College & Career Center Newsletter

George Mason High School - August 21, 2020


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Virtual College Visits start on Monday, September 14

Admission officers from colleges and universities will be joining us virtually to share information about their schools and answer your questions. These visits are scheduled for 35 minutes. Although students are dismissed from school at noon on Mondays and Fridays, some college visits are scheduled after dismissal to minimize conflicts with instructional time. In Naviance, you can see the colleges that have scheduled visits under the What's New heading on the Naviance homepage. You need to register ahead of time for each visit that interests you to obtain the link to join each session; each college visit has a different link.

If there are colleges you want to learn about that are not currently scheduled to visit, please let me know by completing the Virtual College Visit Request Form. I will take the information that is submitted by the end of the day on Wednesday, August 26, and invite admission officers at the schools you want to know more about to schedule visits with us. I can't guarantee they will accept my invitation. Some colleges are not conducting visits with individual high schools this fall and instead are directing prospective students to their virtual programs. Thank you for helping me build a college visit program that is valuable to you and your peers.


Senior Worksheet & Parent Brag Sheet

Any student who will need a counselor letter of recommendation for college applications needs to complete the Senior Worksheet and have a parent complete the Parent Brag Sheet. These forms can be found within Naviance; the Parent Brag Sheet is also posted on the College and Career Center website. These materials need to be submitted to your counselor one month before the first college application deadline. The Senior Worksheet is completed in Naviance and the Parent Brag Sheet is emailed to your student's counselor.

Naviance Reference Documents

Below are two reference documents that may help you explore Naviance.


Coalition for College Virtual College Fairs

100+ Coalition member schools will share information about their colleges and universities and answer your questions, live. The Coalition for College has additional fairs scheduled in the fall.

Virtual College Fair August Session 1, Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 7–10 pm

Virtual College Fair Session 2, Thursday, August 27, 2020, 7–10 pm


Cialfo Online University Fair

At the end of May, Cialfo held two online fairs, a U.S. weekend and an international weekend. Colleges and universities in the U.S. and from abroad participated. You can view 45-minute recordings of each presentation.

Exploring College Options

"Exploring College Options is a special informational program sponsored by the undergraduate admissions offices of five of the country's leading universities: Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University.

This fall we are pleased to invite you and your family to join us for a 90-minute webinar to help you explore your college options and prepare a strong and reflective application in this time of change and new challenges. During the program, admission officers from our five universities will introduce their institutions, discuss the college application process, answer general questions, and provide individual school breakout sessions. You need to register ahead of time to attend." Additional programs are scheduled for October.

Thursday, September 10, 7 pm EDT / Sunday, September 13, 5 pm EDT

Wednesday, September 16, 3 pm EDT

The University of Pennsylvania is not conducting virtual college visits with individual high schools this fall, so this program may be helpful if you are interested in Penn.

Lafayette College, Essay Writing Workshop, Friday, August 28, 1 pm

Mount Holyoke College, College Tip Tuesdays

"This eight week series is designed to cover the questions that loom largest in the college search process - especially in our current moment. Join students, alumnae, admission directors, and guest speakers to get to know Mount Holyoke and to gather tips and advice that you can put to use now." Sessions include:

I'm First! The First-Generation Student Experience, Tuesday, August 25, 7-7:45 pm

QuestBridge QuestCasts for the National College Match

Many past programs are available to view on the QuestBridge YouTube channel.

Three Steps to Securing a Strong Recommendation, Wednesday, August 26, 7 pm ET

Craft a College Essay that Stands Out, Wednesday, September 2, 7 pm ET

Behind the Scenes with Admissions Officers, Wednesday, September 16, 7 pm ET

University of Pennsylvania, Essay Writing Workshop, Wednesday, September 2, 8 pm

"Personal statement vs. supplemental essay -- what is the point and why so many? What are admissions officers really trying to understand from them? During this program, we will discuss the wide range of essay types required in college applications and how students can distinguish themselves in the application process. You will have the opportunity to ask questions during this session."

University of Rochester, College Admissions Workshop Series

College Admissions Interviewing 101, Tuesday, August 25, 9-10 am and 4-5 pm


COVID-19 Automatic Waiver—2021-22 Enrollment

"Given the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the educational environment, the NCAA Eligibility Center has partnered with the NCAA membership to identify the following changes to the initial-eligibility certification process for students who initially enroll full time in a collegiate institution during the 2021-22 academic year. Click here to learn more about the adjusted requirements. The Eligibility Center will continue to monitor the environment and make necessary adjustments to prioritize health, safety and fairness for all college-bound student-athletes."


What should I be doing now to apply to college?

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) is a large professional organization that has prepared many resources for students. Their Senior Checklist can help you manage your college application process. Their checklist includes the following tasks for August and September:

"Applying to college? Follow these steps.


  • Register for the SAT and/or ACT if you didn’t take a college entrance exam as a junior or want to take one again. Remember: Your counselor can help with fee waivers. [GMHS note - check to see if colleges you are interested in are test-optional for Fall 2021 to determine if test scores are required].
  • Take a look at some college applications. Make note of all the pieces of information you will need to compile.
  • Check with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements.
  • Take every opportunity to get to know colleges. Meet with college representatives who visit your school, attend local college fairs, and visit campuses.
  • Narrow down your list of colleges. Collect information about the application and financial aid process at each school.
  • Create a checklist and calendar to keep track of standardized test dates, college application due dates, and financial aid deadlines. Make note of the other materials, such as recommendations or essays, you’ll need to complete your applications."

In addition, I'll add the following tasks to the list above:

  • Open accounts for the appropriate application(s), using your personal email account (not your FCCPS address)
  • Complete the data sections (name, address, the GMHS CEEB code is 470795, activities, etc.) with the content that won't change once your senior year begins
  • Cross-reference your application deadlines and add them to your calendar
  • Ask for letters of recommendation
  • Explore if any colleges of interest offer virtual admission interviews and sign up for a time, if appropriate

Common Application Tutorial Videos

There are several First-Year Applicant Tutorial videos on the Common Application YouTube channel. If you have not matched your Common Application to Naviance yet, this video will walk you through the steps.


NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling), "Test-Optional Means Test-Optional"

"The following colleges with test-optional policies in place affirm that they will not penalize students for the absence of a standardized test score. Together, we strongly endorse a student-centered, holistic approach to admission that will not disadvantage any student without a test score." If you click on this link you will find all of the colleges (524 as of 8/21/20) that have signed this statement in agreement.

Test-Optional and Test Flexible Schools

FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, is another resource you can use to learn about test-optional and test flexible schools.

"Deadline for all September test dates is August 28. No late fees!"

Registration to sit for the SAT/SAT Subject Tests on the national test dates is open. August 26 is the registration deadline to sit for the test on September 26.

The SAT will be offered at GMHS on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. More information will be forthcoming.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will open on October 1. Some schools also require the CSS Profile for financial aid consideration. Please consult individual colleges regarding financial aid forms that are required.


You will find more scholarship resources on the College and Career Center website and within Naviance.

The Gates Scholarship

"The Gates Scholarship (TGS) is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship for outstanding, minority, high school seniors from low-income households. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to 300 of these student leaders, with the intent of helping them realize their maximum potential."

RaiseMe Micro-scholarships

As of August 19, 2020, there are 7 colleges and universities in Virginia that participate in the RaiseMe micro-scholarships program: Eastern Mennonite University, Emory & Henry College, Hollins University, James Madison University, Randolph-Macon College, University of Richmond, and Virginia Tech. Schools have different dates by which students need to follow them on RaiseMe to be eligible for micro-scholarships. Students can begin to follow schools as early as 9th grade.

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, application due November 15, 2020

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program provides eight semesters of full tuition, room and board, and most mandatory fees for Scholars at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill. Scholars also have access to generous funding for up to three summer experiences, funding for conferences throughout the academic year, and for two semesters of study abroad. You can sign up to attend a Robertson Scholarship Webinar Info Session to learn more.

The application deadline is November 15, 2020 for all materials and is independent of the admissions deadlines for UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. Students may apply for the Robertson regardless of whether they apply Early Action or Regular Decision at UNC-Chapel Hill and Early Decision or Regular Decision at Duke University.


Dynamy Internship Year

"Dynamy Internship Year (DIY) is a domestic, long-standing gap-year program created for students ages 17-22 who want to pursue a unique, hands-on learning experience." Registration with the Admission Office is required to attend the Open House.

Dynamy Internship Year Virtual Open House, Wednesday, August 26, 7 pm

This information is provided for your convenience. Postings do not indicate endorsement or sponsorship by George Mason High School, FCCPS, nor any administrator or employee of either George Mason High School or FCCPS.