Meeting with Counselors & Counselor Support

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1 Meeting with Counselors & Counselor Support When does my student meet with their counselor, how can a parent set up a meeting, How does the counselor work with my student? Counselors are always available for students. We are often available before school, after school and at lunch for students to have a drop in appointment. There is a red binder located in the front of the office. Students can sign up in the binder to request an appointment with their counselor and we will call them out of class. Counselors support students in a variety of ways throughout their time in high school. Beginning their freshman year, we will have an introductory presentation to discuss important information about graduation requirements, activities to get involved with, important people to know on campus, and college information. During their sophomore year, we will meet in small groups to develop a 4-year plan. We will discuss various academic options for students and work with them to make sure they have a balanced course selection. As juniors, students will meet with their counselor in a small group format and revisit their 4-year plan. This will be done right before registration, so we can monitor their course selections. In the spring of junior year, we host a Junior Jumpstart presentation, which helps prepare students for the college application season. During their senior year, we support students by hosting a variety of workshops to explain the private school, UC and CSU applications. We also have a presentation during their Government/ Economics class to discuss their transcript and answer questions about graduation and college. Parents are welcome to contact their child s counselor at any time. Please or call us to set up an appointment. For general questions, please refer to our website. For specific questions, please us. Balanced Life & Extra-Curricular Activities How does my student keep a balanced life? Maintaining balance in your everyday life is critical to your success and overall health. In terms of academic balance, students should challenge themselves with a few rigorous courses, and then include some balancing classes that keep them well-rounded. The majority of our courses on campus are UC and CSU approved, and there are many combinations of classes that will work well for a college application. Students should follow their strengths and choose courses in those areas, but also base their decisions on what s right for them. Make sure you have a strong desire to take the course. You should also estimate about an hour per night for each rigorous course you commit to, and don t overextend yourself. By knowing yourself well, you can maintain your emotional health and avoid academic peer pressure. Making decisions based on sound advice from teachers and counselors will help you during the course registration process Taking advice from other students is most likely the last things you need to base your decisions on. Parents also have the final say, so remember to take advice from your student s counselor at MSJH, and don t sign the registration form unless you agree that it s in the best interest for your child!

2 Remember that exercise is key in reducing stress, increasing endorphins, and maintaining your physical and mental health. So build in an exercise routine if you don t participate in sports. Most importantly, make sure that you get ADEQUATE SLEEP! Teenagers should sleep between 9-10 hours per night. Stick to a structured daily schedule that keeps you on task with your academic load, minimize time on social media and video gaming, and avoid taking naps. Does a student need to join a band? Students do NOT need to join a band unless they are passionate about music. Students ideally will include some extracurricular activities that keep them well-rounded. Colleges like to see students that get involved, are team players, and can be problem solvers. Get involved in community service or other service-oriented work, in addition to participating in music, dance, band, sports, or other extracurricular options. Take advantage of internship opportunities or anything that can enhance your academic record. Absences In case of planned absences - travel to out of country which cannot be rescheduled, what are the procedure to make up for the missed assignments and tests? Students work with their individual teachers on making up assignments and tests for excused absences. For absences longer than 5 days and no more than 10 days, an Independent Study program needs to be set up with Mrs. Faust in the main office at least three school weeks prior to the absence. Service Learning Are there preferred volunteer opportunities MSJH students have access to do? There are no preferred volunteer opportunities where students need to fulfill their hours. They can volunteer at any organization that meet the acceptable criteria (found in the link below). Can the students get a list of organizations where they can volunteer to get their volunteer hours? Below is a link that has a list of some ideas, but students are not required nor limited to these options. Benny Breazeale, our Activities Director, may also have a list of additional opportunities. Have students check in with Mr. Breazeale. How much service hours does the student need for high school years? Count it at end of high school years or count it every year?

3 Students must complete 40 hours in order to meet high school graduation requirements. Any hours completed after the start of Freshman year can count (hours accrued during the summer, starting Freshman-Sophomore summer can count). Students can submit their service hours as they are complete, but must be submitted no later than the end of 3 rd quarter of Senior year. Where can my child get the community hours form? All forms needed to submit hours can be found in the link below: ROP & Course Selection Please explain the Mission Valley ROP classes The Regional Occupational Program (ROP) is located on the corner of Blacow and Stevenson. During 11 th and 12 th grade, students have the option to take an ROP course at the center. The center offers a variety of programs, which allows students to have hands on experience. We offer two ROP classes at the Mission San Jose High campus. These courses are Digital Imaging and Digital Photo. Students who are interested in learning more about ROP programs can visit the Career Center for more information. If my daughter had the repeat Spanish 1, can she move up to Spanish 2 of she gets really good grades in the first month or so? If students need to repeat a level of World Language they do so because they do not meet the prerequisite to move to the next level. We want students to be successful in the higher levels of language courses and need the foundation of level 1 to do so. Students will need to repeat the course for the year to move to the next level. Will there be language placement test next Spring for 9th graders that wanted to enroll in level 2 or higher language classes (without previously taking language class in MSJH)? How does it work? There will be a language placement test for Chinese. Students will be informed when and where the test will be. What are the requirements for taking AP classes? The prerequisites for AP courses are outlined in our FUSD Course Catalog. Some AP courses only require students to be in a certain grade. This catalog can be found in the Course Information tab in the Counselor section of the MSJHS website. Are there any outside or online courses that MSJHS will take and put on student's transcript? If yes, where can we find the full course list? MSJHS will not place any outside institution s courses on our transcripts. The only exceptions are District approved language schools courses and for students that are deficient in credits that take outside courses needed for high school graduation.

4 If the elective or AP courses my student needs are not offered at MSJHS, can she take a course online through an approved provider? A student may take courses outside of MSJHS for enrichment purposes. We highly recommend that students speak to their high school counselor prior to enrolling with any institution as some courses cannot be used for college admissions. Is there any path that can be followed in MSJHS like science stream/math stream/bio stream which helps them get into the respective majors in colleges? Students can select elective courses that tie into areas in which they would like to explore. Counselors work with students in 10 th grade to help students select courses they are interested in. My daughter had taken Spanish 1 and 2 in middle school, now is taking Spanish 3. Does 1 and 2 count towards high school foreign language requirement even though she did not take those in high school? The required amount of years of World Language needed for college admissions is based on the level the student has completed. Three years is equal to level 3. Math Pathways What are the qualifying criteria for students in Algebra 1 to accelerate their math pathways? Qualifying criteria has not been determined for students that wish to accelerate their math pathway in 10 th grade. Once determined, the information will be given out. Our district has limited the number of kids in advanced math (or instituted a higher standard), so many GATE freshmen who would have previously qualified were cut out. Private and religious schools aren't as strict. When our kids apply to colleges, won't they be at a disadvantage when compared against the kids from religious and private schools that got through calculus? ( Colleges Admissions does not compare students from one school to another. Students are not at a disadvantage if their school does not offer a course or pathway that another school in the area does. College Admissions For top students aiming at Ivy League colleges, what extra things they need to do or prepare besides maintaining good GPA/SAT/AP? What resources/help can they get? Student Presentations and Parent Nights are offered as a resource on campus. Please refer to the Counselor tab on our website for presentations you can review, and check School Loop for times/dates of upcoming presentations. Students and parents in Grades 9-12 will always find counselor events happening on campus. To shoot for an Ivy League college, keep in mind that their admit rates range from 5% to about 20%. These Reach Schools are extremely competitive and students should only

5 apply to a few, at most. In addition to course selection (known as strength of program ), G.P.A. and SAT scores, colleges do a Holistic Admission Review, which entails other components such as college application essays and extracurricular involvement. Keep in mind that there is no Blueprint or Magic Formula for college admissions, including Ivy League universities. However, students want to find their passion and then demonstrate that passion in their coursework at school and extracurricular involvement. If they can tie their love for math to an internship or club on campus such as robotics, that might be one example of showing their passion for mathematics and/or engineering. Students can also add to their passion by involving themselves in other ways, such as mentorships, tutoring, volunteering, or summer programs that include the things they love to do with their time. A word of caution: Don t be a Cookie Cutter student and copy what other students do or involve themselves in. Choose courses that hold a high interest for YOU (not your friend) and that you enjoy. Taking 2 or 3 rigorous courses and earning A/B grades is far superior when college admission officers review applications than taking 4 or more rigorous courses and demonstrating mediocre academic work (C grades across the transcript). How many school years are needed for 2nd language? Is it 2 years? Does the student need take SAT for 2nd language? If student takes and passes AP for 2nd language before 2nd year, does he still need take 2nd year for 2nd language? Students only need to take 2 years of a Language other than English to meet the college admission requirement. The two years need to be taken in the SAME language, but colleges ALWAYS give students (who earn a C or above) credit for the HIGHEST year they complete. For example, if a student takes Spanish 1 in junior high and then completes Spanish 2 as a freshman in high school, both courses/grades are reported on the college application, and the college gives the student 2 years of credit. Students can waive out of the Language Other than English requirement by passing the SAT II Subject Test (see CollegeBoard for passing scores typically about 530) for the language they want to demonstrate mastery of. As an example, Chinese with Listening would be a way that students could test out. In addition, students can take an AP Exam in a Language Other than English, but need at least a 3 to pass. Most colleges will accept the minimum AP score of 3 but might require a 4 or 5. It is BEST for students to actually challenge themselves with a language that is NOT spoken in the home or is NOT their native language, and take, for example, French. UC and CSU require 2 years of LOE and recommend 3. Private colleges might prefer/require 4 years. Check Naviance for specific college requirements and recommendations. If student needs recommendation letter for college application, can he ask it from counselor or anyone else? Is there any special requirement for recommendation letter, like grades, etc? Students need to ask 2 teachers on campus for a Letter of Recommendation, in addition to asking their counselor for a LOR. Students will follow the Senior Profile guidelines, posted under the Counselor tab of our school website. All procedures and deadlines are outlined in this document. No grades are required for a Letter of Recommendation, but teachers may have specific requirements, as they write letters as a courtesy, not a duty. Some teachers may only write for students that have previously asked them for

6 letters of recommendation that they needed for summer programs following the sophomore or junior year, as an example. Other teachers may have other specifications with regard to why they agree to write letters for students. Students should establish good working relationships with teachers on campus and with counselors, so that recommenders have something to write about. Simply sitting in class earning an A will not necessarily form the basis for a good letter of recommendation, and counselors can t develop solid letters for students who never sign up for appointments and get to know their counselor. How many AP's required for UC? There is no magic number of AP courses required for UC application. However, colleges review student applications in the context of their own high school, so taking about 2-3 AP and/or honors courses and earning A/B grades would be consistent with what most seniors at our school commit to. Taking 4 or more AP courses can result in average or deficient grades if the student does not keep a balanced schedule and can also cause a lack of sleep and excessive stress if the student overextends him/herself. Students work with their counselor on what is right for THEM! The Sophomore 4-year Plan Meeting should accomplish/address the amount or rigor students should challenge themselves with.

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