College Counseling Grade Level Information

8th Grade

The official college advising program at Lakehill begins in eighth grade. Students and their parents meet individually with the Director of College Counseling in the fall to become acquainted with one another and to discuss the Upper School College Counseling Program. In the spring a second meeting is held to discuss Upper School course selections. During these meetings, eighth grade students and parents are made aware of the increased importance of grade point average, course selection, summer enrichment opportunities, and involvement in extra-curricular activities.

Eighth grade students spend a day visiting a university and meeting college admissions staff.

Freshmen

During the freshman year, the Director of College Counseling meets with parents and students at grade-specific college nights. In the fall, students take the PSAT to begin preparing for college entrance exams. When PSAT scores are returned, students are encouraged to evaluate their results through the College Board . Students are reminded of the importance of grade point averages and are encouraged to become and stay involved in extra-curricular activities. They are also encouraged to talk with their teachers who will serve as their mentors over the next four years.

Freshman To Do List

  • Freshmen need to achieve and maintain the highest GPA possible.
  • Families are encouraged to activate their account on Naviance Family Connection, a web-based college counseling resource.
  • Freshmen are encouraged to sign up on http://www.collegeboard.org. Once PSAT/NMSQT score reports are received, students can use the access code to sign into “Big Future” in order to explore lists of suggested colleges, majors, and careers. Students can also obtain free PSAT/NMSQT practice tests to improve test scores through the College Board’s partnership with Khan Academy.
  • Start to build a college resume. Keep a record of awards, community service, and activities.
  • Research colleges of interest on the web. Consider costs, average GPA, and SAT scores.
  • Attend college fairs and college information sessions. For times and locations, visit the College Counseling Office and check your Naviance Family Connection account.
  • Discuss college plans with the Director of College Counseling. Take challenging classes that will aid in college preparation.
  • Visit colleges in the summer, while at home or on vacation. Much can be learned about the type of college one might want to attend by visiting various college campuses.

Sophomores

During the sophomore year, students take the PSAT each fall and a practice ACT exam each spring to begin preparing for college entrance exams. During second semester, the Director of College Counseling meets with parents and students at grade-specific college nights. PSAT scores are discussed at this time, and students are encouraged to evaluate their results through the College Board. Students are again reminded of the importance of grade point averages and are encouraged to continue building their resumes. Additionally, sophomores are advised to continue visiting college campuses.

Sophomore To Do List

  • Sophomores need to achieve and maintain the highest GPA possible.
  • Sophomores are encouraged to sign up on http://www.collegeboard.org. Once PSAT/NMSQT score reports are received, students can use the access code to explore lists of suggested colleges, majors, and careers. Students can also obtain free PSAT/NMSQT practice tests to improve test scores.
  • Continue to build a college resume.
  • Continue to view colleges on the web. Look at costs, average GPA, and SAT scores. Begin to build a college list including a range of schools.
  • Attend college fairs. For times and locations, visit the College Counseling Office and check your Naviance Family Connection account.
  • Discuss college plans with the Director of College Counseling. Take challenging classes that will aid in college preparation.
  • Visit colleges and universities of interest in the summer. Much can be learned about the type of college one might want to attend by visiting various college campuses.
  • Consider attending summer enrichment programs on college campuses.

Juniors

Juniors take the PSAT for the final time, mindful of their participation in the National Merit Scholarship Program. At College Night for juniors, held second semester, the Director of College Counseling reviews PSAT scores and goes into greater depth about the college search and application process including college research, resume writing, student essays, and letters of recommendation. In the spring, juniors attend a professional seminar on resume writing and an essay workshop. Students are strongly encouraged to take the SAT and ACT in the spring. The Director of College Counseling arranges individual meetings with juniors and their parents to discuss specific college goals.

Junior To Do List

  • Students should be mindful of their GPA throughout the year. Junior year grades and course selection are extremely important.
  • All juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT. Based on national scores, a student may qualify as a National Merit Scholar, National Achievement Scholar, and/or National Hispanic Scholar
  • Go to http://www.collegeboard.org and sign up for the SAT or go to http://www.actstudent.org and sign up for the ACT. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that juniors take at least one test in the spring. It is also highly recommended that juniors take SAT subject exams immediately following the corresponding courses. Visit ACT and SAT sites to learn test-taking tips.
  • In the spring students will attend workshops on interviewing and resume writing.
  • Continue to participate in activities. Seek leadership positions when possible.
  • In the fall and spring, attend college information sessions at Lakehill and in the DFW area.
  • Continue to research and visit colleges. Keep in mind the school’s average GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Remember to consider likely schools, match schools, and stretch schools.
  • Research scholarships for juniors. Look for scholarship information and be mindful of deadlines.
  • Visit college campuses during Spring Break and summer vacation.
  • Begin applications after August 1 following the junior year.
  • Think about which junior teachers you may ask to write your recommendation letter.
  • Consider attending summer enrichment programs on college campuses.

Seniors

The Director of College Counseling works closely with all seniors throughout the year. Additionally, the Director of College Counseling provides instruction for writing college essays and compiling final resumes. Furthermore, the Director of College Counseling provides frequent reminders about deadlines for applications, scholarships, financial aid, and student housing.

The Senior Internship Program at Lakehill provides an opportunity for all graduating seniors to spend a two-week period observing and working in a field that they intend to pursue in college. Partnering with members of the Dallas business and professional community, seniors work a forty-hour week each week of the project, keep a log of their activities, and submit a paper outlining their internship experience. At the conclusion of their projects, seniors must pass an oral review by a committee of Lakehill faculty. Successfully passing the committee review is a requirement for graduation.

Historically, seniors from Lakehill have participated in a broad range of activities.Students have worked with surgeons, family doctors, small business owners, sports marketers, journalists, and museum directors, just to name a few. As a result of the cooperation and generosity of the Dallas business and professional community, all projects to date have been successful, even when students discover that a particular career is not one they want to pursue.

Senior To Do List

  • Grades and course selection continue to be important. Colleges request first semester and final grades as part of the application process.
  • Continue to take the ACT and/or SAT if needed.
  • Request recommendations from teachers. Write thank you notes to the teachers who write these letters.
  • Finalize timelines and college research. Watch diligently for deadlines and try to be far ahead of them.
  • Apply for financial aid starting October 1 by completing the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile.
  • Students should complete five to eight college applications. Ensure that stretch schools, match schools, and likely schools are on the list.
  • Before sending an application online, review it carefully. When submitting an application online, print a receipt or confirmation and notify the Director of College Counseling to request transcripts and recommendation letters to be sent.
  • Research and apply for private scholarships. Be aware of deadlines.
  • Students may want to consider early action or early decision to a school if attendance at that school is a high priority. Early Action is non-binding. Early Decision is binding.
  • In January, complete required mid-year reports.
  • Upon acceptance, provide the Director of College Counseling with a copy of the acceptance letter and scholarship awards.
  • Make housing arrangements as soon as possible.
  • Be thinking about spring internships. The Director of College Counseling can provide ideas if needed.
  • May 1 is the national reply date to reserve placement in colleges and universities.