WHS Guidance: Course Selection for Next Year, New Dates for SATs, APs Online

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While Watertown High School students are in virtual learning mode for the rest of the school year, they can start planning for the return to campus next year, as well as, taking tests to prepare for college.

The WHS guidance department sent out the following information for students:

Dear Watertown students and families,

First and foremost, I hope this email finds you and your family well during this challenging time. So much is changing, and all of it quite quickly. While it’s possible that more will have changed by the time you read this email, the WHS Guidance Department wants to provide you with some information in regards to course selection, post-secondary planning, and resources for support. We also plan to share a brief video covering this information in the coming days.

Course Selection

All students should receive instructions via email for accessing Course Requests through PowerSchool by Tuesday, April 28. This email will include student user names and passwords for the PowerSchool portal as well as instructions for accessing their requests. There was a slight delay in our ability to distribute them. Please remember this is the preliminary list of courses for next year. Questions about recommendations, missing courses, or level changes can be directed to current teachers. Students are reminded to complete the Elective by Wednesday, April 29. The link to the form was emailed to students previously and will be re-sent on Monday, April 27.

In about 2 weeks, students will receive another verification sheet that will list any changes in courses selected and the elective courses students’ have chosen. Guidance counselors will work with students and teachers to ensure that courses requested meet graduation requirements. They will also continue to be available for academic advising with students.

SAT/ACT Updates

The CollegeBoard (developer of the SAT, a test widely used for college admissions) has announced several new test dates to make up for the canceled March, May, and June test administrations. These dates can be found here. Registration for Fall tests will begin in May. Priority registration will be given to students in the class of 2021 who do not have any SAT scores yet. Details on the length of the priority registration and registration dates are forthcoming.

ACT (the other test widely used for college admissions) has rescheduled their April test date to June 13 and will have July, September, October, and December test dates. ACT also announced a test-at-home option. Additional details are forthcoming.

Many colleges and universities have announced that they will be “test-optional” (which means they will not require standardized test scores for admission) for the class of 2021. This list is changing frequently. We always recommend that students check with the colleges they are interested in for full details.

AP Updates

The CollegeBoard (developer of the Advanced Placement exams) announced previously that this year’s AP exams will be taken online. AP students and their families have received separate communication from me with information about the exams and next steps.

College Planning

Over the past several weeks, many of the guidance counselors have attended webinars or meetings with college admissions counselors. The National Association for College Admission Counseling is frequently updating information about college admissions procedures here. While college admissions policies continue to be developed and adjusted, one piece of advice has remained consistent: Take care of yourself.The resounding themes from college admissions teams are that they: 1) understand that these are challenging times and students may be struggling; 2) will support high school grading policies and not penalize students for grading decisions their school has made; 3) want students to take care of themselves and their families and to stay healthy. The Dean of Admissions at WPI recently wrote this open letter to high school juniors, which reflects the things we heard during our meetings and webinars with colleges and universities around the country.

While much is still uncertain, there are many things students can be doing to think about the next steps including meeting with their guidance counselor, participating in online test prep activities (like Khan Academy), talking to teachers about teacher recommendations, and researching schools and programs they are interested in. Many schools and programs are offering extensive virtual opportunities so that students can continue to explore without having to leave home. Students may also want to explore Naviance and other post-secondary planning resources listed on this document.

Financial Aid for Seniors

We were unable to host MEFA’s After the Acceptance Seminar earlier this month. MEFA has a variety of free, online resources including a tip sheet for seniors and a recorded After the Acceptance Seminar that can be watched at any time. We encourage students and families to access these resources.

Wellness Wednesday

Finally, we want to remind students and families that the WHS counselors are sending a short weekly newsletter with some wellness tips and resources. The newsletter is sent via email on Wednesdays. They can also be found on the WHS Guidance website and in Mrs. Lundberg’s weekly emails.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the WHS counselors. We are available via email and are able to schedule meetings with students as needed. We miss seeing our students in our offices and wish you all safety and good health.

Be well,

Adrienne Eaton
Lead Guidance Counselor
Watertown High School
50 Columbia Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Guidance News: https://sites.google.com/a/watertown.k12.ma.us/whs-guidance/

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