College, Career, Military Readiness

Friendswood ISD

January 2022 Update

For many, the beginning of the new year brings new goals and new plans. In the upcoming months, our students will be facing some decisions with course selection. With course selection comes the opportunity for students to explore new interests and passions or dive further into the ones they already have. Supporting and preparing them for these decisions can help them make the most of the opportunities presented to them. This newsletter will highlight some of the opportunities our 8th, 9th, and 10th graders have had and will have to best prepare them for their upcoming course selection process. Be sure to ask your children about what they've seen and experienced! Also, many students and parents have questions around whether or not to send standardized test scores with college applications for colleges that are "test-optional". I will try to shed some light on the important facts to consider when making this decision. Be sure to check out the FHS College and Career Website and all of my past newsletters for additional information and resources!

Preparing for Course Selection and Academic Planning

On January 12th course selection opened for our High School students, and the 8th grade academic planning meetings will begin to take place in late February. A variety of events were created in order to help prepare students for their course selection process. During the first week of January, teachers, counselors, and administrators spent time rotating through groups of 9th and 10th graders to provide them with valuable information to help students make informed course selection choices. Some of the topics discussed with 10th graders included the following: Difference Between Dual Credit vs. AP courses, How to perform college research on college websites, Explanation of Collegiate High School, Description of the Career Prep Program, Benefits of Taking the ASVAB, and Dual Credit Workforce Opportunities. With our 9th graders, Career and Technical Education teachers and I spent time rotating through classrooms to explain internship, practicum, and work based learning opportunties including our 3 new Dual Credit Workforce programs. Information about many of the topics discussed with our 9th and 10th graders can also be found in my previous newsletters.

Additionally, FHS hosted Endorsement Celebration Days from January 13th through the 19th to allow all students further opportunities to explore elective options prior to course selection. Students, teachers, and representatives in the various elective pathways including CTE programs, fine arts programs, and dual credit workforce programs hosted information stations for students to visit and gather more information about course selection choices.

During the 2nd week of January, the FJH counselors and I spent time working with 8th graders to have them complete interest assessments in Xello and choose careers of interest. You could feel the energy in the room as 8th graders got excited to analyze their assessment results and explore careers. On January 25th, 8th grade Impact teachers will conduct a follow-up lesson to help students connect their career interests to different career pathways and their high school elective courses. They will complete a Career Pathway Reflection Card in Impact that they can use to help narrow down potential career pathways of interest to them. This will culminate in an opportunity for 8th graders to attend an Endorsement Showcase at FHS on February 17th at 6pm (NOTE: this is a new date from the previously scheduled date) where students and parents will have the option to visit elective programs and departments of their choosing in an open house format. Students can take their Career Pathway Reflection Card with them on their high school visit to help guide them on which sessions to visit. From the session offerings across CTE, Fine Arts, and Athletics, students can choose 5 different sessions to visit during the evening.

Whether To Submit Test Scores or Not To Submit scores...that is the question!

With many colleges moving to a "test-optional" policy with their application processes, students and parents often struggle with the decision of whether or not to submit standardized testing scores such as SAT and ACT scores with their applications. While there is no clear cut answer to this question, there are significant factors that students and parents can consider when making this decision. It is important that students research colleges individually during this decision making process and evaluate each application on a college by college basis. Acceptance Data can be found online for almost every university and college in the US. Alternatively, admissions representatives have up-to-date information and data, so calling any college admissions office and speaking with admissions representatives can be extremely helpful. Using admissions data as a comparison tool during this decision-making process is key in reducing the uncertainty. (A word of CAUTION: When researching, be sure to use the college's own published data from their website or publications.)

Consider the College's Mid - 50% Score Range

One factor to consider is the mid- 50% score range of accepted students. This range of scores corresponds to 25% to 75% of the college's accepted students. For instance, Texas A&M published their "Freshmen By the Numbers" graphic for the Class of 2025. The Mid-50% SAT scores were 1170 - 1380, corresponding to the 25% to 75% range of accepted students. Student's should search this data for their colleges of choice and determine how their scores compare to this range. If their scores are on the higher end or above, there is little to lose in sending scores, however if the scores fall towards the lower 25% or below and the rest of the applicant's qualifications such as GPA, grades, and essays are strong, he/she may want to reconsider whether the scores will enhance the applicant's chances of acceptance.

Consider How Competitive the School Is

Acceptance rates vary widely from college to college. Some Ivy League schools and highly competitive schools such as MIT may only have an acceptance rate of 5% or less. Other schools that also tend to fall on the more competitive end of the spectrum may fall in the 15 to 20% acceptance rate range. The University of Texas has close to a 30% acceptance rate, and still other less competitive schools may have as high as 60 to 70% acceptance rate. If a student is applying to a highly competitive school, the applicant pool of these schools tends to be flooded with extremely high performing students, and every bit of information to set oneself apart can be helpful. In this case, if a student with a high SAT score is being compared to a student with no SAT score, the student with the score may have an edge over the other student without a submitted score.

Determine Whether your Score Complements your GPA

When evaluating a college's acceptance data, consider the average GPA of accepted students. If a student's SAT score can help enhance their GPA, then consider submitting it. If a student's GPA is high compared to the average, and he/she has excellent extracurriculars and strong essay responses, but the SAT score falls on the lower side of the average range, it may not enhance the applicants chances of acceptance. In this case, the student may choose to let their other qualifications stand on their own without the test scores. Conversely, if the GPA falls on the lower range or below the lower range of average accepted students, but the SAT scores are at the higher end of the range of accepted students or even within the range, this may enhance the applicants chances of acceptance.

Other Things to Consider

A college may be "test-optional", but some scholarships, especially merit based scholarships, offered by that college may still require or strongly consider test scores in that award process. Additionally, some of a college's more specialized programs or competitive programs may also strongly consider or even require test scores for admittance. For instance, if a college has a highly competitive business program, engineering program, architecture program, or other such special program, those may have additional requirements including test scores, portfolio submission, or other special requirements.

A Bit of Advice When Testing

Upon registration, the ACT/SAT will allow students to send four "free" score reports to colleges of their choice. These colleges must be selected before the student actually takes the test and sees their scores. I highly recommend that students wait until they see and analyze their scores to determine if and which colleges to send the scores. Sending scores after the scores are released will cost an additional fee, but the ability to analyze scores and determine whether they would help or hurt the student's chances of admission can be a small price to pay with test-optional schools!

In the end, students must do their research with the school's acceptance data, test-optional policies, specialized program requirements, and score submittal requirements. They should then use thier findings to determine whether their SAT/ACT scores will enhance or hinder their acceptance chances to decide their best course of action for each school.

How to subscribe to this Newsletter!

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Upcoming Tests at FHS

  • Spring ASVAB will be administered on Tuesday, March 1st and is open to all 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. Students should see their counselor if interested in registering for this test. Sign-up dates: Feb 16, 8am until Feb 28th, 4pm.
  • A free School Day SAT will be given to all 11th graders on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Students will be automatically registered for this test.
  • Click here for information about How to Send SAT Scores.
  • Visit the Advanced Academics Website for the latest information and guidance on ACT, AP, PSAT, and SAT testing

Testing Accommodations- Information for 504 and Special Education Students

FAFSA Application/Opt Out Form Due

Friday, Jan. 21st, 4pm

702 Greenbriar Drive

Friendswood, TX

Students must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completion of the FAFSA is a graduation requirement for all seniors. Alternatively, an opt out form can be submitted and returned to the FHS Counseling Center. A link to the opt out form can be found by accessing the Super Six FAFSA Facts infographic linked at the button below.

FHS Endorsement Showcase for 8th graders

Thursday, Feb. 17th, 6-7:45pm

702 Greenbriar Drive

Friendswood, TX

This event will be held for 8th grade students and parents and will begin in the FHS cafeteria with an opening welcome. From there, students and parents will have the option to visit elective programs and departments of their choosing in an open house format. There will be 5 sessions, with program choices from CTE, Fine Arts, and Athletics. Prior to the Showcase event, students will conduct interest assessments and lessons during their Mustang Impact period at school to highlight the elective options, help them understand career pathways, and prepare them for choosing sessions of interest.