Paly Guidance Update

Friday April 30, 2021

Good Afternoon Viking Families!

With April coming to a close we have about 5 weeks left of school! Please note that our finals schedule has been updated on our calendar. Please see our other updates about Advisory and College and Career below.


Paly Guidance


With the Semester 2 final progress grading period ending April 30th, and the end of the school year just a month away, time is precious. Advisory continued building on the theme of Finishing Strong and 9th Graders were given the gift of time to Just Do It! In Advisory on April 21st & 23rd, students were directed to review the “To Do” List they created in a previous Advisory and choose a project to work on.

11th Grade - In our continuing effort to prepare the Juniors for the upcoming college application cycle, students were introduced to the College Essay last week. The lesson is full of great information to help students understand why a college might want an essay, what they want to see in that essay, and how it should be a representation of their best work - neat & organized, grammatically correct, and properly spelled and organized. Because writing this type of essay takes time, we share this information prior to break so Jrs who choose to, can start to write over summer. The lesson also includes an actual essay with critique notes from an admissions officer. The final slide reminds students of the many places they can go for essay help if they need it. Parents, this is one lesson you should review - it’s full of useful tips: College Essays

Each year, we have students from the grade ahead come to Advisories and talk to the students about what the year was like for them. There is always curiosity about what lies ahead - even more so this year! Many Freshmen have never attended classes on campus. Sophomores worry about the added stress and workload of Junior year. Juniors worry about college applications and plans for post-Paly life. Having peers available to answer questions and share their experiences is always popular. This week, we had both the 9th Grade and 11th Grade students gather in breakout rooms to talk about what they want to hear more about. Those questions will be shared with the guest speakers prior to their speaking engagement. 10th graders will have the same opportunity to share their questions next week.

A gentle reminder to parents of Juniors: If you haven’t already done so, please complete the Parent Assessment Survey on Naviance. Our TAs rely on all the components of the Senior Profile to write their letter of recommendation. To find the survey:

  • Log in to your Naviance account. If you have trouble or can’t remember login email Karla Larson ( for assistance.
  • From the homepage, click the “About Me” tab.
  • Choose My Surveys > Parent Assessment

College & Career Center


Accepting Admission & Financial Aid

Seniors will submit their intention to enroll (SIR) and any deposit to ONLY ONE college or university by May 1 (typically, the national date is May 1 but some colleges may have extended it due to COVID; check with the college). If a senior has been accepted to colleges with a mix of May 1 and June 1 SIR deadlines, contact the May 1 college and ask if they can be flexible with their SIR deadline given the other offers are giving the student until June to decide. Be aware that some colleges require multiple actions in order to accept admission (e.g. make a deposit, sign up for orientation). And, don't forget to help your student sign up for housing, if relevant.

If students are on a wait-list and are later admitted to that institution, they may then accept the offer of admission off the waitlist and send a deposit to that school. However, they must immediately notify the college they previously accepted to indicate they will not be enrolling; it is unlikely the original deposit will be refunded.

Don't forget to help your student accept or deny need-based financial aid awards, too, if applicable.

Colleges will assume students are rejecting an offer of admission if they don't indicate their intent to enroll by the deadline. However, if students are certain of where they will matriculate and want to be courteous to friends on the waitlist, they can let the other colleges know that they do not intend to attend. If there isn't an online mechanism for doing so, sending a short email to the admissions office is sufficient.

Is Your Senior Rethinking Their Post High School Plans?

There are some colleges still accepting freshmen applications for Fall 2021. Students can do a search on the Common App ( by application deadline. In addition, NACAC has published its annual “College Openings Update: Options for Qualified Students” list; this is a listing of NACAC member postsecondary institutions that are still accepting applications from prospective freshman students for the upcoming fall term. The list of colleges is updated daily, so please check back periodically to see additional colleges still accepting applications:

A reminder that Mrs. Laguna can help with community college and gap-year planning; in addition to the information about community college week and upcoming events that she emailed families, there's also information about gap-years on

Thank You’s
Please encourage your student to update and thank those who helped them during the application process--especially the teachers/TAs who wrote letters on their behalf. Seniors will be asked to formally report their application results in an upcoming Advisory.

Scholarship Program Update
The scholarship committee and/or scholarship sponsors are still reviewing/finalizing the Paly Community Scholarship applications submitted back in January. Senior Awards will be announced via a virtual video on May 28 and we hope to distribute scholarship then, too; if seniors are not contacted by Mrs. Larson in late May, then they weren't selected for an award or scholarship.