OPHS School Counseling Newsletter

5th Edition

School Counseling Staff

Ms. Pamela Gardner



Mrs. Maureen Andrada



Ms. Suzanne Salvo



Mrs. Shronda Peake



Mrs. Keisha Mercer



Mrs. Courtney Jaeger



Ms. Erin Fondren



Mrs. Melissa Bach

(Pre-Gov & Gov School)


Ms. Jennifer Nelson, Counseling Secretary NelsonJS@pwcs.edu
Mrs. Alicia Halter, Counseling Secretary
Mrs. Toni Gibson, Registrar

Ms. Marie Emery, Testing Coordinator EmeryMS@pwcs.edu

Ms. Christine Cortez, School Social Worker CortezCG@pwcs.edu

Mr. Stanley Urbaniak, School Psychologist UrbanIS@pwcs.edu
Ms. Crystal Mensah, New Horizons Therapist
Ms. Heather Lantos, Transition Specialist
Ms. Laura Inesta, Attendance Officer

Contact Information:
Phone: (703) 365-6500
Fax: (703) 330-2170

Freshman Orientation

Thursday, April 4th, 6:30-8:30pm

8909 Euclid Avenue

Manassas, VA

We invite you to our Freshman and New Student orientation from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4. This is a great opportunity to learn about Osbourn Park High School. You will be able to meet with department chairs, athletic and activity sponsors, PTSO and Athletic Booster members, and attend information sessions. We hope to see you there. Welcome to OP!

Career and Job Fair Osbourn High School April 4th

Career Fair hosted by Osbourn High School:

Click here

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Seniors: Do you need help understanding your award letters from colleges?

Wednesday, April 10th, 7pm

8909 Euclid Avenue

Manassas, VA

Danny Eckstein from The College Place will be at OP on April 10th at 7:00 pm to answer any questions. We will meet in large group room 2A not the auditorium as
previously advertised. Hope to see you there!

Virginia Tech Opportunity

The College Access Collaborative is hosting an overnight visit opportunity in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS) and College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS) for current 10th and 11th grade students on May 2-3, 2019. Tenth and Eleventh grade students interested in CLAHS or CAUS are invited to apply to attend an overnight campus visit during which they will participate in hands-on, minds-on activities that expose them to academic opportunities in CLAHS or CAUS.

About each College:

Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences combine the liberal arts’ passion for exploration with a sense of civic engagement and the technology of a top research university. Our programs in the arts, humanities, and human and social sciences prepare students to lead in the 21st century with a global perspective. Students participating in the summer program are exposed to academic majors through experiential and hands-on learning. The program includes a range of activities such as innovative workshops, discussion groups, and presentations. With its unique interdisciplinary coursework, this program is an excellent introduction to college life.

Virginia Tech’s nationally ranked College of Architecture and Urban Studies is an educational leader in designing human-centered solutions to global challenges. Through interdisciplinary exploration, industry collaboration, community outreach, research, scholarship, and the graduates we produce, CAUS answers the call for smart, sustainable design, construction, and policy. With an enrollment of 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students from over 30 countries, the college houses four schools: the School of Architecture + Design; the School of Public and International Affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction; and the School of the Visual Arts. CAUS students invent creative, sustainable solutions to global problems, working directly with faculty, community, and industry partners.

How to Apply:

The cost to attend is FREE, but students must apply and be accepted to participate. Up to 50 current 10th and 11th grade students will be selected to participate in this overnight visit program. Applications must be submitted by Friday, April 12 at 5:00 PM. Students interested in applying to attend can do so by completing a brief registration form online at this link: https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e3BPbVjgRn6Fvs9

Accepted students will be notified on Friday, April 19. PLEASE NOTE: Students who participate in this program MUST be accompanied by an adult chaperone.

College Fair

The IBMA College Fair is just around the corner (Saturday April 6). PLEASE help promote this great opportunity for your students and school community. Please help communicate these updates along with encouraging your students to pre-register (not required but helpful). As of today, we have over 150 universities that have committed to participating (up-to-date list provided here - http://www.ibmidatlantic.org/Fair.html )and the following sessions will be offered:


Applying to UK, Canadian and European Universities

Community College Experience

12:45pm-1:15pm, 1:30pm-2:00pm, 2:15pm-2:45pm

Advocating for College Acceptance and Credit (Dan Coast)

The Scholarship Search Process (Danny Eckstein, Director of the College Place)

Financial Aid Information Session for Parents and Students (Tykesha Myrick

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Job Fair


Join the Parks team this summer and earn some extra money April 1st • 10am–12pm at George Hellwig Memorial Park • 2–4pm at Pat White Center at Ben Lomond Open interviews will be held for: • concessionaires • cashiers • head concessionaires • cooks • camp counselors • lifeguards (free certification training) Applying is simple: Come prepared by filling out your application online (www.pwcparks.org/jobs), print a copy and bring it with you.

Senior College Planning Checklist

Senior College Planning Checklist

Keep active in school. Colleges will receive your final transcript and can rescind offers.

If you are waitlisted, the college will want to know what you have accomplished between the time you applied and the time you learned of its decision.

Visit your final college before accepting.

You should receive acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April. Notify your counselor of your choice. If you have questions about housing offers, call the college.

Inform every college of your acceptance or rejection of the offer of admission and/or financial aid by May 1.

Colleges cannot require your deposit or your commitment to attend before May 1.

Send your deposit to one college only.

Take any AP® Exams. Show what you’ve learned in your AP classes. A successful score could even earn you credit, advanced placement, or both in college.

Waitlisted by a college? If you intend to enroll if you are accepted, tell the admission director your intent and ask how to strengthen your application. Need financial aid? Ask whether funds will be available if you’re accepted.

Work with a counselor to resolve any admission or financial aid problems. ¨ Ask your high school to send a final transcript to your college.

Review your financial aid awards: Not all financial aid awards are the same, so it’s important to choose the aid package that’s best for you and your family. Be sure to note what you have to do to continue receiving financial aid from year to year, and how your aid might change in future years.

Junior College Planning

College Planning 11th graders

What you should be doing now

  • Continue taking challenging academic courses,Keep up your grades, update your goals and four-year plan
  • Focus on becoming a leader in a few extra-curricular activities. Run for an office, lead a team, start your own club, business, or service project
  • Continue to compete in matches, contests, and competitions
  • Create a resume
  • Use Naviance to expand your list of colleges, including “reach” and “safety” schools. Think about what you seek in college: location/size/specific major/competitiveness
  • Take the PSAT in October. This test determines National Merit and National Achievement Scholarship qualifiers
  • Get to know your teachers and start thinking about whom you might ask to write recommendations
  • If you intend to seek an athletic scholarship, register at the NCAA Eligibility Center at www.ncaaclearinghouse.net. Send out letters of interest to coaches at the schools that most interest you
  • Preview how much financial aid you may be eligible for by completing the FAFSA4caster at www.fafsa.ed.gov
  • Attend college fairs and meet college representatives when they visit school. Ask questions!
  • Visit colleges.


  • Preview the Common Application and the Coalition Application
  • Continue to prepare for follow-up SAT and/or ACT tests
  • Visit colleges
  • Write a response to the Common Application essay. The prompts usually come out in the spring.
  • Take AP Exams and SAT Subject Tests
  • Over the summer get an internship, work, or participate in a class
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Stress Management Tips

Stress Management

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Learn to manage your time more effectively.
  • Set limits appropriately and learn to say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.
  • Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
  • Don't rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors to reduce stress.
  • Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you enjoy.

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Getting Started with Mindfulness

You have questions about mindfulness and meditation.
Mindful has the answers.


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.

Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.

The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.

What is meditation?

Meditation is exploring. It’s not a fixed destination. Your head doesn’t become vacuumed free of thought, utterly undistracted. It’s a special place where each and every moment is momentous. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: our sensations (air blowing on our skin or a harsh smell wafting into the room), our emotions (love this, hate that, crave this, loathe that) and thoughts (wouldn’t it be weird to see an elephant playing a trumpet).

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

How do I practice mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness is available to us in every moment, whether through meditations and body scans, or mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer it.

Coast Guard AIM Summer Program


The Coast Guard Academy is not your typical college experience, and AIM is not your typical summer program. During AIM you will live, learn and compete with those who:

  • Are looking for more than just a degree
  • Are physically fit and adventuresome
  • Enjoy science and math
  • Want to step out of their comfort zone

During AIM, you'll be held to a higher standard. Coast Guard cadets and officers are called to a life of public service – a spirit of honor and duty that comes from putting the interests of others ahead of their own. While attending AIM, you will experience firsthand this spirit and the close bond shared by those who live it each day.

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Scholarship Websites

Scholarship Websites


Peterson’s is a one-stop scholarship resource — not that we recommend this strategy -- with a number of great (and free!) resources. The site boasts $10 billion in scholarship awards and has an impressive collection of articles, test prep resources and more.

But it’s not just a stockpile of scholarships. It also has the tools and tips you need to start your search -- and its search filters make navigation simple. Filling out a very short survey allows you to adjust the filters as you go, which gives you more control than sites that require extensive profiles to get started.


Like Peterson’s, Unigo has plenty to offer beyond just scholarships, including jobs, internships, college profiles and rankings, articles and a textbook store. When it comes to scholarships, the site offers both profile-based matching as well as easy-to-browse categories.

RELATED: 6 scholarships any student can win

Perhaps best of all is its user-friendly interface, which is somewhat reminiscent of a photo-sharing site. It makes finding scholarships simple. What’s more, the site values security and privacy of personal information – so, in other words, no spam!


Fastweb, a subsidiary of Monster, hosts more than 1.5 million scholarships that amount to more than $3.4 billion dollars. And it’s all so well organized! The search platform’s filters make it hard not to find exactly what you’re looking for.

One minor drawback: You have to fill out a profile to get started. But the profile helps match you with scholarships most likely to suit your needs, and the sign-up process is relatively painless.


Cappex has a large scholarship database and they’re not afraid to brag a bit: “We’ve Got More Than $11 Billion in Scholarships.” Registering can be annoying, but you’ll be glad you took the time to get personalized results.

Cappex sets itself apart with its “What Are My Chances” tool, which attempts to calculate the odds that you’ll get into a certain college before you apply.


Over the years, Chegg has expanded from its humble beginnings as an online textbook store to become a well-rounded education resource. It acquired scholarship match service Zinch in 2011 and now hosts scholarships totaling over $1 billion.

Its interface is simple and the mandatory sign-up process is well worth the time. What’s more, it has a “top scholarship picks this week” category, which highlights opportunities you may have otherwise missed. And on top of the scholarships, Chegg offers homework help, tutoring, test prep, internships and (of course) textbooks.

The College Board

As with all of the best resources, The College Board offers much more than an extensive list of scholarships. It also has test prep, articles and college search tools, among others. And its “scholarships, other financial aid and internships from more than 2,200 programs” totals nearly $6 billion. Added bonus: While you’re perusing the site you can prepare for the SAT!


Formerly known as College Prowler, Niche is one of the easiest sites to navigate. It’s neatly organized into categories that make it simple to start finding and applying for scholarships.

You can browse by categories – including, but not limited to, sports, interest area, career and major -- but it can be tricky to filter outside of these preset groupings. Still, with no required sign-up and a user-friendly design, Niche is a simple and powerful resource.


Scholarships.com’s tagline says it all: “With more than 2.7 million scholarship and grant opportunities worth more than $19 billion, just about everyone is bound to find something.”

It’s one of the largest databases and is updated daily. You can browse by category, but if you really want to navigate the extensive list of opportunities, you’ll need to make a profile. It’s one flaw: The site has ample information about alternate forms of financial aid, but it lacks some of resources other sites offer.

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Beating Test Anxiety

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Summer Ideas

Summer Ideas

Laura Berlinsky-Schine January 28, 2018 5 min read Summer Activities

50 Summer Activities for High School Students

Summer is a time for some much-needed relaxation. But it’s also a time to work towards your goals. Admissions committees want to see that you’re being productive and accomplishing something during your breaks. At a loss for what to do this summer? Here are 50 of our favorite ideas. Do one, five, ten—or come up with your own, original ideas!

Take Classes

1. Enroll in college classes. Just because you haven’t matriculated at college yet doesn’t mean you can’t dabble in classes. If you take classes now, you may get a head start on credits when you start your college career, which could save you time and money in the long run. Community colleges and some state schools will allow you to enroll in individual courses at a low cost. For more information, check out Should I Take College Classes Over the Summer?.

2. Take online courses. If you’re unable to take classes in person, there are plenty of opportunities to learn online. Many online course databases, such as Lynda.com and Skillshare, offer online subscriptions that allow you to access thousands of courses with video tutorials, teaching important skills like SEO. Check out 7 Online Educational Opportunities This Summer if You Can’t Take an In-Person Course for more educational opportunities online.

3. Participate in pre-college programs. Colleges and other institutions across the country offer summer programs to high school students looking for a taste of college life. In most cases, students live in dorms and take classes, much like they will when they matriculate as college freshman in a few years. In some cases, you might be able to earn college credits that you can apply to your degree later on.

4. Attend an academic camp. Similar to pre-college programs, academic camps often allow students to live in dorms and participate in college-level curriculums. However, these camps are generally focused on a specific niche or talent, such as science, as with the National Youth Science Camp, or creative writing. These camps are ideal for high schoolers who have a passion or definite idea of the discipline they want to pursue.

5. Attend performing arts classes or camps. Future actors will enjoy classes and camps catering to prospective theater majors. Check out our guide to theater arts summer programs for ideas.

6. Participate in visual arts classes or camps. There are several art institutes, such as the Rhode Island School of Design, that offer summer courses and programs for aspiring artists.

7. Study for the SAT or ACT. Now is a good time to enroll in standardized test or college prep classes, since you don’t have to study for your high school school tests.

8. Take private lessons in an area of interest. Now is a great time to learn something you’ve always wanted to know how to do—sing, speak French, sew…whatever you want!

Learn a New Skill

9. Study a foreign language. Whether you want to gain proficiency in a language you study at school or learn a new one, summer is a great time for practice. Try an app like Duo Lingo, or connect with a native speaker online.

10. OR a programming language. Have you always want to create an app or build a website? Learning how to program can set you up with the skills you’ll need.

11. OR sign language. Becoming proficient in ASL will give you a unique, not to mention extremely useful, skill.

12. Hone your leadership skills through a program or independent activity. For example, you might participate in Girls and Boys State.

13. Take dancing lessons.

14. Join a sports team or practice an independent sport like running.

15. Learn how to cook or bake. Julia Child didn’t learn how to cook until she was in her late 30s, so it’s not too late for you to become a master chef! You can even have a bake sale and raise money for charity or put it aside for your college savings.

16. Start singing or playing a musical instrument.

17. Study a visual art discipline, such as painting or photography.

18. Teach yourself or work with a teacher to become proficient in a marketable skill, such as using Photoshop like an expert. This is something you can put on your resume and will help you find professional jobs.

19. Start a garden. You might help out your community by creating a community garden.

20. Learn self defense. This is a very useful skill to know throughout your life.

21. Take a class in CPR or First Aid. Being proficient in these skills will help you in many professions, especially ones involving children.

22. Practice mindfulness or meditation. These can be useful techniques to help you manage your stress, especially as you enter college application season.

23. Write. You could also enter writing contests and try to get your work published.

Get a Job

24. Find a side job and earn some cash to put aside for college. Having a job can be an impressive extracurricular activity!

25. Be a camp counselor at a local or sleepaway summer camp.

26. Start your own business. This show colleges that you have many of the skills they’re looking for: leadership, innovation, and gumption.

27. Land an internship, and get a taste of your future industry.

28.Ask friends, family, and neighbors if the have any work for you, such as babysitting or lawn-mowing.


29. Do a service project, such as Habitat for Humanity.

30. Tutor peers or younger students at your school or within your community.

31. Connect with local organizations, such as an after-school program, to see if they have any need for summer volunteers.

32. Volunteer with your library. You might read with kids or shelve books.

33. Visit a soup kitchen or homeless shelter and help people in need.

34. Work with animals at an animal shelter.

If service is important to you, check out our list of colleges for people who want to make a difference.

Check out these posts for other volunteering opportunities:

Finding Volunteer Service Activities for Freshman and Sophomores

Can I Volunteer If I’m Under Age 18?


35. Study abroad. Check out our guide for six great study abroad opportunities.

36. Spin a family trip into an extracurricular. You might take classes on your trip, learn a new skill, or volunteer.

37. Tour colleges now that you have the time.

38. Engage in service opportunities abroad.

Check Something Off Your Bucket List

39. Train for a 5k, 10k, or marathon.

40. Tackle some books you’ve always meant to read.

41. Hike a mountain or embark on another adventure you’ve always dreamed of doing.

42. Plant a tree. You could even turn it into a community service project by gathering a group to plant trees across your neighborhood.

Plan for Next Year

43. Brainstorm your college essays. If you’re an entering senior, developing essay ideas now will help you during the busy application season, when you’ll also need to study for your classes and tests.

44. Hone your college list.

45. If you’re an entering senior, start working on college applications.

46. Plan a club to start. Here are some ideas.

47. Brainstorm new ideas for your club to do as a group.

48. Connect with teachers to ask for advice or college recommendations.

49. Create an action plan for the coming year.

College and Career Opportunities

UVA High School Visitation Program, Saturday, March 30, 2019

Health and Biomedical Sciences Summer Camp at Lebanon Valley College provides high school students with a window into the scientific basis of human health.

Pathways for Future Engineers is a Free Virginia Tech multi-year program for first-generation students that includes pre-college activities (while students are still in high school) as well as additional support as student s pursue their undergraduate degree.

STEM for Her at NVCC: The Tech Day will focus on providing young women with resources and knowledge about the many benefits of pursuing a career in technology. The day will include technology workshops and STEM activities; panel discussion with technology professionals; lunch with panelists and NOVA students; and highlights of NOVA opportunities Click here