College Planning for Seniors and Their Parents

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College Planning for Seniors and Their Parents

  • Nashoba Regional High School
  • Guidance Department
  • Class of 2017
  • Katie Abruzzese, Counselor, A-De Sue Allaire, Career Counselor
  • Trevor Short, Counselor, Df-J Stephanie Hilliger, Guidance Secretary
  • Sarah Dodd, Counselor, K-O Jeanine Eickhorst, Registrar
  • Jodi Specht, Director, P-R
  • Dan Glover, Counselor S-Z


  • Guidance Curriculum
  • Testing
  • College Visits
  • Admission Plans
  • Student Admission Folder
    • The Application
    • Essays
  • The Guidance Package
    • Transcripts
    • Recommendations & Checklists
  • Deadlines
  • @nashobaguidance

College Planning Events

  • Evening Events
  • Mass Public College Fair
    • Wednesday, 10/19 6:00-8:00pm Nashoba
  • Financial Aid Night (MEFA)
    • Wednesday, 10/19 6:00 Auditorium Nashoba
  • Daytime Events:
  • Alumni Return Panel – January Activity Period
  • Scholarship Workshop – January Activity Period
  • Other Events:
  • FAFSA Day 2016 ( - Area Colleges
    • November 6, 2016
    • January 29, 2017
  • Canadian College Fair – Tues 10/18/16 (617.969.1000)
  • Performing & Visual Arts Fair – Thurs 10/27/16

Guidance Curriculum

  • Junior Seminar - “The White Binder”, Naviance, the search, visits, testing, recommendations, Career Interest inventories, etc.
  • Summer Workshop – Common App and Essay
  • Senior Seminar – Pulling the package together: testing, applications, required forms, essays, recommendations, etc.
  • College Rep Visits - ~75 colleges, sign up on Naviance
  • Counselor Meetings
  • Newsletters
  • Events

Required Testing

  • Most colleges require some testing.
  • The vast majority of colleges accept either the SAT or ACT (It is the student’s responsibility to check the college website for specific, current, requirements).
  • See for a list of colleges which are test score optional. (Might still be required for merit aid consideration.)
      • Score optional or Score Flexible
    • Fewer than 20 require SAT II Subject tests; another handful recommend them; some specific majors might require 1, 2, or 3 SAT II;s. See for a list of colleges that require SAT II Subject Tests.

Test Flexible – WPI & NYU

Standardized Testing Please note that the CEEB code for NRHS is 220162

  • Test Date
  • Test
  • Registration Deadline
  • October 1
  • SAT
  • September 20 (late)
  • October 22
  • (Scores available starting Nov 8)
  • ACT
  • September 30 (late)
  • November 5
  • (Scores available starting Nov 23)
  • SAT
  • October 7
  • December 3
  • (Scores available starting Dec 22) 
  • SAT
  • November 3
  • December 10
  • (Scores available starting Dec 20)
  • ACT
  • November 4
  • SAT I & II ACT:

How do the colleges get my test scores?

  • It is your responsibility to have the official test record of your SAT I/SAT II or ACT tests sent to the colleges from the testing organization.
  • Use the “four free” with each test administration to send, or log on to your account and “send scores”. $12 per school.
  • No need to wait – colleges will hold them for your application.
  • EA & ED candidates – be sure that your school will accept scores if they arrive after the application deadline!
  • Some school require entire test report, others will let you select which scores you send in.
  • By default College Board sends entire test report; ACT you must select test dates.

For example

  • Speaking of Testing …..
  • Ignore the “Average”
  • Use the Scattergrams

College Visits

  • On Campus Tours
    • Up to three days excused
    • Learn what college admissions officials expect from candidates.
    • Evaluate the environments of the school (academic, physical and social)
    • Sit in on a class, stop and eat, read the school paper, look at the bulletin boards
    • Meet the students who are attending and who would become your school world.
      • Columbus Day Weekend 10/8-1/10
      • Early Release – 10/21
      • PT Confs – 11/4 & 11/7

Admission Officers visit NRHS (50 to 75 this year)

  • Approximately 45 minute visit
  • Click on “register” at least 24 hours in advance
  • Seek teacher approval to miss class
  • Most often this rep will be the “first read” of your folder

Admission Plans

  • Regular Decision (all applications are read together)
  • Early Decision (binding for student and college)
  • Early Action (student keeps all options open)
    • Restrictive Early Action
  • Rolling (often admitting by major or program; housing may be an issue)
  • Rolling with deadline (read on a rolling basis, but looks like a “regular decision” deadline
  • Alternative Plans of Admission
    • Second Semester Admission
    • Alternative Program Admission
    • General Studies
    • Summer Term
    • Guaranteed Transfer

Things to do now

  • Teacher Recommendations
  • Counselor Recommendations
  • Active List
  • Essays & Short Answers
  • Applications
  • Send Scores
  • This is critical --- be sure to select “All Colleges”
  • It is important to note that teachers can no longer see your college deadlines on their Naviance desktop. This makes it CRITICAL that you communicate deadlines well in advance --- as soon as you know of an early program you will be applying to, see the teachers and let them know.
  • This field will initially show “Requested”
  • Once a teacher submits their letter to Naviance, it will show “Submitted”
  • “Submitted” will NOT mean submitted to the college. You will know it was submitted when your entire transcript package is sent --- On the Colleges tab it will say “Initial Materials Submitted” rather than “pending”

Counselor Recommendation

  • At least 3 weeks prior to 1st deadline
  • Specific Recommendation Appt
    • Student write up for counselor
    • Parent write up for counselor
    • Activities list or resume
    • Draft of Essay
  • Meet with your Guidance Counselor Regularly
  • Update on where you are in the process
  • Go over college options
  • Discuss testing needs
  • Review application timelines
  • Update college list in Naviance
  • Make a SPECIFIC appointment for the recommendation
  • At least 3 weeks prior to first deadline
  • Hopefully it will be much earlier – think 4-6 weeks
  • We cannot guarantee a letter if we do not have time to write it !
  • Things to do in Naviance – Update College List
  • I clicked “directly to institution”
  • This tells Mrs. Hilliger how to submit the transcript package and what your application deadline is.
  • (complete the Common App Match once)
  • Click Pencil to make changes

Student Admission Folder

  • Student requests SATs or ACTs from testing organization
  • Student mails or submits:
    • Application Forms (completed & signed)
    • Application Fee
    • Essay, Activities/Work Resume, other
  • Guidance mails or submits:
    • School Profile
    • Transcript (3 year) & Q1 report card
    • Recommendations: Teacher(s) & Counselor along with Evaluative Checklists for each

The Application

  • Common Application
    • Over 600 colleges accepting (48 MA schools including the U-Mass system.)
    • MOST schools have a supplemental form.
    • Pay & submit on line – 1 at a time.
  • Institution Specific Applications
    • Each application is different. Carefully review instructions and deadlines!


  • The essay serves a variety of purposes for the admissions counselor:
    • Shows writing style, technical correctness, fluency, etc.
    • Judges the depth of understanding of intellectual or social issues
    • Demonstrates perspective and quality of thinking
  • Since the essay is student produced, it often reflects, or confirms, what is presented throughout the rest of the application package.
  • Nice place to showcase a part of your personality not already evident in activities & recommendations
  • The essay can be a powerful “tipper” in close cases – and this is especially true with very strong or very poor essays.

The Application Package

  • Completed application – neatness and accuracy counts!!
  • Essay (Topic and length may vary by institution)
  • Short Answers (Just as important as Essay)
  • Application Fee (See Guidance if a fee waiver is needed)
  • Now go into Naviance and click on “have you applied” and indicate Yes !

Student Admission Folder

  • Student requests SATs or ACTs from testing organization
  • Student mails or submits:
    • Application Forms (completed & signed)
    • Application Fee
    • Essay, Activities/Work Resume, other
  • Guidance mails or submits:
    • Recommendations: Teacher(s) & Counselor
    • Transcript (3 year) & Q1 report card
    • School Profile

Counselor Recommendation

  • Students must contact Mrs. Hilliger in order to set up a time for their Counselor Recommendation Interview to which they will bring:
    • Copy of their resume (Naviance)
    • Draft of their College Essay
    • Parent Survey (Naviance)
    • Counselor Recommendation Survey (Naviance)
  • Review:
    • Colleges in Active List
    • Student has responsibility to send scores
    • Teachers are listed as requested recommenders
    • Student has signed the transcript release
    • Student will click “I have applied” to trigger transcript package
  • These meeting are in addition to, not instead of, regular individual college counseling appointments.


  • 3 year transcript
    • Course level & name, final grade & credits
    • Weighted GPA each year
    • Cumulative, weighted GPA & unweighted GPA
  • Q1 grades

Transcript Requests

  • Transcript packages are sent or uploaded only when complete!
  • Students must:
    • Notify teachers of earliest deadline
    • Meet with guidance counselor no less than 3 weeks prior to earliest deadline (although the sooner the better)
    • Have teachers listed in Naviance
    • Have colleges on “Colleges I’m Applying To” list – with appropriate admission plan
    • Send scores in a timely fashion
    • Click “I have applied” to trigger submission of the transcript package
  • Please pay careful attention – is it a “Mailed by” or “Received by” deadline? Allow additional time for long-distance mailing.

The Guidance Package: Common Application – Sent Electronically Non Common App Schools – On-Line or Mail

  • School Profile
  • Transcript & Q1 Grades
  • Recommendations: Teachers & Counselor
  • The “package” will be ready to submit online as soon as it has been reviewed and approved by the counselor.
  • Mid year grades will be automatically sent to every college a student applies to.
  • Final transcript will be sent automatically to the school the student attends.

Financial Aid

  • FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION NIGHT Wednesday, October 19, 6:00 School Auditorium
  • In conjunction with MA Public College Fair (6:00 – 8:00)
  • An overview of the process, types of Aid, Applications, FAFSA, Profile
  • The Forms:
  • 1. FAFSA – Free Application For Student Aid
  • This is a federal form required by all Colleges & Universities – this year submit as early as October 1.
  • Colleges will set their own deadlines
  • Use the IRS retrieval tool --- it works great!
  • Both parent and student must request a PIN – in advance.
  • 2. CSS Profile –
  • “Common” financial aid paperwork where you register specific schools to receive your application and a customized application is created for you.
  • 3. Institution Specific Forms

Scholarships (nearly $90K to over 100 seniors last year)


  • – SATs, College Search, Estimated Financial Aid
  • - ACT
  • - FAFSA
  • - Mass Colleges, GPA Calculator
  • – Fastweb scholarship search, College Search
  • - to access Family Connection
  • – Mass Educational Financing Authority

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