College Counseling Summer Send-Off

For Rising PHHS Seniors from Ms. Campbell, College Counselor

Hello Summer!

As a rising senior in this complex situation we find ourselves in, it will be extremely important for you to begin actively engaging in preparations for your senior year and whatever it is that you would like to do after. As of right now, the plan is that students will return 5 days a week with the option of being virtual. As we all now know however, this situation is fluid and changes rapidly.

Whatever the case may be, the college application process will move forward and it moves QUICKLY. Many college applications, including the Common Application, open in August. Yes, THIS August. Like, a month and a half from now. That being said, you will not be able to complete a college application in its entirety until transcripts from BCPS are available. This usually occurs mid-late September so technically, that would be the earliest that you could submit a completed application.

Also, if you have plans to take the SAT/ACT and the college requires it for admission or they are going test-optional and you want to submit them, you will also need to have those scores available to submit. More on that below...

There are though, many other things that you can and should be working on this summer. Many of the things that you need to know about the process are included in this newsletter. Please read it carefully and keep it for your reference as we proceed into summer.

Know that I am here to help you through this process. I am a 10 month employee so I do not technically work during the summer but I will be back on duty at the end of August.

Also, if you have not already, be sure to join the College Counseling Schoology Group. It is the main way that I will be communicating with you regarding college, scholarships, internships, etc.

Perry Hall High School Join Code: 9BXF-ZC87-VV3SM

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Should I take the SAT and/or ACT?

The short answer is, yes.

Many colleges have altered their admissions requirements to go "Test Optional" which means you can choose whether or not to submit test scores. However, Test Optional does not mean "Test Blind" . Test Blind is where a school does not want to see test scores from any applicant. Therefore, if a school is test optional and all being equal between you and another candidate, if they submit strong test scores and you do not, it is possible for a school to go with that other candidate over you.

Currently, the SAT will be tentatively held on the following dates:

  • August 28, 2021 (registration open early July)

  • October 2, 2021

  • November 6, 2021

  • December 4, 2021

It is in your best interest to take the SAT at least 2 times as many students see a bump in their scores due to increased time management the second time they take it. If you have already taken the SAT during your Junior year or in June, then taking it again in August or October is recommended. I would not suggest taking the SAT or ACT later than the October administration as we will be encouraging you to apply early to college and you will need your scores available to send to colleges. Should you want or need to submit test scores to your colleges, you will need to have them available to send and they typically take several weeks to be posted.

Registration links are below. You must register directly with the College Board for the SAT and the ACT testing organization for the ACT. (SAT registration) & (ACT registration)

If you qualify for Free or Reduced lunch, you qualify for a waiver for the cost of the SAT and the ACT Please contact Mr. Ferenschak at PHHS for a code.

Do not wait to register as seats fill up extremely fast due to limited seating because of social distancing guidelines.

SAT Updates

Check here for the latest information from the College Board on the Coronavirus updates and impacts:

ACT Test Dates

June 12, 2021

July 17, 2021

What should Juniors (Rising Seniors) be doing now to prepare for college?

-Build, grow or shrink your college list so that by the end of the summer, you have a solid list of schools that you want to apply to. "How many schools should I apply to?" is a common question. You want a balanced list with a mix of public and private schools that cover the gamut of reach, target and safety schools. A good # is 4-8 schools. You can technically apply for as many schools as you want but remember, most applications have a fee to apply and will you really want to fill out 20 applications??? For ideas on how to search for schools, see below.

-Make sure your list contains at least one MD Public University!!! (It is important to have this even if it is not your number one choice as, we can see from this past year and a half, finances can change in the blink of an eye and plans sometimes have to change with it). It also gives you a good benchmark when comparing out-of-state or private schools' financial aid packages.

-Create a list/resume of your activities and clubs. Focus on the years of high school. Clubs, activities, honor societies, leadership positions, community service, employment, internships, etc. Jot them down with dates of participation so that you have them. Colleges WILL be asking you about all of this in your application. See the link for a resume template: Your teachers and counselor will need your resume to write your letters of recommendation.

-If and when colleges open up, GO VISIT!!!! There is nothing that compares to stepping foot on to a college campus and seeing for yourself what it is like and if it "feels right" to you. See below for tips on visitation. Check out the College Search and Application Spreadsheet that you can use to keep track of all of your potential schools, below!

-If an in-person visit is just not possible, go to the college's website and do their virtual tour. It's the next best thing.

-Practice for the SAT. Log in to your College Board account and use the free service, Khan Academy. This service works with your PSAT scores to create individualized practice for you. You can even set a regular schedule of practice. Recent studies suggest that practicing on Khan Academy for 20 hours increased students' scores by 115 points. That is substantial.

-Join members of The Princeton Review staff for a FREE, week-long series on all things college admissions. Start off the week with an SAT® or ACT® practice test, then join us for any/all of our virtual events throughout the week! The week will kick off with a Zoom call and Practice SAT or ACT and will continue with focused discussions on acing standardized testing, getting into your dream college, and perfecting a college application essay. We will even walk through some of our most useful strategies and techniques for both the SAT and ACT with a free sample class. Registration is open now:

-Another option? The Answer Class! SAT/ACT Prep Info

Virtual SAT and ACT prep classes will be held this summer for fees that will not break the bank! $149 for an 8 hour course, combo SAT and ACT $249


-Create a Common App account. The Common Application is one application that 100's of schools use so chances are, many of your schools will be Common App schools. Set up your account with your profile but do not start applying to colleges. August 1st will come and wipe out any active applications but will not erase your profile. If you do your profile now, that will be a HUGE benefit to you when you are back in school trying to complete applications while also balancing life as a Senior.

-While you are in Common App, check out the essay prompts. These are the actual prompts that you will use for your Common Application. You will choose one and only one when doing your actual application but, even if you don't do a Common App, the prompts there are very similar to other essay prompts in other applications. Begin brainstorming some ideas for your essay. Remember, the essay is the way that you bring your application to life and has become extremely important to the application process since many activities for students have been cancelled. Plan on doing MANY revisions of your essay and understand that this is not a process that should be done in one sitting. The latest published essay prompts are located in the Junior packets below. Check out "The College Essay Guy". He is awesome and has TONS of free resources available. See below...

-Begin looking for and applying to scholarships. IT IS NOT TOO EARLY!!! College is expensive and most of us need all of the help we can get. See the financial resources sheet below for links to legit websites. Remember, you should NEVER pay for a scholarship search!!! That is a scam so don't even bother. The Golden Rule here - You should never pay money to get money.

-The College Board offers scholarships to Juniors! Last chance to stay in the running for $40,000! Sign-up for Opportunity Scholarships by JUNE 30 to qualify.

-Fill out the PHHS Senior Brag Sheet. This sheet will be required if you will be applying to a 4 year college as it assists your teachers and counselor to write you a letter of recommendation.

-Begin looking for and applying to scholarships. IT IS NOT TOO EARLY!!! College is expensive and most of us need all of the help we can get. See the financial resources sheet below for links to legit websites. Remember, you should NEVER pay for a scholarship search!!! That is a scam so don't even bother. The Golden Rule here - You should never pay money to get money.

What is the Common App?

Searching for Colleges? Try these search sites...

-Open a Chrome browser tab while logged in to your BCPS Google credentials. Go to Log in as a student via "Clever". You will not need a separate username and password. Go to the "College" tab, then "Find My Fit" and then "Supermatch". This service contains filters that you can put in as much info or as little as you want and Naviance will create a list for you of colleges across North America that match what you're looking for.

-College Board Big Future: Learn about and compare colleges

-Collegevine: Provides college search and also great information on financial aid, scholarship searches and essay writing.

-Niche: Great website that "grades" colleges based on college student reviews:

-Colleges that Change Lives: Based on the book by Lauren Pope, this website features schools that in their words have, "Personalized, student-centered experiences [are] at the heart of every Colleges That Change Lives education. While the CTCL member schools all share that mission, they are otherwise very distinctive from one another."

-The Princeton Review: A long-trusted resource for students published yearly.

US News and World Report: Another trusted yearly resource which analyzes over 1,900 schools

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Interested in taking CCBC courses next year through Perry Hall High School?

*All documents referred to in these directions can be found on the PHHS – Class of 2022 Schoology Page

*If you need to let your counselor know by the end of the semester if you want to take the class for “dual credit” - high school and college credit

If you plan on taking CCBC classes AT PHHS in the Fall:

  1. Follow the directions on the “Early College Access Admission Steps” to apply to CCBC and receive your ID#
  2. Use the “Perry Hall on-location info sheet” to fill out the “On location fillable form” to register for classes at Perry Hall.
    1. If you plan to take Criminal Justice on T/TH in addition to English 101, you must register for the M/W section of English 101
  3. Complete the “ECAP Consent Form_ Fillable” in order to receive your discounted tuition price. If you fail to complete this form and turn it in, you will be responsible for paying for the entirety of your class.
  4. Send both the ECAP and Registration Form, completed and signed, to Ms. Furman through Schoology or to her email
  5. Complete the “Early Release Blank Form” and return that to YOUR counselor

* With the limited option for remote testing for English placement, all high school students that have below a 2.5 GPA are required to complete our Academic Literacy course (ACLT 053), in order to be eligible for the English 101 placement level. You would need to complete an academic literary course in the summer in order to be eligible for the ENGL 101 or Criminal Justice course in the fall. This course does not count for high school or college credit.

*Please discuss your plan for CCBC classes with your counselor to make sure it works with your schedule (You will need 4.0 Credits- 2 classes each day).

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