Today the School Counseling Office organized our annual Reality Store Event. Juniors and Seniors enrolled in Economics and Personal Finance participated in a simulation where they were assigned a career, income, and family situation. Students then had to pay taxes and purchase all of life's necessities on a monthly budget including groceries, making a car payment, buying or renting housing, paying for healthcare needs, arranging childcare costs (if needed), and so much more.
We are very grateful to the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension office for organizing this simulation for our students!
Hey seniors, we hope you're already planning for college application season. If so, we wanted to share some important information about what you're responsible for during this time, and what your counselors will be responsible for.
1. Completing your own college applications!
(If you notice, this is not listed under Parent responsibilities and that is because YOU should be completing your own applications). Trust us, we have quite a few horror stories we can share about parents completing applications for students #AwkwardEssays #IncorrectInformation So seniors, you can ask them for help but make sure you're managing your applications!
2. You are responsible for adhering to all deadlines.
This includes application deadlines from colleges and also deadlines that the RCHS Counseling Office sets. We get inundated during college-application season, and we're happy to help you (we love this part!) but you've gotta get your documents to us on time! For example, you'll need to submit a BRAG SHEET and a BLUE SHEET a few weeks in advance of when your applications are due in order to guarantee that we are able to write you a letter of recommendation in on time. Fun fact, the deadlines are right on top of the Brag Sheet (that you can download from our website, and we'll give you a copy in class) so don't forget! This helps ensure that we're able to devote a substantial amount of time to crafting a wonderful letter that will aid you in your admissions process. :-)
3. Requesting your transcript
Regardless of where you are applying, you will be using PARCHMENT to request your transcript. If you are applying to a Common-App school, you will request that your transcript be sent to COMMON APP. If you are applying to non Common-App schools, you will request that your transcript be sent to those schools. Need help? Click here.
You will request your transcript a few times during the application season:
Initial Transcripts - typically October or November.... when you complete your applications.
MidYear Transcripts - when grades for first semester are posted (typically mid-January)
Final Transcripts - after graduation.
4. Sending your ACT/SAT scores
Colleges typically want OFFICIAL scores directly from SAT or ACT. They do not typically want to rely on them appearing on your transcript. And neither to you, since they can take months and months to appear on your transcript. So just send them via SAT or ACT. As we've told you, you send them when you sign up to take your tests (for free!) but if you didn't do that, you'll need to log into your College Board (SAT) or your ACT Student (ACT) account and have them sent to the colleges you are applying to. No, we cannot do them for you. They need to come from you to be official. Need help? Feel free to ask, but we can't send them for you.
5. Sending your AP scores
Re-read number 4 because the same thing applies to AP Scores. Log into your College Board account and send them. If you are taking tests during your senior year, make sure to add the colleges you are applying to when you sign up for the test. If you don't, you'll need to send them after you get your scores.
6. Asking recommenders to submit letters of recommendation for you. #ProTip, you should ask recommenders in person if they will be willing to write you a letter. If you give them enough time and if you're generally nice about it, chances are they will say yes! You will typically ask Junior year teachers, or teachers that know you very well. And chances are high that you will need a letter from your counselor too. Please don't send an invitation to write a letter to a teacher or counselor without asking first, it's the polite thing to do! :-)
Seniors - it's never too early to start working on gathering those college recommendation letters!
Counselors often get a lot of questions about this process for Common App. The tutorial below explains exactly how to assign recommenders to your account. Keep in mind that the process for adding a counselor and the process for adding a teacher (or other recommender) are different. You must sign your FERPA release before you can access this page.
Tips for Best Practice
1. It's always nice to ask a recommender if they will write you a letter in person before just putting their email on your account. Once you put someone's email, they will get an auto-generated email asking them to submit a letter for you. So talk to your recommenders in person before sending the invitation.
2. Once you add a recommender's email, you should follow up with them to make sure that they received the invitation. Sometimes students spell the email address incorrectly, or sometimes it can go to a person's spam mail. A recommender cannot submit a letter without having an email invitation, so always check to make sure they receive it.
Make sure you spell your counselor's email correctly too! They're copied below:
Mrs. Burkhardt: Christina_Burkhardt@rockbridge.k12.va.us
Mrs. Pedigo: Rhonda_Pedigo@rockbridge.k12.va.us
Mr. Rapoza: Mathew_Rapoza@rockbridge.k12.va.us
3. Send your recommender invites IN ADVANCE! After you've asked a recommender to write you a letter, make sure you send the invite well before you need it done. Sending it early does not mean that your recommender will need to do it immediately, but it does make sure they are able to access the invitation. Don't wait until the last minute, otherwise you'll leave your recommender scrambling on the last day to submit your info. The process for counselors to submit letters is actually REALLY time-consuming (we have to answer a TON of questions about each student) so the more time you give us, the better! YOU CAN ASSIGN RECOMMENDERS BEFORE FINISHING (or even starting...) YOUR PORTIONS OF THE APPLICATION, so there's no need to wait!
For more tips... view this youtube video!
Seniors, have you been working hard on your college applications? Later this month, Common App will be offline (July 24th through August 1st) for a roll-over. Don't panic! It will be back and updated for the 2017-18 school year. If you created your account before July 24th, it will still be there when the roll-over is over. :-)
In the meantime, you can work on your college application essays! The 2017-18 Common App essays were announced back in February. Check them out below:
COMMON APP ESSAYS 2017-2018 ---- (650 word limit)
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. [No change from last year]
2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised from last year]
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised from last year]
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. [No change from last year]
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised from last year]
6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]
Seniors, if you are applying to 4 year colleges, chances are high that one of the colleges will utilize the Common Application, or "Common App" for your application.
What is Common App?
It's awesome because it saves you a lot of time by allowing you to answer questions once that are then transferred to multiple applications.
But, it can be a bit confusing to use at first.
Therefore, since you're on summer vacation, now is the perfect time to start learning about Common App. The tutorial below will walk you through the basics of how the system works.
*KEEP IN MIND* The application rolls over each year in July. So right now, we recommend just getting to know how Common App works - but don't go answering every question because a lot of that info won't save during the roll-over.
Things that will save during the roll-over:
Things that will NOT save during the roll-over: (AKA DON'T DO THESE UNTIL AUGUST!)
* Answers to college-specific questions
* Recommender invitations
* Forms submitted by recommenders
* Your Release Authorization and FERPA selection
* Responses to questions that have been changed or removed
If you need any help, the RCHS Counseling Team is happy to help you! :-)
^^^^^^ That youtube account has MANY tutorials to walk you through the Common App process. Check them all out! :-)
Parchment is the free service that we use to send your transcript electronically when you apply to college. There have been a few updates to the Parchment service this year, so Mrs. Burkhardt has created a new tutorial video to explain how to create your account and send your transcript. Check it out below. If you have any questions please feel free to see your counselor - we are happy to help!
This post will be particularly relevant to the class of 2017!
The Common Application (or Common App) has implemented a few important changes for this year.
First, Common App has created a smart-phone app called CommonApp onTrack. Common App onTrack features include college submission status view, reminders, and push notifications that help students keep track of their application progress and ahead of each college deadline. For more information, check out the youtube video below:
CommonApp Account Info Rollover
Applications from the 15-16 school year will roll over into the 16-17 school year. In the past, if a junior started their application in the spring or early summer, the data did not roll over beginning in August. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE. Rising seniors can now begin working on their Common App accounts NOW without fear that the data will be deleted in August. However, some info will not roll over. Please see the info below:
What information will carry over from one year to the next?
We will preserve the answers you provided to any questions that appear in the six sections of the “Common App” tab: Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities, and Writing.
What info will NOT carry over from one year to the next?
Click here for more info.
Despite many changes to the Common App this year, the essay prompts have not changed. We recommend that students using common app begin working on these essays early on in the summer. Save these in a word document or on your google drive account because if you put these in your common app account, they will not roll over in august (see above).
NOTE: Individual colleges may require or encourage supplementary essays that are specific to that particular college. That info will be available in the college's specific section of the application.
The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)
2016-2017 Essay Prompts
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
Today, students enrolled in Economics and Personal Finance had an opportunity to participate in the first implementation of The Reality Store Experience at Rockbridge County High School.
The program, hosted by the Virginia Tech Extension Office, is a simulation in which students are assigned a profile (career, income, family size, etc.) and must then navigate the complex world of being an adult - buying a home and car, arranging child care, budgeting for groceries and cell phones and entertainment, insurance, and dealing with life's difficulties as they arise (i.e. unexpected medical bills, the birth of an additional child)... and SO MUCH MORE!
So many students learned valuable lessons about saving money and about the importance of finding a career that will meet their personal and financial needs. We had an absolute blast hosting this event and are very grateful to all of the staff at the VA Tech Extension Office and our many community volunteers that help to organize this event.
The School Counseling Office hopes to make this a yearly event for our students so that they can more proactively think about and plan for their lives after high school.
Seniors, have you received your financial aid award letter for the college you are planning on attending?
If so, make sure you understand the different types of aid you may be offered. The chart below explains the order in which you should accept aid. You may not have received all of the types of aid below.
If you haven't received an award letter yet, do not panic! They can take time! But you'll only receive the award letter if you have filed your FAFSA AND you've sent your FAFSA to the college. Students often forget to do that last step! If you did, log into your FAFSA account and have it sent to each college you are considering! If you need help, please see your school counselor.
If you have questions about your financial aid award letter, be sure to see your school counselor! We can help you interpret your financial aid package and discuss options you have.
The time has come to sign up for Advanced Placement Testing. If you would like to take the exam for the course(s) you are taking this year, you must register and pay by Friday, March 11, 2016. This is a firm deadline; there will be no extensions.
The cost of an AP Exam is $92. You must pay this fee for each test you plan to take. Your payment is due with your registration form to Mrs. Miller by March 11. Fee-waivers are available to eligible students; please see Ms. Bateman before submitting your registration form for more information.
If you would like to take an AP exam for a course we do not offer, or if you have any questions about AP Test ordering please see Ms. Bateman.
Below is a calendar of the national test dates for the AP tests. Please note that RCHS does not offer all tests located in the calendar below. If you would like to take an AP exam for a course we do not offer, or if you have any questions about AP Test ordering please see Ms. Bateman.