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Monthly Newsletter

December 2016

Poinsettias from the annual Holiday Plant Sale to raise money for the 2017 Doug's Trip.

Excitement is in the air as we approach the upcoming holiday break. The Scott Center for the Arts & Sciences feels all the more festive because of the poinsettias in the atrium awaiting pick-up, the sounds of the choir practicing for Lessons & Carols, and the colorful and creative runway dresses lining the hall for the recent Wearable Art Runway Show. Behind the glass doors to College Counseling, our excitement grows each day along with that of our seniors, all of us awaiting news about the early round of applications. Although we hope everyone will receive good news, we recognize that such a wish is not realistic, and therefore we are actively engaged with our seniors in making sure they have put the finishing touches on all of their applications and have either submitted them, or are prepared to do so if needed. Our hope is that every senior will enter the holiday break with all applications completed and ready to submit so they can fully enjoy their time away from school and with family. We also hope our seniors will take a moment to reflect on the past few months and appreciate the time and energy they devoted to the college process, and in so doing, enter the holiday season with an optimistic view of what the future holds. Best wishes to all for a wonderful winter break!
                                                                                                        
                                                                                                         - The College Counseling Team
Winter Break Schedule
As a reminder, the College Counseling office will be closed following Lessons & Carols on Friday, Dec. 16 until we return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Senior News
December is an important month in the college search and application process since decisions will be released by most schools for their early applicants, and the next "big" deadline arrives on Jan. 1, 2017 while students are away on winter break.

Some important reminders for all seniors:
  • Have you sent your test scores to all of your schools? This is your responsibility since schools need official scores, and those can only be sent from the testing agencies (ACT, College Board, TOEFL, etc.).
  • Have you submitted your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile? If not, be sure to do so as soon as possible since available funds are limited and given out "first come, first serve."
  • Have you updated your Naviance account so that it reflects your final list of schools, as well as your admission plan (EA, RD, etc.)? Naviance will be locked after Wednesday, Dec. 14, and you will not be able to make any changes to your list after that time.
  • Have you checked the Common App schools listed on your Naviance account to make sure they are also listed on your Common App? Unless your schools are listed in both places (the Common App and Naviance), we are unable to submit documents on your behalf.
  • Have you checked the status of the applications you have already submitted? This is typically done by accessing the portal the school provides once you have submitted an application. Most schools use the portal to share important information about the status of your application – including their decision – so be sure to check regularly.
  • Have you checked your email for any communication sent by your schools? This should be done regularly since schools will often reach out directly via email with important information about your application. This outreach is usually related to incomplete applications resulting from missing documents (i.e. ED agreements) or test scores.
Information for Juniors
Prior to the Thanksgiving break, we began individual meetings with juniors, and we found this first round of introductory conversations to be both informative and engaging. Our first junior class meeting took place on Tuesday, Dec. 6, following the morning's Health Fest activities. During this all-class meeting, students had time to explore and become more familiar with Naviance, as well as begin responding to the all-important junior questionnaire. This year's questionnaire will be in three parts, with Part One due prior to the next scheduled meeting with the student's college counselor in January.

Junior Parent Meetings

The junior parent meetings will be scheduled following the January individual student meetings. Each junior will be responsible for working with use to schedule those appointments.

Junior Parent Questionnaire

In preparation for the junior parent meeting, we ask that all parent(s)/guardians complete a parent questionnaire. We value parental insight and find it to be an important tool in helping us get to know students. The questionnaire will be available on Naviance in early January, and we will give parents access to Naviance when we send the questionnaire.

PSAT Information

Sophomores and juniors should receive an email from College Board Monday, Dec. 12 with information about how to access test scores from their October PSAT. Paper copies will be mailed directly to families by College Board in late December. Please check with our office before we leave for break or after we return with any questions, or should you need help accessing your scores or want assistance interpreting test scores.

Hidden Curriculum

There is a method to our madness, and as your child begins the college search process, you will likely notice that we emphasize student responsibility and action at every stage of the process. Whereas it might be easier as adults for us to take care of a task in support of our children because of their busy lives, in College Counseling, we feel it is essential that students take full ownership of the process and thus handle the many administrative tasks this process requires. Their actions are a reflection of, and are in preparation for, the independence and self-advocacy that will be required of them in college. We are always here for back-up and to provide support as needed, but our expectation is that students will take the lead.

Featured Blogs

We invite you to read the following two blogs, both of which offer important insight and useful suggestions as our seniors navigate these all-important weeks in the college season. For tips on maintaining your focus during the senior year and "doing the little things right," see what Franklin & Marshall suggests here.


This November blog from Tufts University is equally relevant for the month of December; it also reflects the advice given by this office to have all of your applications completed and ready to submit prior to the upcoming holiday break here.

Suggested Reading

For interesting insight into college admissions and the acceptance numbers that are shared with the public, read Time magazine's October article, "What a College's 'Official' Acceptance Rate May Be Hiding From You."

On the Horizon

Registration for AP exams will begin in January. Also, our Junior Parent College Night will be in early February, details forthcoming. It's not too early to start thinking about next summer. Since selection is competitive for the following programs, you might want to start thinking about them now: 

Follow Us!

We are on social media! Follow us on Instagram (@stabcollegecounseling) and Twitter (@STAB2College) to stay up to date on the daily happenings in College Counseling.

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