A Guide for the Junior

College planning and other important information for the Langley High School junior!

The spring of junior year going into the fall of senior year is a challenging time for families as stress begins to build about life after high school.  The goal of this time period in your life is to find what is right for you. What fits your interests, lifelong goals, skills, or personality? These are important questions to ask yourself.

It is time to reflect on yourself as a person. What are you looking for in a college? Are you a good college candidate? What do you have to offer that school? What does the school have to offer to you? Are you ready for a four year college? Is a 2 year college a better option? Have you considered all your options? Have you talked about it as a family?

We designed this guide to help you during your junior year.  This guide will give you tips to follow as you search for what is right for you after high school.  This is your journey and we are here to help you reach your goals!

Student Responsibilities

  • READ all communication from Student Services and the College & Career Center.
  • Check your email daily.
  • Attend College Fairs.
  • Research admissions criteria at the colleges you are considering, ensuring that you meet requirements.
  • Plan to visit colleges where it best fits into your schedule. Many will visit over spring break and the summer.
  • Meet college representatives visiting LHS in the fall of junior and senior year.
  • Create a final college list that is balanced and not unrealistic.
  • Send SAT/ACT scores to the colleges directly. The student, not LHS, is responsible for sending test scores to the colleges that require them.
  • Complete applications honestly and accurately.
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers junior year.
  • Keep your counselor up‐to‐date on all of your plans, progress and results.
  • Communicate regularly with your counselor.

Parent Responsibilities

  • Be open with your child. Discuss college plans, including the financial picture and any restrictions, openly and honestly with your child early in the process.
  • Support and communicate with your child and his or her counselor.
  • Be aware of deadlines and other requirements.
  • Plan visits. Assist your child in visiting colleges of interest if possible.
  • Fill out and file financial aid forms on time, if applying for financial aid.
  • But please remember that your child should own the college admission process. Help your child to recognize and celebrate strengths.
  • Support, support, support.

School Counselor/College Career Center/LHS Responsibilities

  • Discuss college planning with the student and the parents and answer any questions or concerns that may arise.
  • Provide information about chances of admission to particular colleges.
  • Provide resources and opportunities for students and their families to learn about various colleges.
  • Inform students about college visits at LHS in the fall and spring
  • Provide a letter of recommendation for schools requiring one
  • Prepare and send transcripts to colleges.
  • Support and counsel students and parents throughout the college research, application, and selection process.
  • Send mid‐year, and final grade reports to colleges.

How do I start the college process?

Searching for the right college is just like any other research project.  At first, you feel like the process is a daunting job but then you start to get ideas and, by the time you finish, you’ll be an expert!  To help you get started, here are some suggestions:

  1. Have a family meeting and put everything out on the table.  You, as the college attendee, may want to lead the meeting.  Discuss your ideas and see what your parents might have in mind concerning distance from home and cost.  You should bring up what you want to study.  Keep in mind, no one is wrong, you are just throwing ideas out and everyone is making suggestions.
  2. Some great resources for your research might be books about colleges from the library, bookstores, and the Career Center; websites noted on the website section of this booklet; and LHS statistics from Family Connection.  Jot down why you think a particular school might be right for you.
  3. Get to know your counselor and the Career Center; there is a wealth of information there. College representatives from different colleges visit the center to give you an overview of the college.  This is also an excellent time to ask questions.
  4. You should make a list of reach, probable, and safety schools.  Make sure all your choices are realistic from all standpoints (cost, distance from home, ability to get into the college, and the college offers what you would like to study).  Remember “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won.”
  5. Determine which colleges you would like to visit and then visit them!

Have fun!  This is an exciting time!

How to find college “FIT”

When starting to make decisions about your future educational plans, it is helpful to consider all of your options. A four year college is not necessarily the right educational step for every high school graduate. There are also junior colleges with both transfer and terminal programs, post graduate schools, many excellent technical and professional schools, military duty, and job opportunities. If you are thinking college is your next step, then you want to think about finding schools that are the hardest to get into, but ones that are the best academic, social and financial fit. Your school counselor and College and Career Center Specialist can walk you through this process and help your make the most informed and empowered decisions so that you choose schools that FIT.

Decisions to be made by you and your parents

  • Type of institution (2 or 4 year college, technical school, etc)
  • Geographic location
  • Size
  • Student body (co‐ed, non co‐ed)
  • Environment (urban, suburban, rural)
  • Extracurricular activities (athletics, social clubs
  • Cost and financial assistance
  • Intended field of study
  • Percentage accepted to graduate programs
  • Affiliation (state, private, religious, etc.)
  • Specialized training (nursing, journalism, technical, etc.)
  • Special programs (ROTC, cadet program, co‐op, etc)

Naviance Family Connection

Family Connection from Naviance, is a Web‐based service designed especially for students and parents. It is a comprehensive website that you can use to help make decisions about courses, colleges, and careers. Family Connection also provides up‐to‐date information that’s specific to our school.  It also lets us share information with you about meetings, news, and events, as well as other Web resources for college and career information.

Features to Explore in Family Connection

Résumé

  • Record your high school activities, awards, volunteer experience, etc.
  • Rearrange your information into multiple printable versions of a résumé that you can use to present to potential employers or colleges in the future.
  • How To Access:
    1. Click the About Me tab
    2. Click the Résumé hyperlink under the Interesting Things About Me section

Explore Interests:

  • A career interest survey about interest in types of work activities.  Use the results to explore suggested occupations; examine the education, training, and skills required [and where to obtain them], as well as wages typical for these occupations.
  • How to Access:
    1. Click the Careers tab
    2. Click the Career Interest Inventory hyperlink under the What Are My Interests? section

Do What You Are

  • A personality survey.  Use the results to explore suggested college majors and careers based on your preferences and strengths.
  • How To Access:
    1. Click the Careers tab
    2. Click the Do What You Are hyperlink under What Are My Interests? section

College Search

  • Set search criteria to yield a list of colleges to explore.  Save your search to access/modify later.
  • Click on the various tabs of the college profile (general, admissions, financial aid, majors and degrees, and student life) to learn more information.
  • Add colleges you’re interested in to your My Colleges list for future reference.
  • How To Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the College Search hyperlink under the College Research section

Maps

  • Groups of types of colleges by location.  Click on a college to view its profile.
  • How To Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the College Maps hyperlink under the College Research section

Scholarship List

  • College and local organization‐sponsored scholarship opportunities updated weekly. Database lists entries by name, deadline, award amount, merit or need‐based, and application requirements; click on a column header to sort entries.  You can also browse by category to yield a search list relevant to your interests.
  • How To Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the Scholarship List hyperlink under the Scholarships & Money section

Summer Enrichment Opportunities

  • This database not only lists entries by type (international, college‐sponsored, high school‐sponsored, & special interest) but also allows you to browse by special interest as well as search by keywords like the name, location, etc. Learn about program dates and costs (if available), any requirements, and the sponsor's website for more information and the application.
  • How To Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the Enrichment Programs hyperlink under the College Research section

College Application Statistics

College application statistics for the classes of 2010 – 2015 are available in Naviance.  To protect student privacy, if fewer than 5 students applied to a college, the statistics are not available.

Application History

  • Summary of LHS application results (admin, deny, enroll), by year
  • How to Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the College Lookup hyperlink under the College Research section
    3. After looking up and selecting a college, the Application History table appears in the middle of the page.

School Statistics

  • Historical summary of LHS application outcomes (number admitted, denied, etc.) by application decision plan (i.e. regular and early decision) by college.
  • Historical average GPA and SAT scores for admitted applicants, by college.
  • How to Acess:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the College Lookup hyperlink under the College Research section
    3. After looking up and selecting a college, click on School Stats hyperlink located beneath the college’s contact information.  Two tables are displayed:
      • Outcomes
      • GPA and Test Scores

Graph

  • Historical application results (admit, deny, waitlist) represented in a scattergram (i.e. graph); applicant average GPA appears on the y‐axis and applicant average SAT scores on the x‐axis.

NOTE: For an applicant to be represented on a scattergram for a given college, three things must be present

  1. application result (accepted or denied)
  2. GPA
  3. test score
  • How to Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab
    2. Click the College Lookup hyperlink under the College Research section
    3. After looking up and selecting a college, click on Graph hyperlink located beneath the college’s contact information.

College Compare

  • Compare your GPA and test scores to the average GPA and test scores of LHS admitted students for colleges you are considering. School averages are displayed in green when your numbers are higher and in red when your numbers are lower than those of past admitted students.
  • How to Access:
    1. Click the Colleges tab.
    2. Click the Colleges I’m Thinking About hyperlink from the My Colleges section.
    3. Click the Compare Me hyperlink above the table.

College Application Process Timetable

Check with your counselor, the College and Career Center, the Langley Calendar and many other sources available for some of the following events as the dates vary each year. This list is a general timeline of some of the things you need to do and consider during your junior year of high school.

January

  • Begin researching/applying for summer jobs, programs and internships.
  • If you have not started one, create an activities resume and/or update your current one.

February

  • Course registration for rising seniors (review your transcript with your counselor during course registration process)
  • Use Family Connection to complete a college search, review scattergrams, and create your college list. Instructions for using Family Connection are located on the LHS site under Student Services  Juniors Junior College Night Presentation: Family Connections/Naviance Instructions.

March

Check for the dates:

April

This is a good time to schedule a meeting in the College and Career Center to discuss college list. (Student must be present for a parent meeting) or contact your counselor if you have specific questions or concerns.  (optional)

May

Athletes planning on playing DI or II intercollegiate athletics should register with the NCAA Clearinghouse (transcript should be sent please see your counselor).

June

  • Sign up for the Summer College Application workshop in the College and Career Center.
  • Submit Parent and Senior Information Packet to your counselor before end of school year (or bring them to your counselor the beginning of senior year). These are required for counselors to complete your letters of recommendation. 

Spring/Fall

  • Students attend college visits on college campuses and in the Career Center. For college visits in the Career Center, dates and times are posted online through Family Connection, morning announcements and the master calendar. Sign up at least 24 hours in advance to attend the visits (passes available in the Career Center). Check with teachers for approval.
  • Touch base with teachers whom you would like to request write you a letter of recommendation before leaving for the summer. Students should give teachers at least one month in the fall to complete their letter.

July/August (between Junior and Senior year)

Visit colleges, brainstorm college essays

August

  • Summer College Application workshops offered at LHS.
  • Common Application is live! Students may create application.
  • Non Common App School Applications may be open; check college sites to confirm.

August/September

  • Students should put finalized list of colleges on Family Connection under “My Colleges”.
  • Senior College Dinner & College Night at LHS - usually held in September
  • Attend college visits at LHS in the College & Career Center!!!
  • ACT Exam (check for dates)

October

  • FAFSA is open! 
  • SAT Exam (check for dates)
  • ACT Exam (check for dates)
  • Deadline for early Decision/Early Action requests for transcripts, counselor recommendation, etc. must be in to your counselor. Early decision students should continue the application process for all schools and NOT WAIT until the decision is received.  (check with counselor for date)
  • Check calendars in the College and Career Center for college fairs.  This is the time of year they are typically held.

November

  • SAT Exam (check for dates)
  • ASVAB Exam (check for dates)

December

  • Check with your counselor for the deadline for all final requests for transcripts and counselor recommendations along with the required self­-addressed, stamped envelope and check for transcripts.  This deadline is generally the 1st of December. Everything must be in to your counselor by this date. Information received after the deadline will not be processed until after winter break.  
  • If a teacher recommendation is required, contact your teacher ASAP and provide a stamped, addressed envelope to be used when mailing the recommendation unless they are submitting it electronically.
  • SAT Exam (check for dates)
  • ACT Exam (check for dates)

February

  • ACT Exam (check for dates)
  • Student Services sends mid­year grades to all colleges you applied to
  • Gap Year Fair held in Fairfax County (check College and Career Center for date)

March

  • Keep your grades up!  While senioritis is real, so is a college rescindment.  
  • ASVAB Exam (check for dates)

April

All admission decisions should be in by mid-­April. If you have been offered a spot on a waitlist and you would like to pursue it, please do so immediately. If you have questions, see your counselor or Mrs. Wolff, in the College and Career Center.

May

  • May 1 - National Candidates Reply Date. Let all other colleges know that you will not be accepting their offers.
  • Complete your Senior Survey in the Career Center to ensure your final transcript is sent to the school you have chosen to attend.

College Visits at LHS

Admissions representatives from over 200 colleges visit Langley in the fall and spring. The majority of visits occur September ‐ November. Juniors and seniors are welcome to attend these visits. The list of visits is posted in Family Connection as well as in the Career Center. Students must get a pass from the Career Center and have it signed by their teacher prior to attending the visit.

College Visits in the DC Metro Area

Colleges may also host informational sessions in the DC metro area, normally in the evening and weekends. You may be encouraged to register for these events, so when they are advertised, please make sure you sign up in a timely manner.

5 Fabulous Questions to ask at your next college fair/visit!

The Fabulous 5 will help you determine if you should spend time learning more about a college.  As you continue your college search, you’ll develop questions that reflect your specific interests and values.

1.  How would you describe the student body personality?

Each college campus has a personality, revealed through its student body.  Of course, not everyone on campus has exactly the same personality, but a student body tends to value certain qualities.  For example, some campuses are politically liberal; some are conservative.  A student body might especially value the arts, or athletics or community service.  This question helps you determine if you might fit in well among your potential classmates.

2. How is this school distinctive?

Each school has a unique story.  Maybe you’ll learn about a newly developed internship program; maybe you’ll hear about an unusual curriculum or a special program for freshman. Because college administrators can’t include every extraordinary opportunity in publications or on websites, this question is one of the best ways to learn about them.

3. How many students transfer to another school during or after their freshman year?

This question offers a glimpse of how satisfied current students are.  You obviously want to attend a school where your peers are generally happy.  Sometimes a high transfer rate indicates that students aren’t finding what they thought they’d find at school; sometimes a high transfer rate is related to a change in curriculum or financial aid.  If the transfer rate is high, ask why and listen carefully to the response.

4. How would you describe students’ relationships with professors?

Chances are, admissions counselors will answer this question by first telling you who teaches undergraduate courses‐ professors or graduate assistants.  The counselor might also tell you about opportunities for students to collaborate with professors on research.  Or maybe she’ll mention that professors give out their home phone numbers so students can reach them outside the class and office hours.  You’ll have a general idea about how accessible the professors are‐ an important part of your college experience.

5. How do you award scholarships and financial aid?

Colleges and universities have widely different policies about scholarships.  Some schools require separate applications for scholarships; some simply award scholarships based on information in the student’s application.  A university might offer scholarships for specific academic programs or for artistic or athletic talent.  You need to know not only how to apply for these awards, but also which qualities the scholarship committees weigh most heavily.  You also need to know how a college awards financial aid, which is based on your family’s need.  Often, colleges and universities require you to complete the FAFSA; but a college might have an institutional form you must complete as well. Some schools will not even consider a student for merit money if they do not complete the FAFSA!

Questions to Ask On a Campus Tour

NOTE: Read as much as you can about each college or university before you visit. Don't spend time asking questions that are answered in the school's catalog or brochures. You are visiting campuses to get a feeling for the atmosphere of each place—something you can't get from its Web site or catalog.

Questions for the Admissions Office

Health and Safety

  • Are the dorms spread throughout the campus or clustered in one area? Is there any kind of shuttle service between classroom areas, the library, the student union, and dorms? How late does it run?
  • How large is the campus security police force? Does it patrol the campus regularly?
  • What services are offered by the campus health center? How large is it?
  • Does the student health center refer students to the local hospital? Is there a nearby hospital? How large is it
  • How safe is the campus?
  • Is there any security system to bar outsiders from entering dorms?
  • What can you tell me about drug/alcohol use on your campus?  Incidence of date rape?  What controls are in place?

About the Campus

  • Does the campus seem too big? Or too small?
  • What's advertised on dorm and classroom bulletin boards? What does this tell me about campus life?
  • How good is the lighting around each dorm and around classroom and lab buildings?
  • Do the buildings and grounds look well cared for? Or do they need painting and general repair work?
  • Is the grass cut, and are the grounds landscaped?
  • What's the condition of the playing fields and the sports equipment?
  • How is the quality of the food in the cafeteria or dining hall? How are the sizes of the portions? Is it healthy or fast food? Are there meal plans?

About the Nearby Area

  • Does it look like there is much to do outside of campus?
  • How easy is to get to places off campus? Are there places within walking distance? What services (such as transportation and shopping) are available locally?
  • Do you feel comfortable and safe?
  • Are there places to get extra furniture, like bookcases, for your dorm room?
  • Is there a supermarket nearby to stock up on snacks and soda?
  • If you move out of a dorm after freshman year, what are the options in apartment complexes or buildings?

Student Life

  • Do you offer a shadowing or overnight program for prospective students? If they do offer a shadowing or overnight program, you will be able to follow a current student around the university, which typically offers you an accurate view of student life. You may even be able to sign up for such a program during your college visit!
  • What on‐campus activities do you offer? How do students find out about off‐campus activities?
  • What percentage of students are commuters?
  • Do you have sororities and fraternities? If so, what percentage of students participate? Even if you are not interested in Greek life, finding out what percentage of students do participate is important because you want to know if you will be in the majority or minority.
  • What activities and services are available to help students get settled (academically and socially) during their first year?
  • What are the advantages of this school’s size? Disadvantages?  What percentages of the students take a term or year abroad?
  • What are the advantages of this school’s location?  Near a city? Do many students take advantage of city life?

Financial

  • What is the total cost of attending the college?
  • What types of financial aid does the college offer and how do I apply?
  • What is the tuition? Follow‐up question: Does that include Room and Board?
  • Am I automatically considered for any merit‐based college scholarship when I apply?

Housing

  • Is housing guaranteed? Are the dorms co‐ed? What is the visitation policy for dorms?
  • Where do most freshmen live?
  • How are the dormitories set up?  Do most students live in dorms all four years?  Are they co‐educational by floor, by building, or not at all?  Are there quiet study hours? Are those hours enforced?   Are there upper‐class student resident advisers?  What sort of regular access do students have to adults in the community?
  • Do freshmen live in their own dorms? How do I feel about living in a single‐sex or coed dorm?
  • Are the dorms quiet or noisy? Do they seem crowded?
  • How large are the rooms? Is there adequate space and light to study?
  • Does each room have WIFI?

Academics

  • Are all freshmen assigned to an academic advisor?
  • What activities and services are available to help students get settled (academically and socially) during their first year?
  • How successful are the college's graduates in finding jobs – what is the placement rate? What is the career center like?  What percentage of students use it?
  • What are the best places for students to work (study) at the college?  Are space and carrels available in the library? For freshmen?  What resources are there for students who seek tutoring?  Is there a writing center?
  • What are your most well‐known programs? A lot of students ask, “Is your             program good?” Admissions counselors are hesitant to say, “No, that program isn't our best,” even if it may be. However, if you ask, “What are your most well‐known programs?,” they will be more likely to state the best programs and leave out the programs which are weaker.
  • Do you accept AP credits?
  • In the classroom are the undergraduates customarily addressed by their professors as Mr. or Ms., or by their first names?  How formal or informal is this school?  Do students have social contact with faculty members?  Who does academic advising?
  • Who teaches the courses for first‐year students?
  • Are professors required to have office hours? A lot of students ask, “How is your professor availability?” Admissions counselors are hesitant to say, “Our professor availability is poor.” even if it may be. However, if you phrase the question, “Are professors required to have office hours?,” you may gain a better feel of professor availability.
  • In general, you may want to avoid asking open‐ended questions. By asking a question that only requires a “yes” or no” response, you will not receive the information you are seeking.

General Questions

  • What, if any, are common student complaints?
  • What are the cultural resources of the school and the community at large?
  • What is the attrition rate in the freshman and sophomore years?  If it is high, what is the college’s explanation for it?
  • If very low, what explanation?

Questions to ask Students

  • How many of your courses are taught by the real professor and how many by a teaching assistant?
  • Is the teaching innovative, discussion‐ and project‐oriented, or is it mostly lecture‐oriented?
  • How many students are in freshman classes?
  • How hard do you have to work to get good grades?
  • What reputation does the department of                 have?
  • How adequate is the campus computer network?
  • How many of your courses are taught by a big‐name professor and how many by a teaching assistant?
  • Is the teaching innovative and project‐oriented, or is it mostly lecture‐oriented?
  • Do most freshmen class lectures take place in an amphitheater?
  • How hard do you have to work for your grades?
  • What's the reputation of the                     department?
  • What do students do on weekends? Do most go home?
  • How is the advisement system? Do you feel that your professors really care?
  • There are a lot of organizations on campus. Are they dominated by a few groups or is anyone welcome?
  • How active is the             [fill in the activity in which you're interested]? Has              won any national awards?
  • How easy is it to meet with faculty?
  • Are you able to register for the classes you want?

Questions to Ask Yourself

About the Campus Atmosphere

  • While you were waiting for your interview in the admissions office, how did the staff members interact with students? Were they friendly, or did the staff approach students—both potential freshmen like you and enrolled students—as if they were interfering with the staff members' jobs?
  • Was the Admissions Office a friendly and inviting place with a great deal of information about the school, or was it cold and sterile with little information to pick up?
  • What did your parents find out about the career planning services offered to graduating seniors and to graduates?
  • What do the services include?

About the Student Body

  • Do most of the students seem to be like you, or are they completely different?
  • Either way, would you feel being in a classroom full of these students? Sharing a dorm with them?
  • Do the students try to make you feel at home? Are they happy to answer your questions, or do they make you feel like you're intruding? How do they interact with one another?

Questions to ask yourself after the visit

  • How did the staff members interact with students? Were they friendly or authoritarian?
  • Do most of the students seem like you, or are they completely different?
  • How would you feel about being in a classroom with these students? Sharing a dorm with them?
  • Do the students try to make you feel at home? Were they helpful in answering your questions? How did they interact with one another?
  • Does the campus seem like a good size for you?
  • Are the dorms single‐sex or co‐ed? How do you feel about that?
  • Are the dorms too quiet? Too noisy? Too crowded? Not enough action?
  • How large are the rooms? Is there space to study? Have time to yourself?
  • Does it look like there is much to do outside of campus?
  • How easy is to get to places off campus? Are there places within walking distance?
  • Do you feel comfortable and safe?
  • If you move out of a dorm after freshman year, what are the options in apartment complexes or buildings?

“What If I’m Not Ready to Go to College?”

A gap year is a period of time when students take a break from formal education to travel, volunteer, study, intern, or work. We recommend that students interested in taking a gap year still apply to college their senior year, then they can take a deferment from a school they have been accepted to, or reapply to schools after their gap year. There are a great variety of programs available for students taking a gap year.

Some options for students during a gap year include:

City Year Youth Service Corps                        

City Year is an education focused organization that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full­time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation.

CIEE                                                            

CIEE offers high school graduates a unique way to explore the world. A gap year abroad.

View a comprehensive list of gap year programs.

Military

The military doesn't accept just anyone who wants to join. You must be qualified under current federal laws and regulations. Some requirements of note include a medical physical and high school diploma.

Langley offers the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) exam twice during the school calendar year. This is the military entrance exam, as well as a career inventory for those who would simply like more career exploration.

Fairfax County Public Schools’ Adult and Community Education (ACE)

Apprenticeship programs in Northern Virginia—two ­part training program consisting of classroom related instruction and on ­the ­job training

Community Colleges

Typically offer two ­year associate degrees.

Campuses are usually small and classes geared toward general education credits.

Local community college—Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).  As a NOVA student, you are offered guaranteed admissions to a variety of four­ year colleges and universities when you meet the requirements of the written agreement between NVCC and that college.

Some community colleges have the amenities of four­ year colleges, such as residential life, sports, Greek life, and an active student life.

College Admission Vocabulary

Regular Admission

Students are required to apply by a fixed date. Decision letters are mailed to students in the spring.

Rolling Admission

The college considers each student's application as soon as all the required credentials, such as application, school record, and test scores, have been received. The college usually notifies applicants of its decision in 4‐6 weeks.

Early Decision***

Students who have a definite first choice of schools and a strong academic profile might consider applying for early decision. Applications are submitted in the fall, usually by November 1; students are notified of the decision in early December. At that time students agree, by contract, to enter that college and withdraw all other applications. If not accepted early decision, students are either denied or reconsidered for admission in the spring.

Early Decision II

Is the exact same thing as early decision. The only difference is a later deadline (normally January 1‐ January 15.)

Early Action

Early action is similar to early decision except that students, if accepted, are not required to accept admission or withdraw other applications. They have until the May 1 Candidate Reply Date to respond.

Early Action (Restrictive)

Students may apply to only one early action school and to no schools early decision. Always check each school’s website for their early action policies.

Deferred Enrollment

After being accepted, students have an opportunity to delay enrollment for a semester or year.

Conditional Admission

Students are accepted for admission but not necessarily for the fall semester of the upcoming school year. They may begin after either successful completion of a summer program on campus or a fall semester at another college.

If you are applying Early Decision, you should continue with the application process for all of your schools. DO NOT wait for the early decision to be received before continuing with your other applications.

***All students applying Early Decision must complete an Early Decision (ED) agreement form that is signed by the student, parent and counselor.

COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS

The PSAT

The Preliminary SAT is a standardized test that offers practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s scholarship programs. The test measures verbal reasoning skills, critical reading skills, mathematical problem‐solving skills, and writing skills. It is designed to be taken during the junior year.

The SAT

Collegeboard offers the SAT reasoning test as a measurement of the verbal, mathematical, and writing abilities a student has acquired through his or her education. Most students take the SAT for the first time in May of their junior year. The SAT may be taken as many times as it is offered, although many colleges recommend limiting the number to three.

The SAT Subject Tests

These tests are one‐hour, primarily multiple choice tests that measure knowledge of particular subjects and the ability to apply that knowledge. Many highly competitive colleges require three subject tests, in addition to the writing portion of the SAT, or the ACT with essay. It is to the student’s advantage to take an SAT subject test in as many areas of strength as possible. Students who are taking a one‐year course (i.e., biology, chemistry, and physics) should take the test immediately following completion of the course. Students thinking of attending an engineering program should take Math II and a science test.

The ACT

The ACT is a test of educational development that measures how much the student has already learned. The test focuses on four subject areas: English, Math, Reading and Natural Sciences. A writing test is offered as an option, and we advise students to take the writing test. Students are encouraged to take the ACT in the spring of their junior year or in the fall of their senior year. Students select which scores they would like to send to colleges.

A few things to know about testing:

  • You are responsible for knowing which tests are required for college admission and registering appropriately.
  • Colleges are most likely to look at the highest SAT score combination over the testing period (called Superscoring), but be sure to check the policy for each college. Some highly selective schools do not look favorably upon taking the SAT more than three (3) times.
  • Make sure the LHS school code (CEEB Code Number: 471393) appears on all registration materials.
  • When registering for tests (and on college applications), always write your name the same way. Do not use nicknames or abbreviations. If you include your middle name, do so on all registration materials.
  • You are responsible for sending your scores to the colleges you are applying to. Please note that it can take weeks to get to the school, so send your scores one month in advance of the college deadline!

Test­ Optional Colleges

There are over 700 colleges and universities across the United States that are either test‐optional or do not require standardized testing as part of the admissions process. At www.fairtest.org, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to preventing the misuse of standardized tests, you will find a comprehensive list of all test‐optional schools.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

A computerized test designed for students for whom English is not a native language and whose scores on the SAT  verbal test would be affected by a language difference. 

College Interviews

Interview Tips

  1. Dress appropriately
  2. Be prompt, prepared and polite
  3. Maintain eye contact
  4. Accentuate the positives
  5. Know what you want to ask about the school
  6. Speak to the interviewer – not the floor
  7. Have a copy of your transcript with you

Questions you may be asked during a college interview:

  1. Have you set any academic goals for yourself so far?  Have you met them?  If not, why not?
  2. If I visited your school for a few days, what would I find is your role in the school community?  What would your teachers say were your greatest strengths as a person, as a student; likewise, what about your shortcomings or weaknesses?
  3. In a sentence or two, what points about you would you like to leave with me so that I can present your strongest side to our committee on admissions?
  4. How do you learn best?  Do you do best in a competitive atmosphere?  Do you work best independently or with others?  Are you self‐motivated or do you need close personal attention from your teachers?
  5. What extra‐curricular activities at school have been most important to you?  Have you shown any special commitment to or competence in them?  What about activities outside school?  What’s the relative importance of your academics vs. extracurricular activities?
  6. Perhaps the toughest question of all:  Would your best friend, your parents, or your school counselor agree with the picture of yourself as you have described yourself?  How would it differ?
  7. What events or experiences in your life so far have had the greatest influence on your growth and thinking – on making you the person you are today?
  8. What have you enjoyed most about your high school experience?  If you could live these last few years over again, what would you do differently?
  9. How has your environment – school, family, the town you live in – influenced your way of thinking?
  10. Have they mostly served to expand or to circumscribe your life and activities?
  11. What bothers you the most about the world around you?  If you had the opportunity and the responsibility to change the world, where would you start?
  12. What do you feel sets you apart as an individual in your school?
  13. Have you ever thought of not going to college?  What would you do?
  14. Where and when do you find yourself most stimulated intellectually?
  15. Briefly describe your course of study.
  16. If you had to convince someone who hates your favorite subject that it can be worthwhile and interesting, what would you say?
  17. How much prior research and investigation have you done about (name of college)?
  18. What factors will you weigh most heavily in deciding to which colleges to apply?

The College Application

The college application is your opportunity to make a good impression on the colleges to which you are applying. However, it is essential that you honestly represent yourself. The college application process begins in the fall of your senior year although early preparation during second semester of junior year will make the process easier. You should follow these guidelines:

  • Read ALL directions and instructions carefully. Complete applications one at a time rather than working on all of them in bits and pieces.
  • It is preferred to apply online. Common Application Online is used by approximately 300+ colleges and universities.  Make sure the colleges you are applying to use the Common Application before you use it!
  • Make sure you save all user IDs and passwords for future access.
  • Answer all questions. Use N/A (not applicable) if the question does not apply.
  • Make a copy of the applications to practice on before filling them out. Be sure to print a copy of each application for your records before you send them out to keep in your files.
  • Organize your personal records such as the resume and/or activity sheet. This will help you determine what information you want to include on your application.
  • Select people to write your recommendations wisely. Use those who personally know you, your academic record, your strengths and accomplishments. (This is not always the teacher of the class where you got an A.)
  • Step back and review your entire application‐ essays, test scores, transcript, recommendations, and activities. Your application packet should give the admissions officer an idea of the person you are, not the just the, for example, academic, athlete, musician, test taker, or writer.
  • Pay specific attention to the application deadlines. Allow enough time for the Student Services Department to process its part of the application and send your transcripts. Check with the Student Services Department for its procedures and timeline for processing transcripts and applications.
  • Remember that required application fees must either be paid by a credit card online at the time of submission or that a check must be sent separately to the college through the mail. Without this, the application is incomplete.
  • Check to see how you will be notified that the college receives the online application. Follow up if that verification is not received in a timely manner.

Always check each school’s website to find out their specific requirements for the application process!

Writing Essays: Tips for Your Students

(Advice from the University of Michigan)

  • You’ve heard it before: Write about what you know.
  • Be you; write about something small in scale, a story that only you can tell in your own voice. Colleges want you to show them your character and personality.
  • If there is anything unusual about you, or about your academic record, explain it. Discuss any unique or interesting talents or viewpoints you might have.
  • Write about something that’s important to you personally. Don’t try to guess what the college might want to hear. They’ve probably heard it already and they’d rather hear what you have to say.
  • Use language you’re familiar with and feel comfortable with. Good writing is about communication, not about showing off.  Proofread carefully.
  • Answer the question they’re asking; be sure to follow the directions and stick with the length and format required.
  • Here’s what matters: Content, style, and originality – and that the essay tells them something about you.
  • And of course: Be honest and make sure the work is yours, not someone else’s.

We are here to help you through the process. You are not alone; trust us, let us guide you and support you during this truly exciting time!