The Official Transcript is record of your high school courses and grades sent directly from Hayden to a recipient organization. It is accompanied by the School Profile, which provides summary information about Hayden’s student body, course offerings, grading system and test performance statistics.When you apply to colleges in the fall of your senior year, most colleges require an Official Transcript to assess your performance from 9th-11th grades. Colleges may also require a Mid-Year Transcript, a record of your 12th grade fall semester courses and grades, and will always require a Final Transcript after you graduate from high school.
College admissions counselors and scholarship organizations use the School Profile to determine your standing within the context of opportunities provided by your high school. For all Common Application colleges, counselors attach a School Report (also known as Secondary School Report) to the Official Transcript.
- Transcript Request Form
- College-Specific Forms- Some colleges provide forms that must accompany the Official Transcript. Complete the student portion & SIGN the form before submitting to the Counseling Office.
Got Senioritis? Think again. After senior year fall semester grades are finalized, most colleges require a second official transcript to verify your most recent courses and grades. Your senior year academic record is an important component of your application that shows continued pursuit of challenge. And heads up – a final transcript after graduation is required by the school you have chosen to attend.
- Request a mid-year transcript
- College specific forms- Include any counseling forms your college specifically requires to be sent with the transcript. Complete ALL applicant portions and SIGN if necessary.
- On the rare occasion that your mid-year transcript must be mailed, the full address can be found on the college admissions website.
Follow the instructions on the Alumni Transcript Request Form.
Terms for Responses from Colleges
Admit — You’re in! You are being offered admission to a college to which you applied. Make sure you pay attention to the date by which you need to respond with your acceptance. Typically, merit/financial aid offers arrive after you are admitted.
Deferred – The admissions decision is being moved to a later date.
Deferred acceptance — You applied during the early admissions time frame but you were placed on hold to be considered again during the regular admissions time frame and accepted at that point.
Deny — You are not in. The decision is made by the college or university admissions committee.
Waitlist — You are not in but have been placed on a waiting list in case an opening becomes available. If you are waitlisted, you should still follow up with the college to let them know you remain interested (if indeed you are). Talk with your counselor if this happens to you.
Waitlist/Accepted – You were placed on the waiting list. An opening became available and you took it.
Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses — High school courses which may be counted as college credit or allow advanced placement in college courses. For more information, please check the College Board AP link. Important note: Test registration deadlines are often in early November – don’t miss them!
American College Testing (ACT) — A national college admissions exam testing English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. Most colleges require either ACT or SAT 1 test scores with your college application. For more information, visit the ACT website.
Award package — Another term for financial aid package which may include grants, loans and work study options.
Candidates Reply Date Agreement — If admitted to a college, a student does not have to reply until May 1. This allows time to hear from all the colleges to which the student applied before having to make a commitment to any of them. This is especially important because financial aid packages vary from one school to another. Not applicable for early decision applicants.
College-preparatory subjects — Courses taken in high school that are viewed by colleges and universities as a strong preparation for college work. The specific courses are usually in the core subject areas of English, history, world languages, mathematics, and science. The courses may be regular, honors‐level, AP or IB offerings, and the latter three categories are often weighted when calculated in the GPA.
College Scholarship Service (CSS) — When the federal government changed the FAFSA form several years ago, the College Board created this program to assist postsecondary institutions, state scholarship programs, and other organizations in measuring a family’s financial strength and analyzing its ability to contribute to college costs. CSS processes the PROFILE financial form that students may use to apply for nonfederal aid. This form is submitted to some 300 private colleges and universities along with the FAFSA when seeking financial aid from these institutions. Participating colleges and universities indicate whether they require this form. This is the link to the CSS Profile website. Important note: Some questionable companies charge a fee to help you complete the CSS profile. This is not necessary.
Common Application — See Common Application at top.
Cost of Education — This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. A student’s financial aid eligibility is the difference between the cost of education and the Expected Family Contribution as computed by the federal government using the FAFSA.
Course Load — The number of course credit hours a student takes in each semester. Twelve credit hours is the minimum to be considered a full‐time student. The average course load per semester is 16 credit hours.
Credit Hours — The number of hours per week that courses meet are counted as equivalent credits for financial aid and used to determine you status as a full- or part-time student.
Early Action (EA) — See College Application Decision Plans above.
Early Decision (ED) — See College Application Decision Plans above.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) — The amount of financial support a family is expected to contribute toward a child’s college education. This amount is part of the formula used by the federal government to determine financial aid eligibility using the FAFSA form.
Federal Pell Grant Program — This is a federally sponsored and administered program that provides grants based on need to undergraduate students. Congress annually sets the appropriation; award amounts vary based on need. This is “free” money because it does not need to be repaid.
Federal Perkins Loan Program — This is a federally run program based on need and administered by a college’s financial aid office. This program offers low‐interest loans for undergraduate study. Repayment does not begin until 9 months after the borrower drops to less than halftime enrollment status.
Federal Stafford Loan — This federal program provides low‐interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students. The maximum annual loan amount depends on the student’s grade level. Fixed interest rates will not exceed 6.8%. Repayment does not begin until 6 months after the borrower drops to less than halftime enrollment status. Several repayment options are available.
Federal Work‐Study Program (FSW) — A federally financed program that arranges for students to combine employment and college study; the employment may be an integral part of the academic program (as in cooperative education or internships) or simply a means of paying for college.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — This is the federal government’s instrument for calculating need-based aid. It is available from high school guidance departments, college financial aid offices, and the Internet (www.fafsa.gov). The form should be completed and mailed as soon after January 1 as possible.
Gap — The difference between the amount of a financial aid package and the cost of attending a college or university. The student and his/her family are expected to fill the gap.
Gap Year – Typically this refers to taking a year off after graduating from high school and before beginning college. Students who want to take a gap year should apply to college and be accepted, then request a deferred enrollment. Talk to your counselor for details.
Grants/Scholarships — These are financial awards that are usually dispensed by the financial aid offices of colleges and universities. The awards may be need‐ or merit‐based. Most are need‐based. Merit‐based awards may be awarded on the basis of excellence in academics, leadership, volunteerism, athletic ability, or special talent.
Honors Program — Honors programs offer an enriched, top‐quality educational experience that often includes small class size, custom‐designed courses, mentoring, enriched individualized learning, hands‐on research, and publishing opportunities. A handpicked faculty guides students through the program. Honors programs are a great way to attend a large school that offers enhanced academic, social and recreational opportunities.
Merit Awards, Merit‐Based Scholarships — More “free” money, these awards are based on excellence in academics, leadership, volunteerism, athletic ability, and other areas determined by the granting organization, which can be a college or university, an organization, or an individual. They are not based on financial need.
Need Blind — Admissions decisions made without reference to a student’s financial aid request, that is, an applicant’s financial need is not known to the committee at the time of decision.
Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) — Each branch of the military sponsors an ROTC program. In exchange for a certain number of years on active duty, students can have their college education paid for up to a certain amount by the armed forces.
Residency requirement — The term has more than one meaning. It can refer to the fact that a college may require a specific number of courses to be taken on campus to receive a degree from the school, or the phrase can mean the time, by law, that is required for a person to reside in the state to be considered eligible for in‐state tuition at one of its public colleges or universities.
Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), also called the SAT I — A national college admissions exam testing mathematics, critical reading and writing. Most colleges require either SAT 1 or ACT test scores with your college application. For more information, visit: www.collegeboard.org
SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT II Tests) — These subject-specific exams are given on the same test dates and in the same centers as the SAT. More emphasis has been placed on these tests in recent years, not only because they are used for admission purposes, but also for placement and exemption decisions.
Student Aid Report (SAR) — Report of the government’s review of a student’s FAFSA. The SAR is sent to the student and released electronically to the schools that the student listed. The SAR does not supply a real money figure for aid but indicates whether the student is eligible.
Universal College Application – Like the Common Application, the Universal College Application provides a common online application accepted by member institutions. Over 40 colleges accept the Universal College App. To find out more about this application, click here.
College Oppertunity Fund (COF)
If you are a Colorado resident at least 13 years old, register for the Colorado College Opportunity Fund (COF).
The COF is a fund created by the Colorado Legislature to provide a stipend for resident undergraduate students attending participating public Colorado colleges or universities. There is no income qualification and the student is not required to be a full time student. You don’t need to know where you will go to college and you only apply once! The stipend is paid on a per credit hour basis for up to 145 credit hours. The student must apply in order to obtain the COF stipend, which is paid directly to the college or university.
In 2014-2015, for residents that attend a participating public Colorado College or University this is:
- $75 per credit hour at state universities and colleges
- $38 per credit hour at participating private Colorado universities
This money is already accounted for in the Net Price Calculator for estimated college costs, so apply! The amount of per credit hour funding is set annually by the Colorado legislature.
For example, if a student takes 15 credit hours per semester, that student will receive a stipend in the amount of $2,250 for the year (30 credit hours). Students that attend a Colorado participating private university receive half the amount per credit hour in stipend funding ($38.00 per credit hour for the 2014-2015 school year).
Steps for Finding a College
How to Choose A College That’s Right for YOU!
In thinking about the questions below, you are starting to figure out what you want your college experience to be. The more you are able to know yourself – your strengths, your weaknesses, your interests, your hobbies and your goals – the better off you will be in finding a good fit for college. There is not just one college that is perfect for you – there are many colleges that can offer exactly what you want. The trick is to think about what you want out of the college experience and then look for schools that fit your needs and goals. The more time you can spend answering these questions and talking with others who know you (family, teachers, and friends), the more likely you will be to select colleges that fit you well for a happy, motivating and meaningful experience. The most important factor in choosing a college is FIT.
As you and your student make decisions over the next four years, it may help to know that colleges look for students with:
- Challenging Classes
- Academic Excellence
- Leadership Roles
- Students who follow THEIR OWN Interests (even if it’s butterfly collecting).
The first step to starting your list is prioritizing what is important to you in a college. Your preferences will help narrow the search. There are many factors to consider, and they vary greatly from individual to individual. For some, academics are the most important factor. Others are more interested in sports, location or extracurricular opportunities. Other students find college rep visits and advice from family and friends to be most helpful.
Take a look at your SuperMatch College Search results that you worked on in Identify Your Goals/Options: Choosing a College. Circle your top three priorities. Use these priorities to fine-tune your search.
There are many college search engines to help you generate a general list of colleges. Below are three search engines by College Board, Peterson’s, and Naviance. Using their filters of type of college, potential major, and location you can get an initial list of colleges. You will need to go more in depth with other filters including degree type, selectivity, tuition, student population, setting, and housing among others to get a more manageable list. Another good way to generate a list of schools is to use “Scattergrams” on Naviance. When you look up a school you can click on “overlap” to see which additional schools HHS students have applied to in the past.
The table below lists the different filters on the search engines by College Board, Peterson’s, and Naviance.
Please note that by using only one or two filters, you will get a larger list and if you use too many filters you will get a very small list. It is best to begin by using only 2-3 filters.
|Academics||Majors and learning environment
|Selectivity||Test scores and selectivity||Selectivity|
|Paying for College||Paying||Tuition|
|Location and Physical Environment||Location||Where
|Size||Type of school||Type of college
|Campus Life||Campus and housing
Sports and activities
- College Rep visits
- Suggestions from family and friends
We all have piles. Piles that we intend to file away at some point. In your college search, our suggestion to you is to avoid piles from the beginning. Use a system, any system, to organize your materials. You will start receiving college materials as early as summer after your freshman year. Recycle things that don’t interest you. If you receive something that catches your eye, start a file on that school or topic. It will make things easier for you later. Keep reading for ideas to help you organize and distill the mass of information.
1. College Comparison Worksheet
This worksheet can help you keep track of the colleges you are researching. It will aid you in comparing colleges and the subjects of study you are considering.
2. File Folders
Start a file for each college in which you are interested. Put information you receive about each college in its respective file as you receive it. Recycle information you receive that you know you do not want. If you try to keep everything, it will become overwhelming.
3. A Binder
Begin a 3-ring notebook with dividers for all of the colleges in which you are interested. Include clear plastic pockets for brochures and things that you don’t want to hole punch. Keep in mind that as your search progresses, your list of prospective colleges might shrink, grow, and shrink again. It will be an organic process. Do not become too attached to your list, as it will inevitably change as you learn more.
4. A Calendar
Start a calendar and add important dates such as SAT and ACT test dates and deadlines to register for these tests, and application due dates for those colleges you know you are interested in applying to.
5. Visiting Colleges
When it comes to researching potential colleges, there is nothing better than seeing your options first hand. In fact, just setting foot on campus can be an almost instantaneous confirmation of how a student feels about the school and whether or not to apply. And many a student has added (or dropped) a school to/from their list of possibles after simply driving through campus on a family road trip. Of course not everyone has the time or resources to galavant around the U.S. (or even abroad) to see every school that might be of interest. Just remember, whether you can physically visit or maybe you’re limited to a virtual visit, your ultimate goal is to figure out if you could call that campus “home” for four (and maybe more) years.
TIP: As you begin your college visit journey, keep in mind the following two Cardinal Rules:
College Visit Cardinal Rule #1
No matter how brief or in depth your visit might be, whenever possible, ALWAYS REGISTER WITH THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE TO LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU WERE THERE! In the era of the Common App, sometimes that fact that you made the effort to physically visit the campus can make the difference in the eyes of the Admissions Committee.
College Visit Cardinal Rule #2
Write down notes about your visit during and immediately after. Include things like your general impression as well as minutiae that might help jog your memory later. After looking at a number of colleges your memories can blur. Bring a notepad or use your phone. And don’t forget photos!
- On-Campus Visits
- Virtual Visits
- Alternative Visit
- The Unplanned or Brief Visit
- The Planned Visit
- Schools That Pay for You to Visit
- Before You Go
- What to Do When You’re On Campus
- Should my Parents Visit the Campus with Me?
- Questions, Questions, Questions
- What About Admitted Students Day?
What are Colleges Looking for in You?
Colleges are in the business of education. On a general basis, they want to admit students who care about academics, will succeed in their degree programs, and go on to become responsible and contributing citizens. They also want students who will be able to handle the sudden independence that college requires. So they are not just looking for good grades, they are also looking for maturity, the ability to make good decisions, and students who will contribute to the overall life of the college.
How will they find out if YOU will be this kind of student on their campus?
They will make the best decision they can based on THE INFORMATION YOU SEND THEM IN YOUR APPLICATION MATERIALS. When colleges receive all the parts of your application they are trying to get an overall picture of who you are.
Almost every college will require a transcript report of your choice of classes and your grades, so choose classes that will be challenging for you and seek the help you need to be successful in your classes. Colleges that receive your applications also receive our HHS School Profile. They know what classes are available to you. Try for the best possible grades in your classes.
- Test Scores
You will be taking SAT test and ordering the scores to be sent from the College Board directly to the colleges where you are applying. Some colleges may admit you just based on your grade point average and SAT or ACT scores alone. They may even have charts of “guaranteed” or likely admission for students with specific combinations of grades and test scores.
- Test Scores
Make a list of activities, jobs, community service, clubs, interests, hobbies, significant travel, etc. Document all efforts in and out of the classroom that exceed regular assignments from core classes during your entire high school career (choir, band, orchestra, History Day Competition, Science Fair, etc.). Most colleges want to see how you have chosen to use your time in addition to the core classes you have selected. Choose activities wisely during the school year and the summer.
- Recommendation Letters
Some colleges request written information from teachers, counselors, or community members who know you. Community colleges and state universities usually do not require letters of recommendation, unless a student is applying for a special program on campus.
- Recommendation Letters
- Personal Essay
Most colleges request one or more essays to give them a better idea of your goals, experiences. achievements, limitations, or just some interesting information that helps them get to know you.
- Personal Essay
- Interviews and Supplemental Material
Some colleges require an interview, some “highly encourage” an interview, and others do not have interviews at all, thus it depends on the college and you should review the application information carefully. Furthermore, particular degrees and programs may require audition tapes and portfolios, so again, review the requirements for application.
- Interviews and Supplemental Material
- Social Media
Although you may not be submitting this, your online presence is public and is often viewed by colleges. Up to 87% view their applicants’ social media profiles. Be aware of your online content, and if necessary, clean up your social media, because this is how you present yourself to the world.
Requirements for admission will vary with each campus and program. Admissions officers will be asking you for some or all of this information, so it is important to know exactly what each one requires. Each college website will list these requirements on their Admissions page.
Balance Your List – Safety, Target or Reach?
You’ve researched your list of potential colleges and now it’s time to evaluate these colleges with the critical eye of determining your chance of acceptance. By sorting each college into one of three categories – Safety, Target, or Reach, you will be able to create a final balanced list of schools that you will have decided it is worth your effort, time and money to apply and you will have a surer sense that in the spring of your senior year you will have several choices to decide upon for college.
- Safety – This is a college that will most likely accept you and that you can afford.
- Target – A college where you have a good chance for acceptance and some merit aid.
- Reach – A college where admission and merit aid are a stretch for you.
How do you figure this out?
- Academically – You can compare your academic compatibility (GPA, test scores, and coursework rigor) with the most recent admitted student profile found on a college’s website or in the most recent College Board College Handbook. You will also need to look at the acceptance rate for that school. If the acceptance rate for a college is less than 20%, put that school in the reach category.
- Financially – You can determine whether or not you can attend the college without substantial financial aid. If you will need substantial financial aid to attend the school if admitted, put that school in the reach category.
- A Very Rough Guide
This is a very crude assessment of your chances of admission because it does not take into account the acceptance rate of the school. It is probably only valid for schools with acceptance rates >50%.
Safety – Your test scores and GPA are well above the middle 50% of admitted students, i.e. your scores are in the 75% or above.
Target – Your test scores and GPA fall comfortably within or exceed the middle 50% of admitted students.
Reach – Your test scores and GPA fall at the lower end of the middle 50% of admitted students or <25%.
- A Very Rough Guide
- Naviance Scattergrams
- Log into Naviance, click on the Colleges tab, click on Scattergrams under College Research.
- Choose a college and type of test.
- Look at the red circle that represents your GPA and test score. Where does it fall on the graph? Where does it fall amongst the green boxes that represent acceptances and the red Xs that represent denied?
- Safety – Your red circle is well above and to the right of the cluster of green acceptance boxes.
Target – Your red circle is in the midst of green acceptance boxes.
Reach – Your red circle is amongst red denied Xs and/or there are very few green acceptance boxes.
- Naviance Scattergrams
- Peter Van Buskirk’s Methodology
This methodology is from Peter Van Buskirk’s book Winning the College Admission Game and from his blog on BestCollegeFit. In this method you compare your GPA and test scores to those of the most recent admitted students as well as taking into consideration the admit rate or percentage.
Your test scores and GPA are: Your estimated admission rate: In the bottom 25% of admitted students Divide the admit rate by 2 = your estimated admit rate At the mean or middle range of admitted students Admit rate = your estimated admit rate In the top 25% of admitted students Multiply the admit rate by 2 = your estimated admit rate
Safety – Your estimated admit rate >60%
Target – Your estimated admit rate is between 40-60%
Reach – Your estimated admit rate is <40%
Peter van Buskirk in his blog College List Development: June College Planning Tips gives a good argument for why you should focus on your Target schools.
In addition, if you are having a difficult time determining what category a college might fall under for you ask your counselor.
Making Your Final College List
Quality is better than quantity! Reduce or expand your college list to a manageable combination of safe, good match and reach schools.
The number of colleges on your final application list should be manageable enough so that you are able to submit a well-considered application to each college that accurately reflects your intentions.
Re-visit your list if you are applying to more than eight to ten schools or less than two schools.
The significant common factor for all the schools on your list should be your conviction that you would be happy and able to attend if you are accepted. Applications can be expensive (unless you have fee waivers) and time-consuming during an already activity-packed senior fall semester. Budget your time and money well and relinquish the urge to apply to more colleges than is necessary. Your primary goal should be to have viable options when final college responses are received in April.
Spencer Wayman, MA
(970) 276-3756 Ext.103