Welcome to an exciting year! As the year begins we are trying to get the seniors going with their applications which are due, for the most part, by November 1 (you will appreciate this next year). As noted on the Roeper calendar, we will be holding our Junior/Parent College Night on November 2 —so many of your college planning questions will be answered then.
In the meantime, these are the important areas to focus on right now:
Make sure you are taking a challenging schedule (this can mean something different for each student). In general, you should be taking 4-5 “academic” classes each year. I am happy to answer questions about schedule planning—just stop by or email!
You should plan to make this your best year ever, grade-wise. The transcript up through the end of the Junior year will be what colleges use to evaluate your academic progress.
You want to begin meeting with the college representatives that visit Roeper. You may not realize it, but it is a huge honor that colleges, with limited budgets, are clamoring to visit our school. There are state universities, highly selective “name” schools and gems that are worth looking at. The representatives that come to Roeper are the same people who will read your applications and advocate for you, so putting a face with a name is a great idea. I know definitely of students who have gotten into highly selective colleges directly because of their school meeting with a college rep. And attending visits of college reps for schools you had not considered can open your eyes and minds to a place that might be just right for you. While we will publish a list, new schools are added every day so it’s important to read the Roeper Record regularly and for students to watch for postings on the College Counseling White Board and read the Morning Notes daily.
The PSAT, the “practice” test for the SAT and the ONLY test that may qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship, will be given at Roeper on Wednesday, October 14. Our suggestion is that you focus on this test for this fall, and don’t worry about the ACT and SAT until after October 14. Even though it is a brand new test, it is a brand new test for everyone in the nation, so it levels the playing field. No Junior has any knowledge about how this test will go, and no college has any data to compare students with. In fact, since as a rule, Roeper students tend to be good testers and rarely prepped for the PSAT in the past anyway, it could be an advantage. Furthermore, there are actually more practice materials than ever before for the PSAT.
During the creation of the new SAT, College Board entered into a partnership with Khan Academy, which is providing free practice test materials for the PSAT and the SAT. Here is the website to become familiar with and prep for the PSAT: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/practice
You may remember receiving an email blast last spring describing in detail the “New SAT.” Coming soon, watch for an email and Roeper Record post repeating that information.
As for the ACT and SAT, we suggest that you take them for the first time in the late fall or winter—December 12 for the ACT; December 5 or January 23 for the SAT, You can then determine which test(s) to retake in the spring. The ACT gives you the opportunity to purchase your actual answer sheet and test booklet for the December test. We have prep materials for both the ACT and old SAT in college counseling as well, and your PSAT results will help you analyze your answers and plan for your spring test(s). And while you don’t need to start “prepping” for these tests, you can register ahead of time: www.act.org or www.collegeboard.org.
Please know that if you have an immediate issue I’m happy to set up a meeting or phone conversation. And although this will be a busy time, feel free to stop by and introduce yourself if you haven’t already. I will be also available at Back to School Night if you want to stop by or ask questions. Next semester, we’ll get to know each other well!
Patricia Bostwick, MA, LPC
Director of College Counseling