Overview of the Process, Year-by-Year
STEMCivics expects every student to graduate and pursue further study in college, a trade school, or the military. The STEMCivics experience is targeted at ensuring students are ready to succeed in college and careers. Toward ensuring such, STEMCivics will provide students with a comprehensive four-year college guidance program that works closely with students and their parents, guiding them through the intricacies of the college admission process.
STEMCivics recognizes the importance of asisting students in finding the right match. Just as every two people are not right for each other as friends, though each person may be a terrific person, every student and every college are not right for each other, though each might also be terrific. The key is finding the right one for each student. As STEMCivics counselors will not only know each student, but will understand each student as well, they will play an integral role in the application process.
College guidance will include meetings with each student and family to develop a list of colleges to match individual talents with the unique resources of colleges and universities. In addition, throughout the year,STEMCivics host formal information programs as well as informal gatherings in an effort to keep families well-informed about the college admission process.
Each grade has its own focus relevant to preparing for college. STEMCivics will start working with students and parents from the ninth grade forward. The narrative below identifies particular points in the process. The plan will be further delineated, including but not limited to use of Naviance, the gold standard in college and career readiness software, college tours, and other specific activities and programs.
Overview of the Transition Year
The challenge of the freshman year is making a smooth transition to high school. Students entering ninth grade face new academic expectations and multiple opportunities for extra-curricular involvement. The STEMCivics-Katzenbach connection opens a new world of possibilities. Other friends of STEMCivics offer a range of project- and career-based learning experiences.
Students should use these unique opportunities to establish a strong academic foundation and get involved in extra-curricular activities and co-curricular activities. Students should also seek out leadership and civic engagement opportunities that will enable them to develop their interests and personal growth.
Students are encouraged to participate in summer enrichment programs. Community House, a part of the PACE Center for Civic Engagement at Princeton University, offers summer SAT prep, among other things. General information on a broad range of summer programs is available in the Guidance Office. Students are also encouraged to continue their civic engagement activities. Summer is a great time to intensify your efforts, and forge ahead, getting ready for your sophomore year.
Overview: Building on the Foundation
Students are expected to build on the academic base established in the freshman year. Students continue to participate in athletics, civic engagement activities, clubs, and other extra- and co-curricular activities. Students will begin exploring opportunities for leadership that will enhance their profiles when applying to college.
Students are expected to build on areas of interest by doing summer enrichment, which may mean pursuing study in an area of interest at a university or furthering their civic engagement project. Students may also consider summer employment.
Overview: A Critical Year
September - October
Review and take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. Begin constructing your resume: keep track of your awards and important activities
Attend College Night for juniors and parents
PSAT scores released in early December. Analyze the results of the PSAT for the specific areas that you need to review.
STEMCivics will administer a Student & Parent Questionnaire. Completion of this questionnaire will assist the counselor in identifying possible college matches. Please submit the questionnaire before leaving for winter recess.
Individual student/college counselor meetings begin
As the ACT and SAT approach, remember to put it in proper perspective. It is important, but it is less important than your STEMCivics grades. It is not the most important event in your life. If you do poorly, you will get another chance and you now can choose which scores you want to send.
Familiarize yourself with the publications available in the College Office, on the Internet, and try reading some college literature.
Register for the April ACT.
Individual family/college counselor meetings begin
Visit colleges in which you are interested during Spring Break
Continue test prep
Register for June ACTs
Consult with your college counselor regarding teacher recommendations
Take the May SAT Test
Begin to make college interview and tour appointments; continue to visit colleges throughout the summer
Over the summer, register for the September ACT
Work on Common Application essay draft over the summer break
Students might take courses at colleges at which they have intiial interest. Students may also seek and acquire employment, further their civic engagement projects or start new ones, and continue visiting colleges. Remember to register for the September ACT.
Overview: The Home Stretch
Consider these points for each month. Deadlines are just that -- deadlines. Students must adhere to the dates relevant to submission of materials, both at STEMCivics, which are constructed for a reason, and at the respective colleges.
College Seminar for Seniors begins
Student/college counselor meetings begin
Register for October & November SATs & Subject Tests, and October & December ACTs as needed
Continue working on Common Application, including required supplemental writings.
Register for the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, if applicable
Arrange for any interviews or overnight stays at your prospective colleges
Check teacher recommendation. Make sure there are two
Finalize your college list: Early Applications (EA/ED/Rolling) – Mid-October, Regular Decision – week after Thanksgiving.
Finish Rolling Admission Applications and Common Application Essays.
Attend meetings with college reps when appropriate.
Apply to rolling admission schools by the end of the month.
Remember to send standardized test scores to colleges.
Submit Early Decision/Early Action applications with November 1 deadlines.
Submit the CSS Financial Aid Form, if applicable.
Submit Early Decision/Early Action applications with November 15 deadlines
For ALL early applications, the College Guidance Office submits your fall midterm grades
Remember to send your standardized test scores to colleges if you have not already done so
Submit all regular decision applications and essays online and print out a copy for your records
If applying to public colleges and universities in California, submit your applications by November 30 (NO EXCEPTIONS!)
Register for a FAFSA PIN online, if applicable
You may wish to verify your status at each school by phone or through your online portal at the school’s Web site approximately one month after you send in your application materials. There is often a significant backlog in data entry at this time of year, so there may be some materials that have been received but not entered into the computer or downloaded. Be patient with the schools and do not panic.
See your counselor for advice if you would like to register for the January SAT Reasoning and/or Subject Tests
If applying for financial aid, compile important financial documents. You may complete financial aid forms using tax return numbers from the previous year if you suspect that there will be delays in compiling your data from the most current calendar year.
Complete and submit the FAFSA if you are applying for financial aid.
College Guidance Office submits fall semester grades for all outstanding applications
Many colleges ask for second semester updates on grades, and all schools review final end of year transcripts of entering freshmen. Keep working hard!
Attend to any incomplete application notices you receive from colleges and notify your college counselor immediately.
If you have applied for financial aid, make sure you have received the CSS PROFILE acknowledgement and the Student Aid Report (SAR) from the FAFSA application. Check both for accuracy and make any necessary corrections immediately.
Review all of your college decisions, scholarships, and financial aid offers with your college counselor and your family. Always keep your counselor informed about decisions!
If possible, visit your top schools before you make your decision to submit an enrollment deposit and be mindful of deposit deadlines (Do NOT submit multiple deposits, as it is unethical and unfair to other applicants, and can lead to BOTH offers of admission being rescinded).
Notify schools to which you have been accepted, but will not be attending (It is okay and recommended that you NAME the “elsewhere” college).
If you are offered a space on one or more waitlists, inform the schools and your college counselor if you plan to remain under consideration for admission.