Dear Parents/Guardians of Juniors,
As we enter the December break, in the Guidance Department our hope is that students are experiencing a challenging, yet manageable junior year. We hope to see growth in students’ academic achievement, extra-curricular participation, while seeking good social and emotional health. During first semester we work with students to help them achieve balance between school, outside interests, and other responsibilities. During the second semester of junior year, the focus naturally shifts more to post-high school planning and therefore, we begin to incorporate more activities associated with that process. We will kick off that process formally at Junior Parent Night on January 7th, 2016 at 7:00 pm in the NSHS Field House. (Snow date January 13th)
The purpose of this evening is to become acquainted with information that is essential to the post-graduate planning process. The program will begin promptly at 7:00 pm in the Field House, where you will hear from a few key people involved in your educational experience. You will then have the opportunity to meet with your child’s counselor in a group setting, when general information will be shared about what to expect for the remainder of the year and transitioning into senior year. Junior students will have a corresponding Guidance Seminar session with their counselor on the same day. For students, this is a follow up session to their first seminar meeting in early December at which time counselors presented an overview and facilitated a question and answer session about what to expect during the spring of junior year.
Most juniors took the PSAT exam in October and in early January students will be able to access scores electronically, via The College Board website. Students will be notified by email when scores are available (on or about January 7th). This year’s new format for score dissemination is a significant change in process. Most significantly, school counselors will not receive copies of student score reports until after students receive theirs. We feel it is important for students to meet individually with their counselors, who will explain the score reports and have a meaningful conversation about future testing options. Therefore, we ask that students schedule meetings with their counselors soon after they get their scores. During these meetings students will receive their test booklets to refer back to when going through the score report. For your reference, I have attached a PSAT/NMSQT sample score report as well as an interpretive guide as helpful tools for understanding the scores. You can also get additional information from the College Board’s website at www.collegeboard.org.
As many of you are aware, the College Board is changing the format and structure of the SAT exam starting in March 2016. Some students may be questioning whether to take the old SAT in January since it has been a known entity. It is suggested that juniors continue with their normally scheduled testing timeline, which begins in March 2016, especially since many juniors took the new PSAT, which aligns with the new SAT. That being said, students should register for whichever SAT and/or ACT exam they feel most comfortable and most prepared. If anyone plans to take the old SAT on January 23rd, (registration deadline December 28), please be aware that colleges may not combine the old SAT scores with any new SAT scores to get the highest cumulative “super score.”
The Guidance Department encourages students to explore the redesigned SAT format on the College Board website (www.collegeboard.org), as this may help students determine their level of preparedness for the exam. In addition, The College Board has partnered with Kahn Academy for free test preparation for the new SAT. For more information regarding the specific updates to the exam, please refer to the attached Overview: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT vs. ACT fact sheet.
Lastly, we encourage you to review the Newton South College Planning Guide. This comprehensive guide serves as a resource manual with rich information to help you navigate the post-secondary planning process. Hard copies will be available for sale at the Junior Parent Night.
If you have any questions, please contact your son/daughter’s school counselor.
Dan Rubin/Kathleen Sabet
Director of Guidance & Counseling/College & Career Center Counselor