March 24, 2020
Dear Students and Families,
We hope you are all doing well, feeling good, and staying safe during this unprecedented time. Your School Counselors are available to help and we encourage you to reach out to your counselor directly if you have any questions or need advice on anything school, course selection or personally related. We are periodically checking email and will respond in accordance with the school’s communication policy.
Below is grade based support for your students during this unusual time. In particular for juniors and sophomores who would otherwise be in Guidance Seminar, students can work on these activities at their own pace as this process is about you, for you. In addition to what is listed below you are encouraged to visit the WHS Guidance Website for resources as well as your counselor’s Canvas page. We will continue to support you, wherever you are at, in this self and post-secondary exploration process.
For Seniors: Many of you are receiving your final decisions from colleges. While Admitted Students Days have been cancelled, colleges are providing other ways for you to learn about their institutions in order to make this important decision. Most of these options are being posted through your admissions portals of a given college. Further, many have extended their decision deadline from May 1st to June 1st. For this and other helpful information please visit the admissions websites. We will not be compiling a list as it would be vast and constantly changing. Of course, reach out to your School Counselor if you’d like to discuss your decision.
For Juniors: First and foremost know that colleges understand this will be a unique search and application process for the Class of 2021. Decisions will continue to be made about this and we will keep you abreast of the general trends. It will always be important to check with individual schools about their specific policies/procedures. Below is the most pressing to be aware of:
- The May SAT has been canceled. Students who were registered for the March or May SAT will receive refunds. At this time, the June SAT is still available.
- Many colleges are cancelling tours and open houses this spring. They will be offering alternative ways to get to know their institutions. Please check EACH INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL for any changes in programming and what they are offering instead.
Below are tools you can use to begin your search and plan your post-secondary timeline:
- College research: Learn about different colleges and which ones might be a good fit. Potentially begin going on campus visits. (Or, given Coronavirus, check out videos and virtual campus tours.)
- Naviance is our web-based program WHS utilizes for the post-secondary process. It is an effective platform to build your college list, search colleges and, in the fall, facilitate your applications. Students have their access information which they should share with their parent/guardian.
- Study for standardized tests: Most students take the SAT/ACT in their junior year and repeat the same test again in either the summer or fall. We encourage you to take advantage of the extra time to study and consider taking a couple of free, graded online SAT/ACT exams. Kaplan, Kahn Academy and Summit have on-line resources as does Engaging Minds.
- Learn about financial aid: Once senior year rolls around, you’ll be too busy doing college applications to research the financial aid process. So focus on understanding that (and taking note of deadlines!) now. To start, here’s a good primer on how college financial aid works, and here’s an explanation of the most important financial aid acronym: EFC (Expected Family Contribution).
- Apply for scholarships. High school juniors are eligible for plenty of scholarships, and it’s never too early to begin earning money towards your college tuition! Plus, it’s pretty easy to turn common scholarship essays into college essays, when the time comes. Going Merry is one resource for this information. There are several excellent resources and websites on our WHS Guidance Site.
- Student Data Portfolio SDPs provide valuable information to your school counselor to support their recommendation writing process. If you have not already received a SDP to complete from your school counselor you will shortly. Please take your time and be thoughtful with your answers. The more thorough this is the more helpful to your counselor it is. Don’t be afraid to toot your horn!!
- Parent Feedback Form Parent’s input can be valuable in the recommendation writing process as well. Please consider completing the attached form and sending it to your student’s school counselor.
Students might also find this Junior Year Calendar/Checklist to be quite helpful. Print it out, and check things off as you complete them!
** For Both Juniors & Seniors:
This situation is changing hourly so we will always recommend that you double check the current status of any source we provide in case something specific changes since the time we shared it with you. We also want to stress that there will be very few universal answers to the question “What should I do about X?” However, we can say that colleges and universities are very likely to be flexible and understanding about ALL aspects of the college admissions process during this time. That will undoubtedly look different for each individual institution, and we encourage you to check directly with the school’s admissions offices and/or webpages for their most up-to-date information about extensions of deadlines, changes in requirements, cancellations of events, and replacement activities or policies they may be instituting now.
For Sophomores: Sophomore seminar is all about self-exploration. We urge our students to begin by building their resume in Naviance. Here is a link to a planning sheet to get started and things to keep in mind for building a stand alone resume. Also, you can consider sharing your resume with a peer for peer edits as well as you school counselor for feedback.
In addition sophomores are encouraged to complete the “Career Interest Profiler” and “Do What You Are”, also on Naviance. Directions on how to access these surveys can be found here.
For Grade 9: If you have remaining questions about your course selection please be sure to contact your School Counselor. As other needs arise please feel free to reach out.
For AP Students: College Board has posted the below linked update as of March 20th. They are planning on offering a modified AP exam in an on-line format. As details become available we will post the updates and you are encouraged to check the apcentral.collegeboard.org website as well. https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update
For all students & families: Please check the WHS Guidance webpage regularly for updates and we will only send emails if something is of a timely nature and may require action on your part.
We look forward to continuing to support our students and families during this closure.
Your WHS School Counselors