Attention Seniors: Update from the College Counselor

Hello Seniors! Your LAST First Week of High School – Whoo Hooo!

I hope you had a solid first week of school (well almost first week). You know what you are in for anyways…

Here’s what I have for you this week:

Maintaining Your Sanity As You Plan for the Future

As you get underway with your classes, and suddenly realize that you have one more year of high school, work on taking care of yourselves. Here’s some wonderful advice from my fav, The College Essay Guy –

The SAT is Dead, Long Live the SAT!

At this point the vast majority of colleges and universities are test-optional ( – here’s the link!). Some of you watched siblings, and older students agonize and/or celebrate their performance on this 2 hour and 45 minute test. This rite of passage is not an issue for the Class of 2021. This is a hard truth for some of you; but it is time to let the SAT/ACT go (some of you actually might be doing cartwheels!). ARHS will not be offering the SAT during the month of September or October. As you read this, admissions reps are working to create evaluations that are not test score driven, and they are looking more closely at your academic GPA, courseload, activities and recommendations. It is possible that “demonstrated interest” is going to be more of a factor, so make sure you visit virtually and take on opportunities to interview when they exist. College admissions officers are evaluating you in the context of a pandemic, so they know the internship at the hospital is not available – activities are going to look different as well. Please don’t travel across state lines just to take the SAT or ACT or Subject Tests. Know that this is true for seniors all over the world!

College Admissions Rep Visits Begin September 28th

Be sure to list the schools that you are interested in on your Naviance account (even remotely interested!), and you will receive notifications when they schedule.



1. Log in to Naviance

2. Click the “Colleges” tab at the top and go to “Research Colleges.”

3. Select “College Visits” from the menu that appears.

4. Scroll through the list to find the college visits you want to attend. Click “details” for more info, or “Register” to register for the meeting.

5. Alert your teacher if you will be missing class at that time.

Here’s a link to a video tutotrial –

Senior Life After ARHS Meetings – Scheduling Begins September 28th

Time to meet with your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Advisor. Talk about your Life After ARHS plans. A parent or guardian is required to join you for this meeting, so plan accordingly. Regardless of your post-graduation plans, I want to meet with you so that I can support you, and give you the resources you need to make a wise decision for yourself.  Stay Tuned – Instructions for Signing Coming Soon

Teacher Recommendations

If you requested your teacher recommendations during your junior year, great. Make sure that you have listed the teachers in Naviance. If you have not requested your recommendations from your junior year teachers, all is not lost. It is important to reach out to the teachers and have a Plan B, and Plan C, in the event that they aren’t available. If you are applying regular decision, consider making a great impression during the first months of school and asking a teacher from your senior year!

If you need support, reach out to your school counselor, me, or Ms. Garrity

October 1st Begins the FAFSA Season

October 1st marks the first day that seniors can submit the FAFSA. This is the form required to apply for financial aid, and merit based scholarships by colleges. Your parents or guardians can use taxes from the “prior prior year” – two tax seasons back. Both you and your parents/guardians should EACH create your FSA ID (link) as an important first step (if you have siblings who attended college, your parent/guardian doesn’t have to create a new one). Here’s a great video explaining: We’ll be offering FAFSA support in October with MEFA (, stay tuned.

Financial Aid Focus

Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship – October 30th (Need Based) The Cooke College Scholarship Program is an undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend and graduate from the nation’s best four-year colleges and universities.

UNIGO Scholarships – Open an account and begin your search!

Two Podcast to Check Out

College List Builder & The Myth of Fit (Full Episode) | The College Essay Guy Podcast

College List Hacking: Better Fit, Less Time, More Fun (Full Episode) | The College Essay Guy Podcast

The College Checklist Podcast – How to Conduct Virtual College Visits


Your Friendly Neighborhood College and Career Counselor, Deidre Cuffee-Gray

phone – 413 362-1720

email –

(email is best these days…)

This entry was posted in Parent News. Bookmark the permalink.