Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions that you will make. The Counseling Office is prepared to help you with this process. Please discuss your goals and plans with your counselor. There are many resources available to you.
Naviance is an Internet-based program that can help you with a college search. The program will allow you to narrow your search based upon many categories including geographical region, cost, admissions difficulty, sports programs, etc. To access Naviance, you may contact your counselor to obtain the user name and password.
Our Castle Learning site offers free SAT and ACT test prep. The site provides an on-line course that helps students improve their SAT and ACT scores and builds their math, reading and writing skills. There are tutorials with quizzes and practice questions. The site will provide information on a student’s strengths and weaknesses
Log into your Castle Learning account (www.castlelearning.com):
Username: acs.lastfirst Password: student ID
Click on “Methodize – Online SAT/ACT Preparation”
Many other college and career search websites are available on-line, including:
American College Test measures skills in four curriculum areas:
Students may also opt to take the Writing portion of the ACT.
The ACT is a four hour and fifteen minute test that most colleges all over the country accept. The ACT format is one with which students are more familiar, as it is similar in design to the standardized tests which are traditionally given in school. Students may take this test during their junior year or the fall of their senior year. It is recommended that students take either the ACT test or the SAT test, although many students may benefit from trying both.
The ACT’s are not offered at Albion. Students can take the test usually in Medina or Batavia. To register for the ACT, or for more information and study tips, go to www.actstudent.org.
Make sure you have all applications required for college admission and financial aid. Write, phone, or use the Internet to request missing information.
Check on application and financial aid deadlines for the schools to which you plan to apply. They may vary and it is essential to meet all deadlines!
Meet with your school counselor to be sure your list includes colleges appropriate to your academic and personal record. Review your transcript and co-curricular records with your school counselor to ensure their accuracy.
If the colleges require recommendations, ask the appropriate people to write on your behalf. Provide recommendation forms, any special instructions and a stamped, addressed business envelope to the people writing your recommendation.
Plan visits to colleges and set up interviews (if you didn't get to them during the summer or if you want to return to a campus for a second time). Read bulletin boards and the college newspaper. Talk with current students and professors.
Attend a regional college fair to further investigate those colleges to which you will probably apply. Attend National College Fairs and the Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs if necessary.
Mail applications in time to reach the colleges by the deadlines. Check with your school counselor to make sure your transcript and test scores have been/will be sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
If you need financial aid, obtain a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) from your guidance office. Check to see if the colleges to which you are applying require any other financial aid form. Register for the CSS Profile if required and obtain the college's own financial aid forms, if available.
If applying for early decision or early action, send in your application now. Also prepare applications for back-up schools. Remember, if you are accepted under the early decision option, you are expected to enroll at that college and withdraw all other applications. Submit financial aid information if requested from early decision/action candidates.
Have official test scores (SAT, ACT, AP, GCC Transcript) sent by the agency to colleges on your list.
Be sure your first quarter grades are good.
Continue completing applications to colleges. Make copies of all applications before mailing the applications.
Keep all records, test score reports and copies of applications for admission and financial aid. Do not throw anything away until at least the end of your first year in college. Having detailed records will save you time and effort should anything be lost or should you decide to apply in the future to other colleges and scholarship programs.
Have official test scores sent to colleges on your list if you have not done so.
Consult your school counselor again to review your final list of colleges. Be sure you have all bases covered. It is a good idea to make copies of everything before you drop those envelopes in the mail. If for some reason your application gets lost, you will have a back-up copy. File your last college application.
If you applied for early decision, you should have an answer by now. If you are accepted, follow the instructions for admitted students. If the decision is deferred until spring or you are denied, submit applications now to other colleges.
Keep working in your classes! Grades and courses continue to count throughout the senior year.
To apply for financial aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form must be completed as soon as possible after January 1 of the student's senior year. The FAFSA is a form that all families complete when their student attends college and helps them qualify for grants, loans and student work programs.
All students who are planning to attend college in the fall should file their FAFSA form as soon as possible. The form will be available beginning October 1. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. The college will use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid. The form can be completed at www.fafsa.gov.
Additional Financial Aid Workshops
Prospective students and families are invited to join SUNY for an online workshop which will provide detailed information about the financial aid application and award process. We will review the cost of attendance and explore the types of financial aid available, including the Excelsior Scholarship. During the session, you will be able to send us your questions via live chat. Go to https://engage.suny.edu/portal/financial_aid_sessions_virtual
College bound students should complete their FAFSA form now. The website is http://www.fafsa.gov. Students who want to receive any form of financial aid (including loans, scholarships or grants) are required to fill out the FAFSA every year. The form is available on October 1.
Step 1: Get Your FSA ID: Both the student and one parent need Federal Student Aid Identification Numbers (FSA IDs). Visit fsaid.ed.gov to get an FSA ID.
Step 2: Enter your personal information: You will need the student’s date of birth, social security number, parents’ date of birth, parents’ social security numbers, student’s driver’s license number (if pertinent).
Step 3: Enter your financial information: You will need a copy of student’s and parent’s tax return from the previous year. You can also use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer your information.
Step 4: Choose up to 10 schools: You can add up to 10 schools to your FAFSA at a time. Your information will be sent to the schools you listed so they can calculate the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.
Step 5: Sign the FAFSA with your FSA ID: Your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature, or e-signature. You’ll use it to electronically sign and submit your FAFSA.
Steps to Filing Your FAFSA Online
FAFSA does not supply paper FAFSA forms you must file electronically.
Below are directions for filing your FAFSA online:
Apply early. The earlier you apply, the more likely it is that you will get a better financial aid package. You can begin applying by October 1.
If you do not have a pin number to apply for federal aid, apply on the following website: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. You may request a pin number at that time or have them to email one to you. You must have an active email address for your pin number to be sent to you. If you are a dependent student, a parent must apply for a pin number also. Please place your pin number in a safe place, because this will be your pin number as long as you received financial aid.
After you have received your pin number, go to https://fafsa.gov/. The FAFSA is free. Do not pay to complete the FAFSA. Make sure you do not go to the wrong website. They will charge you a fee to input your FAFSA for you!
After you are on the FAFSA website, select “Start A New FAFSA”.
Names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers must be accurate. Use only the legal name that appears on your Social Security card. Using nicknames or preferred names will cause significant delays.
Gather federal tax information for you and your parents. If they have not yet filed their income taxes, use income estimates and file the FAFSA no later than Feb. 15. Many colleges may want the results of your processed FAFSA by March 1.
Review your answers and if necessary correct them before transmitting your application.
If you filled out your FAFSA without a pin number, print out the signature page and mail it to the address on the same page. Your application will be processed faster if you use your pin number.
You can now submit your FAFSA. The website then takes you to a web page that confirms you have successfully transmitted your FAFSA. Note your confirmation number and your estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This EFC is used to determine the types and amounts of aid you will receive.
Most college applications request two or three recommendation letters from people who know you in and out of the classroom. Here are some helpful tips from the College Board:
Don't be shy. Teachers and counselors are usually happy to help you as long as you respect their time constraints.
Provide teachers and counselors with deadlines for each recommendation that you are requesting, especially noting the earliest deadline.
On the application form, waive your right to view recommendation letters. This gives more credibility to the recommendation in the eyes of the college.
Typically, you know your teachers well enough to know who can provide a favorable review of your accomplishments. If in doubt, don't hesitate to ask if they feel comfortable writing a recommendation. In some cases, you may have no choice as to who to use, but when you do, make the best choice possible.
Make sure to give your recommendation writers plenty of time - at least one month before letters are due - to complete and send your recommendations, but as with anything, the earlier the better.
Follow up with your recommendation writers a week or so prior to your first deadline, to ensure recommendations have been mailed or to see if they need additional information from you.
Once you have decided which college to attend, write thank-you notes to everyone who provided a recommendation and tell them where you've decided to go to college. Be sure to do this before you leave high school.
Spend time talking with your counselors and ensure they know about your plans, accomplishments, and involvements. You may want to provide them with a brief resume of your activities and goals; a resume can provide the best overview of your high school involvement and contributions. Also, if there is some aspect of your transcript that needs explaining—perhaps low grades sophomore year—it's helpful to talk with your counselors to explain "why" and "how" you've changed and improved.
How to Register for the NCAA Clearinghouse
If you are planning on playing a Division I or Division II sport in college, or if you are unsure or might be playing Division III, you need to register with the Clearinghouse preferably by the beginning of your junior year.
Click on the blue arrow above “Register” under “Want to Play College Sports?”
Either “Create an Account” for Division I or II or “Create a Profile Page” for undecided or Division III.
You will then need to provide a valid email address to create an account and begin the registration process. This email address will be the user name for your account. Be sure to provide an email address that will be active even after you complete high school.
The cost to register for a Certification Account is $90.00. The NCAA Eligibility Center accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
You are eligible for a waiver only if you have used one for either the SATs or ACTs. Please let Mrs. Garlipp know if you are fee-waiver eligible and she will submit your fee waiver documentation online.
You will need to complete the amateurism certification questionnaire during your senior year of high school.
Make sure that you have your SAT or ACT scores sent to the Clearinghouse through the College Board website, www.collegeboard.org or the ACT site at www.act.org. The code for NCAA is “9999”.
To access your account in the future, simply go to the website and log in with your email and password.
Plesae remember, YOU are responsible for making sure that you are taking NCAA approved courses and that you are monitoring your account for any important notifications from the Clearinghouse.
See Mrs. Garlipp in the Counseling Office if you need help with the registration process or if you have any other questions.
The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 are highly relevant to a student’s future success because they focus on the skills and knowledge at the heart of education. The test will measure:
What you learn in high school
What you need to succeed in college
The new PSAT/NMSQT includes a Reading Test, Writing and Language Test, and a Math Test. By taking the PSAT as a junior, a student is automatically entered in national scholarship competitions (NMSQT).
The PSATs are given at the high school each October, typically the Wednesday after Columbus Day weekend. The test is encouraged for four-year college bound juniors. Students should listen to morning announcements for detailed information. Students can sign up and pay in the Counseling Office starting the second week of September.
The SAT is a standardized test that includes a reading test, writing and language test, and a math test. SAT questions focus on skills that matter most for college readiness and success, according to the latest research. It is designed to show a student's potential in college. This test is accepted by most of the colleges and universities in the country. Four-year college bound students should take this test for the first time in the spring of their junior year and October or November of their senior year if they want to improve their scores.
SAT Subject Test
The SAT Subject Tests are given in a variety of subject areas. SAT Subject Tests may not be taken on the same day as the SAT. The more selective/highly competitive colleges require the SAT Subject Test. In order to place yourself in this category, it is highly recommended that you take the subject area tests. You may take up to three subject area tests at one time. When choosing which subject area tests to take, choose the subject areas most in line with your preferred majors.
Students can register online for either test at www.collegeboard.com or pick up a registration booklet from the counseling office.
Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their pre-college performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits. Upward Bound serves: high school students from low-income families; high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree; and low-income, first-generation military veterans who are preparing to enter postsecondary education. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.
Types of Projects
Upward Bound projects provide academic instruction in mathematics, laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign languages. Tutoring, counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and work-study programs also are supported.
All Upward Bound projects must provide instruction in math, laboratory science, composition, literature, and foreign language.
Other services include:
Instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and other subjects necessary for success in education beyond high school
Academic, financial, or personal counseling
Exposure to academic programs and cultural events
Information on postsecondary education opportunities
Assistance in completing college entrance and financial aid applications
Assistance in preparing for college entrance exams
Work study positions to expose participants to careers requiring a postsecondary degree
Our Upward Bound Program Counselor is Joel Woodroe. Joel is here at the high school on Tuesdays from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm to meet with students.