march april 2016

MOUN OLIVE HIGH SCHOOL Guidance Newsletter V O L U M E 2 , I S S U E 4 M A R C H - A P R I L 2 0 1 6 INSIDE THIS ...

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Guidance Newsletter V O L U M E

2 ,



M A R C H - A P R I L

2 0 1 6

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Instant Decision Days


Reminders from Guidance


Community 3 Colleges vs. 4 -Year Universities The Truth About College Prep


Accuplacer Test Prep


Summer Enrichment Programs


March and April are exciting months in the Guidance office!

and the opportunity to ask questions of the admissions representatives.

through March 22 and is entirely online this year. Pay attention to deadlines!

Not only are our seniors receiving their admissions decisions and busy narrowing down their choices to the college they will attend, but they will also start applying for local scholarships.

CCM will hold Instant Decision Days for students who plan to attend CCM in March and April (see page 2). Accuplacer placement testing follows in May.

More information on these events is available on our website under the appropriate tab, or will be provided directly to students.

Guidance will be hosting a College Admissions Panel in March with a variety of local and out-of-state colleges. This event is for all high school students and parents — it is never too early to begin planning for college. Join us and learn about the various schools

In April, PARCC testing will take place for all students enrolled in English I, II and III and Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. We encourage all students to apply their test taking skills and do their best! AP students are preparing to take their AP exams in May; AP test registration is ongoing

This is also a great time of the year to reflect back on how the school year has been going, and what goals you want to accomplish before the end of June. Start thinking about your summer plans, college visits, how to increase your SAT/ACT scores, and what you see yourself doing next year. A new start is always possible!

Important Dates! Mark Your Calendar! March 4—Mid-Point of 3rd Marking Period

3/22—Deadline to register for AP Exams

March 4—Mini College Fair @ Lunch in PAC

3/22—College Panel Night in PAC @ 7 p.m.

3/9—CCM Instant Decision Day in Guidance

4/11-14—Quarterlies 4/18—Beginning of 4th Marking Period

Follow the Mount Olive Guidance Department at



Attention Seniors! County College of Morris to Hold Instant Decision Days at MOHS County College of Morris will hold

its annual Instant Decision Day here at Mount Olive High School on March 9 AND on April 27. If you’re not familiar with an Instant Decision Day, it is when students may meet individually with an admissions representative, who will review their transcripts and give them an admissions decision right there on the spot! Students

can ask questions about the de-

gives them the satisfaction of

grees and majors offered at CCM,

knowing they have made the first

as well as set up academic advisor

step in their post high school plan-



However, there are several steps

CCM has a wide variety of pro-

that students must take first to

grams and is cost effective and

prepare for Instant Decision Day.

convenient for students.

Students must have applied to

Any students who are interested

CCM and paid the application fee, then request their transcripts from the Guidance Department.

in CCM should visit Guidance to learn more about the Instant Decision Days and admissions test-

Instant Decision Day allows the

ing, or visit the CCM website at

student to walk out of the meeting

with an acceptance to CCM and

Reminders from Guidance! Seniors — make sure to send thank you notes to your recommendation writers. Keep an eye on the Guidance website for scholarship information! Juniors — don’t forget to register for the spring SAT or ACT, and SAT subject tests; continue college visits; start researching summer enrichment programs. Sophomores and freshmen — Now is a great time to research summer enrichment, volunteer or employment opportunities.

2016-17 Scheduling Scheduling for 2016-17 began in early February when counselors gave scheduling presentations during students’ social studies classes. Students were provided with their class recommendations, scheduling worksheet, and information about the Level Placement Policy and Course Change Petition. Completed worksheets were due February 12. Counselors will be meeting with students over the next several weeks to review their schedules and finalize their choices. It is very important for students to follow the given deadlines, in particular for changing course levels. All requests for changes should be done between April 25 and June 15. No level or course changes will be considered after June 15 until the Add/Drop period during the 2016-17 school year. So, students should very carefully consider classes which are required for graduation, which level is best based on teacher recommendation and current/past student performance, and which electives you are most interested in. Also it is very important to keep in mind that your alternates should be carefully chosen as well since there is no guarantee you will get your first choice! Waiting until September and the Drop/Add period really isn’t a smart choice. Make the best decision possible NOW!



Considering Community College? Community Colleges vs Universities Class Size and Student-Teacher Interaction According to several recent studies, students attending community colleges often participate in classroom discussion and experience one-on-one interaction with professors at a much higher rate than university students. Since the student-to-faculty ratio at most community colleges is lower than at most four-year colleges and universities, community college students often spend more time working directly with their professors. In large public universities, it is not uncommon for classes to be held in large auditoriums where one professor may lecture several hundred students at a time. Consequently, some university students tend to feel that they’re never able develop a personal relationship with their professor. In addition, survey results indicate that students at community colleges tend to receive direct feedback from professors at a much higher rate than students attending four-year institutions.

Academic Challenges and Comparisons Community colleges usually offer courses comparable in academic rigor and difficulty to those taught at four-year colleges and universities. In fact, since research is not conducted at community colleges, more emphasis is placed on classroom instruction, and many professors at community colleges utilize teaching methods that focus on teaching rather than research. Professors at most community colleges love teaching, consequently they are able to simplify complicated subjects in a way that students are better able to understand, internalize and reapply them in the real world.

Financial Cost It goes without saying that obtaining an education at a community colleges is typically far less expensive than a comparable education at a four-year college or university. In fact, many university students graduate having accumulated staggering levels of debt. Because of the relatively low cost of attending community college, higher education is now available to individuals who could otherwise not afford the cost of attending a traditional four-year college or university. Best of all, more and more community colleges are providing students with a much better value proposition than four-year institutions. With the soaring costs of tuition, books and living in general, and a tighter job market, a larger number of career-minded students and aspiring professionals are opting to earn their degree at a community college.

Flexibility Due to financial constraints and a tightening job market, many students are finding the need to work while attending college. Hands down, community colleges are the best option for students who plan on working more than part-time while earning their degree. Community colleges typically offer a much larger selection of night courses than four-year colleges and more schedule options. In addition, class attendance is often not required as it is at many four-year institutions.

Qualified Professors One of the biggest criticisms that higher education accrediting agencies have voiced with regard to the quality of education at community colleges is the quality of their teaching staff. However, this is no longer the norm. Most community colleges now require that their professors have a master’s or doctoral degree in the subject that they teach. Conversely, one of the advantages that community colleges have over universities is that their professors are often successful career professionals that are tuned into their respective industry and can provide students insights and knowledge that is directly applicable to the local job market.

Student Life and Opportunities Many would-be students grow up with the notion that if they don’t attend a popular four-year college or university they’ll miss out on the traditional “college experience”. True, larger colleges and universities typically offer students greater opportunity to participate in social clubs, fraternities, on-campus events and study body organizations, but don’t be fooled. Many large community colleges offer students a very vibrant on-campus student life. Students attending community colleges are also able to live at home or remain in their local community while receiving their education, while most university students end up relocated to attend college. For students unsure about going to college, community colleges offer them the luxury of giving college a shot without having to move to a distant campus. Since community college is less expensive and more convenient for many students, it can be a better route to take in order to earn a college degree.

Adapted from

ATTENTION FRESHMEN AND SOPHOMORES! The Truth About College Prep: Why Students Should Start Early Adapted from

It's never too early to start planning for college! For 9th and 10th graders, the process may seem far off, but before they know it, they will be facing the end of junior year. Getting into college is hard work even if you've planned ahead - but it can be a lot easier if students are proactive throughout high school. With over 4,000 colleges and universities in the US, the possibilities for higher education are endless. By doing ample research, students are sure to find schools that are great academic, personal, and financial fits - and with the average amount of student debt reaching $33,000 for the graduating college class of 2014, it's important for families to do their due diligence to find institutions where students have the best chance to graduate within four years with minimal debt. Here's why it's important to start planning for college now:: Students need time to find the right schools to apply to. According to NACAC, the percentage of students applying to seven or more colleges has risen from 9 percent to 22 percent since 1990. While applying to a lot of colleges may seem to tip the scales in a student's favor (with those numbers he or she has to have better odds of getting in somewhere, right?), it's often a result of poor planning, little guidance, and panic towards the end of the admissions process. The truth is, students should apply to a balanced list of reach, target, and likely colleges, ideally 12-15. This is where starting as early as possible comes in - students need the time to effectively identify, research, visit, and apply to schools that are best-fits. Students should be using resources like college websites, College Navigator,LinkedIn's Higher Education tools, Facebook, Twitter, and some good old fashioned Internet searching to find and research colleges they might not otherwise know about. It takes time to research, build, and refine a college list--which is why it's important to start the process as early as possible. With competitive admission rates and the nuances of each college's application, it's not enough to choose 5-10 schools that students know only by name recognition or reputation. Planning and research is critical, and can be the difference between an acceptance to a top-choice college or coming up empty handed at decision time in April. Stellar grades, activities, and test scores don't come overnight. When it comes to competitive admissions, it's not enough to have just a great junior year. Colleges will look at all four years of grades and activities, so students need to make good grades, identify their interests, and get involved as soon as possible. That said, it's never too late to improve. Colleges look for upward grade trends; so if 9th and 10th year grades were not the strongest, focus on getting the best marks possible junior year. A dramatic improvement can signify maturity and academic preparedness to an admissions committee. Keep track of grades from day one of high school, and know how to spot red flags and when to ask for help. Colleges will also evaluate the rigor of the student's four-year curriculum, so make sure students are taking courses with increasing difficulty each year, signifying they're prepared for a college course load. Selective colleges are also looking for specialists to form a well-rounded class. Students should focus on a few clubs and activities that meet their interests, and become deeply involved. College admissions committees love to see students attaining increasing positions of leadership in their activities, so don’t be afraid to seek an officer position or even to form your own club or organization. Test scores take planning and preparation, too. Practice and take standardized tests as early as possible - don't wait until the fall of senior year. Students might not have enough time to improve should their initial scores fall short of their goal. When senior year rolls around, there will be a lot less stress. Waiting until the last minute can cause a lot of undue stress, anxiety, and can lead to a lot of mistakes. By starting early, students won't feel as frenetic come senior year. At that point, the only thing left to do is to actually apply, and college essays are enough work without having to worry about the o ther factors that may have been neglected prior to senior year. Research and preparation may seem like a lot of work now, but it will be much harder come admissions season. In the end, students will benefit from starting earlier because they'll be more focused, have the information they need, and will be confident that they've done all they can to have the best chance for admission at a great-fit college.

Accuplacer Test Taking Tips for Seniors Seniors who are interested in applying or have applied to CCM! Taking the Accuplacer this spring? The Accuplacer is a placement test that assists you and your advisor with course selection. Go to to explore what will be on the test, which includes arithmetic, college level math, elementary algebra, reading comprehension, sentence skills, and a written essay. Start preparing now! Accuplacer has a web-based app to help you study using your smartphone, tablet or computer! The app has practice “learn as you go” tests with explanations of the correct or incorrect answers that allow you to practice and concentrate on those areas where you need more help. Taking the practice tests can lead to improvement in your math and reading skills and help boost your confidence when you take the actual test; you’ll know ahead of time what your experience will be like when you actually take the test. The app is especially helpful because you can save your work and then go back to practicing at any time, so you’re in control of your time and schedule. Then, you can review your score history to see where you need to go back and practice more, as well as recognize the areas in which you are stronger.

Get ahead with SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS Summer enrichment programs are opportunities that are often very worthwhile, introducing students to intellectual and social experiences beyond what is available in a typical school year. The programs listed below can give you an idea of the variety of program offerings, which range from performing arts and music to law and robotics. In addition, there are several enrichment programs listed under the Guidance tab on the website. Please note that this is not an endorsement of any program, simply opportunities for interested parties to explore further. Cornell University Summer College: Students have the opportunity to earn three to six college credits during three- and six- week programs on campus, in a variety of subjects. Additionally, a two-week, non-credit program is being offered this year for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, entitled, Fabricating the Future: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Application Deadline: April 29, 2016 Rutgers Business School Summer Business Camp: Will provide incoming high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to learn the basics of business. Students will form business teams which will become partnerships in creating proposed new business ventures. They will develop business plans with their new partners and present those plans in a business plan competition. The Cooper Union Summer Art Intensive: All participants select a two-day studio concentration, devoting the rest of the week to intensive drawing instruction and the study of contemporary art issues. Portfolio preparation classes, taught by a specialized faculty of working artists, are combined with visits to major museums and gallery districts, engaging students with the vast cultural resources of New York City. Application Deadline: April 27, 2016 University of Pennsylvania Engineering Summer Academy: Offers rising 10th-12th graders the opportunity to experience rigorous and challenging college-level coursework. This three-week program combines theory with hands-on practical experience in cutting-edge technologies and allows students to earn college credit in one of the following programs: Biotechnology, Computer Graphics, Computer Science, Engineering Complex Networks, Nanotechnology, and Robotics. Application Deadline: May 13, 2016 Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts Summer Intensives: Programs that give students the opportunities to explore, create, and perform under the guidance of distinguished teaching artists in the subjects of music, dance, digital film, theater and visual arts. Application Deadline: June 1, 2016 Penn Law’s Pre-College Summer Academy: A 3-week, rigorous exploration of U.S. law and the legal profession taken at the University of Pennsylvania. https://