The college application process can be somewhat stressful for students and their families, and represents the busiest period of the year for the Guidance Office, as we process well over 1,000 requests to send supporting materials (transcripts, etc.) to colleges. In order to make the process go as smoothly as possible, parents and students should understand the procedures involved.
Counselors will meet with their Juniors to orient them to the college application process and discuss factors that can influence college choice. In these meetings, we stress the tremendous variety of colleges and the fact that the search must be an individual one. We will also focus on the Student Data Sheet, which student fill out online on their Naviance account. This provides information to counselors about students interests and activities, and helps the counselor write the letter of recommendation that will accompany the student's transcript for applications.
Parents and guardians are also asked to fill out an onliine Parent/Guardian Questionnaire (on Naviance at the Parent Portal) where they can give their perspective on their child's interests, strengths and weaknesses, and college planning. Guidance counselors will use this information as well to inform their writing of the letter of recommendation.
After scheduling courses for the senior year, counselors will again meet with Juniors to go over remaining questions about the process of looking into colleges and beginning to create a list of colleges where the student will apply.
Each year, a Junior Parents' Night is scheduled, at which there will be time set aside for questions. This session will feature a college admissions officer who will offer insights into how a student should approach the task of choosing a college and how the college admissions procedure is viewed from the other side of the fence. We certainly hope you can join us!
While catalogs and brochures can be of some help, visiting colleges is highly recommended. In consideration of the possible expenditure for a college education over the next five years, the time and money spent in touring colleges seems a reasonable investment. Colleges have their welcome mats out over the summer. Plan an itinerary and call ahead for tours and interviews. It is a good idea also to say "hello" to coaches if a student's athletic prowess in any particular sport might play a part in a college's admission decision. You might also want to include some visits to college campuses in the Spring vacation itinerary, visiting the college while in session, though we caution students to avoid formal interviews until they have a solid knowledge of their own needs and what a particular college appears to offer.
In the fall of senior year, the guidance counselors will meet individually with seniors in order to share the thinking that has taken place over the summer. At that time, the counselor will help the student finalize a list of colleges to which he or she will apply. Throughout the fall, Northampton High School will be visited by representatives from over 120 college admission offices. These information sessions aree held in small groups; students may sign up to attend sessions of colleges they are interested in . These information sessions are publicized in the school bulletin and are listed on a College Visit Calendar google calendar. As college application deadlines arrive, the Guidance staff will begin submitting school materials to the colleges on students' Naviance lists.
Students who are applying to colleges and universities that accept the Common Application should apply online. For more information on the Common Application, to apply to Common App schools, and to access all the Common App forms, please visit the Common App website.
Below are some links and readings of interest.