College Counseling by Grade Level
Most of the early college counseling process focuses on curriculum and encouraging students to perfom their best across all subject areas. Freshman year emphasizes the Saint Mary's college-preparatory curriculum and why their academic performance in those courses matter. Each spring, freshman complete a four-year plan with their School Counselor focusing on what courses are required by universities and four-year colleges. Students will also work with teachers and counselors to learn about Scoir, our college planning platform.
9th Grade Milestones:
- PSAT 8/9 in the fall and spring
- Introduction to Scoir
- Four year plan
- Transcript review
Sophomores focus on understanding themselves as learners and how their academic strengths can guide their future planning. Additionally, there is an emphasis on identifying academic challenges and overcoming those through work with teachers, adjusting studying habits, seeking peer tutors, guidance from counselors, and increasing individual motivation. Sophomore year is also when students tend to become more engaged in and out of school. Getting involved in work, athletics, clubs, service, and more are meaningful ways to grow as an individual and add to the college application later on. Students are encouraged to sign up for things that excite them and not to get involved simply because it might be resume-building. Throughout the year, students revisit the four year plan created in 9th grade with their counselor and revise as needed.
10th Grade Milestones:
- Transcript review during orientation with College Counselor
- PSAT 10 in the fall and spring
- Utilize the YouScience software within Scoir to identify strengths and interests that could point them towards potential majors or careers.
- Spring event for parents to introduce them to the College Counseling program their students will begin junior year, debunk myths, and answer questions.
Junior year is critical for both academic performance and the beginning of formal college research and planning. In the fall, Juniors will take the PSAT which is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Once results are received, students meet with their counselors to assess their areas of strength, identify areas for improvement, and future testing plans. College Night in early December is the official kick-off of the college counseling process. Parents and students are required to attend and receive a timeline for developing their college list. Individual meetings with your college counselor start in mid December and continue throughout senior year. College visits are encouraged in the spring during Enrichment Week, Lasallian Days, and Spring Break. The Bay Area Case Studies event takes place in April, allowing parents and students a chance to understand the college admission process through the lens of the colleges themselves. Over 100 colleges are represented and guide students and parents through admission committee case studies as well as host a large college fair. In the summer, Saint Mary's offers a College Access course, a three-day course in which students begin the college application process and work on essays.
11th Grade Milestones:
- PSAT/NMSQT in the fall, SAT in the spring
- Two parent events to address standardized testing and helping your student with the college search
- College Night for families in December - Required
- One-on-one college planning meetings with college counselor
- Bay Area Case Studies in April
- Spring workshops on campus focusing on the college research and list development
- Summer College Access Course option
Senior year is defined by the college application process. Saint Mary's provides comprehensive support for the entire college application timeline; students are counseled both in a group setting and individually to support their unique post-high school goals. Students take the College Advisory course in term one where there meet multiple times a week in class with their college counselors to review all application types and receive step-by-step instructions. Essay workshops are also included in this class. Additionally, we welcome over 70 college representatives to campus in the fall for college visits - students can sign up to meet with reps, learn more about the school, and ask questions. Seniors meet with one-on-one with their college counselor continually throughout the fall and winter terms to discuss their specific college application process. -
12th Grade Milestones:
- SAT on campus in the fall
- Senior College Night for families in September - Required
- College Advisory course in term 1
- College rep visits weekly in term 1
- One-on-one meetings with your college counselor throughout fall and winter terms
- Financial AId Night for families in January
- College decision and financial aid package guidance in the spring
- May 1st is the universal college enrollment deadline