September Senior Parent Night Notes

Tentative date for Graduation for the Class of 2015: Thursday, June 4th, 5 – 7PM.

In case you missed Senior Parent Night, we have assembled some links and a few notes here to bring you up to date for post high school planning. These notes are an incomplete overview from the Guidance Counselor breakout group. You can always find more information in the Guidance Section of the Newton South High School Website. If you have not already done so, please make an appointment to meet with your student’s Guidance Counselor so that you have the information that is appropriate for your student.

First, you should read the notes from the Junior Parent Night last spring that can be found here. There are extensive notes on many subjects, as well as many helpful links.

Next, please read this checklist of college application procedures.

The college application process should really be student driven. It’s our job as parents to supervise gently and to bring in the Guidance Department if the process might be going off track. We should engage and help, but we should not overshare about our own college process. Having said that, applying to college is full of deadlines and details that can be overwhelming to a student. Please help your child to create the system that best supports their efforts to stay organized. A few examples are: use the “To Do” lists in Naviance, create a Google spreadsheet, or put up a whiteboard in their room. Whatever works for them is the right answer.

Your student probably has the outlines of a list of possible colleges. In order to narrow the list, if necessary, consider geography, average admitted GPA, cost. Naviance has tools for looking at GPA and test scores of admitted students at different colleges.

Both you and your student will need to fill out information sheets at least three weeks before the counselor can write her/his recommendation. The parent information sheet is available both from the counselor and on the website. The senior information sheet should be obtained from the counselor. Both of these forms need to be returned to your student’s Guidance Counselor. These are used to generate the counselor statement, so these must be turned in at least 3 weeks before the transcripts should be released.

The transcript release process is handled by the front office, before the application is ready to be sent. Fill out a release sheet (click here to see a sample.) from the front office (tip: grab a couple and fill out at home) and bring a check to pay $3 for each transcript requested. To fill out the form, your student will need to decide whether they are applying Early Decision (ED), Early Action (EA) or Regular admission. Please make sure you and your student understand the difference between these three types of application. Newton South sends the grades after the close of term, so there may be a slight lag in early November. This is generally not a problem. The front office asks for three weeks lead time before the first transcript needs to be sent.

Before transcripts can be sent electronically, students must link their Common Application and Naviance accounts. The first name, last name, date of birth and email addresses MUST match in these two systems. The student must complete the FERPA on the Common App, and then must complete the matching process on Naviance under “Colleges I’m Applying To.” This list of colleges is only updated when the student submits a transcript request form. FERPA stands for Family Education Right and Privacy Act and is basically where a student must decide whether or not to waive their right to see their teacher recommendations before they are sent to colleges. Most Newton South teachers require the student to waive their rights in advance to insure the integrity of the recommendation. If you have any questions about this, please ask your student’s Guidance Counselor.

The scholarship process happens in the spring, and there is a local scholarship process.

About 95 schools send representatives to NSHS. They are listed on the door to the College and Career Center door in the cafeteria, as well as online in Naviance. New this year: Your student will need a pass from class the day before a visit in order to attend a representative visit. (Click here for the form.) Colleges track attendance at these to gauge student interest.

Financial Aid Night is Wednesday, October 22nd, at 7 p.m. in the Newton South Seasholes Auditorium. Please come and learn about the different required forms (FAFSA and CSS Profile), deadlines, and how they apply to your family.

When colleges start to reply to applications, many students can take the result personally. Please help your student to keep perspective and let them know that a rejection does not reflect on who they are as a person. With 4000+ colleges in North America, there are options for everyone. A helpful mantra for this year, as said by Barbara Brown, is:  the college search is a match to be made, not a prize to be won. In addition, gap year programs, vocational training, military enlistment, entrepreneurial endeavors and job search increase the number of post-high school options.

Wherever your student is in their process, they can always visit the College and Career Office where Barbara Brown and Kathy Sabet will be more than happy to speak with them. Good luck!