Oley Valley High School

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Oley Valley High School

17 Jefferson Street

Oley, PA 19547

Junior Guidebook

Table of Contents
Junior Calendar Check List …………………………………....3-4
College Planning Timeline……………………………………....4-5
What Are Colleges Looking For in Applicants?..........................6
Things You Want to Know About PSAT/SAT but are Afraid to Ask………………………………………………………………..7-8
College Tests – SAT and ACT…………………………………..8
OVHS College Application Process……………………………9-10
High School Project…………………………………………....11-12
Get to Know Yourself………………………………………….13-14
Transcript Request Form……………………………………...15-16

Junior Calendar Check List

  • Prepare for and take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This is the only time that the test scores will be considered for the National Merit Scholarship competition. Sign up at the high school guidance office.

October and November:

  • Make a list of colleges or universities you may want to attend, and discuss them with your parents and guidance counselor.

  • Review your financial options.

  • Attend Albright College Fair


  • Keep looking for scholarships and financial aid sources (or get started now, if you haven’t already). Popular sites include www.fastweb.com and www.finaid.com.


  • Request information from the colleges on your list.

  • Start comparing these schools. Which are good fits for you?


  • Plan visits with your parents to the schools that interest you, particularly when classes are in session.

  • Contact each school’s admissions and financial aid offices before visiting. If you can’t visit, inquire about virtual tours or discussions at nearby college fairs.

  • Sign up and prepare for the ACT and/or SAT exams.


  • Begin narrowing your list of college and career choices.

  • If you intend to apply for an ROTC scholarship, begin the process now.

  • Attend Alvernia College Fair during the school day on March 6th


  • Go to FAFSA4caster.ed.gov to get a jump on figuring out your financial aid eligibility.


  • Update your list of activities and awards. Consider taking a course at a community college this summer.

  • Look for a summer job or volunteer activity.

June and July:

  • Begin writing your resume and start assembling writing samples, portfolios, audition tapes, and any other information useful for your college application.

  • Continue to narrow your school choices---five schools or fewer are often recommended.


  • If you are planning to attend a school within an early decision deadline, submit the admission, scholarship and financial aid applications. Keep copies and record the dates you sent them. Deadlines for admissions, scholarships and financial aid often vary from school to school.

College Planning Tips

  • Make sure that you continue to focus on getting good grades and continue taking challenging classes.

  • If you are eligible, you should take the dual enrollment courses offered through RACC. This demonstrates to prospective colleges that you can handle challenging coursework.

  • Take the PSAT in October. If you took it in your sophomore year, you should still take it again. If you haven’t taken it yet, you need to take it now. The PSAT not only helps you practice for the SAT, but will also help you qualify for scholarships. Many scholarships request your PSAT scores to help them decide on a winner.

  • Take all standardized tests seriously. Some colleges and scholarships may request information about scores on tests such as the PSSA and PSAT.

  • Begin visiting colleges in the spring and summer, continue visiting college fairs, and talk to your parents and counselor about college and any questions that you have.

  • Continue researching colleges on the Internet and checking specific college websites for information about their school, tuition, and entrance criteria.

  • Plan to take your SAT’s in the spring of your junior year. This way you will have an idea of which colleges and technical schools you are eligible to attend. Most students do better on the SAT’s the second time they take it, so plan to take the SAT’s again in early fall of your senior year.

  • Look into alternative standardized tests. Some universities require the SAT subject tests for admission. Most colleges also accept the ACT instead of the SAT. The ACT is a shorter test, so you may want to consider taking it.

  • OVHS has fee waivers for the SAT and the ACT. See your school guidance counselor to see if you are eligible.

  • Continue to update your resume of activities, clubs, sports, jobs, awards, achievements, and honors.

  • Financial Aid: If you took the SAT in the spring, you will be put on a mailing list to receive a federal financial aid application (FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in December of your senior year. Parents need to complete this form before the deadline. This application determines if your family is eligible for financial aid in the forms of low interest loans, grants, or work-study. The application is also online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

  • Scholarships: During the fall of your senior year, listen to the announcements, and check with your guidance department for scholarships in the scholarship binder and on the departments website. In the spring of your senior year, local scholarships will be announced. Also, research scholarship search engines such as:

      • www.fastweb.com

      • www.meritaid.com

      • www.educationplanner.org

      • www.brokescholar.com

      • www.adventuresineducation.org

      • www.collegenet.com

      • www.nextSTEPmag.com

      • www.legion.org/needalift

What Are Colleges Looking for in Applicants?

  • A high school curriculum that challenges the student.

  • Grades that represent a strong effort and an upward trend.

  • A well-written essay that provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values, and goals.

  • Passionate involvement in a few activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative.

  • Solid scores on standardized tests (SAT, ACT).

  • Special talents or experiences that contribute to a well-rounded student body.

  • Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors that give evidence of integrity, special skills, and positive character traits.

  • Demonstrated enthusiasm, often exhibited in an interview, towards attending college.

  • Out of school experiences, including work and community service, that illustrate responsibility, dedication, and development of areas of interest.

  • Supplemental recommendations by adults who have had significant direct contact with the student.

Things You Want to Know About the PSAT/SAT but are Afraid to Ask
PSAT is taken during the fall of your junior year. PSAT’s are not sent to colleges. They are used as a practice tool and as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship. The SAT is designed for the spring of your junior year or the fall of your senior year, although you may take them at anytime.

Many students do not finish the test. This is okay. About 85% finish the verbal and 85% finish the mathematics.

Educated guessing is okay (if you can narrow down the answers to two or three possibilities). Random guessing is not a good idea on the SAT because you are penalized for incorrect answers. No points are given for answers that are left blank.

Information for SAT’s are in the guidance office or you can log on to www.collegeboard.com for registration information.

The majority of schools do not require SAT II’s. Check application requirements before you take this test.
What if I don’t know what I want to do after high school?
Don’t worry, you are not alone! Many students are not sure what careers they want to pursue after high school. However, that shouldn’t stop you from investigating. Stop by the guidance office to access the “Do What You Are” or “Career Cruising” programs. Learn more about the careers that may be suitable for you. You can also visit these programs at home by visiting www.achieveworks.com/116670 or careercrusing.com
Attention Junior Athletes
Are you planning on attending college after graduation? Will you participate in athletics there? Is it a Division I or Division II school?
If you answered yes to the questions above then you must register with the NCAA following the completion of your junior year. NCAA is the governing body that oversees all Division I and Division II athletics in the U.S. If you do not meet NCAA qualifications you will not be eligible to compete in Division I or Division II athletics at the college level. Students that attend Division III schools are not required to meet NCAA guidelines.
To learn more go to http://www.ncaa.org. Find out when coaches can contact you. Learn about the eligibility process. Find out which schools are Division I, II, and III. To register go to www.eligibilitycenter.org.
College Tests – SAT and ACT
Should a Student Take the ACT or the SAT?

Most colleges accept both ACT and SAT scores. Students can therefore take either test. While many students take both the ACT and SAT, some admissions counselors recommend that students take a practice test for each, and then spend all their time and energy preparing for the one they’re likely to do better on.

How do Students Sign up?

Students can sign up for the ACT at www.actstudent.org and for the SAT at www.collegeboard.com. Registration deadlines are about five weeks prior to each test date. Both the ACT and SAT are given on Saturday mornings, and both take about four hours. Students receive their scores three to six weeks after the test.

When Should Students Take the ACT and SAT?

Students should take the ACT and/or SAT in the spring of their junior year. This gives students who want to improve their scores time to retake these tests.

How Should Students Prepare?

Students need to read the free ACT and SAT study guides (ACT & CollegeBoard websites): Preparing for the ACT and SAT preparation Booklet. Both provide valuable information, tips, and sample tests, and both are available online. Additional test prep materials can be found in bookstores, libraries, and online.

OVHS College Application Process

  • Pick up transcript release form at the guidance office. (Located on the bookshelf in front of Mrs. Kreider’s desk).

  • Ask teachers/counselors in advance for letters of recommendation (if you need them). Give teachers a minimum of two weeks notice.

  • Provide your teachers/counselors with a “Brag Sheet” available in the Guidance Office

  • Begin writing essays (if you need them).

  • Bring transcript request back to the guidance office. Give to the guidance secretary or to your counselor. We will send out your transcript and your application if you want us to. Let us know if you have applied online and only want us to send a transcript or if you would like us to wait for other items, such as teacher recommendations or secondary school reports, before we send your transcript.

Allow 2 weeks for us to prepare your transcripts for sending. Do not wait until the last minute. Pay attention to deadlines. Don’t procrastinate. Rolling admission school applications should be sent in September or October.

Early Decision, Early Action and Rolling Admissions

If you find a college that seems a perfect fit, applying early may be a good idea. Early decision and early action plans allow you to apply early (usually in November) and get an admission decision from the college well before the usual spring notification date.

Early decision plans are binding. Students agree to attend the college if accepted and if the college offers an adequate financial aid package. You can apply to only one college for early decision, applying to other colleges through the regular admission process is allowed. If the first-choice college accepts you early, all other applications must be withdrawn.

Early action plans are similar to early decision plans, but are not binding. If accepted, you can choose to commit to the college immediately, or wait until the spring. Under these plans, you may also apply early action to other colleges. Usually, candidates have until the late spring to let the college know their decision.
The benefits of applying early

For a student who has a definite first-choice school, applying early has many benefits besides possibly increasing her chance of getting in. Applying early:

  • Reduces stress by cutting the time a student spends waiting for a decision

  • Saves students the time and expense of submitting multiple applications

  • Gives students more time, once accepted, to look for housing and otherwise prepare for college

  • If student is not accepted, having this information gives that student time to reassess options and apply elsewhere

The drawbacks of applying early

Pressure to decide: Committing to one college puts pressure on students to make serious decisions before they've explored all their options.

Rolling admissions in the college admissions process

Some schools go this route right from the start. As each application comes in, it's reviewed. Decisions are then made on a case-by-case basis and you'll usually hear back within 4 to 8 weeks.

Reduced financial aid opportunities: Students who apply under ED plans receive offers of admission and financial aid simultaneously and so will not be able to compare financial aid offers from other colleges. For students who absolutely need financial aid, applying early may be a risky option.

Time crunch for other applications: Most colleges do not notify applicants of admission until December 15. Because of the usual deadlines for college applications, this means that if a student is rejected by her early-decision college, she will have only two weeks to send in other applications. Encourage those of your students who are applying early to prepare other applications as they wait to hear about admission.

Senioritis: Applicants who learn early that they have been accepted into a college may feel that, their goal accomplished, they have no reason to work hard for the rest of the year. Early-applying students should know that colleges may rescind offers of admission should their senior-year grades drop.
High School Project
**All students who intend to graduate form Oley Valley High School must undertake and complete a high school project. **

**A copy of High School Project Guidelines for Students is available at the guidance office. **

  1. The project will have a written component that must be typed. It will consist of a minimum of five pages, exclusive of the title page, outline, and bibliography (if the supervising teacher requires them). The maximum number of pages is left to the discretion of the department and supervising teacher.

  2. The project will have an oral presentation consisting of a minimum of five minutes. The maximum time limit is left to the discretion of the department and supervising teacher. The presentation may simply be a summary of the steps taken to design and develop the project. The supervising teacher and student will determine the time and date for the presentation.

  3. Use of library resources and educational technology will be required in the project, as appropriate. Other requirements (e.g. charts, visuals, etc.) will be left to the discretion of the department and supervising teacher.

  4. Projects may be done individually or in groups of no more than three students at the discretion of the supervising teacher. Group projects will be structured to ensure an equitable distribution of work among collaborating students, and this structure will be specified in the written project description. Each member of the group is responsible for a five-minute oral presentation and five pages of an original written component.

Additional Requirements and Guidelines

  1. All high school projects must be completed by the end of the student’s junior year. The only exception will be for newly registered seniors who have not previously been enrolled in Oley Valley High School.

  1. Students who do not complete their high school project by the end of their junior year will not be allowed to participate in any activities, including interscholastic athletic teams, related to the high school during their senior year until all phases of the project are complete. Students are urged to complete their high school project during their freshmen and sophomore years.

  1. Extra-curricular and school sponsored activities may include but are not limited to the following:

Participation on athletic teams After School Intramurals

Berks Academic Challenge German Honor Society

Chess Club Prom/Homecoming Court

Debate Team FBLA

Drama Club/Musical/Play Interact Club

Literary Magazine NHS

LBN Speak-O-Link

Jazz Band Stage Crew

Student Council/ Class Officers Yearbook

Tri-M Senior Class Trip

After school weight training Dances

  1. A student who attends Berks Career and Technology Center may use a BCTC Student Project that has achieved a passing grade to satisfy the OVHS project graduation requirement. At the completion of the BCTC project, photocopy and submit to the OVHS guidance office Page 11 (“Berks Career and Technology Center Student Project Contract”) and Page 37 (“Evaluation Criteria”). BCTC students must complete their high school project within the timeline required by Oley Valley School District. BCTC students are not eligible for Work Based Learning until their projects are completed.

  1. Seniors who have not completed their high school project by the end of their junior year will not:

  • Be eligible to obtain a parking permit.

  • Receive work release privileges.

  • Attend any pep rallies or homecoming activities.

  • Be allowed to utilize their lunch hallway privileges.

  • Be allowed to participate in any Oley Valley Community Fair activities sponsored by the high school.

  1. After completion of the high school project, the student may resume all school-sponsored activities.

  1. The high school principal will individually evaluate students who have had any form approved of extended leave during their high school career.

Get To Know Yourself:

  1. What is your class rank?

  1. What is your GPA?

  1. What courses did you take and what were the grades received?

  1. What activities have you participated in school? Community?

  1. What honors and awards have you received?

  1. Are you employed? If so with who and for how long?

  1. What makes you unique? What are your strengths?

  1. What are your plans for after high school (four year college, two year college, technical, business, nursing, etc.)?

  1. What is your Dream College or career?

  1. What is your intended major?

  1. What teacher(s) would provide a good recommendation for you?

  1. What type of environment is most important to you in a college?

Urban? Suburban? Rural?

Small campus/classes? Medium campus/classes? Large campus/classes?


Close to home? 2 hours or more away from home?

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