December Counseling Newsletter 2018

West High School Counseling Department

Big picture

Happy December from the Counseling Office! We've been busy finalizing applications for our seniors, gearing up for Junior Conferences, working with 10th graders on Post High School Options and meeting with freshman for 9th grade on-track conferences, among many other things! We hope you and your family found time to recharge over the Thanksgiving Break and are ready for the busy month of December! As always, feel free to reach out to us any time with questions or concerns. We are happy to help!

---------------------------------12th Grade Information--------------------------------

It's hard to believe, but plans for end-of-the-year Senior Events have already been finalized. Are you wondering how to order your cap & gown? Need details about the graduation ceremony? Find all things related to the end of your senior year HERE!


Keep working hard on those college applications if you have a December or January deadline!

If you NEED a School Counselor recommendation for college for a January deadline:

Please see your Counselor ASAP to request a letter of recommendation.

Counselors are not available over winter break to write letters, so be sure to plan accordingly.

A few additional details to remember:

  • Submit your ACT or SAT scores directly to the colleges through the ACT or the College Board (for SAT) websites.
  • If your school/s request Mid Year senior year grades to be sent, you will need to request your transcript via Select "Hold For Grades" so that your 1st semester grades will be included on your transcript.
  • Be conscientious in pursuing housing accommodations as soon as the colleges will allow so you have a better chance of getting your first choice in housing.


Potential Division I and II athletes must meet NCAA academic eligibility requirements in high school prior to entering a college. Students must apply junior or senior year.

Go to the NCAA website at to register and learn about the eligibility requirements.


There are many different sources of financial aid, including federal grants or loans, loans from private lending organizations, state scholarships and grants, and other scholarships. Seniors (and their parents) seeking financial aid and/or scholarships should make sure to regularly review the “Scholarship Scoops” (updated throughout the year and emailed to every senior) and the Scholarships & Financial Aid booklet.


Each year, many local organizations and individuals generously provide scholarships for West High School Seniors. In recent years, West High has had approximately 50 scholarships to award. Each scholarship donor determines the criteria for their individual scholarship.

The criteria vary for each scholarship, but may include one or more of the following:

  • academic achievement
  • leadership
  • school/community service
  • athletic achievement
  • financial need
  • special interests/talents
  • intended area of study

To be eligible for a West Scholarship, students must have:

  • attended high school in the Madison Metropolitan School District for a minimum of three (3) full semesters
  • the 8th, or final, semester must be at West
  • Students must complete and submit a West High Scholarship application

This application will be accessible through the West High school webpage, between Monday, January 7, 2019 and Monday, February 11, 2019 (closes promptly at 4:00 p.m.).

An e-mail with the application link and the instructions on how to complete the application will be sent to all seniors through their MMSD e-mail account when the application window goes live. Students must complete this application by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 11th in order to be considered for any of the West Scholarships.

The Scholarship Committee will begin meeting in March and will use the information provided on the applications to select the recipients for the various scholarships. If you have trouble accessing the application or need any assistance completing it, please contact your counselor. West Scholarships will be announced at the Senior Honors Convocation on May 30, 2019 @ 7:00 p.m.

----------------------------11th Grade Information----------------------------


Junior Conference Time Is Near!

Counselors will begin meeting with Juniors starting December 17th. Instructions on how to sign up for a conference will be provided to all juniors on Friday, December 7th.

All juniors will schedule an individual junior conference with their counselor to discuss the following topics:

  • reviewing your transcript for graduation progress
  • class selection for senior year
  • develop a post-high school plan, including a list of possible schools and potential majors or areas of emphasis.

Parents will be emailed a Junior Conference Summary Form following the conference which will highlight important topics discussed as well as a step-by-step timeline for students to follow.

The Junior Conference is an important opportunity for your student to work with their counselor in preparing for senior year, and to create a road map for achieving the student's post-high school goals.


No need to pre-register. Students will be called down to the cafeteria a few days prior to the test for pre-bubbling. There is no cost for students to take the February 20th ACT.


Don't forget that you have access to Method Test Prep through your student Xello account (formerly Career Cruising). To access your Xello account, visit the West High School Website and find the Xello link at the bottom left-hand side of the page. Use your MMSD gmail account and you will automatically be directed to your Xello account.


PSAT scores will be released around December 12th. When your PSAT/NMSQT scores are ready online, you'll get an email with instructions on creating your College Board account, going to your online score report, and using your access code to view your scores. Please create your account using a personal (non-MMSD email address) so you will continue to have access to it after your high school graduation.

--------------------------------10th Grade Information---------------------------


10th graders participated in a classroom lesson led by the counseling department on Friday, November 16. Counselors visited 10th grade Social Studies classes. The topic of the lesson focused on Post High School Options as part of West's Academic and Career Planning (ACP) work. Students learned an overview of the following options after high school and engaged in some great discussions with their peers:

  • 4 Year Schools
  • 2 Year Schools
  • Apprenticeships
  • Gap Year
  • Military
  • Volunteering/Work


An exciting opportunity for 10th grade students!

MMSD has partnered with Madison College to expand access for students to college courses in science, technology, engineering and math. The Early College STEM Academy is aimed at increasing access to STEM opportunities with a focus on underrepresented groups in the STEM field (female students and students of color) as well as first generation college going and low SES. Students can earn college credit as high school students at no cost to them or their families.

Students would attend 11th and 12th grade at Madison College and be instructed by both Madison College instructors and MMSD teachers, and would have access to state-of-the-art STEM labs and equipment for hands-on learning.

Selection Criteria

Student profile fits groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields

  • Female
  • Student of color
  • First Generation
  • Low Socioeconomic background
  • Special Circumstances

Priority will be given to students that come from low SES background.

For more information, please plan to attend an information session on December 3rd from 6-7 pm at West in the LMC. Please contact your child's school counselor with questions.


2018 Student & Parent/Guardian Information Meeting

PRE-REGISTER | Spanish - Registration is currently OPEN

All meetings will begin at 5:30pm and will end by 6:30pm.

  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - West High School LMC, Room 2047

  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - East High School LMC Gold, Rm 1042

Information Meeting Flyer - .pdf (English | Spanish | Hmong)

Information Meeting Parent/Guardian Letter - .pdf (English pdf | Spanish pdf | Hmong pdf)


Are you interested in learning more about a future career in the business field?

The Business Emerging Leaders (BEL) Program is designed for promising students who come from diverse backgrounds and have strong academic records and demonstrated leadership skills. Program participation gives students a distinct competitive advantage when adjusting to college life, learning in classes, and applying for internship opportunities, ultimately preparing them for successful careers in business.

The BEL Program meets every summer for three years, beginning the summer after tenth grade. Learn more information on the program and how to apply HERE

Application window closes Feb 1, 2019

-----------------------Information for All Students-------------------------

Big picture
Find out more info on Summer Research Scholars here!

This program is for teens who are curious about the research process, different careers in health and research, or teen health and media use. Open to all grades 9-12. Application will open on January 14th, 2019.

Big picture


If you are looking to earn some money and obtain a part-time job, be sure to check out the job board across from the counseling office, Room 2003. This board gets updated frequently as local businesses reach out to us looking to hire teens for part-time jobs.
Big picture
Big picture


Amanda Dyer

School Counselor (Highland A-N & Pathways Students)

Academic & Career Planning (ACP) Co-Coordinator

How long have you been at West?

This is my 2nd year at West.

What did you do prior to coming to West?

I was the School Counselor at Black Hawk Middle School for seven years prior to coming to West. I also did a long term substitute position for a counselor at LaFollette for a semester. Before I became a School Counselor, I taught Spanish and English as a Second Language for many years at both the middle and high school level.

Best thing about West

The amazingly talented and diverse students! I still remember how welcoming the students here made me feel when I was brand new. They continue to impress me with their ambitions, achievements and leadership on a daily basis.

Favorite Movie

Any movie with a baseball theme: A League of Their Own, Sandlot, Field of Dreams.

Favorite Quote

"Enjoy this moment, for this moment is your life."

Additional Information

I'm so glad to be working at West with a great team of counselors! In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, daughter (Sophia) and son (Myles). Cooking new recipes and running are some of my favorite hobbies.

I also am the Communications Coordinator for the Wisconsin School Counseling Association (WSCA) and help behind-the-scenes to plan an amazing professional development conference for school counselors across the state!