Philosophy & Goals
The process of identifying, researching and applying to colleges represents one of the most significant aspects of a student’s experience at Marianapolis. All that students have learned about the world and about themselves both in and out of the classroom informs their decisions about their future studies. Students and their families often find themselves overwhelmed and anxious about the college application process, but they need not be.
The College Placement Office at Marianapolis seeks to provide each student with the advice, support and information necessary to clarify the college process. The College Placement Office works individually with each student and their family to help them find the colleges that are best matched to their needs, personal desires, and academic merits.
The College Placement Office serves as a link to the college admissions offices, and through their comprehensive letters of recommendation, highlight students’ strengths, explain their accomplishments at Marianapolis, and provide as much positive support as possible to enable the colleges to reach an informed decision about each applicant. By guiding students through the process, serving as a realistic resource about college options, and helping students to maximize their chances of admission, the College Placement Office serves as an advocate for students throughout the process.
While the College Placement Office has numerous resources to assist each student, there is no substitute for the individual student taking responsibility for his or her educational journey. Choosing which colleges to apply to from the thousands of accredited four year colleges in the United States requires the commitment, dedication and follow-through of each individual student. Using Naviance, (http://connection.naviance.com/marianapolis) the college search and administration program used here, students will be able to better understand their aptitudes, explore possible careers, examine colleges on-line, and develop a list of colleges to which they will apply. While the college counselors play a prominent role in facilitating the process, it will be up to the individual student to actually submit their college applications to their colleges.
It is our firm belief that students will benefit more from the college process if they are active participants. We relish in the opportunity to empower students to own the process, to take control of the details, and in doing so, create their own unique set of opportunities and craft their own future.
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test and National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a nearly three-hour test, and is administered in October of the sophomore and junior years. The test is comprised of two sections: Math, and Evidence Based Reading and Writing. Each section is scored from 160-760; a “perfect score” is therefore 1520. The scores from the junior year are used for National Merit selections. In the spring of the senior year, finalists will be notified if they have been awarded a National Merit Scholarship.
The PSAT helps familiarize students with the standardized testing format in preparation for the SAT or ACT which most students will take in the spring of junior year or fall of senior year. When you receive a copy of your PSAT scores, you will also receive a guide to interpreting the results and the answer key. The results you receive are a worthwhile tool in assessing areas of weakness as you look forward to taking the SAT or ACT. Generally speaking, PSAT results will give you a rough projection of what your SAT-I scores will be.
The PSAT is NOT USED for admission consideration to colleges and universities.
Standardized testing such as the ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for non-native English speaking international students is an important part of the admission process at many colleges and universities. While the ACT is not administered at Marianapolis, we are always available to help students identify area testing centers where they can sit for the test.
The SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and the TOEFL are all administered at Marianapolis multiple times each year making it convenient for students to address this aspect of their applications. A full grid of test dates, registration deadlines and associated fees can be accessed here. (can you load the testing grid I made for the kids (also attached to this email) on some hidden page in the background and link to it?)
While standardized test scores are important to many colleges and universities here in the United States, an increasing number of institutions are transitioning to a “test- optional” model, and no longer requiring test results. Currently more than 950 colleges and universities do not require standardized test scores as part of the admission application. That said, know that some of the colleges and universities to which you aspire to apply may not require test results in certain circumstances. This will be an important question to ask the admission counselors you meet along the way on your journey so you can be certain you’re meeting their requirements to apply. FairTest.org is a great 1st step to check those institutions in which you’re interested in applying, but always confirm with the college or university admission office directly to ensure the information is accurate and current.
The college search and selection process is far too important to a student’s future success to do alone. Our philosophy at Marianapolis is to approach the college search and selection process as a family, a team all working together toward the common goal of identifying, applying, gaining admission and enrolling in the college or university which best serves the individual student’s personal interests and academic abilities. The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” is appropriate here as well; “it takes a team to identify the right college or university.”
In addition to the family and faculty support Marianapolis students receive, the College Office offers several signature programs during the year through which students and parents can interact with college representatives.
The College Colloquium is a conference-style event offering many different topic- specific sessions students and parents can choose to attend. Sessions in the past have included “What is Liberal Arts, anyway?,” “Maximizing your visit; the do’s and don’ts of campus visits,” “Athletic Recruiting and the Admission Process,” and “Financial Aid 101,” among others. Higher education professionals present sessions from nationally recognized colleges and universities to which our students typically apply.
Parent and Family Weekend Fall College Fair
A college fair in the traditional sense, the fall college fair serves as the kick-off event for the annual Parent and Family Weekend on campus. We typically host 90-100 national colleges and universities and families have the opportunity to engage with admission office representatives who are responsible for working with Marianapolis students. Making connections and having the ability to learn more about different institutions directly from someone who represents the institution is a critical step in a student’s research and selection process.
When interest exists Marianapolis offers 6- or 12-week evening SAT prep classes in the fall, or 3-week online classes during the summer session. Both opportunities culminate at a time when the actual SAT is just days away, so the tips and techniques are still fresh in the student’s mind.
Group and Individualized Planning
The College Office regularly attends full class meetings to address grade-specific timelines, deadlines, expectations, and to answer any specific questions or concerns students may have regarding what they need to do. During the summer rising juniors are administered an “initial interest survey” in which they express to the College Office what they think they may want in a college or university. Early in the student’s junior year Counselors meet with each student and their family for an individualized planning session. Counselors suggest colleges and universities students should explore, and students are trained to identify additional options using Naviance, a powerful database and application administration system here at the school. Each college-bound student is given as much individualized attention as they need to ensure their application process is a success!
Information Sessions & Interviews
Throughout the academic year the College Office hosts Admission Officers from many colleges and universities nationwide who wish to present their institutions to interested students. Information sessions typically follow the class period schedule, giving students opportunities throughout the day to learn more about institutions in which they’re interested.
Occasionally Admission Officers or assigned alumni representatives may also want to interview students to supplement their application materials. If students are interested, the College Counselors will mentor interested students through interview preparation. Students can interview on the college campus, or use the Marianapolis College Office as an alternative venue when necessary or desired.
All students are highly encouraged to visit the college or university campuses in which they’re interested in person. Families should consider beginning making visits early in the student’s high school career. Completing campus visits over a year or more will make the process less stressful and more fun for all involved. Campus visits may include a guided tour, a general information session presented by an Admission Counselor, faculty member or panel of students, meetings with athletic coaches, faculty, or a Financial Aid Counselor, and an admission interview. For many students, visiting and touring a campus in person can have a significant impact on their impression of the institution and ultimately their enrollment decision.
Most colleges and universities require one or more letters of recommendation to support the student’s application and speak to their potential, academically and socially, on the college level. The College Office will automatically generate a comprehensive letter of recommendation encompassing the student’s qualities and contributions to the community. However, students are also required to request two additional letters of recommendation from faculty members in the spring of their junior year. Teachers are then required to upload to Naviance their written letter of support and any required accompanying forms early in the fall semester.
College Placement Timeline
- Develop good study habits.
- Participate in sports and activities.
- Participate in community service work.
- Always look to improve your writing skills.
- Take the PSSS test.
- Think about courses to take to best prepare you for college.
- International students should practice their English at every opportunity.
- Learn about the Naviance College software.
- Explore careers and college majors through Naviance.
- Set some goals you want to accomplish by graduation.
- Continue to develop good study habits.
- Continue to participate in sports and activities.
- Think about courses to take that will best prepare you for college.
- Take the PSAT.
- Take the PSAT. Your junior year score will measure your qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
- Explore college websites, catalogs and guidebooks.
- Keep working! Junior year is critical for college acceptance decisions.
- Consider taking the SAT Prep class offered in the fall.
- Schedule your required meeting with the Director of College Placement to discuss your college plans.
- Work on your college essay. Give it to the Director of College Placement to read.
- Work on your college resume.
- Think about teachers to ask for college recommendations, then ask them to write them. Give them your resume.
- International students should take the TOEFL. Most colleges will expect at least a score of 80 on the ibt.
- Talk to the college representatives that visit our school in the fall.
- Attend College Financial Aid Night with your parents in November.
- Attend the Junior College Night in February.
- Attend the College Fair in April.
- Start to list your colleges on Naviance.
- Take the SAT or ACT during the Spring. Also take the Subject tests.
- If you are an athlete, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
- Visit colleges during spring break, over the summer.
- Attend the Senior College Night in September.
- Take the SAT or ACT again in the fall.
- Make sure your teachers have completed your letters of recommendation.
- Finalize your college list and make sure it is posted on Naviance.
- Make sure your essay is completed.
- Complete all of your college applications. Send them in electronically by deadline.
- Be sure that you send your SAT or ACT scores to your colleges. Colleges want an official score sent directly from the test company.
- Decide if your applications will be Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision.
- Keep working! Grades still matter very much.
- Follow your emails from colleges closely. Alert the College Placement Office if you received any messages about missing documents.
- Inform the College Placement Office of all acceptances and denials, so that accurate records can be kept.
- Formally decide which offer of enrollment you will accept! You will usually need to do this by May 1.
Lunch & Learn:
The Lunch & Learn Program is a schedule of career- and college-focused meetings involving professionals who come to speak with Marianapolis students about his or her specific career. Lunch & Learn sessions are offered in a discussion style format where guests offer information and students are able to ask questions. The Lunch & Learn Program is open to all students during the day's lunch periods, so everyone has a chance to attend. The program also offers discussions on topics such as the college essay, searching for scholarships, building a comprehensive and appropriate resume, tips for successful admission interviewing, and maximizing the use of Naviance.
Past Lunch & Learn speakers have included:
- Matt McGarry '82 - ABC news (Emmy award winning) producer
- Jose Silva '85 - Tax Partner at a firm in Mexico City and President of the Board at "Together with Children."
- Carla Faucher '84 - Physical Therapist
- Boston Red Sox
- John McLoughlin - Lawyer, US Department of Defense, where he is Regional Director for Africa for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency/DIILS.
- Theresa Tronerud P'14 - Pharmacist
- Colin Duethorn '11 - Actuarial sciences
- Michelle Massman Drew - Clinical Supervisor/Social Worker
- Frank Rizzo - Wall Street working in the areas of marketing, accounting, auditing and finance (at Dun & Bradstreet and Standard & Poor's)
- Sarah Neithercut - Assumption College Admission Office's Assistant Director.
- Dr. James McLoughlin - Orthopedic Surgeon
- Craig LaFiandra, P'16, P'17 - Business, specializing in the area of Strategic Accounts for UnitedHealthcare
- Dr. Murray Buttner - General Practitioner in medicine
- Ms. Candace Peterson - Nurse practitioner
Naviance is a college placement database and application management program. It helps students navigate the college search process with a variety of research and self-assessment tools, and assists the College Placement Office by organizing all the supporting academic documents needed for college applications. Naviance includes all U.S. colleges and universities and many institutions abroad as well. Students can search majors, degree programs, college locations, size and a number of other factors to consider when applying to college.
Log in to Naviance here.
Summer Session Online
As part of the summer session online learning program rising seniors have the opportunity to get a head start on their college essays. “Mastering the College Essay” teaches students to think logically about their writing as a reflection of who they are, and how they would like to be represented to the colleges and universities at which they wish to be considered for admission.
Students are exposed to a vast array of application essay prompts and sample responses which help them to understand what is contained in a unique and effective college essay. In addition, students spend time reflecting on their own lives, considering their personal values, identity or events which will help them stand apart from a crowd of other applicants. They learn the qualities of effective personal writing and are able to use those qualities to compose one of the most important pieces of prose they've ever written. By the conclusion of the course, students will have multiple college essays ready to go for use on their university applications.
Financial Aid Information
Books and Guides:
- The College Board Scholarship Handbook: Undergraduate Scholarships, Internships, and Loan Programs, The College Board
- College Cost and Financial Aid Handbook: Compare costs and aid available at over 2,700 colleges, The College Board.
- College Scholarships and Financial Aid: General Reference, John Schwartz
- Peterson’s Scholarships, Grants, and Prizes: Guide to more sources for private aid than any other reference, Peterson’s Guides
- The Scholarship Book: The Complete Guide to Private-sector Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Loans for the Undergraduate, Daniel J. Cassidy
- Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education provides information about financial aid provided by the federal government, along with other resources.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a required financial aid form for any college in the United States.
- Fastweb is a free scholarship search tool.
- Bigfuture, by the College Board, includes college and scholarship search tools useful information and tutorials about the financial aid process.
- Mr. Richardson’s Pinterest page, dedicated to scholarships and financial aid information
College fairs can be excellent opportunities to access many different institutions, each with unique programs and experiences to offer, all in one place, all at the same time. In addition to our own annual “Parent & Family Weekend Fall College Fair” at which we typically host 90-100 colleges and universities, we encourage students to seek out other opportunities as well. For more information on the Marianapolis Fall College Fair students should reference their Naviance account or speak with the Counselors in the College Office.
Other organizers of significant college fair programs include the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and our regional affiliate, the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC).
National College Fairs are FREE and are scheduled in major cities all throughout the country. The schedule includes events throughout the calendar year and the fairs typically host 250-400 colleges at any one time. Specialty College Fairs are also offered on a more limited basis for Performing and Visual Arts as well as STEM-oriented and Career Fairs. National College Fairs here in New England are held in Boston and Springfield, MA, Providence, RI, and Hartford, CT. See the full schedule here.
NEACAC College Fairs are also FREE, and are typically held at various colleges and universities throughout New England. Typically smaller and more intimate than their National College Fair counterparts, NEACAC fairs can also serve students well in providing them access to a wide variety of colleges and universities, each of whom can help them discover their own unique set of interests.