We distribute the PSAT practice guide at the beginning of the school year and advise 11th graders to review it and to take the practice PSAT. We meet with the 11th graders in mid-September to go over test-taking skills and to register them for the PSAT. We also give 11th graders advice about when to take the SAT for the first time (December, January or March of 11th grade).
We offer the PSAT again during the third week of October of 11th grade.
We offer a mock ACT test for students to compare the PSAT/SAT with the ACT tests, so that students can decide which test suits them best.
As soon as possible early in January, we begin our intensive process of working with the 11th graders on the transition to applying to college. In early January, we meet with the 11th grade to distribute PSAT results, discuss score interpretation, and assign each student a college counselor. We give all students log in information on Naviance, our on-line program for college selection research and application organization help. We also provide training on the best ways to use Naviance to research and organize during lunchtime training sessions. In addition to the SAT preparation offered in classes, we offer an SAT preparation course for interested students.
We meet one-on-one with each student. After our initial meeting, we provide each student with a preliminary list of colleges as a springboard for further research. We give detailed, individualized advice on all standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, and SAT subject tests. After we meet with the student one-on-one, we hold individual family meetings with each student and his or her family. We have these meetings with students and families as many times as the student and/or family deems necessary or helpful. We also discuss college financial aid at these meetings.
We meet with Grade 11 families as a group to discuss the college selection and application process. We distribute our College Application Survival Kit, our guidebook to demystify the process. We meet with all 11th grade families as a group to go over additional information regarding applying to college in greater detail. We distribute our publication, The College Application Survival Kit. This publication also contains the essay questions for the Common Application and UC Application. We also provide an introduction to college financial aid, including resources on scholarships.
All 11th graders should arrange to take the SAT for the first time. All students will take the SAT more than once! The redesigned SAT was released in March 2016.
We host a college fair with other independent schools in San Francisco at St. Ignatius. The NACAC college fair, a large city-wide college fair, also takes place in April.
We have a meeting with all 11th graders during an advisory period during which we go over essay writing and advise students to draft essays in the relative quiet of summer. We also check in regarding additional standardized testing concerns. We also request that students take at least two SAT subject tests by May or June. Each student has received detailed, individualized advice on which SAT subject tests to take. Students interested in attending engineering school should prepare to take Mathematics level 2 and Physics subject tests. We give advice about other college application tasks that should be done over the summer. We give all students a college questionnaire which students should complete over the summer.
We send a message to parents with a list of activities we ask students to do over the summer, including doing additional work on college selection and essay writing. We suggest that each student take each standardized test that they will need for their college applications at least once by the end of 11th grade! The summer should be used to get a head start on the college application process.