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Preparing for the Next Step

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  1. College and Career Planning Class of 2016 Preparing for the Next Step

  2. Agenda • Post-secondary options • Preparing for the college admissions process • Academic performance • SATs, ACTs, and SAT Subject Tests • Extracurricular involvement • College visits • Important Resources • Course Selection for 2014-15 SchoolYear

  3. Post-Secondary Options Different Paths

  4. Earn a bachelor’s degree Four-Year Colleges and Universities

  5. Community Colleges • Associate Degrees and Career Certificates • Provide career/job skill training and opportunities to transfer to four-year colleges • Guaranteed Admission Agreements • May be less expensive than four-year college: • • Open admission with HS diploma/GED • Over 23 in Virginia

  6. Junior College • Focus on students who intend to transfer to a four-year college • Associate’s degree • Often provide residence halls and other features to inspire active campus life • Usually not open admission, but may not be as competitive as four-year colleges

  7. Specialized Institutions • Intensive instruction/training in particular discipline; offer various degrees/certificates • May not require general education courses • Often privately-funded, not state-supported • Ensure that the institution is accredited

  8. Military • Enlisted • ROTC • Military Academies • Recruiters visit the career center

  9. Gap Year Programs • Delayed entry into college after HS graduation • Vary in length – not always a full year • Volunteer service, travel, and/or coursework

  10. Preparing For College Admissions

  11. What Colleges Look For… Factors in College Admission Decision – NACAC Admission Trends Survey, 2010

  12. Academic Performance • Grades and difficulty of courses are the two most important factors • Strive for the best in all courses, especially academic core: • English, Science, Math, History, Foreign language

  13. Academic Transcript • Semester 1, Semester 2, and Final Grades in all classes • Credits and verified credits (SOLs) • Attendance • GPA and class rank • Colleges notice changes and trends in academic performance

  14. Academic Rigor • Select an appropriately challenging schedule • Consider AP and Honors courses • 3-4+ years of foreign language are highly recommended

  15. What do Admissions Reps Say? • “Our strongest candidates choose rigorous secondary school curricula. Competitive applicants challenge themselves beyond high school graduation requirements in the core academic areas of English, math, science, social science and foreign language.” •

  16. What do Admissions Reps Say? • “Students are always advised to take the strongest curriculum that they can reasonably handle while pursuing opportunities for academic and extracurricular opportunities for which they have a passion.” - Jerome Lucido, Vice Provost University of Southern California

  17. What do Admissions Reps Say? • “Make sure that your class schedule demonstrates that you are taking advantage of all that your school offers. Talk to your counselor and parents to help determine the right program for you. Colleges will want to see that you are pursuing a strong schedule, but they will also want to see good grades.” •

  18. Striving for Balance • Be realistic, know your strengths • Elective courses can highlight a student’s interests, abilities, and commitment to pursuing a passion

  19. SAT and ACT • Take the SAT and the ACT during 11th grade (consider student’s math level) • Encouraged to take the SAT and/or ACT twice • Register online at: • • • Best way to prepare is to practice • Students take PSAT in October each year • MyCollegeQuickstart • Some students may consider test prep courses

  20. SAT vs. ACT • SAT • 10 total sections that alternate among Critical Reading, Writing, and Math • Tests math up through Algebra II • Includes required 25-minute writing section • Score broken into three sections – each out of 800 • ACT • 4 sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science • Tests math up through Trigonometry • 30-min writing section optional on test day, but most colleges require it • Score given as composite – out of 36

  21. What do Admissions Reps Say? • “We don't have a minimum SAT score. Most people who work in admission at highly selective universities believe that standardized testing is a useful but imprecise instrument, an axe, not a scalpel. Setting an absolute minimum would be asking these tests to do something they weren't designed to do…All other things being equal, applicants with good numbers stand a better chance of being admitted.” •

  22. What do Admissions Reps Say? • “SATs are more important than college admissions officers would like to admit, but less important than what most students and parents think they are.” • Time Wolfe, Associate Director of Admission Christopher Newport University

  23. SAT Subject Tests • Subject-specific tests that some colleges require or recommend for admission • Literature, Math 1 & 2, US History, World History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Foreign Languages • Best to take immediately after passing the associated course • Foreign language after at least two years of study • Register at

  24. Extracurricular Involvement • Get involved in a club, sport, or organization • Volunteer • Allows colleges to see your passion, interests, and character • Quality over quantity: • It’s ok to be “angular”! • Be able to talk about it!

  25. Visiting Campus Finding the “right fit” is very important – can only do this if you’ve actually stepped onto the campus May require advance scheduling to make the most of each visit Try to visit nearby schools or develop a route that allows you to visit many colleges on one trip Schedule visits when college is in session Encouraged to start visiting colleges now Visiting is a way to show interest, which can be a factor in admissions decisions

  26. Finding “Fit” – What to Consider… • Location • Size • Career goals • Academic majors • Financial aid • H.S. course requirements and recommendations • Academic profile of • admitted students • Student life • Diversity of student body • Appearance of facilities • Athletic programs • Extracurricular interests • Study abroad programs • ROTC • Dorms/residence halls • Available support services • The “feel” of campus • Cost (don’t rule out private • or out-of-state colleges)

  27. What Should Sophomores Do? • Strive for the best grades possible • Demonstrate strong character & work ethic • Select an appropriate course schedule • Get involved in school and community activities • Research colleges and universities • Research college majors and careers • Schedule college campus visits • Research & apply for summer enrichment programs

  28. Resources

  29. Naviance • Search for college and career options • Stores students’ data and allows them to see how they match up to colleges • Based on data from Dominion HS students • • Login using student ID#

  30. Other Resources • College and University websites • Data on admitted freshmen, admissions requirements • Virginia Education Wizard • • College Board website • • LCPS College and Career Fairs • September 2014 at Rock Ridge HS • All colleges (see LCPS website) • March 2015 at Dominion HS • Focus on careers (see LCPS website)

  31. Course Selection for Junior Year

  32. Course Selection Timeline • February – students received course recommendations and entered initial selections • March – June • I meet with every student in Titan Time • Blue sheet outlines final selections – must be returned with a parent signature • I welcome appointments with parents to discuss course planning

  33. Course Selection Timeline • June 6, 2014 – Last Day to request schedule changes • This is a firm deadline

  34. Courses for Junior Year • Personal Finance and Economics • Graduation requirement • Two semester courses, 0.5 credit each • Will be offered in zero period • AP English Language • Only offered to juniors • AP Exams • Beginning in 2014-15, students in AP courses who do not take the AP exam must take an alternate, graded assessment

  35. Questions?