October Counseling Newsletter 2020

West High School Counseling Department

Happy Fall from the Counseling Department!

We hope that you and your student have settled in to the virtual school routine and are off to a great start with the new school year.

Your Counseling Department has been busy ensuring that students are set up for success in this unprecedented school year.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

Congratulations to West's National Merit Semifinalist Scholars!

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College application season is in full swing! Check HERE for a suggested senior checklist of steps to take in the college application process.

We hope Seniors and their families have found time to explore the College Application Lauchpad and look over the slides that were shared about the College Application Process and Financial Aid. (both these resources are linked below)

Counselors are hosting voluntary Zoom sessions for Seniors on various components of the application process. See below for sign up information.

Senior College Application Launchpad

Check out this HUGE resource with tips and information about each step of the college application process.

12th Grade Parent Presentation Slides

These slides were shared with 12th grade families and contain an overview of the College Application Process.

Senior Seminar Workshops

The West Counseling Team is hosting a series of informational sessions for Seniors covering a variety of College Application topics. Sessions are held on either a Monday or Thursday at 2:00 pm.

See below for a list of remaning sessions as well as the registration form.

Thursday, 10/1 @ 2 pm - Letters of Recommendation

Monday, 10/5 @ 2 pm - Ordering Transcripts and Test Scores

Thursday, 10/8 @ 2 pm - Personal Essay Writing (NEW)

Thursday, 10/15 @ 2 pm - Personal Essay Writing (NEW)

Students MUST complete the registration form in order to receive the zoom link to join a session.

Sending Your Transcript

Seniors are required to set up a Parchment account in order to request official West High School transcripts.

Students will have to send transcripts for initial application, a mid year report and a final report at the end of their senior year.

It is the student's responsiblity to send transcripts via Parchment. School Counselors do not send transcripts.

The direct link to West's Parchment page can be found HERE.

Financial Aid Information

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Opens October 1st

12th grade students and families are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. The window opens October 1, 2020.

There are a number of local events happening in October and November to help students and their families complete the FAFSA application, please see below for more info:

Virtual FAFSA Completion Events: College Goal WI

It will take more than good luck and best intentions to pay for college. You need a plan of action, and it should include College Goal Wisconsin!

College Goal Wisconsin is affiliated with a national event that provides free information and assistance to families who need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) the federally required form for students seeking financial aid, such as grants and loans.

Completing the FAFSA is the first and most important step in qualifying for aid.

All College Goal Wisconsin in person FAFSA completion events have been cancelled. Register now to attend our virtual FAFSA completion events that will occur on the following dates:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Wednesday, November 11, 2020


The agenda for the evening:

5:50-6:00 p.m. Log in to the FAFSA completion event
6:00 p.m. The FAFSA completion event begins with a short presentation on tips to complete the FAFSA
6:30 p.m. Families can ask questions and receive individual assistance to complete the FAFSA

Click here to register for an event

After you register you will be emailed a link and instructions the day of the event to connect to the Zoom meeting.

Students should attend the virtual FAFSA completion event with a parent or guardian if possible. If a parent can’t attend, the student can attend on their own. Please have the following specific materials available that evening to complete the FAFSA. Independent students should bring their own income and asset information.

Financial Aid Presentation

Katie Sprunger from Edgewood College. This presentation was shared with 12th grade families and provides an overview of Financial Aid Information.

Scholarship Information

Xello Scholarship Page

11th and 12th grade students can access a database of local scholarships within the Xello platform. This resource can be found under the "College Planning" tab in Xello.


If you’re looking for a college, you know by now that you can’t find out a college’s actual price until after you apply. But what’s the point of applying to a school if you don't know that you can afford it? TuitionFit makes solving that problem easy by letting students securely share the individual college offers they receive to create a single massive data set of actual prices. After anonymizing all the data so your personal identity is thoroughly protected, Tuitionfit shows you all the real prices that other colleges have offered students just like you.

Get Ready for TuitionFit 2.0!!!

Starting in October, you can see schools that fit your price range


So sign up now and be one of the first to finally be able to shop for college by price.

Join for Free & Find out more info HERE

Emily and Sarah Make Their TuitionFit
College Rep Contact List

Due to the school closure, we are unable to host in person college rep visits. This document lists contact information of schools that have reached out to West for a visit. Students should contact the college rep directly with questions.

Application Demo Sessions from UW HELP


This month the UW HELP team will be hosting three demos to showcase the Freshman Application. Registration is required to participate, so please click on the links below to join us.




These sessions are designed to help high school students, family members, and guardians navigate through the new online application for admissions. These sessions are helpful for anyone who would benefit from a walk-through of the online application as a new freshman.

University of Wisconsin System Schools offer FREE Application Window

Are you applying to any of the following UW Systems Schools? These schools are offering FREE application periods.

See below for schools and waiver windows: UW CAMPUSES COVERING THE APP FEE The following are the dates in which the UW System campuses will be covering the cost of the application for new freshmen and transfers.

Green Bay - till 10/31

Milwaukee - till 10/31

Oshkosh - till 10/31

Parkside = 10/19 - 10/25

Platteville = till 10/31

Stevens Point = till 10/31

Stout - 10/1 - 10/12

Superior = till 10/31

Whitewater = till 10/31

Badger Bound

Badger Bound is a virtual event designed for juniors and seniors in high school who identify as students of color and those first in their family to attend college. This event will showcase what makes UW-Madison a world-class institution and a community they'll want to be a part of.

The event will feature current students sharing their unique Wisconsin Experiences and sessions that highlight the academic and extracurricular opportunities that make UW-Madison so special. We'll also cover tips for navigating the application, scholarship, and financial aid processes. Students and their families can join us for the full day or whichever sessions interest them most.

Parents, guardians, and mentors are encouraged to join the final session where admissions counselors and #FutureBadger parents can connect to discuss student success and support throughout college. The Parent Support Sessions will be offered in English, Spanish, and Hmong.

All sessions will be offered via Zoom and are led by a member of the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Q&A will be conducted during each session.

Saturday, October 10, 2020
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Central Time
Students and families can Register Here


11th Grade FuturePaths Event

Grade 11 families are invited to attend a series of live, virtual sessions on three aspects of the college planning and research process. The following sessions will be available for you to join online. Registration details and links are provided. Please note a Zoom link will be provided upon registration. A West school counselor will co-host each Zoom session alongside the college admissions representative.

We hope you can join us, and look forward to seeing you online.

West High School Counseling Team

Financial Aid 101: learn the basics of FAFSA and financial aid

Presenter: Ms. Bobbie Briggs, Admissions Counselor, Edgewood College

Monday, October 26, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Registration link: https://apply.edgewood.edu/register/?id=b587800a-aaf7-4310-9247-78a7da20ffa1

Finding Your Right-Fit College: gain some tips on finding the right-fit college for you

Presenter: Gunther Carpenter, Admissions Counselor, UW Eau Claire

Monday, October 26, 7:00-8:00 PM

Registration link: https://apply.uwec.edu/register/?id=642cc454-685f-4e77-833b-07f27fb98c1e

Behind the Scenes: Admissions Process: hear directly from an admissions counselor about what their college looks for in a student and how they evaluate applications

Presenter: Ms. Ashanti Rogers, Admissions Counselor, UW Madison

Wednesday, October 28, 7:00-8:00PM

Registration link: https://uwmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYscOuqpzwpGNZCStFoZZKFx2FrRrn8Z_u9

Presenter: Ms. Mackie Siebens, Director of Admission, Bard College (NY):

Thursday, October 29, 6:00-7:00PM

Registration link: https://connect.bard.edu/register/10.29.2020.7.00.MWHS

PSAT/NMSQT Information

All ACT, SAT, and PSAT standardized tests have been cancelled at West High School while school buildings are closed and we are in virtual learning.

The College Board has added another PSAT test date on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. At this time we do not know what learning will look like beyond Quarter 1, so no decision has been made yet on whether we will be able to offer the January 2021 PSAT. District updates and information related to learning and instruction during COVID-19 can be found on this page.

If your student is currently a grade 11 student, here is additional information about the National Merit Scholarship Program:

The 2020 PSAT/NMSQT (offered in October 2020 and January 2021) is the qualifying test for entry to the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.

IMPORTANT: A student may take the PSAT/NMSQT only once per academic year.


To enter the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program, a student must meet all of the following requirements. A student must:

1.be enrolled as a high school student (traditional or homeschooled), progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school by 2022, and planning to accept admission to college no later than the fall of 2022;

2.attend high school in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. commonwealths and territories; or meet the citizenship requirements for students attending high school outside the United States; and

3.take the 2020 PSAT/NMSQT or complete Alternate Entry requirements in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern.

Please refer to the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide for detailed information about the competition.

Students Who Are Unable to Take the PSAT/NMSQT

A student who does not take the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2020 or January 2021 because of illness, an emergency, or other extenuating circumstance (including school closures), but meets all other requirements for NMSC program participation, may still be able to enter the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by submitting scores from an administration of the SAT. The student or a school official must visit www.nationalmerit.org/resources after the missed PSAT/NMSQT administration to download information about procedures for Alternate Entry to the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. To be considered, a student must complete certain requirements before April 1, 2021.

IMPORTANT: Alternate Entry is only for students who do not take the October 2020 PSAT/NMSQT or January 2021 PSAT/NMSQT. Students who are uncertain about whether they will take the January PSAT/NMSQT are welcome to download and complete Alternate Entry requirements beginning in late October; however, NMSC will not consider a student’s SAT scores for entry to the program if it receives an official PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score from College Board.

NOTE: The procedure described above for requesting Alternate Entry differs from information that is published in the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide. For the 2022 competition only, students and school officials will be able to download Alternate Entry instructions from NMSC’s website instead of submitting an individual written request to NMSC for approval.


For more details about entry to the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program, please refer to the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide or visit www.nationalmerit.org.

National Honor Society (NHS)


Students interested in being considered for membership in the National Honor Society at West need the following:

  • earned a total of at least 60 service hours by the end of the first semester of their Junior year.

  • earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.50

  • demonstrated their character and leadership through a clean school record.

NOTE: All eligible Juniors will receive letters about NHS early in second semester.

Click HERE for more info and a link to the service form

Junior Conferences

Beginning in December, Juniors will be asked to make an appointment with their counselor for their Junior Conference. During this conference, your student's counselor will review the following items with your student:

  • Transcript/credit review
  • Course selection for senior year
  • Resume and/or activities log
  • Career interests
  • Post-high school plans

Students and parents will be emailed a conference summary and a timeline of steps to take in the post-secondary planning process.

More information on how to sign up for a Junior Conference will be emailed to students later this fall.



If you are a Sophomore, this is a great time to start earning some volunteer hours, even virtually! Find something you enjoy. Perhaps it's an organization you feel passionate about, a future career interest area, a hobby or activity you enjoy and find out what options are available for volunteering.

Volunteer hours look great on a resume, applying for scholarships and eventually college applications.

Need a handy place to keep track of your volunteer hours? Make a copy of this form!


Freshman 101 Presentation

A presentation from the Counseling Department will be shared with students in 9th grade Biology classes early October. This is an informational lesson on how to be successful in high school. Topics covered will include:

  • Transcript Information & Graduation Requirements
  • Grade Point Average
  • How to get academic help
  • Study Skills Tips
  • The importance of class attendance
  • How summer school can help (Grade replacement and credit recovery)
  • How to connect wit their School Counselor


West Technology Help Ticket

Having issues with your MMSD chromebook? Need a wifi hotspot? Fill out this form to get assistance with your technology issues.

AP Exam Registration NOW OPEN!

The College Board's Advanced Placement exam registration period continues to occur in the fall this school year.

What do families need to know?

WHO: All MMSD students seeking to take Spring 2021 AP Exams

WHEN: MMSD's registration dates are September 8 – October 30, 2020 for this spring's final exams.

EXAM FEES: AP exam fees have not changed and remain at $110/exam or $142 for Seminar, but please note a $40/exam deposit per exam is due at this time. The remaining balance will need to be paid between January and February 26, 2021.

WHERE: Full registration details are found at aptsusa.com/mmsd

WHY: Studies have shown students who commit earlier in the school year have a higher engagement and commitment, as well as an increase in scores of 3 or higher across multiple groups.

HOW: Specific registration information regarding MMSD's exam sign up, fee payment and AP updates can be found at mmsd.org/ap

Please contact Joanna Williams jbwilliams2@madison.k12.wi.us with any questions regarding AP exams.

Phy Ed Replacement Credit (PERC) Info

The Physical Education Replacement (PERC) policy was recently updated by the Board of Education. Please contact the West Athletics office for more information.

Physical Education Replacement Credit (PERC) Overview:

PERC allows a student to reduce the required 1.5 Physical Education graduation credit to 1.0 by completing the following:

  • Three athletic seasons (in good standing) throughout their high school years AND

  • Successful completion of an additional English, mathematics, health, social studies or science (above and beyond the minimum graduation requirements)

Once all of the above requirements are met, a student may apply for a Physical Education Replacement Credit (PERC). Instructions are below.

This practice is guided by MMSD Board of Education Policy #3540 (updated Summer 2020). Per this policy (#9):

“ A student who participates in a Board recognized athletic activities (See MMSD Athletic Code for a complete list, pg 15) may, upon application and approval, be permitted to complete an additional one-half credit (0.5) in English, social studies, mathematics, health or science in lieu of one half credit (0.5) of physical education. In order to be eligible for a credit substitution a STUDENT must:

a. have prior approval from the PRINCIPAL or his/her designee; (This is completed through required online eligibility registration for all athletics)

b. participate in a recognized athletic activity for three seasons.

c. be an athlete in good standing during the entire season, including regular attendance at all practices and competitions;

If a request to substitute credit for physical education is denied, a written appeal may be submitted to the SUPERINTENDENT or his/her designee within 10 calendar days of the denial. The SUPERINTENDENT or his/her designee shall issue a written decision within 5 business days. The SUPERINTENDENT’S or his/her designee’s decision is final.”

Clubs: Get Involved @ West!

Clubs are still happening during virtual learning! Check out the club updates for the 2020-21 School Year!

Virtual Tutoring Starts Oct 5th

West is excited to announce that the Virtual Tutoring Zoom Room will open the week of Oct. 5th, Monday-Friday. Ms. Schumacher will be supervising the space and sending students into breakout rooms based on needs.

Many peer tutors as well as West's tutoring partners--Achievement Connections, Escalara, Badger Tutors, and alumni--will be available so that students requesting tutors have a variety of ways to access support in this space.

Tutor Request Form

Fill out this form if you want to request tutor support for your class/es.

Peer Tutor Interest Form

Fill out this form if you are interested in being a Peer Tutor at West

Construction Building Trades Info Sessions

Are you a student looking to learn more about a career in the construction building trades? Join WRTP/BIG STEP and industry partners for a webinar Sep 23, 2020 at 2:00 PM on electricians. To register for the event, click HERE.

For questions on the event, please contact Cara Fitzgerald at cfitzgerald@wrtp.org or 414-937-3637.

Events in this series:

October 7, 2020: Laborers and Operating Engineer

October 14, 2020: Plumbers and Sprinkler Fitters

October 21, 2020: Sheet Metal and Steam Fitters

October 28, 2020: Bricklayers, Tilesetters, and Carpenter

November 4, 2020:Heat and Frost Insulators, Painters, and Glaziers

Badger PreCollege Program & Scholarship Opportunity

Badger Precollege is committed to encouraging and fostering diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout our programs. We strive to support up-and-coming first-generation college students by providing access to resources here at UW; potentially opening up a new range of possibilities for future success for these and other marginalized students.

We are pleased to introduce “College Ready@ Badger Precollege”. This holistic program provides an all-around college readiness experience and a jump start in career exploration to prepare students for life success.

Students enroll in one to four three-week online immersive courses throughout the academic year. Each course has a college readiness block focusing on career preparation, college preparation and self-advocacy. These include sessions designed to explore majors and careers, college admissions, financial aid, self-advocacy and goal setting. Our first session begins November 2nd and will run through November 20th.

Working in partnership with the Department of Public Instruction, College Ready@ Badger Precollege will provide 60+ full scholarships to interested high school students who demonstrate financial need, as indicated by eligibility to participate in the free/reduced lunch program. At this time, we are not requiring a school verification signature due to virtual learning in many school districts.

Registration opens September 28, 2020 and the deadline to apply is October 25, 2020. The links to register for DPI scholarship students may be found below. All registration is per class, so please direct students to choose the appropriate course selection and click on that link:

Analytical Reasoning for College Success: https://uw.ungerboeck.com/prod/emc00/register.aspx?OrgCode=10&EvtID=25692&AppCode=REG&CC=120092003651&REGTYPE=3100-101

Analytical Skills for Research and Data Analysis: https://uw.ungerboeck.com/prod/emc00/register.aspx?OrgCode=10&EvtID=25693&AppCode=REG&CC=120092026516&REGTYPE=3100-101&PromoCode=Scholar

Analytical Writing for College Success: https://uw.ungerboeck.com/prod/emc00/register.aspx?OrgCode=10&EvtID=25694&AppCode=REG&CC=120092050750&REGTYPE=3100-101

Students who do not demonstrate financial need are also encouraged to attend; tuition for each session is $550. Non-scholarship students should register directly through our website. Information may be found here: https://precollege.wisc.edu/college-ready/.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions: info@precollege.wisc.edu.

The DPI Scholarship Application and more info can be found below:

UW Virtual Fall Open Houses

We invite you, your students, and their families to join us at one of our NEW multi-day Virtual Fall Open Houses. This event offers #FutureBadgers and their families the chance to learn and explore all that is available to them at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Programming is spread over several days to give participants the chance to explore a variety of sessions to customize their experience. During each event, attendees will have the opportunity to join various live information sessions, which include Q&A from housing, financial aid, and undergraduate schools and colleges. Participants can also join a variety of interactive Q&A panels with representatives from programs, offices, and resources across campus, as well as current UW-Madison students. Students and their families can even take a virtual campus tour. They can attend any and all sessions they choose to learn about anything and everything that interests them.

Virtual Open House sessions will be offered via Zoom, and session times vary each day.

  • October 12 - October 16 (Monday - Friday)
  • October 21 - October 23 (Wednesday - Friday)
  • December 2 - December 4 (Wednesday - Friday)
Students and families can register online at visitbucky.wisc.edu/openhouse

If you can't join a Virtual Fall Open House, check out the full calendar of virtual events at visitbucky.wisc.edu.

Work Based Learning

Do you have a job? Interested in earning elective credit for the hours you work? Check out the Work Based Learning Site for more information.

Here is more information about the Work Based Learning Process.

If you have questions regarding Work Based Learning, contact Sarah Quinn at sequinn@madison.k12.wi.us

Work Permit Requirements

Governor Evers signed an executive order that changes some of the work permit requirements during the state of emergency. Please keep in mind that these changes are all temporary and we will return to our prior practices after the state of emergency is lifted.

The Executive Order does the following:

  • Waives the requirement that new employees under age 16 obtain a work permit prior to starting employment.
  • Instead, employers can send information to our work permit email box workpermits@dwd.wisconsin.gov. This information includes
    • An attestation that they have reviewed the minor's proof of age and social security documents (but employers should not send us copies of these documents);
    • The offer letter from the employer, and;
    • The permission letter or countersignature from the parent or guardian.
  • ERD will decline to enforce the permit requirement during the state of emergency.
  • Employers will have 30 days after the state of emergency to acquire permits for all workers and to pay all applicable fees.
  • The order does not change the current legal requirements for hours per day or time of day, nor does it make any change to prohibited or hazardous employment rules. We will continue to enforce these rules during the emergency.

Academic & Career Planning (ACP)

Students will be participating in Academic and Career Planning activities in each grade level throughout their four years at West.

To find out more about ACP @ West, click on the button below.


Good attendance contributes to students doing well in school and eventually in the workplace. By middle and high school, attendance is even more predictive of successful graduation. Each absence represents a preventable lost opportunity to learn in the classroom.

MMSD Attendance Website


School Attendance during Virtual Learning

School attendance is important!

Attendance will be recorded daily by all teachers of classes scheduled to meet each day. To be counted as “in attendance” for a subject/class, the student will need to either:

  • Attend the synchronous, or live, real-time instruction (in Zoom)


  • Complete and submit an asynchronous, or independent learning task assigned by the teacher on the virtual learning platform
  • Engage in two way communication (phone call, email exchange, or office hours virtual visit) with the teacher of the course for each class, each day that it appears on their schedule.

On Wednesdays attendance will be recorded based on asynchronous, or independent learning task completion or two-way communication for all classes.

To report a student absence, click on the link below for SLC office contact information:


Stay Connected This School Year!

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