Locust Valley High School

Winter Counselor Newsletter Part II

2020-21 Course Selection

Realizing the importance that course selection plays in our students’ lives, we want to make sure that our students and families have all of the necessary information as next year’s schedule is planned.

From February 3rd to February 12th, students worked with their counselors to choose their courses for next year using the course planning sheets below.

If you have not done so already, please take some time to review the Course Selection Guide 2020-2021 with your child. Your input is essential in helping to create the best possible academic program for your child. You can access the Course Selection Guide on the Locust Valley High School’s website or by going to the following link:

In March, you will receive a letter of verification listing all of the courses your child has chosen for next year, that you will be asked to review and approve.

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s counselor.

What Are We Learning?

On January 29th, Ms. Villa participated in a "Reimagining Readiness: Preparing Students for Life After Graduation" think tank session. School District teachers and administrators from all over Long Island came together to discuss what students need to learn in our K-12 schools in order to be successful after high school. Ms. Reno, along with 2 high school students, attended a follow-up discussion at BOCES on February 10th.

On January 31st, Ms. Reno and Ms. Dickstein attended a conference with college admissions representatives, "Where Both Sides of the Desk Meet: Professional Development for College Admission Counselors and High School Counselors." This conference featured discussions between high school counselors and university admissions counselors, and included strategies on how to support students and families with college planning and communication.

School Counselors: Building Better Humans And Creating Positive Change

February 3rd to 7th was dedicated to the tremendous impact that school counselors have in helping students achieve school success. This week we celebrated counselors as a part of National School Counseling Week 2020!

Junior College Workshops

On January 22nd and 23rd, the counselors met with all juniors during their English classes. Their lesson was focused around starting the college search process. Time was devoted to addressing fears of the college application process, learning how to do a college search, and learning what different colleges are looking for in an applicant.

All juniors should be working toward completing the “To-Do’s & Tasks” in Naviance.

Flipping the Script: Why it's important to know yourself before you get to know colleges

Where do I start? | Ask the College Experts
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February/March Tasks

  • Update Naviance as you recieve admissions decisions

  • Check College Portals

  • Check your email daily! Colleges will email you about the status of your application

  • Beware of senioritis! Remember that your third quarter grades could move you to the top of a wait list in May or June! Remember, too, that colleges can change their minds and rescind their offers, once they have received your final transcript


  • Conduct a college search to identify schools that match your interests and needs. Add to “Colleges I’m Thinking About” in Naviance

  • Update Resume in Naviance

  • Subscribe to the Class of 2021 Remind going to: and use the class code: ddag823

  • Complete “Post-Secondary Planning Survey” in Naviance

  • Schedule Post-Secondary Planning Meeting with your counselor

  • Visit colleges during Winter Break

  • Choose senior classes wisely

  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you have the potential of being a recruited athlete

  • Seek out Summer opportunities

  • Begin College Applications (ie. Common App, SUNY, Coalition, CUNY, School Specific)

  • Give some consideration to applying to college under one of the “early” options



  • Log into Naviance
  • Track your activities on your resume
  • Complete the Learning Styles Inventory and/or the Career Interest Profiler Assessment in Naviance

SAT and ACT Preparation

Attention 10th and 11th Graders!

If you have not done so already, you are encouraged to begin mapping out your plan to take the SAT and ACT. Although 10th graders will most likely not take the SAT or ACT until next year, it is important to get a head start on mapping out your plan and preparing. We believe that students should consider taking both the SAT and ACT at least once. Colleges are giving you two chances to be successful and knowing early which exams highlight your strengths is imperative. Students are strongly encouraged to register early for all exams, as testing centers become full very quickly. Students who receive free/reduced lunch should go to the Counseling Office for a fee waiver for these exams. Information for students who receive testing accommodations can be found at:

Locust Valley High School will be offering review sessions for the Spring SAT and ACT. Review sessions are designed for 11th grade students who will be taking the exams this spring. 10th grade students who would like to get an early start on preparing for the exams are also encouraged to attend. Review sessions will help you to identify your strengths and the areas in which you may need to focus prior to taking the exams.

SAT Preparation

Designed for students who are preparing to take the SAT on May 2, 2020 and/or June 6, 2020

Dates: Monday through Thursday from March 2nd to April 30th

Times offered: 6:45 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Location: High School Classroom (TBD)

Cost: Free


Registration deadline: Wednesday, February 26th

ACT Preparation

Designed for students who are preparing to take the ACT on April 4, 2020

Dates: March 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, and April 1

Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: High School Classroom (TBD)

Cost: $300


Registration deadline: Friday, February 28

Please note that registration for these review sessions does NOT register you for the SAT/ACT exams. You must go to to register for the SAT exam and to register for the ACT exam.

8 Facebook Pages and Groups to Help With College Prep

Have you ever had a question about college prep and there was no one to ask? Do you wonder what other parents have done in your situation? Is there a question about paying for college that you simply can’t find the answer to?

Odds are, you can find most answers to your unanswered questions on Facebook (or at least a suggestion on who to ask). From parenting a teen through the college process, paying for college, financial aid, scholarships and connecting with college parents, you can find groups or pages to help.

See full article here:

New Club Alert: Global Student Society (GSS)

The main goal of the Global Students Society (GSS) is to promote cultural empowerment and cultural awareness. The club offers an understanding environment for discussion of global issues including: gender equality in America and globally, environmental activism and its relationship to the global economy, and personal rights and safety in America and globally. Students will have a place to learn about current events all around the world and experience the music, art, literature, and personal experiences of different cultures from club members. The Global Students Society held a hunger banquet to fight world hunger on February 12th.

New members are always welcome. See Dr. Comerford for more information.

The Common App 2020-2021 Essay Prompts

The Common App first-year essay prompts will remain the same for 2020-2021

Alumni Day is More than Just a Reunion

An annual tradition at Locust Valley High School brought recent alumni back to school during their college winter break to share their experiences and offer tips to current students. From how to choose the right college to the best time management practices, more than 40 current college students helped high school seniors get answers to important questions. View the full article here.

Alumni Contacts

Do you have questions about a college you are interested in but don’t want to ask them directly?We have contact details for recent LVHS graduates at many colleges and they are willing to talk to you directly! View the list here: Alumni Contacts. Come to the Counseling Office for more information.

Harvard Interviewer Speaks to LVHS Seniors About The How, What and Why of a College Interview

Going to a college admissions interview can be daunting even for the most qualified candidates. To give Locust Valley students the best possible chance of admission to their top choice schools, the high school counseling department brought in an experienced interviewer from Harvard University to share secrets of the perfect college interview.

Nanette Bischoff, president of the Harvard Club of Long Island and interviewer for more than 20 years, spoke with interested seniors in December, detailing what makes her recommend a student for admission after a personal interview. She explained that the experience is similar to a first date, sharing the most interesting aspects of one another’s lives. She said she often asks admissions candidates what they are watching on Netflix, what they do after school or what motivates them.

Ms. Bischoff emphasized that the college interview is intended to uncover traits about a student that were not highlighted in the admissions application and transcript. She said the interviewer is looking for “that extra thing” or the trait that makes you shine.

One example of elaborating on information the school already has is that if an application mentions fundraising activities, the interview is an opportunity to discuss how that fundraising made an impact on the community. Interviewers are also interested in knowing if a prospective student has overcome adversity, and if so, how it affected them.

Ms. Bischoff encouraged the Locust Valley students to ask questions at their interviews, showing that they are curious and interested in learning more about the school, while also demonstrating knowledge of the school and the specific characteristics that attract them to attending.

Class of 2020 valedictorian Michelle Hsu said Ms. Bischoff’s presentation helped her understand what to expect at a college interview. “You get to talk about something that you want to talk about,” she said. Michelle added that she feels more comfortable now knowing that the college interview is more of a conversation, rather than an interrogation.

Michelle will likely remember many of the tips she heard, including to greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, to be authentic and to email a thank-you note following the interview.

Incoming Grade 9 Orientation

It was great to meet our incoming grade 9 parents at the orientation held on January 7th. Parents who were unable to attend can view the presentation here.

College & Career Information Night

Our College & Career Information Night on January 23rd was a huge success! Our outside presenters provided students and parents with valuable information needed to embark on the college and career exploration process. Topics included: Making the Most of the College Visit, Career Exploration, College Essay Writing, Financing My College Education, College Admissions Testing, BOCES Career and Technical Education, and Finding the Best College for Me. View all presentation materials here.

What Do These College Admissions Buzz Words Really Mean?

Passion: It’s the buzzword in admissions offices. Colleges want to see a strong interest in something, a devotion and a commitment to following it through.

Responsibility: This is where internships and work experience work in a student’s favor. Colleges are gratified to know that students maintained a job and performed well in school, showed up for work on time and could be counted on in a professional setting. These are signs of maturity and independence that are highly valued.

Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm stands out, particularly since so many 17 and 18 year olds have laissez-faire attitudes. Students who demonstrate that they care about something, community service, a sport, youth group, etc. are likely to bring that same enthusiasm to a campus.

Leadership: Leadership skills are life skills and will always be a prized asset. But not everyone is meant to be a leader. For instance, the swim team member who has given his or her all, gone to 5 a.m. practices, swim meets after school and been an active team player in a very demanding sport probably hasn’t had the opportunity to be a leader. Colleges recognize this.

Initiative: High school can be a great time to think outside the box, take a risk, start a club or an activity. Colleges like students who create something from nothing, focus their passion on a goal and work hard to attain it. Again, these are life skills that will benefit the student, and the college will see them as benefiting them as well.

Maturity: Students who communicate their naiveté through their essays, an interview or even through their letters of recommendation suggest to colleges that they may not be ready and it may be held against them.

Character: Colleges want to know what you’re made of. They really want to find out what you care about, what’s important to you and what you’re thinking about. How you choose to spend your time outside of school, particularly your involvement is a great way to demonstrate your character and your personality.

College Admissions Strategies with Lee Bierer. Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte:;

#NACACreads: Boosting Student Happiness

Student mental health has been a hot topic among educators for the last decade or so. But, too often, efforts to address this important issue have centered on students who are already struggling. In contrast, When Likes Aren’t Enough: A Crash Course in the Science of Happiness, focuses on prevention. The book, our latest #NACACreads selection, shines a light on positive psychology strategies that can be used by all students to increase their sense of well-being.

College admission professionals from around the globe gathered on Twitter Wednesday to discuss the book and its implications for those in the college admission field. Developing healthy habits, learning from setbacks, and keeping social media in perspective can help make the transition to college a little smoother, Bono said. “Let’s stop the narrative of college as the ‘best four years of your life,’” tweeted Bono, a psychologist and lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis (MO). “Yes, college is a wonderful time, but it’s also a time to develop psychological strength to endure life’s inevitable adversity. Let’s help students keep expectations realistic.”

The happiest students are those who understand life includes ups and downs, he said. And happiness comes with its own rewards. “When we are happier, we work harder, our ideas become more creative, we develop stronger relationships with others, and we rebound more quickly from adversity…all of which keeps us on track toward our goals and positions us for success,” Bono noted.

View a transcript of the chat and learn more about the book!

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at

Evaluating a Financial Aid Letter: What’s Usually Missing

Financial aid awards are often confusing. Plenty of colleges and universities intentionally make financial aid awards hard to decipher to trick families into thinking that their institutions are being generous even when they aren’t. Obfuscation is an effective way to keep parents from effectively evaluating a financial aid award.

Learn how you can easily analyze a financial aid letter. View the article here.

College Senior Offers Financial Advice to Incoming Freshman

It’s no secret that a college education is expensive. But there are ways to keep costs as low as possible. Laura Uzes, a senior at UCLA, shared her tried-and-true advice for keeping college costs down with Homeroom, the US Department of Education’s blog.

High up among her tips: planning ahead.

View the full article here.

Interested in BOCES? Make Your Passion Your Career!

2019-20 Barry Tech Programs
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LVHS Career Fair 2020

Thursday, March 12th, 8:30am

LVHS Gymnasium

The Locust Valley High School Career Fair provides an opportunity for students to explore a variety of career options. If you would like to be part of this event on March 12, 2020 and share your career with LVHS students, please let us know. Click on the flyer for more information.

Interested professionals can fill out this form.

Save the Date! 2020 LVHS College Fair

Thursday, April 2nd, 5:30pm

LVHS Gymnasium

With over 80 colleges and branches of the military already confirmed to participate, we hope to have something for everyone. Student-athletes will have the opportunity to visit a College Athletics table to learn more about college recruitment and the NCAA requirements. Plus, an expert in the area of SAT/ACT testing from Method Test Prep will be present to answer any questions you may have concerning college entrance exams.

Our Team!

Director of Counseling: Michelle Villa

Counselors: Jaimie Dickstein, Jillian Celli, Faith Keenan, Kelly Reno