Parent Connection Meeting Notes
The college counselors, Carolyn Blair and Mary Anne Modzelewski began the evening explaining the college counseling timeline. This was followed by a question and answer session.
CHS College Counseling TimelineGrade 9The college counselors meet with freshman students through classrooms to complete a Learning Style Inventory. Results of this tool are reviewed and distributed to each student.Grade 10October: All sophomores and juniors are encouraged to take the PSAT (Practice for sophomores and National Merit Scholarship competition qualifying test for juniors)October: All sophomores take the ASPIRE exam which is a Pre-ACT assessment tool.
April: The college counselors meet with sophomores through their chemistry classes to complete the “Do What You Are” survey. This “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator” (MBTI) personality inventory will help sophomores learn more about themselves while beginning to explore careers and possible college recommendations that may match their personalities and passions.
April: Sophomores and Juniors are invited to attend the “Four School College Fair”.Grade 11
October: All sophomores and juniors are encouraged to take the PSAT (National Merit Scholarship competition qualifying test for juniors)
January: All juniors will take the Practice ACT given by the test prep company, Princeton Review (this will be given during the school day)January: Junior college kick-off meeting for students and parents
Spring semester: Juniors student/parent(s) will schedule an individualized meeting with their college counselor to map a post-secondary plan including discussion regarding senior course selection, standardized testing, college majors and a targeted list of recommended colleges and or appropriate programs. Juniors will conduct all aspects of their “college search” with the support of CHS college counselors.
April: All juniors will take a free, state-mandated ACT at Clayton High SchoolGrade 12
Seniors continue to engage in the college search as well as the application, admission and decision making process through the support of the CHS college-counseling program. This includes review of final college essay drafts, applications, a comprehensive counselor letter of recommendation, all supporting documentation, financial aid workshops and all other aspects of post-secondary decision-making.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM THE MEETING
Q: Testing: When should my child test and what test is appropriate? When should test prep begin? What is the SAT II?
A: Both the ACT and SAT were designed to be taken in the spring of junior year. Either test is appropriate to take for college admission. Test prep should fit your child’s needs. Princeton Review offers shortened, discounted courses on the CHS campus prior to ACT/SAT dates. There are also free, online test prep options such as Number2.com, act.org or collegeboard.org. Some students hire a tutor for targeted preparation that benefits from more individualized help. Webster University, for instance, offers a low-cost, one-day workshop for students who are looking for a short “refresher” type of preparation. The timing of test prep is important, as it is all mostly review, so the preparation should be completed right before the test. SAT II tests are only required for the most selective schools and are usually taken in May or June of junior year or early fall of the senior year.
Q: How do I determine the appropriate course schedule for my child based on their college choices?
A: Course selection should chosen for the most appropriate level of rigor for each, individual student’s academic needs. Take into consideration what makes most sense and what is the best college preparation for your child when looking at their schedule as a whole.
Q: How can I stop the deluge of marketing mail and emails since the PSAT?
One way to combat the relentless recruitment is to create a separate email address that is only given out for the purpose of college, so it’s easier to filter. While some of this email can be a “pain” – it is also part of the “college search” and gives colleges a way to “market” their programs. College marketing emails can be the best way for students to learn about what programs and opportunities are available. The more the “student” engages in the process (reading and learning about academic programs, for instance), the more ownership for the future, unfolds. By “opening” the email, it can register as “demonstrated interest” by some colleges who place value on that aspect of recruitment. Lastly, students can always “request” to be removed from a particular institution’s mailing list.
Q: Can you talk about volunteering, community service extracurricular, and jobs in relation to the college process?
A: It is healthy to nurture interests and outside activities that add to the breadth and depth of the high school experience. As an example, students should follow their passions when seeking volunteer opportunities. Giving back to one’s community establishes partnerships, connections and good will. Finding and keeping a job is another way to demonstrate maturity and responsibility. While CHS does not require community service hours for graduation, most students are involved in some kind of volunteerism whether through school, church or summer programs. For those students interested in becoming a member of the National Honor Society a total of 60 hours (20 per year) of community service is required by the fall semester of senior year. Also, Clayton High School is now a designated A+ school. Students who complete 50 hours of mentoring/tutoring, earn a 2.5 GPA, maintain 95% attendance for 4 years and demonstrate good citizenship may qualify for two free years at any Missouri community college. If funded, this program may also pay for two courses at the community college the summer before freshman year in college.
Q: Do we rank?
Q: Is it necessary for a student to take the AP exam if they take the AP class?
A: Students are not required to report their AP score. Many admission officers, however, believe that AP scores are better predictors of success in college than ACT/SAT scores. Consider the cost of the test and class before deciding if you want or need to take the exam. Not all colleges grant AP credit (even for scores of 4 or 5) but ALL selective colleges want students to engage in the most rigorous curriculum available at their particular high school and that is usually the designated AP courses.
Q: Are colleges aware of the courses that we offer? How important is senior year schedule if all academic requirements are completed?
A: All colleges/universities receive our CHS Profile that highlights our course curriculum. The student’s transcript is the most important component of a college admission decision. Junior and Senior year courses and grades are extremely important to colleges. Most colleges/universities recommend/require that students take four years of English, Math, Science, Social Science and World Language.
Q: Who helps the student craft their college essay?
A: CHS English teachers conference the college essay in the early fall of senior year. The College Counselors also help students with their essays and actually want to see all essays before the college application is submitted.
Q: Are early action/ early decision submissions on the rise?A: Yes, college deadlines are being pushed to earlier and earlier dates for a variety of reasons including the impact of students applying to “too many” colleges as well as more aggressive college marketing strategies. But the old adage, “the early bird gets the worm” is quite true when it comes to researching ways to make college affordable and so students take advantage of early deadlines. Many state-funded, public institutions with limited budgets require early deadlines (October, November, December) for scholarship and housing opportunities. Some “highly selective” institutions rely on early deadlines to determine “demonstrated interest”. There are all kinds of reasons that the deadlines have been accelerated but the CHS College Counseling team hits the ground running in August of senior year to provide all needed services to make the process run smooth