This strengthens your application, since colleges prefer to receive confidential recommendation letters. Please allow at least two weeks for your teacher to write a letter of recommendation for you. Ask for letters from teachers who know you well and can speak to your academic ability in that course. Counselors will write letters that address your academic career, character and extracurricular activities. Coaches, religious leaders, and work/volunteer supervisors are also good candidates for recommendations. Teachers will mail letters of recommendation directly to the school to which you are applying. Important Things to Remember Allow at least TWO WEEKS for your teacher to complete this recommendation. Agree upon A DATE with your teacher for when the recommendation will be sent: Always ask the teacher IN PERSON. Send Date Select a teacher that can write about YOUR ACADEMIC MERITS. Provide the teacher with a Student Self Evaluation Form (found on reverse). Be sure to ask if there is any additional information they need. Provide the teacher with a stamped (one stamp for every 4 sheets of paper), addressed envelope and any necessary forms for each of the schools you are applying to. Be sure to sign the forms. Please remember to write THANK YOU NOTES to your teachers. Schools you are applying to: Form Application Common Letter Supplied by Deadline: Application only College Intended College Major (if relevant to this letter):

20 STUDENT SELF-EVALUATION Directions: On a separate sheet of paper, answer all the questions on this self-evaluation carefully and thoroughly. Staple your responses to this sheet. It is recommended that you type your responses. The more information you provide your teacher, the more personalized the letter of recommendation will be. I had you for the following class(es) and received a grade of: I believe that the best piece(s) of work (paper, lab, oral presentation, etc.) that I did for your class was (elaborate why): My favorite memory of your class was: My proudest moment in your class was: What I found most challenging about your class was: The three characteristics or traits which best define me are: (Please provide an example for each.) What distinguishes me from my peers is: I have participated in the following clubs or activities in high school (include any community service, leadership roles, or relevant job experiences): I have received the following honors or awards during high school: Are there any special circumstances, which may have affected your personal or academic growth in a positive or negative way? Is there anything else you would like me to know/remember about you to help with this letter?

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