- It’s time for me to start helping juniors think about plans for after graduation. About 90% of you will go on to either a two-year or a four-year college. The task of deciding where you will go, and what your goals are requires some thought. You will need to gather a lot of information and then make your decision by May 1 of your senior year. The next fifteen months or so will be exciting, full of discovery and growth, and yes, a little stress. The next chapter after high school is your movie TO DESIGN. I hope you will be very involved in creating it. There will be a number of informational programs for you to attend and a lot of information for you to read. The more you take the lead in this process, the more rewarding and less stressful it will be.
- The ARHS College Handbook for Juniors, with the orange cover, will be distributed in your Advisory on Tuesday, January 23. Unfortunately, the snow day postponed the introductory lesson about Naviance and the distribution of the handbook, which contains a great deal of college admissions information for you to read and digest. Share it with your parents/guardians.
- Detach the back cover of the handbook and hang it somewhere you will see it. It has test- registration deadlines and a chronological list of important dates for juniors, including test dates and deadlines and evening college presentations at ARHS. It’s a good idea to transfer those dates to your personal calendar ASAP.
- The junior year is about research and exploration of ideas and options. The senior year is about narrowing down and taking action. Don’t be a senior before you are one. Approach your college search with an open mind and excitement about possibilities. Investigate many different kinds of schools including some you have not heard of before. Do college searches in Naviance and through College Board Big Future; go to college websites; look through college guidebooks; read the college advertising brochures that are flooding your mailbox. Colleges work hard to create those materials and if the college looks appealing to you, it just might actually appeal to you. Avoid the temptation to look only at reach and name-brand schools. You are looking for colleges that are a good fit for you, and that you can afford to attend. . I know from experience that many students change their minds many times throughout this process and end up in a very different place from where they were when they started. It’s important to look around!
- I cannot over-emphasize the importance of visiting colleges. You get much better information if you visit, and more importantly, many colleges use demonstrated interest as a criterion for admission. If the college is two hours away or closer, they will wonder why you didn’t come to visit. Start local, over February vacation. If you are a high-achieving girl, you really should check out Smith and Mount Holyoke. They are wonderful schools, with very good financial aid.
- There will be a large college fair at the Big E in West Springfield on Monday, April 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the fair is a great place to get a lot of ideas and information.
- You used Naviance last year for the Personality-type Inventory, “Do What You Are.” If you missed that and have not opened your Naviance account (at connection.naviance.com/Amherst), do so ASAP. If you need to register for the first time, see Mrs. Cappelli in the guidance Office. Go to the site on your own and look around, particularly at the college search feature and at Method Test Prep to prepare for the SAT and ACT. (find the link on your Naviance home page).
- A Naviance registration code for each of your parents/guardians was e-mailed to the e-mail address they put on their emergency contact sheet. Tell them to e-mail Mrs. Cappelli at email@example.com if they need help getting into Naviance.
- Please complete your Junior Questionnaire for College Conference, which is accessible “under “About Me” on your Naviance home page. You must complete it before making your junior appointment with me. It’s a good idea to meet with me both in your junior and senior years so we can develop and tweak your plan. See Mrs. Cappelli beginning on Tuesday, January 23 for appointments beginning in February.
- Plan your spring ACT/SAT testing schedule early. Check for athletic and music/theatre conflicts. Register for the tests you plan to take. Be sure not to miss the registration deadlines because late fees are steep!
- Students on free/reduced lunch should get test fee waivers from Mrs. Cappelli. Full SAT waivers can be used until the end of the late registration period. The ACT will accept a fee waiver in the late registration period, but you will be expected to pay the late fee.
- Qualified students are entitled to two SAT waivers, two ACT waivers and two SAT subject test date waivers while in high school.
- The registration deadline for the March 10 SAT is Friday, February 9.
- There will also be SAT dates on May 5, June 2, and August 25.
- The ACT is an equal, alternative test. Many students prefer it. If you would like to take the ACT also or instead, you can do so on February 10. The registration deadline is January 12 with late registration available until January 19.
- The ACT is also scheduled for April 14, June 9, and July 14.
- There will be three dates for each test next fall, so you can re-take the test you like better.
- To register you will need to upload an appropriate photo. Look for that information in the handbook or find it online at collegeboard.org or at actstudent.org in the registration section.
- It’s a good idea to prepare for standardized tests. By not preparing you are not showing colleges your best. It could be said that you are just throwing away almost $50 Or one of your two available fee waivers! See the handbook section on preparing for Standardized tests for free and low-cost ideas. Spend some time with the free test-prep programs, for the SAT at satpractice.org or khanacademy.org/sat or for either test using the “Method Test Prep” program in Naviance.
- We will do a Naviance presentation for your parents/guardians on the evening of Thursday, February 1 at 7:00, in the ARHS library. Tell them to mark their calendars.
I’m looking forward to meeting with you about the next chapter in your formal education.