College & Career Center Newsletter

George Mason High School - July 20, 2020


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Dear Mustangs,

I am delighted to join the George Mason High School community for the 2020-2021 school year to help students and families navigate college and career options. In this newsletter, I want to help you get ahead by pointing out many things you can do before school begins, especially for the college application process because materials are available to get started. I hope you are enjoying summer and I look forward to meeting you in August.


Sheri Mural


Naviance is the informational technology software used to support college and career services at George Mason High School. All students and parents are encouraged to become familiar with the wealth of resources available through Naviance.

In Naviance, students and parents can:

  • Take college and career assessments (students only)
  • Find enrichment programs
  • Research colleges
  • View the college visits scheduled for George Mason High School
  • Review the college application process
  • Request a letter of recommendation from a teacher
  • Research college financial aid and scholarships

Naviance Account

If you need assistance registering for or logging in to your Naviance account, please email Ms. Mural.

Senior Worksheet

Students can get started on completing the Senior Worksheet in Naviance (Naviance > About Me > My Surveys > Surveys Not Started or In Progress). You should save your work in Naviance and email your counselor to notify him or her when you have finished.

Parent Brag Sheet

A parent can complete a brag sheet by accessing it in Naviance. The form is also posted on the College and Career Center website to complete and email to your child’s counselor.

Any student who will need a counselor letter of recommendation for college applications needs to complete the Senior Worksheet and have a parent complete the Parent Brag Sheet. These materials are due one month before the first college application deadline.


There are many ways you can learn about colleges right from home.

Naviance - You can make good use of Naviance to research schools and narrow your college list

2020 Virginia (Virtual) Private College Week, July 20-24, 2020

During this week, 23 outstanding Virginia private colleges and universities will host at least two daily virtual information sessions for rising juniors, seniors, and their families. The website also includes information about application fee waivers: “If you participate in virtual content at 3 or more participating colleges you will receive 3 application fee waivers. You may use the application fee waivers at any college participating in Virginia Private College Week--not just those that you visited.”

QuestBridge QuestCasts Summer Series for Rising Seniors

Founded in 1994, QuestBridge is a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities. QuestCasts are live, online webinars designed to provide key information about being a competitive applicant to QuestBridge programs. You need to register ahead of time to attend the upcoming program.

Is a Liberal Arts College Right for You?, Thursday, July 23, at 6:00 pm

Attend Virtual Information Sessions, Campus Tours, and Academic Department programs

College admission officers want you to learn about their schools so you can find a good fit, therefore colleges are offering a variety of virtual programs this summer. You should visit individual school admission websites to find out about offerings and registration procedures.

YouVisit has campus tours posted for over 600 colleges to view.

Colleges That Change Lives Presentations (CTCL)

CTCL and its member-schools hosted several presentations online in May, and you can view them on demand now.

Virtual College Admission Interviews

Some colleges offer admission interviews to students before an application is submitted. You should go to the websites for the colleges that are of interest to you to find out if interviews are offered before applying, after submitting your application, or not at all. Interviews often are conducted by admission officers, current students, or alumni.


Admission requirements are updated by colleges over the summer, so as you read about application details on individual college websites you will want to confirm the information is up to date for the next admission cycle. With the impact of COVID-19 on the college search and application process, the most common changes I see are for testing requirements and application deadlines.

If you qualify for an application fee waiver for your college applications, please reach out to your counselor or Ms. Mural if you need assistance.

Common Application

The Common Application is accepted by nearly 900 colleges and universities. You can start your application now but be mindful that the application will go offline for a brief period at the end of July to launch on August 1 for the 2020-2021 admission season. Information you enter on the Common Application now can be rolled over to the next admission cycle, with a few exceptions.

  1. The schools you added on the My Colleges tab will not roll over, so you will need to re-enter colleges of interest on or after August 1.
  2. On the Activities tab, the “Position/Leadership description and organization name, if applicable” prompt will be divided into two. You can add content to the existing field now and it will roll over, but you will need to revisit the prompt to revise the information across two textboxes on or after August 1.

If you are interested in schools that accept the Common Application, you should get started on your application now.

The Common Application is accepted by 12 out of the 15 four-year public colleges and universities in Virginia (Christopher Newport, George Mason, Longwood, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, Radford, Mary Washington, University of Virginia, UVA's College at Wise, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary).


The Common Application essay prompts were announced months ago, so you can be busy writing.

New COVID-19 Question

In mid-May the Common Application announced a space will be added to the application (Common App > Writing > Additional Information) for students who need to elaborate on the impact of COVID-19. The question is optional, and the response will be limited to 250 words.

College-specific Supplemental Essays

College-specific essay prompts that are currently included within the Common Application will be updated on or after August 1. If you plan to write a supplemental essay before August 1, you should check with each college to find out if a prompt will change for Fall 2021 admission.

Coalition Application

More than 150 colleges and universities accept the Coalition Application for admission. Colleges typically open their Coalition Application on or after August 1.

The Coalition Application is accepted by 4 out of the 15 public four-year colleges and universities in Virginia (Christopher Newport, James Madison, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary).


The Coalition Application essay prompts are posted.

New COVID-19 Question

In early June the Coalition for College announced they will add a question to the application that enables students and counselors to describe how the pandemic has impacted education at their schools, as well as life at home. This will be an optional question and a written response will be limited to 300 words.


While there are testing sites planned in our area, you will want to stay posted regarding any changes due to COVID-19. In addition, I will be reaching out to both SAT and ACT to inquire about additional test options, beyond the national test dates, in light of the spring cancellations.

Many colleges have adopted test-optional policies for the Fall 2021 admission process. Given the recent changes, you should confirm the test policy for each college you are considering.

If you quality for a fee waiver, please reach out to your counselor or Ms. Mural if you need assistance.

Test-Optional and Test Flexible Schools

FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, is a resource to review to learn about test-optional and test flexible schools. There are over 1,300 accredited, 4-Year colleges & universities with ACT/SAT-Optional testing policies for Fall 2021 admissions.

Registration opens the last week of July for the ACT. Tests are planned for the following dates:

September 12, 2020

September 13, 2020 (Sunday)

September 19, 2020

October 10, 2020

October 17, 2020

October 24, 2020

October 25, 2020 (Sunday)

December 12, 2020

February 6, 2021

April 17, 2021

June 12, 2021

July 17, 2021 (not offered in New York)

Registration for SAT/SAT Subject Tests is open. Tests are scheduled for the following dates:

August 29, 2020

September 26, 2020 (note, no SAT Subject Tests)

October 3, 2020

November 7, 2020

December 5, 2020

March 13, 2021

May 8, 2021

June 5, 2021


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will open on October 1. Some schools also require the CSS Profile for financial aid consideration. Please consult individual colleges regarding the financial aid forms that are required.


You will find more scholarship resources on the College and Career Center website and within Naviance.
  • College Board Opportunity Scholarship – The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program is currently open to all class of 2020 and class of 2021 students in the United States, Puerto Rico, and US territories, regardless of citizenship status. Students in the class of 2022 will be eligible in late 2020. This program is open to students regardless of their family income. July 31, 2020, is the deadline for the Build Your College List scholarship.

This information is provided for your convenience. Postings do not indicate endorsement or sponsorship by George Mason High School, FCCPS, nor any administrator or employee of either George Mason High School or FCCPS.