From ARHS College Counselor Myra Ross

SENIORS:

  • On the first day of school, you will receive a handbook about the college admissions process. Read it carefully and keep it for reference. Note the calendar of admissions events and deadlines on the back cover. Also look through the Naviance Document Library for relevant articles.
  • By now, you should be actively thinking about what you will do after high school. You do not need to decide until almost the end of the school year, but good decisions emerge from good research and planning, including pre-application campus visits to 2yr and 4yr colleges. You should own this self-discovery process, but parents/guardians can provide valuable assistance.
  • IMPORTANT: Schedule a fall post-secondary planning meeting with me (preferably including your parents/guardians). First, complete the online Senior Questionnaire for College Conference, under “About Me” in Naviance (www.connection.naviance.com/amherst). Your counselor will use information from the questionnaire and a personal interview with you to write recommendations, required by most colleges and many scholarship donors. Parents/guardians may wish to complete the optional Naviance Parent Questionnaire for College Conference, available in parent Naviance accounts.
  • You can get support for your college essays at the ARHS Writing Center. Whether you are brainstorming topics, reviewing a draft, or finalizing your work before you hit submit, Amanda Lewis can support you during the college essay writing process. Schedule an appointment in 141 or drop in to learn more about how she can help you tell your story and showcase your strongest writing.
  • Register for the Oct. 6 SAT or the Oct. 27 ACT ASAP. The SAT registration deadline with fee waiver is Sept. 7 (Sept 26 with late fee), and for the ACT, Sept. 21 with fee waiver (Oct. 5 with late fee). Other SAT dates will be November 3 and December 1. The ACT will also be offered on December 8. All fall SATs are offered at ARHS. The ACT is never at ARHS.  Students registered for free/reduced lunch can get fee waivers for the ACT and SAT. Go to the Main Office any time this month.
  • Representatives from at least 100 colleges will visit ARHS this fall. Parents and students are welcome. The schedule will be posted in the Guidance Office and in Naviance as it evolves. Get a pass in advance from Guidance. Three total visits will not count toward the ARHS attendance policy. Try to attend.  For the calendar of visits, click here.
  • UMass will hold several Saturday and Sunday Fall Campus Visit programs for seniors. Check umass.edu/ admission/fall-visit-days-2018 for dates. There’s a lot that you don’t know about UMass, so attend one! Registration is required. They will also hold a Majors Fair in early November (date TBA).
  • The 2018-19 Common Application is available at commonapp.org. You might want to begin working on it. Some of you may need to also use the Coalition application, (coalitionforcollegeaccess.org). Work on your essays before school starts!

 

JUNIORS:

  • Juniors should take the PSAT during the school day at ARHS on Wednesday, October 10. The PSAT is a practice version of the SAT, which most juniors will take next spring. The PSAT is also the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship competition, for which only juniors are eligible. The College Board provides free preparation through Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/psat) . Sign up for the PSAT in the Guidance Office. The cost will be approximately $17, waived for juniors on free/reduced lunch,  Juniors with diagnosed disabilities who use testing accommodations at school should apply for accommodations on college admission tests ASAP. Find links to the applications in Naviance or contact Mrs. Tracy in room 309 (362-1715, tracyc@arps.org) for help. The process can take several months.
  • I will meet with juniors in classroom settings in January and individually with families beginning in February. Every junior should meet with me in the spring. College questions that come up before then should be directed to your counselor, who will consult with me if there is a need. In the meantime, you can begin to use the search and other research features of Naviance.
  • Plan your standardized test-taking schedule early to avoid conflicts with athletic, family, and performing arts events in the winter and spring. Recruited athletes should test early (December is recommended.). Most ARHS students take both the SAT and ACT, and many also take two SAT subject tests. SAT dates: Dec. 1, March 9, May 4, June 1, Aug. 24. ACT dates: Dec 8, Feb 9, April 13, June 8, July 13.

 

NINTH & TENTH GRADE STUDENTS:

  • The best college preparation for younger high school students is to develop a strong academic work ethic resulting in broader knowledge and skills. We encourage you to read for pleasure and to find meaningful activities in and out of school. This includes service activities, artistic, musical, theatrical, entrepreneurial, athletic or academic pursuits, paid or volunteer work, or anything that fosters growth in creativity, responsibility, leadership, knowledge, and self-confidence.
  • For early practice, sophomores may want to take the PSAT during the school day on Wednesday, October 10. The cost will be approximately $17. Register in the Guidance Office. The College Board does not provide fee waivers for sophomores.  Sophomores who are earning a B+ or better in honors biology or honors chemistry should consider taking that SAT Subject test next June. You will need to cover some units on your own. Because our U.S. History curriculum does not align well with the SAT Subject test, only students with extensive independent knowledge of US history should take the test. All other subject tests are best taken in grades 11 and 12.
  • TEST PREPARATION OPTIONS  Preparing for standardized tests is important. Scores are almost always substantially higher when students know what to expect. 20 hours of preparation is recommended. There are several free test-preparation opportunities:  Open a Method Test Prep account for free ACT and SAT preparation. Find a link to MTP on your Naviance home page. MTP includes audio and visuals and contains many short modules. See a Guidance secretary if you need help. Find official SAT study materials at collegeboard.org. These include: Free sample SAT questions, Free full SAT practice test, SAT Online Course, SAT Study Guide  Find free official study materials through the SAT Khan Academy partnership at khanacademy.org/PSAT or /SAT. Find official ACT study materials on actstudent.org. Use the new ACT Academy (academy.act.org) to prepare for the ACT. Take the diagnostic test. A multi-media study plan will be developed for you.
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