College and Career Resource Center

Room 1120

Freshman Year

Dear Freshman Parents,

On September 15, 17 and 21, during Freshman Biology classes, school counselors discussed the importance of students starting their high school career on the right path. According to data collected, approximately 90% of our students choose to attend college. Having a high Grade Point Average (GPA) is an excellent goal for our 9th grade students. Even if a student chooses a different path (military, work, service learning, etc.), it is important that he or she maintain a strong high school work ethic and focus on GPA.

Why did we choose the Freshman Biology Classes?

All 9th grade students are required to enroll in Biology, it was a perfect opportunity to target 100% of our intended audience. Over the past three years data show that freshmen have the lowest overall GPA compared to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Our goal is that this work will lead to an improved Freshman GPA.


We want all our 9th grade students to know how to analyze transcripts and be aware of their academic progress. When talking with the students, we emphasized that the high school transcript will accompany the college application when they apply during senior year. Since colleges only see grades from 9-11, it is important for students to take an active approach early to increase their likelihood of success.

What did we do..

Every student calculated their unweighted and weighted GPA. In addition, various scenarios were demonstrated to see how grades improved over time and how they impacted overall GPA. We also introduced students to college admissions standards, graduation requirements, and the importance of being involved in extracurricular activities in high school.

Next Steps

During the week of September 28 - October 2, counselors will be visiting freshman in Study Hall to create Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely (S.M.A.R.T.) goals. Students will write these goals in their Naviance account. The school counselors are asking students to be thoughtful when writing these goals. Students will complete both academic and extracurricular goals. By establishing short-term and long-term goals, students are more focused and determined to achieve them.

Four-Year Plans

In early November, students will work with their school counselors to review their S.M.A.R.T goals, graduation requirements, and map out their four years of high school. Students should be thoughtful in thinking about their educational and career goals. This way, the student can take the appropriate classes in high school. Our recommendation is that students focus on 4-5 core courses (English, math, science, social studies, and world languages) each year and enroll in various electives in areas of interest. We also encourage students to participate in at least one AP course in their high school career. This would expose them to college rigor and rich experiences in the classroom.

How can parents help?

Parents should encourage student to:
  • develop a regular study routine
  • improve at least one academic grade
  • review long and short term goals
  • discuss four year academic plan
  • join at least one activity and begin developing a resume
  • read at least 15 minutes a day (According to ACT)
  • prepare for first semester finals on December 16, 17, and 18
  • attend the Freshman Course and College Information Night on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, 6:30pm, Niles West Auditorium

Some quotes from our activity:

  • "I found this workshop helpful because it can really tell me what I have to improve to get into the college I want to get into."
  • "Yes, because I now know how to calculate my GPA and if you read everyday your ACT score will go up"
  • "Because it gives me an idea to start thinking about my freshman year because all four year matter on your college application."
  • "Because it made me realize how I always need to be trying my best and how I should start working hard immediately. "
  • "I found this helpful because the guidance counselors walked us through the types of things colleges look for and how the things we did Freshman year would effect us later on."
Mrs. Ann Alegnani
E: / P: (847) 626-2690

Ms. Happi Bills
E: / P: (847) 626-2684

Dr. Ben Grais
E: / P: (847) 626-2691

Mr. Andrew Johnson
E: / P: (847) 626-2685

Mrs. Hope Kracht
E: / P: (847) 626-2687

Mrs. Stephanie Lau
E: / P: (847) 626-2689

Mr. Mark Medland
E: / P: (847) 626-2686

Mrs. Venesa Ocasio
E: / P: (847) 626-2688

Mr. Mitch Stern
E: / P: (847) 626-2683

Mrs. Joyce Van Alstin
E: / P: (847) 626-2692

Mr. Jerry Pope
Dean of College Counseling
E: / P: (847) 626-3947

Ms. Shermaine Miles
College Resource Center Assistant
E: / P: (847) 626-2594