College Counseling

The King’s Academy Guidance Department helps students and parents navigate the college search and application process.

The joy and fullness that God intends for you is dependent on you being where He wants you to be, doing what He wants you to do, and having a purpose that is in line with His plans for you.  You are a steward of the unique talents that God has gifted to you.  He trusts you to develop these talents and use them as a part of His mission in the world.  Your college choice should help develop these talents and you should use your occupation to be an agent of Christ to accomplish His work.

The process of planning for college can seem overwhelming.  This information was created to help parents and students move through the college planning process with as little frustration and confusion as possible.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Guidance Office. Good luck with planning!

College is a match to be made – not a prize to be won…

Suggested High School Course Load for College Admissions

(These are just suggestions. Please check with individual colleges for specific requirements.)

ADMISSION TO OPEN & LIBERAL COLLEGES

  • English- 4 years
  • Math- 4 years
  • Social Science- 4 years
  • Science- 3 years
  • Fine Art- 1 year
  • Computer- 1 year
  • Wellness- 1 year
  • Foreign Language- 2 years of same language
  • Maintain a 2.5+ GPA
  • ACT score of 19-22 or SAT score of 860-1000 

ADMISSION TO TRADITIONAL & COMPETITIVE COLLEGES

  • English- 4 years (2 Honors)
  • Math –  4 years (2 Honors)
  • Social Science- 4 years
  • Science- 3 or 4 years
  • Fine Art- 1 year
  • Computer- 1 year
  • Wellness- 1 year
  • Foreign Language- 2 years of same language
  • AP or other advanced Courses- 1-2 years
  • Maintain a 3.0+ GPA
  • ACT Score of 20-27 or SAT score of 960-1200 

ADMISSION TO HIGHLY COMPETITIVE & MOST COMPETITIVE COLLEGES*

  • English- 4 years (3-4 Honors)
  • Math- 4 years (2-3 Honors)
  • Social Science  4 years
  • Science- 4 years
  • Fine Art- 1 year
  • Computer- 1 year
  • Wellness- 1 year
  • Foreign Language- 2 years or more of the same language
  • AP Courses- 2-3 years
  • Maintain a 3.5+ GPA
  • ACT score of 27-35 or SAT score of 1200-1590

*HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ADMISSION COLLEGES- REMEMBER TO MAINTAIN AN A AVERAGE WITH SEVERAL HONORS AND AP COURSES.  AIM FOR AN ACT SCORE OF 27-31 OR SAT SCORE OF 1810- 2100.

*MOST COMPETITIVE ADMISSION COLLEGES- REMEMBER TO MAINTAIN AN A+ AVERAGE WITH AS MANY HONORS AND AP COURSES OFFERED.  AIM FOR AN ACT SCORE OF 29-35 OR SAT SCORE OF 1920-2390.

Suggested Prep for College Admissions to Highly Competitive Colleges and Universities

The following are some general recommendations for admission into competitive colleges. Admittance is in no way guaranteed. Colleges carefully consider a variety of things including test scores, class rank, grade point average (GPA), AP and honors classes, athletic participation, activities, application essay, community service and recommendations.  Colleges also look for diversity in their student body.   Check out http://www.admissionpossible.com/index.php and www.mycollegepath.com.

TEST SCORES, CLASS RANK AND GPA

Normally, the average ACT score for a very competitive college is 28-32.  The average SAT Verbal and Math score is 650-750. Class rank and GPA are also very important.  A GPA of at least 3.5 is recommended.  Colleges still consider test scores and GPA as the greatest predictor of success in college.

AP AND HONORS CLASSES

It is recommended that students take as many honors and AP classes as possible.  A good score on AP exams is important.

ATHLETIC PARTICIPATION

Colleges look for dedication and commitment in athletics as well as ability.  For example, it is better to play a sport for several years in a row rather than playing a different sport every year.

ACTIVITIES

It is generally more important to be dedicated and passionate about a few activities than to participate in several activities for a short period of time. Get involved in school or church groups or activities and stay involved for several of years.

APPLICATION ESSAY

Finding your own voice-the ability to make your reader hear you talking through your written words-is very important.  An excellent resource to help with this is the book The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.  Admission committees are not interested in hearing about your summer vacation in Europe or your plan to promote world peace.  They are interested in learning about who you are, what you think, and how you think.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Again, dedication, commitment, and passion are the keys to successful community service. It is better to be involved in the same community service activity for a significant amount of time than to do several different activities in a year.

            RECOMMENDATIONS

Take your recommendations seriously.  Don’t pick someone as a referent just because you think she/he is a great teacher.  Pick someone who you know writes well.  Also, pick someone who knows you well and has reasons to speak highly of you.

Remember: be diligent, consistent, committed, and persistent.  Good luck!

Suggested Yearly College Planning Checklist

GRADE 9

SUGGESTED TESTING

  • Take the PSAT (October)- required for all freshman
  • Take the ACT PLAN (September) –required for all freshman

SUGGESTED ACTIVITES

  • Develop a long list of college names (10)
  • Start resume
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
  • Begin community service projects
  • Build a flexible schedule allowing for study time, extracurricular activities, and your other interests
  • Find out about summer jobs.  Look into volunteer opportunities that will expand your experience and skills.
  • Complete required summer reading list and additional challenging books.


GRADE 10

SUGGESTED TESTING

  • Take the PSAT (October)- required for all sophomores
  • Take the ACT PLAN (September)- required for all sophomores
  • Take the ACT (February, April &June)
  • Take the SAT (January, March, & May)

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

  • Reduce long list of college names (7-9)
  • Begin college visits on the computer- ecampustours.com
  • Continue work on resume
  • Consider using PSAT/SAT or ACT test prep programs
  • Continue community service projects
  • Complete required summer reading list and additional challenging books
  • If interested in college athletics, check out NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.

 

GRADE 11

SUGGESTED TESTING

  • Take the PSAT (October) required for all Juniors
  • Take the SAT II Subject Tests (December or January)
  • Take the ACT ( September, December, February,  April or June) or SAT (October, December, March, & June)

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

  • Send all test scores to colleges, universities, or scholarship agencies
  • Develop a short college list (5-7)
  • Schedule college visits
  • Investigate college honors programs
  • Complete rough draft of resume and personal essay
  • Conduct scholarship searches on the Internet or scholarship books- www.fastweb.com
  • Attend sessions with college representatives who visit your high school.
  • If you plan to play sports in college, write to college coaches at your target schools.  Include a schedule of your athletic events for the upcoming year.  Register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.
  • Practice writing online applications, filling out rough drafts, without submitting them.
  • Review applications, especially the essays.  Ask others to proof the essay for any grammar, content or punctuation errors.
  • Read all college mail and send reply cards back to schools of interest
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid/parents night

 

GRADE 12

SUGGESTED TESTING

  • Take the ACT and/or SAT (September or October)
  • Take the SAT Subject Tests (October or November)

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

  • Attend special programs such as college fairs and financial aid nights
  • Visit your top college choices
  • Mail NCAA application if interested in college athletics
  • Finalize resume and personal essay
  • Mail college applications before deadlines (Often November 1st or December 1st for early decision and early action)
  • Keep copies of all applications and forms you submit
  • Request letters of recommendation and transcripts to be mailed with college applications
  • Complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) after January 1
  • Mail seventh semester transcripts to colleges if requested after fall semester is completed
  • Complete and send scholarship applications- Be aware of deadlines!
  • Watch the mail for college acceptance and financial aid award letters. Compare the financial aid awards you receive
  • Make your final decision and send in a deposit by the deadline
  • Check with the college you’ve chosen about the details of signing and returning financial aid award letters
  • Notify the other schools that you will not be attending
  • Watch for important deadlines at your chosen college (housing, financial aid, etc.)
  • Finalize summer school or summer job plans

SAT & ACT: A Comparison

If you have the choice to take either the SAT I or the ACT (which, of course is dependent on the schools you wish to apply to) which should you take? Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, you may perform better on one test than the other.  Below you will find a comparison of the two tests.

SAT

Tests critical reading, math skills, and writing

  • sentence completion
  • passage-based reading
  • number operations, algebra I, II, geometry, statistics, probability, and data analysis

Measures

  • ability to identify genre
  • relationships among parts of a text
  • cause and effect
  • rhetorical devices
  • comparative arguments
  • use of standard written English
  • knowledge of math course work
  • ability to reason mathematically

Required essay

3 hours and 45 minutes in length

Guessing penalty of a quarter-point

ACT

Tests English, math, reading, and science reasoning in 4 subtests, and an optional writing section

  • usage, mechanics, rhetorical skills
  • Algebra I & II, geometry, trigonometry
  • critical reading
  • reading passages from the social sciences, natural sciences, prose fiction, humanities
  • data representation, research  summaries, conflicting viewpoints (science)

Measures

  • knowledge and understanding of standard written English and rhetorical skills
  • knowledge and understanding of ninth through eleventh grade course work in math
  • reading comprehension across subject areas
  • reasoning and problem solving in biology, chemistry, physical, and earth and space science (some general-level science background is needed to understand the concepts)

Optional Essay

2 hours and 55 minutes in length

All multiple choice

Heavy focus on grammar; does not test spelling or vocabulary

No guessing penalty; only correct answers count.

Choosing the Right College for You - Self Inventory

In order to decide which college options are best for you, it is helpful to first know yourself. Download and complete the self-inventory below and then use this information when considering your options.

Download (PDF, 100KB)

Weighing Your Options

PUBLIC OR PRIVATE

  • Public state schools offer lower tuition, especially for in-state residents
  • Private schools usually offer more financial aid
  • Public schools, with recent budget cuts, sometimes schedule fewer sections of required courses which may take longer to graduate
  • Private schools have smaller, more personal classes

SMALL OR LARGE

  • Large schools offer an amazing variety of courses and majors, but the bureaucracy can be daunting and professors inaccessible
  • Small schools over lower student-to-teacher ratio, smaller class sizes and more interaction with faculty, but fewer course and program options

URBAN, RURAL, OR SUBURBAN

  • Urban settings offer an endless variety of things to do
  • Rural settings offer a quiet setting without the distractions of the city
  • Suburban settings offer a quiet setting with a city only a short ride away

MIX OR MATCH

  • Women’s colleges foster self-esteem
  • Christian colleges offer the chance to share your faith with like-minded students
  • A college outside your racial, or ethnic group can be a great learning experience

TWO OR FOUR YEAR

  • A two-year college is a great way to jump-start your college career and save a pile of money; however, they have fewer student activities and no residential life

INTERNET RESOURCES FOR COLLEGE INFORMATION & SELECTION

College Virtual Tours: www.ecampustours.com

Visit hundreds of colleges from one website.  Also includes college planning information and links to each college.

College Board- https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/

ACT- http://www.actstudent.org/college/choosing.html

Admission Possible: http://www.admissionpossible.com/index.php

Fastweb- www.fastweb.com :

Customized College Searches

  1. Instant search results, with a list of schools selected just for them
  2. Detailed information on nearly 4,000 colleges
  3. Match against 2 and 4 year colleges
  4. The opportunity to be recruited by colleges

College Visits

Students should visit colleges in which they are interested. An on-campus visit may sometimes determine if the college is a good fit. The King’s Academy allows juniors to take 2 days of excused absences while seniors may take 3 days of excused absences during the school year to visit colleges, provided the conditions below are met:

  1. The student must not be on academic or social supervision status.
  2. The student must have a good attendance record.
  3. The student must make prior arrangements for making up class work and assignments with each teacher.
  4. The student must work through the guidance office to make necessary arrangements two weeks before the scheduled visit.  Requests for college visitation days should be completed no later than April 15.
  5. The student must have at least a “C” average in all current classes.
  6. The student must have taken the ACT, SAT, or TOEFL.

HINTS FOR A PRODUCTIVE CAMPUS VISIT

A campus visit is highly recommended.  Before you visit a campus, consider some of the options below.  It is also important to develop a list of questions and plan specific activities to accomplish your goals.

  • Visit every college you are considering, preferably during a week when classes are in session
  • Call ahead for an appointment
  • Don’t be late
  • Dress appropriately- look presentable
  • Ask questions
  • Talk to current students
  • Meet with an admissions officer
  • Verify admission requirements (test scores and high school preparation)
  • Discuss your chances of success
  • Obtain a college calendar and catalog, if you don’t already have them
  • Determine college costs
  • Ask about financial aid opportunities, as well as deadlines, forms required, etc.
  • Meet with faculty in the academic area of interest to you
  • Ask questions about academic requirements/offerings
  • Attend a class to get an idea of typical size, teaching style, academic atmosphere
  • Ask about the placement records for graduates in the field you might study
  • Identify career planning services for undergraduates
  • Tour the campus (Be sure to check out the dorms, dining hall, library, etc.)
  • Talk to students about the general academic environment and the study commitment necessary for success
  • Find out what student activities (clubs, organizations, intramurals, etc.) are available
  • Inquire about campus life and social activities
  • Investigate transportation options
  • Follow your gut- find a college that “feels right” to you
  • Pray about this important decision
  • College Virtual Tours: www.ecampustours.com
    • Visit hundreds of colleges from one website.  Also includes college planning information and links to each college.

College Essays

WRITING THE COLLEGE ESSAY

The essay is the living, breathing part of your application to a college.  In the essay, you can speak in your own voice and personalize your application.  Here is your opportunity to show something about yourself that does not come across elsewhere in your application.

POSSIBLE ESSAY QUESTIONS

  1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  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 place or environment where you are perfectly content.  What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal, or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

CHOOSING A TOPIC

  • The easiest topic to write about is yourself.
  • Do not be afraid to write about something you think is a little different.
  • Organize your thoughts, develop a framework so it will have a smooth and logical progression from one idea to the next, and consider your purpose in writing, what you want to convey, and the tone that is most appropriate for the topic.

ESSAY DOs

  • Keep your focus narrow and personal.  Your essay must prove a single point or thesis.  The reader must be able to find your main idea and follow it from beginning to end.
  • Accentuate the positive.  You can describe negatives, but emphasize how the experience impacted you for the better and what you learned from it.
  • Captivate your audience.  Your essay should be engaging and memorable.  Draw the reader in with a quick, enticing introduction and give the reader a reason to finish your essay.
  • Ask people for input.  Whether it is a teacher, counselor, friend, or parent, ask someone you respect for some candid feedback.  Is it confusing? Boring?
  • Leave time for rewriting. Write a first draft and let it sit for a few days.  Look for weak or dull spots and grammatical errors.  Never let your first draft be your final draft.
  • Write from the heart.  The more effectively you can show the reader how it felt to have a car accident or make an important decision, the more the reader will know about you, and that is the goal of a good college essay.
  • Revise, reword.  Put your draft into shape through various rewrites.  Read the essay aloud to find awkward sentences or problems.
  • Prove it.  Develop your main idea with vivid and specific facts, events, quotations, examples, and reasons.
  • Be specific.  Avoid clichéd, generic, and predictable writing by using vivid and specific details.

ESSAY DON’Ts

  • Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear.
  • Don’t write a resume.  Don’t include information that is found elsewhere in the application.
  • Don’t exaggerate or use a flowery, inflated, or pretentious style.
  • Don’t use 50 words when five will do. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  • Don’t forget to proofread.  Typos and spelling or grammatical errors can be interpreted as carelessness or just bad writing.  Don’t rely on your computer’s spell check.  It can miss errors.

Check out Admission Possible at www.admissionpossible.com

Choosing a College Major

Steps for Applying for Financial Aid

 1. APPLY FOR ADMISSION AS WELL AS FINANCIAL AID

Before a student’s chance for aid can be determined, many colleges require both an application for admission and for financial aid.  Since application deadlines vary from institution to institution, you may want to develop a calendar of important dates.  In any case, it’s wise to apply as early as you can.

2. SUBMIT REQUIRED FINANCIAL AID FORMS

File all forms for financial aid consideration at the college(s) you are contemplating.  This includes the correct year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Note: Students should file only one FAFSA regardless of how many colleges they are considering.  The FAFSA includes a section to list the colleges to which they want their information sent.

Contact your guidance counselor to obtain a FAFSA form or electronic filing information.  If you have questions about completing the application, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (800-433-3243).  During your senior year, complete the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible. 

Complete the FAFSA on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  To electronically sign the FAFSA, request a pin number at www.pin.ed.gov.

The FAFSA collects demographic and financial information from students and parents to be used to determine an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the figure used to determine a student’s eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, other federal financial aid programs, and many state programs. The EFC is determined according to formulas set periodically by the U.S. Congress. After  you complete the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).  Call 1-800-433-3243 if you do not receive your SAR in 4-6 weeks.

Students should also check with each college to determine if there are additional forms that the college requires them to file.  Be sure to file all forms in time to meet the colleges’ financial aid application deadlines.  Note: Admissions and financial aid deadlines are often different; be sure to meet each requirement.

3.  APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS

Besides aid offered directly by a college, be sure to inquire about state scholarship, grant, and loan programs.  Ask about institutional, community, foundation, and corporation programs as well.

4. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS

Monitor all the information you receive from individual college’s business offices regarding fees, payment schedules, etc. Include this information in your college planning.

Free Online College Scholarship Searches

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