Paly Community Update

Friday December 9, 2022

Updates from Guidance

From the Registrar - for Seniors: Transcript Ordering Reminders for Non-Common App Colleges

Students should not wait to hear back from their EA, REA, ED applications before ordering transcripts for their regular applications which require them (remember: the CSUs and UCs do not). Transcripts for non-Common App colleges need to be ordered on Parchment by the Paly deadline to ensure they arrive by the college's due date. There is still human interaction in the process and many students have similar deadlines-- Paly will be closed over Winter break (i.e. no transcript requests will be processed during that time).

Can students order a mid-year transcript rather than a current transcript for January deadlines since our semester ends before Winter break? No; don’t “hold for grades” but “send now”. Second semester grades won't get posted to transcripts until the 3rd week of January at the earliest, so for colleges with a Jan. 1 or Jan. 15 deadline, order an initial transcript by the respective Paly deadline to ensure it arrives on time to meet the application deadline. Another mid-year (a.k.a. 7th-semester) transcript will need to be ordered in January for most regular-decision applications; more information about that to come in a future advisory.


In these last few weeks before Winter Break, Advisories are focused on ending the semester strong. One of the most important ways to ensure that happens is to be prepared for finals.

9th and 10th Grades - in the most recent Advisories, both 9th and 10th graders have talked about Study Skills for Finals. The lessons cover everything from how to avoid common mistakes when studying to the use of the DETER strategy for success. 9th grade students heard from sophomore visitors who shared their tips for successful preparation and studying. Knowing what is expected of you in a final is an important preparation step. To help students organize their needs, they were introduced to a Finals Planner where they will list any missing assignments and indicate the type of final they will take in each class. Curious to hear more about DETER and view the final planner? Click HERE for the 10th grade lesson and HERE for the 9th grade version.

11th Grade - This week in Advisory, Juniors will get their PSAT test booklets back and hear how they can use them as a study guide for a future SAT. During class they will also get a sneak peek at what is in store for them 2nd semester.

12th Grade - Still in the thick of post-Paly planning and college applications, the seniors had one more Advisory this semester. For many of our seniors who chose to apply early to college, the decisions of those applications are starting to come in. Some are getting “good” news, some “bad”. Others have been deferred and have to wait longer to hear the outcome. The recent lesson had a lot of good information about how to handle each scenario. This news affects people differently - we remind students to be thoughtful and compassionate to themselves and others who might not have received the news for which they hoped. Getting into a dream school doesn’t mean life will be a dream. Not getting in doesn’t mean it won’t!! Parents - to help your student navigate this important time, read through these slides. You’ll want to look closely at slides 12-14 which talk specifically about scholarship opportunities. Embedded in these slides is a video created by our RISE committee. Each Advisory viewed this video in preparation for the All-Senior assembly next week.

College and Career Center


Some CSUs Still Accepting Applications

Many CSU campuses have extended their application deadline due to the pandemic. For more information, see:

Checking College Application Status

After applying, many colleges will send students an email with information about how to login to their websites (i.e. portals) to track the application status. This is vitally important because any messages with requests for more information will be communicated through these websites. So, students should check email often and be sure messages don't get lost in the SPAM folder. But, please be aware that there is typically a delay in processing time for portals to be updated; during COVID, college campus staff are often working remotely which might impact updates as well. So, it’s important to check the portals but please don’t panic if it’s not up-to-date. Seniors should contact their College Advisor with any questions.

Early Application Results

Some of the seniors who applied early to college via Early Action and Early Decision admission programs are receiving application results starting this week and continuing the next few weeks, depending on the college. Teacher Advisors discussed this topic in Advisory, including tips for how to proceed if students were deferred or denied admission as well as reminders about early decision commitments. If students didn’t receive the news they were hoping for, encourage them not to dwell too long on disappointment but turn their attention to their college list to ensure a range of selectivity; then, put energy into completing remaining college applications while trying to keep an open mind about other colleges. If you’re interested in reading a few articles about this topic, you can find them here.

Also, please remind students to share early application news. Paly will formally collect application results from seniors in May, but TAs, teachers, and College Advisors are interested even now (and want to celebrate/help) since most colleges do not inform Paly of our students' application results.

Gap Year Events

Thinking about Taking a Gap Year? Check out these events from USA Gap Year Fairs:

  • In Personal Gap Year Fair - Mon., Feb. 13 in at Gunn High School 6-8:30pm; registration required

You might want to get an overview of Gap Year information by reading that section on . There are also many resources available from Gap Year Association.

AB 469 FAFSA Completion Reminder for the Class of 2023

Last month, Herb Espiritu, PAUSD Director of Student Services, sent a Parent Square email to parents of seniors regarding the submission of the FAFSA/CA Dream Act (CADAA) used to apply for need-based financial aid. CA Assembly Bill 469 and California Education Code (CEC) § 51225.7 now require the Palo Alto Unified School District to confirm each 12th grade student’s submission unless the student has opted-out from sharing that information with PAUSD.

Paly Guidance will be following up with an email to senior families who haven’t responded to the district survey, to report your student’s FAFSA/CADAA submission status. For more information, read here.


Can you believe it’s already December? We've made it to the home stretch, with only a few weeks left before winter break! Next week, we will be partnering with ASB for our Stress-Less Week to encourage students to take a little break! Every day we will hold different activities during lunch that students can stop by and participate.

We also want to share a few tips to make finals week bearable, as shared by the Crisis Text Line! There's lots of study tips all over the internet, but being proactive about self-care can help students make it through in one piece. We know that this can be a stressful time, and want to remind students that they can always reach out to Wellness to talk to someone for some support. They can always drop in during the week to speak to someone, or use this form to set up an appointment.

Tues, Dec. 13th - PSN will be holding a special community meeting to present their strategic planning updates and preliminary findings to advance youth mental wellness and suicide prevention. More information here.

Community Service

The Fall President's Volunteer Service Awards distribution is Friday, December 9th, at the beginning of lunch in front of the Haymarket Theater. If a student missed picking up their award, they can stop by the College and Career Center any time beginning December 12th.

Work Experience/Permits

Hiring for seasonal work has begun - explore the Bulletin Board for Job Opportunities - updated regularly. However, Work Permits are NOT processed during school closures, such as the winter break, so if you child is under 18 years old and plans to get a paid job during the break, please completely fill out their Statement of Intent to Work B1-1 document prior to submission to Ms. Kaci in office 711 (near the testing center). If you have additional career related questions, please contact the Work Experience Teacher, Rachael Kaci: and more info can be found here.

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Paly Bell Schedule 2022-2023

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