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Lower Merion School District

Off-Canvas

Career & College Readiness

College Applications

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) provides a guiding framework for the delivery of our services to all students and we strive to follow this model in all that we do. When students enter Lower Merion High School, they are assigned to one school counselor throughout all four years of high school until graduation. Students, counselors and families begin to connect and to form relationship from the start of a student's freshman year. Students can expect to work with their counselor primarily in 1:1 meetings, in occasional small group sessions and can also expect to have access to other school counselors through classroom presentations.

Formal college counseling is offered in two major ways through our delivery system as defined by ASCA: School Guidance Curriculum and Individual Student Planning.

College Application Process

Links to Other Internet Resources:

The Common Application - https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/default.aspx

NCAA Eligibility Center for Athletes - http://eligibilitycenter.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.html

Peterson's Guide to College Information - http://www.petersons.com/

COLLEGIATE CHOICE WALKING TOURS VIDEOS: http://www.collegiatechoice.com/
A site run by a group of independent counselors in New Jersey who offer videos of walking tours of more than 350 colleges, providing an unedited recording of an actual student-guided campus tour offered at that college.

CAMPUS CHAMPS: http://www.campuschamps.org/
Interactice site designed to help student athletes prepare for higher education. The site offers comprehensive information on how to select the right college or university, financial aid opportunities and eligibility requirements, NCAA regulations and guidelines, advice from coaches and recruiters, profiles on real student athletes, tips on writing a sports resume, and improvement in performance.

CAMPUS TOURS: http://www.campustours.com/
Save money on airfare and take a virtual campus tour. Site features include webcam footage. 360 degree panoramic photos, interactive maps, campus movies and old fashion still pictures.

COLLEGE BOARD ONLINE: http://collegeboard.com/
Permits you to use the award winning college search software ExPan online and for free.

COLLEGE IS POSSIBLE: http://www.collegeispossible.org/
Is the thought of college tuition keeping you awake at night? This not-for-profit resourse is for parents, students and education professionals who want to learn more about planning and paying for college.

HIGH SCHOOL ACE: http://www.highschoolace.org/
The High School Hub is a noncommercial portal to excellent free online academic resources for high school students. It features interactive learning activities, a reference collection, college information, and subject guides for English, mathematics, social studies, science, world languages, arts, and technology

HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES: http://www.hbcumentor.org/
Provides students with information and admissions applications for degree-granting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Students are able to apply to over 30 HBC(Historically Black Colleges) for only $35.Even if students feel they aren't interested in attendingan HBC, this is a good opportunity to see if a college is willing to provide a full scholarship for students with high GPA's(grade point average). In addition, students who would like to attend a four year college, but do not have a strong academic profile on their transcript, may stand a greater chance of being considered for acceptance somewhere. http://www.eduinconline.com/

IMAGINE AMERICA: http://www.imagine-america.org/
Choosing your career is an important, often difficult, decision. But with the right information - and the right education - you can find the career that is right for you and get trained to succeed in it. Imagine America's Scholarship Program is here to help fund your education. We're also here to help you make the big decisions that will affect your future success as a working professional.

NCAA CLEARINGHOUSE ONLINE: http://www.ncaaclearinghouse.net/
Official NCAA web site that gives details of student-eligibility requirements to play NCAA sports. Watch the site for changes in eligibility. Students can print the Guide For the College-Bound Student-Athlete.

SAT/ACT

Registration for SAT, SAT Subject, & ACT Tests
Please click on the links below to reach the College Board and ACT websites. Students can register online for the SAT, SAT Subject Test, & ACT. Paper copies of the registration forms are available in the guidance office.

How many SAT Subject Tests do I have to take?
Check individual college websites as different colleges and even different departments within colleges have different requirements/recommendations.

What subject tests are available?

English

  • Literature

History and Social Studies

  • U.S. History (formerly American History and Social Studies)
  • World History

Mathematics

  • Mathematics Level 1 (formerly Mathematics IC)
  • Mathematics Level 2 (formerly Mathematics IIC)

Science

  • Biology E/M
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Languages

  • Chinese with Listening
  • French
  • French with Listening
  • German
  • German with Listening
  • Spanish
  • Spanish with Listening
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Japanese with Listening
  • Korean with Listening

How long is each test?
Each test is an hour, and you may take up to three in one sitting. You cannot take the SAT I Reasoning test and SAT Subject tests at the same administration.

When should I take the SAT Subject Tests?
Many students take the math exam in June of their junior year. Subject tests should be taken in June of the year you finish those courses or January if you use block scheduling. For instance, if you wanted to take the chemistry exam, you would take it in June right as you are finishing up the class even if that is your sophomore year. This way the material is fresh in your mind. If you choose to take a test at another time, be prepared to spend additional time preparing.

Which math exam should I take?
If you have finished only up to Algebra II or basic trigonometry, then you should take the Math Level 1. Math Level 1 requires a perfect raw score (50) to attain a scaled score of 800. This test has easier content, but needs a higher level of accuracy.

If you have finished pre-calculus and are comfortable with the material, then you should take Math Level 2, which tests higher level math skills and will look better on your transcript. Also, it is easier to get a perfect score on this test than on the Level 1 test because your raw score only needs to be a 43 out of 50 to attain a scaled score of 800.

How do I decide what my other tests should be?
You should choose subjects in which you excel and which you have recently finished. You should avoid language tests unless you are a native speaker or they are requested by the programs you are considering. Most native speakers choose a language test because they can score well, and this pushes the average score up so high that it becomes difficult for non-native speakers to score well.

Some engineering or science programs suggest or require specific Subject tests such as Chemistry or Physics.

University of Pennsylvania encourages students looking at the School of Arts and Sciences to take a language test.

Don't wait to start. Do you like Biology? Take the Biology test after 9th grade. Do you like World History? Take World History after 10th grade. World History is not the same as Western Civilizations. Make sure your curriculum matches up before you choose this test.

Since the SAT Writing Subject Test is now part of the SAT, there is now only one English Subject Test (Literature). Some students find this is a good choice, but it requires strong literature skills in American and British literature, past and present. Try a sample set of questions before assuming this is the right test for you.

Is the scoring the same as on the SAT?
Yes, you get one point for every correct answer, and a fraction of a point is deducted for each incorrect answer.

Are there any basic strategies?
Yes! Some strategies are specific to individual tests, but there are some basic tips. If you are starting with a good bit of time before test day, start out with your weakest areas. The closer to test date, the more you should focus on being absolutely confident in your strong areas.

Make sure you are familiar with the question types before test day. Do you know how to approach the Relationship Analysis Questions on the Chemistry test? Try sample test-like questions. Look for sample test questions from the College Board or pick up a Kaplan study guide at your local bookstore.

Don't necessarily rush through the easy questions so you have a lot of time to spend on harder questions. An easy question and a hard question are both worth the same amount. Don't risk making careless errors.
Strategic guessing is a great choice. Random guessing is not. Don't forget there is a ΒΌ point wrong answer penalty. Use those answer choices to help you narrow things down. Are two answers saying pretty much the same thing? Is a number just way too big to be logical?

Literature Test:
About 60 questions based on 6 - 8 reading passages

Questions on meaning (theme, argument, connotations of words), form (genre, structure, organization), tone (diction, syntax, emphasis), figurative language, narrative voice, and characterization

Math Level 1:
Tests algebra, geometry, basic trigonometry, algebraic functions, elementary statistics

Similar to the math found on the SAT

Calculators allowed

Math Level 2:
Tests algebra, geometry, advanced trigonometry and functions, statistics, limits

Calculators allowed and encouraged

Biology E/M:
60 core questions on topics such as cellular and molecular biology, ecology, evolution, classical genetics, and organismal biology

20 additional questions in either ecology or molecular biology

Students may not take both the ecology and the molecular biology specializations on the same day

Language and Language Listening:
The Language Listening Tests are only offered in November

For Listening Tests, students must bring their own cassette players

Physics:
75 questions covering a variety of topics including Mechanics, Electricity, Waves, Thermodynamics, and Modern Physics. Check your course curriculum and be prepared for extra study if you do not cover all of these areas.

Calculators NOT allowed

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is any grant or scholarship, loan, or paid employment offered to help a student meet his/her college expenses. Such aid is provided by various sources such as Federal and State agencies, colleges, high schools, foundations, and corporations. The amount of financial aid that a student receives is determined through Federal, State and institutional guidelines. Grants include aid the student receives that need not be repaid or loans must be repaid. Interest rates and repayment terms vary by program. Employment is aid based on an hourly rate for work performed and colleges may offer work study either through their institution or through the Federal government.

Frequently Asked Questions on Financial Aid

Financial Aid Resources and Descriptions

THE COLLEGE BOARD:
http://www.collegeboard.org/
This site offers in-depth information about all aspects of college costs and financial aid. It lets you search a data base of over 3,000 scholarship programs, use interactive worksheets for estimating your expected family contribution towards college costs; complete a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application; find out about loans; and more.

FASTWEB:
http://www.fastweb.com/
A data base of scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loans in private sector funding for college students living in the United States, plus extensive information about Federal government financial aid. This is a great resource for students to earn scholarship money.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:
The largest provider of financial aid, the Federal government has a great deal of information on student financial aid on its website. Here are four good sites to start with:

  • http://www.ed.gov/prog_info/SFA/StudentGuide- The Student Guide is the most comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Grants, loans, and work-study are the three major forms of student financial aid available through the Department's Student Financial Assistance office. Updated each award year, The Student Guide tells you about the programs and how to apply for them.
  • http://www.ed.gov/offices/OPE/index.html - Office of Postsecondary Education
  • http://www.ed.gov/index.htm- U.S. Department of Education index
  • http://www.ed.gov/studentaid- The Student Financial Assistance programs are the largest source of student aid in America, providing over $60 billion a year in grants, loans, and work-study assistance. Here you'll find help for every stage of the financial aid process, whether you're in school or out of school.

THE FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION PAGE:
http://www.finaid.org/
This is another site that provides excellent links to Internet sources of information about student financial aid.

FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID:
http://www.fafsa.gov
This site is for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web. It is fast, free, secure and the only way for students and parents to apply for Federal aid. It is available each year on October 1st.

http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/
This site provides an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STUDENT FINANCIAL AID ADMINISTRATORS:
http://www.nasfaa.org/
Basic and in depth financial aid advice for parents and students from the leading association of college financial aid officers.

SALLIE MAE:
http://www.salliemae.com/
Sallie Mae is the nation's largest secondary loan provider. This site provides several financial aid calculators and a lot of advice for parents and students.

PENNSYLVANIA HIGHER EDUCATION ASSISTANCE AGENCY:
http://www.pheaa.org/
Students of all ages and educational pursuits are moving on to higher education with the assistance of a wide variety of state and Federal grant and loan programs administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Scholarships

SCHOLARSHIPS

Scholarships are awards of financial aid for a student to further their education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. Scholarship money is not required to be repaid.

Students and parents should visit their Naviance Family Connection homepage to view scholarship information:

Types

The most common scholarships may be classified as:

  • Merit-based: These awards are based on a student's
    • Academic
    • Artistic
    • Athletic
    • Other extracurricular activities and community service record
  • Need-based: In the United States, these awards are based on the student and family's financial record and require applicants to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or the CSS Profile
  • Student-specific: These are scholarships where applicants must initially qualify by gender, race, religion, family and medical history, or many other student-specific factors.
  • Career-specific: These are scholarships a college or university awards to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study.
  • College-specific: College-specific scholarships are offered by individual colleges and universities to highly qualified applicants.

Local scholarships

It is typical for persons to find scholarships in their home region. Information on these can be found by asking local institutions and organizations.

  • School counselors and Teachers
  • Non-profits and charitable trusts
  • Community foundations
  • Foundations
  • Labor/trade unions
  • Houses of worship
  • Chamber of commerce
  • Other volunteer organizations

For Specialized Schools/Scholarships

http://www.ncaa.com/ for athletes
http://www.cbsa.com/ for athletes
http://www.scoutusa.com/ for athletes
http://www.naacp.org/ for African American students
http://www.blackcollegesearch.com/ for African American students
http://www.uncf.org/ for scholarships for African American students
http://www.hacu.org/ for Hispanic students
http://www.aspira.org/ for scholarships for Hispanic and Puerto Rican students
http://www.hillel.org/ for Jewish students
http://www.ccu.org/ for Christian students
http://www.catholiccollegesonline.org/ for Catholic students
http://www.ncld.org/ for students with learning differences

*Naviance is good for searching for colleges, careers, scholarship information and test prep.