It’s Your Turn, Juniors!

On Thursday, 2/25, the guidance department held it’s annual Junior College Information Night.  Recognizing that the whole college application process can be overwhelming, we try to simplify it the best we can while at the same time provide thorough, necessary information.

A timeline of what juniors should be doing or thinking about was provided, which included the following:

  • Register to take the SAT and/or ACT exam
  • Schedule a meeting with guidance to discuss college plans and courses for next year
  • College Visits
  • Think about who to ask for recommendation letters
  • Work on a resume

Another important piece that was covered is beginning the college search.  Naviance is a great tool to narrow down your search by location, major, activities, etc.  Students can access this on their Family Connection page.

In addition to this information, we went into detail about the many changes occurring for the junior class.  Of course, the big one would be the new SAT program.  We did a brief overview of the content of the exam, but for more information, you can go here.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is a free new tool rolling out this year for high school students.  This information was presented during the college information night to make families aware of it should they come across it while researching colleges.  The coalition allows students, beginning in grade 9, to create a profile and fill their “lockers.”  The locker is where a student can save essays, art work, projects, awards, etc., that could be helpful to them when it is time to apply to college.  Finally, there is an application piece to it.  Students can apply to member colleges through this application.  The read more about the coalition and it’s values and beliefs, click here.

What’s new with the Common Application this year?  Students can now create an account before August and it will roll over into senior year.  This puts students at an advantage because they are able to ease any anxiety or worry about the application.  Students can look through it to get an understanding of what is involved.  They are also able to see next year’s essay prompts, which will enable them to start thinking of what they want to write about.

Finally, we touched on financial aid a little bit.  Financial aid can always be overwhelming, so we spoke about the new changes coming to the FAFSA.  These changes include an new filing date of October 1st and the ability to use prior-prior year’s taxes.  Click here for more details about these changes and more.

This sums up the information provided during the Junior College Information Night.  As the senior class receives college decisions and think about where to register for the fall, the guidance department is excited to begin the college discussion with the junior class!!!


How A College Application Is Read

When applying to colleges, a question that many students may ask themselves is, “What is a college looking for when they go through  my application packet?”  In guidance, we frequently hear things like, “How important are my SAT scores?”, “Do you think my essay is good enough?”, or “I am not sure if I have enough extra-curricular activities.”  These are all valid concerns when it comes to wanting to get the best education for the next four years.

I recently came across a great podcast on Naviance where the Direct of Admission at Stanford University gives a general overview on how an admission counselor reads an application.  This podcast packs a ton of information in about 7 minutes.  Please do not hesitate to listen!

Click here for the podcast!

Explore Results and Career Research

This week the guidance department returned the results of the Explore test taken in October to the freshmen.  We went into each freshmen seminar where we explained how to read the results and gave a presentation on doing career research on Naviance.

With the results, each student received a booklet that explains how to read the results.  They also received their actual test booklets.  The results indicate which answers they got wrong so they are able to go back, read the question, and understand why it was wrong.  If there are any questions about the results, please do not hesitate to ask us!

A feature of the Explore test is the career interest inventory.  Based on the answers of the inventory, career clusters with examples of occupations were provided.  We love this because it is a great way for the students to start thinking about colleges and careers.  We always say that it is never too early!

What are the students supposed to do now that they received these career clusters?  Well, we don’t want the students to just see the career results.  We want them to learn more.  This is where Naviance comes in.  On Naviance, we now have a great new feature called Careers.

I want to provide a brief overview of all the wonderful resources that can be found on Careers.

Naviance Careers main page

By clicking on Explore Careers and Clusters, you are brought to a page that allows you to either search for a career or choose a cluster.

explore careers and clusters

This gives you a great overview of the career as well as salary, related majors, expected courses to take, etc.  Also, when you go to related majors and choose a specific one, it brings you to a page that lists all of the colleges with that major.  And colleges can be narrowed down even further by using the Colleges feature.

college look upAnother great feature on the Careers section is Roadtrip Nation.

raodtrip nation

By clicking on Start Here and then Find Your Road, simply answer three questions.  The answers will provide you with a variety of videos.  These videos are interviews with professionals in fields related to the answers of the three questions.

roadtrip nation interviewsThis is a great feature because you can hear directly from the individuals how they chose the career, what it is like, etc.

Still not sure what you want to study or the results from the Explore test don’t seem too accurate?  Naviance can help with that as well!  On the main page of the Careers tab, the Cluster Finder and Career Interest Profiler.

cluster finderBoth of these are interest inventories that can help narrow down a field to either specific careers or career clusters.

In addition the brief presentation we gave on Careers, each student received a handout of additional resources.  These links can also be found on the main page of Family Connection.

I hope you will find all of this information helpful!  Like I said, our goal is to get freshmen to start thinking about potential majors and careers.  And this is available to ALL grades, not just grade 9.  If students have no idea and still don’t as a senior, that’s OK!  This will hopefully lead them on the right path!