Parent College Planning Information
This guide is meant to provide parents and guardians with some basic information in regard to the Wissahickon High School college application procedures. Counselors meet with students to assist them with specific college planning information throughout high school. As students begin the second semester of junior year, the college planning process typically begins in earnest for most students. At this time students are registering for the standardized tests necessary for the college application process, researching colleges and setting up college visits. We hope that this guide will assist you with specific high school procedures. However, if individual questions arise about the college planning process, please encourage your son/daughter to make an appointment to meet with the WHS counselor assigned to them. Please do not hesitate to call us with questions. The college planning process is very individualized and can be very complex, depending on the student. We are available to support you throughout the process.
The Guidance Department
Frequently Asked Questions for Parents
Q: Are Senior year courses and grades important?
A: Yes! Colleges request senior year courses as part of the college application process. Senior year courses show that a student is continuing to prepare seriously for college. As for grades, first marking period and/or mid-year grades are often required and used in the admissions process. All colleges require a final transcript before the student can enroll.
Q: To how many schools should a student apply?
A: The suggested number would be 5 to 8. This is not, however, an absolute range. It is most important that a student have a balance with the schools being considered. A possible scenario would be to have one or two “reach” schools, a larger number of realistic schools, and one or two “safety” schools.
Q: What is meant by rolling admissions, early action, and early decision?
A: Schools with rolling admissions make decisions as the applications are received and notify the students usually within six to eight weeks. Early action schools have an established deadline that is prior to the fixed deadline. For students who are able to submit the required material by the deadline, the college will make a non-binding decision well ahead of the regular notification date of April 1. Some colleges offer early decision for students who are able to make a commitment to attend the college if accepted. The complete application is submitted early in the fall (usually November 1) and both the student and parents sign a pledge that the student will attend that school if admitted. This is a binding arrangement and should not be taken lightly. A student may apply to only one early decision school.
Q: What is the Common Application (Common App)?
A: The Common Application affords students the opportunity to complete one application that can be used to apply to approximately 450 member colleges. Member schools are listed online and with the application. The colleges have agreed to make no distinction between their application and the Common Application Students are encouraged to make use of this time saving tool. The application is available at www.commonapp.org or in the Guidance Office.
Q: What does the high school send?
A: The high school transcript is sent for each request we process. It includes final grades from grades 9, 10, & 11, grade point average (weighted and unweighted), courses in progress, SAT & ACT scores that we have on record (if requested), attendance, school activities, and a school profile. We also send any required counselor recommendation.
Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: Families apply for financial aid by completing at least one form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Families may also be required to complete the CSS PROFILE and/or the schools own forms to be eligible for aid consideration. Always be sure to check with each college about their specific requirements, as well as other types of aid that may be available. Please be aware that colleges have specific deadlines for filing financial aid forms.
Q: When does the student have to make a final decision?
A: Other than early decision applicants, the universal reply date for accepting an offer to admission and paying the deposit is May 1. Colleges may suggest paying the deposit earlier or imply that a response is needed before May 1. If this happens or you have any questions about the terms of the acceptance, contact the office of admissions immediately and ask for an extension until May 1. If you have a final decision after carefully weighing financial obligations, depositing earlier could mean benefits such as better housing.
Q: How do I send “official” SAT scores to a college?
A: SAT and ACT scores will be sent directly from College Board or ACT, respectively. This can be done at the time a student registers for the SAT I and/or II, by phone, or by visiting CollegeBoard or ACT.