During the freshman year, students engage in an orientation to high school. The transitional phase may be difficult, and counselors are on-hand to help students through. At the beginning of the school year students are provided a review of note taking techniques, study tips, and test-taking strategies. Students learn about graduation requirements and college admissions standards. Students are encouraged to form healthy relationships and friendships while at STM. Goal setting is highlighted throughout the year at various checkpoints with the students documenting their participation in extracurricular activities and academic successes.
During the sophomore year, students explore the world of work, aptitudes, and interests. The focus is on college and career entrance requirements and preparation. Classroom guidance sessions focus on test scores analysis and the continuum of college prep courses. Students take various inventories and assessments to discover learning style, personality type, and work values. Students are encouraged to continuously set learning goals, assess progress on their four-year plan, and set their sights on independent post-secondary prospects. The PreACT is administered this year to encourage planning and the analysis of academic strengths and weaknesses, allowing students to better prepare for college entrance exams.
During the junior year, research on colleges, apprenticeships, the military, and exploration of post-high school options begins in earnest. This is accomplished through college entrance exam administration, informational meetings, and classroom interventions.
Students are encouraged to research colleges by taking advantage of visits from college representatives, information on Naviance Family Connection, and by touring college campuses. A parent meeting explores post-high school options and offers information on public and private colleges, tips on the selection process, and information on financial aid and scholarships. Any student athlete that wishes to participate in college athletics at the Division I or II level must be certified by the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse. Information and applications can be found at www.ncaa.org.
In Spring students take the ACT, create resumes and write college essays. Each junior has the opportunity to meet with the college counselor to discuss ACT results and create an outline for the college application process that will occur senior year. Students are asked to identify chosen colleges, majors and career goals.
In the first semester, individual and group meetings are held with seniors to review the college application process, discuss transcripts, and make decisions regarding post-high school plans. A parent meeting provides information on college financial aid and scholarships.
Students pursuing any type of postsecondary education are asked to submit applications by Dec. 1st. Many competitive colleges and universities have earlier deadlines, such as Nov. 1st. We encourage timely application so that our students will have the best chance for acceptance, along with the greatest possibility to receive financial aid.
Families who desire to make college more affordable must submit a FAFSA, which is an acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The application becomes available on fafsa.gov on October 1st and requires tax returns from the previous year. We recommend that all eligible college-bound students apply with the FAFSA. Even if you do not qualify for grants, this is how you get student loans, and it is oftentimes a prerequisite for scholarship applications.
College applicants will generally get acceptance letters as early as October and as late as March, depending on when they apply. Schools with “rolling admissions” accept applications year-round and look at applications as soon as they are submitted and send a response within 2-4 weeks. Schools with a deadline have “pooled admissions” and look at all applications at the same time, after the deadline. Seventh and eighth semester (senior year) transcripts will be requested by colleges/universities and can affect admission status. Therefore, it is important to remain diligent with school performance.
College-bound students must have made a final decision by May 1st and should make a deposit to the chosen college/university. Simultaneously, they should inform all other institutions to which they were accepted that they are respectfully declining the offer.
For a printable timeline, click here. [hyperlink to document College Preparation Timeline]