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Information for Parents of College Bound Students

 

Admissions Criteria
Colleges use some, if not all, of the information listed below when determining whether or not to accept an applicant.

                 Grade Point Average (GPA)                Recommendations
                 Class Rank                                         Activities/Awards
                 Strength of Subjects                          Personal Essays
                 ACT/SAT Scores                                  Interviews

Grade Point Average (GPA)
GPA is the average of a student’s semester grades, starting with the freshman year.   St. Hubert High School uses an unweighted 4.0 scale as follows:

4.0 = A = Grade of 90 to 100

89 = B = 3.9

88 = B = 3.8

87 = B = 3.7

86 = B = 3.6

85 = B = 3.5

84 = B = 3.4

83 = B = 3.3

82 = B = 3.2

81 = B = 3.1

80 = B = 3.0

79 = C = 2.9

78 = C = 2.7

77 = C = 2.6

76 = C = 2.5

75 = C = 2.4

74 = C = 2.2

73 = C = 2.0

72 = D = 1.8

71 = D = 1.4

70 = D = 1.0

Grade of 69 or below = F = 0.0

Class Rank
Class rank indicates where a student stands academically in relation to the other students in her graduating class.   At St. Hubert High School rank is weighted and is determined by the quality point average.  Quality points are earned for grades received in a particular track.  Higher tracks earn more quality points for each grade. (e.g. – A student in an AP or Honors track will earn more quality points for a grade of 90 than a student in track 2 or 3 with a grade of 90.)  The quality point average is computed by dividing the total number of quality points earned in tracked courses by the number of tracked courses studied.  A mathematical adjustment is made to compensate for carrying more than five major courses.

High School Transcript
A transcript is a document detailing a student’s academic achievement in high school.   The transcript contains the following information:

                 Courses, grades and credits earned for each grade completed,
                                          beginning with Grade 9
                 Cumulative GPA, class rank and attendance
                 Standardized tests (Grade 9 through 11 Terra Nova scores and Grade
                                           11 PSAT scores)
                 All SAT scores

A transcript provides admissions and scholarship committees with important objective data.   All colleges, and most scholarship programs, request that an official transcript be submitted along with the application. An official transcript includes the Principal’s signature and the school seal verifying its authenticity. An unofficial transcript does not have the Principal’s signature or the school seal. 

School Profile
The school profile is a two-page document that includes pertinent information about St. Hubert High School.   While the transcript provides colleges and scholarship committees with information about the student, the school profile provides information about the high school the student is attending. 

Recommended College Courses
Most four-year colleges recommend that students take the following college preparatory courses in high school:

                 4 years of English

                 3 years of Math (including Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II)

                 3 years of Science (with Lab)

                 2-3 years of the same Foreign Language

                 3 years of Social Studies

College bound students should complete all of the above recommended courses.  Students who have not taken all of the above courses may be required to take remedial and/or additional courses once they are in college.  Students who have not taken several of these courses may want to consider going to a community college for a year or two.  Competitive schools and programs consider the above to be minimum requirements. They recommend that students challenge themselves by taking honors and AP courses whenever possible.  As a general rule, high school students should take as many college prep math, science, English, social studies and foreign language courses as they can handle.  Students should check the web sites of the colleges in which they are interested for course requirements, before choosing high school courses.

Four-Year High School Plan
The four-year high school plan is a listing of courses a student plans to take during her freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years.    When making a four-year high school plan, students and parents should take into consideration high school graduation requirements, college recommended courses, career plans and if the student is an athlete (NCAA eligibility requirements – see below).  The plan should be reviewed and revised each year with adjustments made for academic performance, personal interests, revised career plans and changes in curriculum offerings. 

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Check the Senior and Junior Timelines on the Guidance Page.  Under Class Information, click on Juniors or Seniors.

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College Majors
Students who know what they want to major in should choose their high school courses accordingly.   For example, if a student is considering a major in engineering she should take as many advanced math and science courses as possible.   Students who go to college without having decided on a major can use their first year of college to take their required courses (e.g. history, English, science, math).  This will give them time to consider their options and to decide on a major.  Students should visit the web sites of the colleges in which they are interested to find out what majors are offered.

Early Decision vs Early Action
Early Decision and Early Action allow students to apply early to schools they know they want to attend.  What's the difference?

Early Decision is binding.  If accepted, the student must attend that school and withdraw any applications sent to other schools.  You won't be able to compare financial aid offers.

Early Action is not binding.  Even if you are accepted, you may compare admissions and financial aid offers and wait to commit to the college until later in the year.

Some schools now offer Single-Choice Early Action.  This option is similar to Early Action, except that the student may not apply early to other colleges (though they may apply regular decision).

Many Early Decision or Early Action deadlines occur in the fall.  Ask the college whether Early Decision or Early Action is an option and if the student can apply early to other schools. 

College Testing

PSAT – St. Hubert students in 9th through 11th grade are required to take the PSAT. There is no charge to the student for this testing.  The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT.  The PSAT is also used to determine National Merit semifinalists.  The test is usually given in October.  PSAT scores from 11th grade only are listed on the transcript.

SAT I – The SAT is a college entrance examination that students are encouraged to take in the spring of junior year and at least once in senior year.  The SAT has three sections: Critical Reading, Math and Writing.  SAT prep courses are offered twice yearly at St. Hubert.  Students should check the St. Hubert web site or school announcements for dates and times.

SAT II – The SAT II is a subject test. The one-hour test measures a student’s knowledge in a specific subject.  All colleges do not require the SAT II.  Students should check the web sites of the colleges in which they are interested to see if the SAT II is required. 

ACT – The ACT is a college entrance examination that students take in junior and/or senior year.  ACT scores are received in English, Reading, Math and Science Reasoning, as well as a Composite score.  There is also an optional Writing Test.

Requirements for Athletes
Colleges are affiliated with athletic associations that have their own rules, regulations and eligibility requirements. Basic eligibility requirements for the NCAA are outlined below.

Division I and II colleges can offer athletic scholarships; Division III colleges (mostly smaller private colleges) cannot.  Before an athlete can play a sport or receive a scholarship at a Division I or II college, she must meet NCAA’s academic requirements.  Division II athletes do not need to meet NCAA academic requirements.  Athletes who want to go to a Division I college must have at least a 2.0 GPA in a specified number of core courses.  They must also have the required SAT or ACT score. ACT/SAT requirements for Division I eligibility are based on a sliding scale.  The higher the core GPA, the lower the test score required.  A student with a 2.0 core GPA, for example, will be required to have a much higher test score than a student with a 3.0 core GPA.  Division II athletes need a 2.0 GPA in their core courses and a minimum ACT or SAT score.  The required courses at St. Hubert High School are approved NCAA core courses.   Students planning to play college sports must register with the NCAA in the fall of their senior year.   For more information visit http://www.ncaaclearinghouse.net/

Two-Year Colleges – Career and Technical Schools
Although only 20% of careers today require a four-year college degree, 80% require education or training beyond high school.   A four-year college education is not for everyone.  Students can, in fact, prepare for many high growth career fields by attending a two-year college or a career or technical school.  Students can also start at a two-year community college and then transfer to a four-year college.

Two-year colleges and career/technical schools do not require applicants to have followed a college prep program in high school, nor do they require the ACT or SAT.   As a general rule, two-year colleges and career/technical schools accept any student with a diploma or GED.

If your daughter prefers career-related courses or a more hands-on approach to learning, you may want to consider a two-year college or a career or technical school as a postsecondary option.

 

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BE SURE TO ATTEND THE ST. HUBERT/FR. JUDGE JUNIOR COLLEGE INFORMATION NIGHT HELD IN APRIL EACH YEAR.   CHECK THE ST. HUBERT CALENDAR FOR DATE, TIME AND PLACE.

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Money for College
Financial aid is money that is given, earned, or lent to help students pay for their education.   Financial aid often makes it possible for students to attend colleges that would otherwise be too expensive.  Students and parents should, therefore, never assume that they cannot afford a particular college or university. 

  • Grant – money given, usually because of financial need.
  • Scholarship – money awarded for exceptional academic achievement, an outstanding talent or skill, and/or financial need.
  • Work-Study – money earned by working at a campus job.
  • Loan – borrowed money that must be repaid.

Financial aid is most often awarded in the form of a “package”.   Packages, consisting of grants, scholarships, loans, and/or work-study, are put together by the college’s financial aid office.  Except for merit-based scholarships, financial aid is generally awarded on the basis of financial need. Financial need is the difference between the cost of attending a college (tuition, fees, room and board, etc.) and the amount a family can afford.  For example, if a family can afford $4,000 and the cost of attending a college is $10,000, the student has a financial need of $6,000.  The greater the difference, the greater the need, and the more aid the student is eligible to receive.

While the financial aid process can be very confusing, there is help available.   You can call any college financial aid office for help. For information on federal aid programs, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

There are a number of ways that students can make college more affordable.   For example, college students can alternate course-work with employment through a co-op program, or they can go to a community college for a year or two. The military also offers a variety of programs to help students pay for college. 

Completing the Necessary Forms
To receive need-based financial aid, you must complete and submit the necessary forms.  If you are eligible for aid, the college’s financial aid office will put together a financial aid package for you.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Because most financial aid is based on need, it is necessary to have an objective way to determine how much a family can afford to pay.   The FAFSA is the federal form that’s used to determine this amount.  The FAFSA asks for information on income, assets, etc.  This information is then applied to a formula, and the amount a family should be able to afford (their Estimated Family Contribution or EFC) is electronically calculated.

You should begin working on the FAFSA in December of your daughter’s senior year.  The FAFSA cannot be filed until after January 1st.  For pre-application worksheets or to complete the FAFSA online, go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.   Paper forms can be obtained in the Guidance office after the Christmas break.  Financial aid is generally awarded on a “first come, first serve” basis, so get your FAFSA in early.

Approximately 2 to 6 weeks after you have submitted your FAFSA, you and the colleges you designated on your FAFSA, will receive a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR).   If you file electronically, you will get your SAR much quicker.  Colleges will use the information from your SAR to make up your aid package. 

When you fill out the FAFSA, you automatically apply for a Pell Grant.   This federally funded grant provides billions of dollars each year to lower income families.  If you qualify, the federal government will help you pay for your child’s college education.

Some colleges have their own financial aid application form that you must also complete.   This form is generally included in the application view book or packet.

Some private colleges and scholarship programs require completion of the CSS Profile (in addition to the FAFSA).   The Profile provides colleges and scholarship programs with additional financial information. Check with the colleges in which your daughter is interested to see if they require the CSS Profile.

State Grants
All states have financial aid programs that award grants to students who live and go to college in their home state.   In many states you apply by just filling out the FAFSA.

Loans
Families often decide to take out a loan when they need additional funds to cover college costs.   Students with financial need are usually offered subsidized Stafford Loans as part of their financial aid packages.  Students without financial need can get unsubsidized Stafford Loans from lending institutions.  Low interest Federal Perkins loans are also available to students with exceptional need.

Lending institutions offer PLUS loans (interest rate not to exceed 9%) to parents.   While repayment on a Stafford loan does not begin until after the student is out of college, repayment on a PLUS loan begins in 60 days.  Applications for unsubsidized Stafford loans and PLUS loans can be obtained from lending institutions.

Take advantage of the following programs:               

  • The Hope Scholarship Credit allows taxpayers to claim a tax credit of up to $1,500 per student for each of her first two years of college.
  • The Life-time Learning Credit allows families to claim a tax credit of up to $2,000 in tuition expenses per year.
  • Families can put $2,000 per year for each student under the age of 18 into an Education Savings Account.
  • Many states offer prepaid tuition programs, which allow families to set aside a predetermined amount each month for college.

Applying for Scholarships
You have probably heard that “millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed each year”.  You have probably also heard stories about outstanding students who could not get scholarships.  The fact is, there are thousands of scholarships available. Most scholarships, however, have very specific eligibility criteria.  A student, for example, might need to go to a specific college, have a 28+ ACT score, and belong to a particular ethnic group.  For another scholarship, a student might need to have a 3.4+ GPA, a specific major, and have evidence of leadership ability.

When it comes to academic scholarships, students generally must have an outstanding GPA (3.5 or better), high ACT/SAT scores and excellent recommendations.   For most scholarships, applicants are also expected to be involved in extracurricular and/or community activities.  To receive an athletic or talent scholarship, a student must be truly outstanding.

Even though it is not easy to obtain an academic or talent scholarship, students and parents who are willing to invest the time and energy often find that their efforts pay off handsomely.   When looking for scholarships, keep the following in mind:

  • Start early.   Begin looking into scholarship possibilities during your child’s junior year, and encourage your daughter to locate and complete applications in the fall of her senior year.  Finding and applying for scholarships takes a great deal of time and effort.
  • While groups and organizations offer numerous scholarships, the colleges themselves award most of the large scholarships.   Contact the financial aid office of the college(s) you are considering, and ask them for information on the scholarships offered.
  • Private colleges are often more generous when awarding scholarships, thus making them competitive in price with public colleges. Do not rule out a private college until you have seen their aid package.
  • Apply for local scholarships (Rotary, PTA, Elks, etc.) These scholarships are generally for smaller amounts ($100 - $500) but they are usually easier to get.
  • Network. Tell everyone that you are looking for scholarships.   Check for scholarship opportunities with your place of employment, your church and with organizations to which you belong.  Also look for scholarship opportunities in your local newspaper.
  • The Internet can provide students and parents with a great deal of information on a wide variety of scholarships.   Check the websites listed below.
  • Remember that most financial aid is not awarded in the form of a scholarship.  Pursue all financial aid opportunities.
  • A student will have a much better chance of getting a scholarship at a college where she is in the top 25% of the applicants. 
  • Always check to see if financial aid and scholarship awards are renewable.   A one-year scholarship is for one year only; a renewable scholarship can become a four-year scholarship.
  • Scholarship searches that charge a fee are very seldom worth the money, and many are scams.
  • Make sure that teachers and counselors are given plenty of time to write recommendations and to prepare transcripts.   All applications must be received in the Guidance Office two weeks before deadline dates.  There are no exceptions to this policy.  This ensures that the information needed will be sent before the deadline date.

 

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BE SURE TO ATTEND THE ST. HUBERT/FR. JUDGE COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID NIGHT WHICH IS HELD IN JANUARY.   CHECK THE ST. HUBERT CALENDAR FOR DATE, TIME AND PLACE.

 

 

Useful Web Sites  

College Information

http://www.collegeboard.com/                   www.petersons.com

www.collegenet.com                                   http://www.collegeview.com/

www.princetonreview.com/college

 

Testing Information

www.collegeboard.com                                      www.act.org

 

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information

www.fafsa.ed.gov                                   www.ed.gov/finaid.html

www.fastweb.com                                  www.finaid.org

www.students.gov                                 www.scholarships.com

www.freegovmoney.net/scholarships_grants.html

www.pasfaa.org                                    www.scholarships-4u.com

 

 

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