Monday, October 17th, 2011
Counseling Department News
This year we welcome Mr. Gregory Derus to our guidance and counseling team. He joins the Saint Francis community as a counselor, social studies teacher, and football and lacrosse coach. A graduate of the University of Scranton, Mr. Derus earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and Counseling. He received a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies at the University of Dayton. Mr. Derus looks forward to guiding your students as they progress through the high school experience.
On Aug. 30 and 31, the Guidance Counselors met the freshman class during a series of presentations in which we introduced the role of the counselor over the course of their four years at Saint Francis. This opportunity allowed us to orient each freshman to our available services as well as our location and contact information. Additionally, each student met his or her counselor personally in small group sessions in which we also provided them with information on Family Connection, a valuable academic and college planning website used extensively throughout their high school career. Upon completion of the presentation, each freshman was personally introduced to his/her counselor. Each student was given a sheet with our department’s contact information and also their Family Connection card to help them start exploring careers and colleges. The presentation can be viewed using the following link Guidance and Counseling Presentation Files.
Welcome Freshmen Parents
On Thursday, Sept. 1, the Guidance and Counseling Department made a brief presentation to all freshmen parents before Back to School Night. If you were unable to attend this event, you can see the presentation here: Back to School Night Presentation.
Since Sept. 8, the counselors have been very busy meeting individually with each senior to plan and organize the college admissions process. Additionally, Sept. 6 and 7, and Sept. 28 and 29, our department presented two information sessions to all seniors on the nuts and bolts of the college admissions process and how to organize all the necessary details to navigate through the process. At this point in the process, all seniors are well prepared for all of the following details of the college admissions process: application deadlines, including early action, UC and CSU systems, accessing and filling out applications; acquiring/ordering transcripts; sending SAT/ACT test scores; remaining standardized test dates; acquiring letters of recommendation from both teachers and counselors; housing and financial aid. If you would like to see either presentation please visit the following weblinks: Fall Senior Presentation #1; and Fall Senior Presentation #2.
In September, numerous members of the Counseling Department attended a variety of local and national conferences including the following:
- Sept. 10 three of our guidance counselors attended the University of California Counselor Conference. Updates on admission practices and application procedures for the Class of 2012 were reviewed.
- Sept. 12 two counselors attended a Jesuit College Luncheon. This informative event included presentations from each of the 20 Jesuit colleges in the United States.
- Sept. 19 two of the guidance counselors attended the California State University Counselor Conference. Each of the 23 CSU campuses presented information and an overview of the new trends in admission for the Class of 2012.
- Sept. 21-25, one of our guidance counselors attended NACAC, the premier national college counseling conference, held this year in New Orleans. College admissions officers from all over the nation and across the world, as well as high school college counselors attended various workshops on admissions and application strategies.
On Thursday, Sept. 15, the Saint Francis Guidance and Counseling Department sponsored Senior Parent College Information Night. We were pleased to welcome guest speakers Sandra Hayes, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Santa Clara University, and Kiyoe Hashimoto, Assistant Dean of Admission at Stanford University to lead two of our four breakout sessions.
The workshops senior parents could choose from included:
- An overview of Current Trends in UC Admissions
- California State University Admissions
- What Parents Need to Know About the Application Process to Private Colleges and Applying to Highly Selective Colleges.
Parent/Teacher Conferences: Oct. 12
These conferences are not mandatory for parents, but if your student is significantly struggling in a class you are encouraged to visit with the teacher.
The conferences will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. following the PSAT testing and freshman retreat follow-up on Oct. 12. Conferences are by appointment only.
You may schedule a 10-minute appointment with individual teachers online at www.sfhsparent.com. Look for the link under Parents News. The appointment program will close Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m.
The conferences are offered as face-to-face meeting time for you if you feel you need that with a teacher. If you have some questions that you believe can be answered through e-mail or on the phone or you feel that you need a more lengthy meeting, please do not hesitate to contact the teacher prior to the date of the conference. Our teachers are always available to discuss your student’s progress.
PSAT Day: Oct. 12
On Wednesday Oct. 12, sophomores and juniors will take the PSAT on the Saint Francis campus. The PSAT (Practice SAT) is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Test, which is required by all colleges as part of the admissions process. The PSAT/NMSQT measures Critical reading, Math problem-solving, and Writing skills. Students do not need to register or sign up for this Oct. 12 test, and there is no cost. For more information about the PSAT, the SAT or SAT Subject Tests, please visit the official College Board website.
Family Connection Website
Last year, we introduced current sophomores and juniors to the Family Connection website. Family Connection offers students information about college admissions, career interests and goal setting. Students received a handout with the Saint Francis High School guest password. By mid-October, the Counseling Department will email each current sophomore and junior student his or her access code for the individual account. Counselors will then follow up with Sophomores in November and Juniors in January.
In November, counselors will be meeting with sophomores in Graham Theater to review the four year academic plan, to follow up with the Family Connection website services and to discuss the nuts and bolts of an academic transcript. Counselors will then personally meet with their students for a question and answer session.
Grade Level News
Family Connection: Students were given their access code for the Family Connection website in August. Family Connection offers students information about college admissions, career interests and goal setting.
Activities: Make sure that your student is participating in extracurricular activities on the Saint Francis campus—sports, theater, music, clubs, community service.
Finish Strong: This semester’s grades will determine student choices for classes in the sophomore year.
AP and honors level courses require grade prerequisites. Check the Saint Francis Course Bulletin for details.
PSAT: The PSAT will be administered Wednesday, Oct. 12. Results will be mailed to your home in January.
Finish Strong: This semester’s grades will determine student choices for classes in the junior year.
Family Connection: Students will be given their access code for the Family Connection website in November. Family Connection offers students information about college admissions, career interests and goal setting.
Students are advised to email their counselor or stop by during Collaboration, lunch or after school if they have a question or would like to request a meeting.
PSAT: The PSAT will be administered Wednesday, Oct. 12. Results will be mailed to your home in January.
Finish Strong: This semester’s grades will determine student’s choices for classes in the senior year.
Family Connection card: Students will be emailed their Family Connection access code in mid-October. Family Connection offers students information about college admission, career interests and goal setting.
College Representative Presentations: Junior students are invited to attend lunchtime presentations by College Admissions Representatives. Juniors cannot miss class for these presentations, which means they cannot attend presentations during the academic day. Students can find the schedule of college representative visits on the Saint Francis website and in Family Connection.
The Counseling Department will provide UC and CSU Application Workshops to assist students in completing the applications. The dates of the workshops are Friday, Oct. 14, Friday, Oct. 28, Tuesday, Nov. 8 and Thursday, November 17. Students will be instructed on how to sign up for these workshops.
Assist your students in keeping track of the college application log in and passwords. All college communications are sent through the email account your student provides in the college application.
After students submit applications to the UC or CSU system, make sure they frequently (at least once a week) check the email address used on those applications for vital application information or directives from the college. Failure to respond to a request for information could result in a cancelled application.
College Representative Presentations: Senior students are invited to attend presentations by College Admissions Representatives. Typically, the representatives that visit our campus are the same people who will be reading your student’s application. Students can find the schedule of college representative visits on the Saint Francis website and in Family Connection.
Counselors are in the process of meeting with each senior student individually. This process will be on going throughout October. If your student has a question about his/her application before the official meeting, please ask your student to email the counselor or stop by the counseling office at Collaboration, at lunch or after school.
Food for Thought
Articles and Books
Listed below are some links to articles that we have used in our efforts to stay current with college admissions and education trends. This is a unique section because it gives you a glimpse into our world. We selected a few articles that we found of particular interest.
Children Coping with National Tragedies
Forget Who’s No. 1 or No. 138: How to Use the U.S. News Rankings
Stress Management for Teens and Parents
College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step by Robin Mamlet A book by the former Dean of Admission at Stanford University, Swarthmore College and Sarah Lawrence College.