Class of 2023: Get it Started!

8.16.22 Edition: Ponderings with Plutko

Hey Class of 2023 aka WHS SENIORS!!!!

We're excited to have you back on campus so soon! Just a reminder that you should be thinking about your "E" for after graduation:

  • Enlisted - in the military
  • Employed - in a job or apprenticeship
  • Enrolled - two year or 4 year college/university

It's time to get in gear and get ready to finish those high school graduation requirements! Class of 2023 needs 24 credits:

  • 4.0 English
  • 3.0 Math
  • 3.0 Social Studies (including World, US History, Civics & CWP or Ethnic Studies)
  • 3.0 Science
  • 2.0 Fine Arts***
  • 2.0 World Language***
  • 1.5 PE (cannot "waive" for Varsity sports, per state law)
  • 0.5 Health
  • 1.0 CTE
  • 4.0 Electives
  • *** = can substitute 1.0 Fine Arts + 2.0 World Language for Personalized Pathway coursework
  • Meet state assessment measures in ELA & Math (usually SBAC/state testing)
  • WA State History (usually taken in middle school)
  • High School & Beyond Plan (aka Advisory/Portfolio), including Senior Interview + 20 hours of community service

E - Enlisted

  • Plan to take the FREE Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test at WHS, which is offered twice a year - once in the fall & once in the spring. See Mrs. Moore in the Counseling Center for more information or to ask questions.

    --> The ASVAB has 10 subtests. Your scores on four of those make up your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. This score determines which branch(es) you may join. Each branch has its own lowest score for joining.
    --> Your scores on all 10 subtests determine which job specialties you qualify for.

  • Figure out what branch you'd like to join. The U.S. military has six branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Space Force. The requirements to join are similar for all six. The main differences are in age limits, test scores, and fitness levels.

Need help?

Check out information about the 6 different branches

and their requirements

E - Employed

WorkSource Pierce

WorkSource Pierce connects people with training programs and jobs to help them succeed IN Pierce County. Check out their website to browse open jobs, get resume or interview help, or attend an in-person or virtual hiring event or workshop.

Have you heard of apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship is a great pathway to a career. It’s equivalent in time and academics to earning a bachelor’s degree, but you get paid while you learn. The first and most important step to becoming an apprentice is deciding which trade best aligns with your personality, skills and long-term goals.

Take a look at the steps to become an apprentice HERE.

E - Enrolled

The first step in figuring out "is college for me?" is to think about your FUTURE goals. Careers that require specific expertise and academic credentials usually require some kind of college.

Reasons to consider applying to and attending a college:

  • Program of study that matches interest(s)
  • High Freshman Retention Rate and/or High Graduation Rate
  • Low Student / Faculty Ratio (meaning how many kids in each class)
  • Good Financial Aid (FREE money vs. money to pay back)
  • Internships and Research Options
  • Travel/Study Abroad Opportunities (go study in a new place!)
  • Clubs and Activities to Match Your Interests
  • Good Health and Wellness Facilities

What’s NOT on the list of reasons to apply:

  • My best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend is applying….
  • My mom or dad or aunt or uncle or coach went there…
  • I like their football/basketball/other sports team….

Helpful websites

SAT/ACT Testing

College Applications: How To....

Parts of a College Application

  1. The application itself
    YOU (the student) fill this part out.

    Common information you will need to provide/have access to:
    -Student Info (name, date of birth, address, contact info)
    -Demographics (gender, citizenship, race/ethnicity)
    -Family info (parents/guardians and contact info)
    -A list of your activities (includes jobs, volunteer work, sports, clubs, hobbies
    -Your academic honors, if you have received any (Palmers scholar, student of the month)

    Info from your school counselor:
    -A copy of your unofficial transcript (can get from Mrs. Wiklund, Mrs. Moore or your counselor) + your current 12th grade schedule for the year
    -RUNNING START ONLY: Dual Enrollment info (name of college, location)
    -Name of HS, address, CEEB code, counselor info -- SEE PHOTO BELOW.
    -Class rank will be provided starting September 26th - to get this information, see your counselor or Mrs. Wiklund or Mrs. Moore

  2. Unofficial Transcript & Official Transcript
    An unofficial transcript is a copy provided directly to the student, without a seal. This lists all courses previously taken, grade earned, and CUMULATIVE GPA (which is a scale of 4). Report your gpa to the nearest HUNDREDTH (#.##)

    There are usually multiple ways to request an official transcript to be sent to the school(s) where you are applying. The BEST way to do so is ONLINE through the application itself (usually part of the online application). If you cannot request a transcript through the application, please email your COUNSELOR (see list at bottom of this email for email addresses) with the NAME OF THE SCHOOL where you'd like the transcript sent. If the counselor cannot send it digitally, we will have Mrs. Wiklund send a hard copy through the mail.

  3. Essay or writing sample
    Most 4 year colleges will (usually) ask you to provide an essay ("About Me") or writing sample. For examples of essay prompts, go to

  4. Test scores - SAT or ACT (USUALLY OPTIONAL)
    As mentioned before, all colleges in the State of Washington have opted to be "test optional". But, if you'd like to send scores your scores, you need to have them sent directly from the testing agency (either SAT/College Board or ACT) through your student account online. Need help? See Mrs. Moore or Mrs. Plutko in the Counseling Center.

  5. Letter(s) of Recommendation
    Some colleges will ask for teacher recommendation(s) and/or counselor recommendation. Be sure to ask your preferred recommender BEFORE you submit your application. If your college application asks for two teacher recommendations, ONE should be from either English OR Social Studies and the SECOND should be from Math OR Science. Not all colleges require recommendation letters.

    Recommendation letters will not be provided directly to you (the student). Colleges will provide a way for you to request a letter of recommendation through either email or an online portal, where the letter can be uploaded directly by the teacher or counselor.

  6. Fee OR Fee Waiver
    Some colleges still charge for students to apply. Many of them offer fee waivers through the college itself. If you need help paying with a fee waiver (financial hardship in family), contact your school counselor.

  7. FERPA Waiver
    FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a law that protects the privacy of your education records. Completing the FERPA Release Authorization allows WHS Counseling Department the permission to send those records on your behalf.

    You must WAIVE the right your right to review recommendations and other forms. Waiving your rights lets colleges know that you don’t plan to read your recommendations. This helps reassure colleges that the letters are candid and truthful.
Big picture

Different TYPES of College Admission Applications

  • Priority Admission: Usually the first of two deadlines – usually attached to SCHOLARSHIP/Financial Aid consideration
    Includes: UW Tacoma, WSU, Western WA University, Gonzaga University

  • Regular Decision: Lots of private universities use this type of deadline – HARD date
    Includes: UW Seattle, University of Puget Sound, Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Seattle Pacific University, Whitman College

  • Early Action: Apply early, find out early but have until May 1st to make a decision
    Includes: Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University

  • Early Decision: Apply early to only ONE school in a binding agreement, that if you are admitted, you will attend that school.
    Includes: University of Puget Sound, Whitman College

  • Rolling Admission: Not a set deadline, instead a window of time when you can apply and you’ll hear back within a couple days to a couple weeks
    Includes: PLU, Saint Martin's, Central Washington U, Eastern WA U, Evergreen

Where to find the applications

  • Directly at the college website
    Includes: Central WA U, Western WA U, Eastern WA U, WSU, Evergreen, PLU, Saint Martin's, UW Tacoma, UW Bothell

  • Common Application or "Common App"
    900+ schools, including: Gonzaga, PLU, Saint Martin's, Seattle Pacific, Seattle U, Evergreen, University of Puget Sound

  • Coalition Application
    UW Seattle campus exclusively uses this application

  • Common Black College Application
    64 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) use this application


November 15

  • University of Washington - Seattle
    IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A FIRM DEADLINE. IF YOU MISS IT, you will NOT be considered for admission.
    Northwest University (Kirkland)

December 1

  • Gonzaga University

January 15, 2023

  • University of Washington - Tacoma
  • University of Washington - Bothell
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Whitman College
  • University of Puget Sound

January 31

  • Washington State University
  • Western Washington University

February 1

  • Eastern Washington University
  • Evergreen State College

March 1

  • Central Washington University
  • Whitworth University

Rolling Admission (multiple "priority" dates)

  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • Saint Martin's University

WHS Counseling Team

School Counselors

Office Staff

  • Kimberli Pacheco, Records & Enrollment Specialist, 253.298.4744

  • Bonnie Wiklund, Registrar & Data Manager, 253.298.4713

  • Sheryl Moore, College & Career Specialist, 253.298.4871