College Guidance

College Timeline

List of 6 items.

  • PreK - Grade 7

    All Canterbury families are invited to meet with Mrs. Wilson during the months of January - June for early college planning.
  • Grade 8

    Middle School-College Planning Seminar offered in December for students in grade 8 and their parents.
  • Grade 9

    Grade 9 advisories join the College Guidance staff in the computer lab for Naviance/Family Connection registration.
  • Grade 10

    Students and parents are welcome to schedule meetings with Mrs. Wilson between the months of Jan-June for updates to the four-year plan.
  • Grade 11: The Junior Year

    The Junior Year is the year of the college search! It is also a year filled with standardized testing.
  • Grade 12: The Senior Year

    Between the months of August and November, College Guidance services are offered to seniors only!

Important Information

List of 12 items.

  • Junior To-Do List

    • Attend Junior College Seminar in November and then email Mrs. Wilson to schedule an individual appointment.
    • Following your appointment with Mrs. Wilson, you will receive a list of recommended colleges. Your job is to research the schools through websites, Naviance and campus visits.
    • Register for your SAT, ACT with Writing and Subject Tests for the remainder of the year.
    • Work as a family to prioritize which colleges you will visit, and when.
    • SIGN UP FOR A JUNIOR “INTERVIEW IN THE SPRING. Mrs. Wilson will prep you for college interviews and ask questions that will assist her in writing you an amazing letter of recommendation.
    • Plan to visit campuses over winter, spring or summer breaks.
    • Attend the Junior College Meeting in May in the US Lecture Hall. Senior Panel and Important Info will be covered. This meeting is mandatory for students. Date: TBD
    • Write college essays over the summer and finalize your college list by Sept. 1 of your senior year.
    • Plan a strong senior schedule of classes and continued involvement.
  • Creating a College List: Reaches, Targets and Safeties

    Every student should apply to a “balanced list” of colleges complete with Reaches, Targets and Safeties. By creating this “balanced list”, the college search and application process is less stressful and is guaranteed to produce a successful outcome.

      Many colleges and universities report highly competitive admissions, meaning no student should expect admission.  Highly competitive schools receive far more applications from qualified applicants than they can admit.  Thus, for Reach schools, students are encouraged to do everything possible to achieve admission, but the college list must contain postsecondary options to which gaining admission is easier.

       Target schools are schools that fit a student’s academic background and to which a student has a reasonable chance for admission.

      Schools from which the student can fully expect an offer of admission.  Safeties must be options the student would be happy to attend.
  • What are Colleges Looking for in an Applicant?

    *Nothing is more important to selective colleges than excellent grades in demanding honors and AP courses.  Always make academics your first priority!

    1. Excellent grades in appropriately challenging courses
    2. GPA of 3.0 and above;  Higher for Competitive Colleges
    3. Extracurricular Activities:  Consistency from year to year shows true contribution and leadership!
    4. Community Service: Consistency from year to year in one or two is best!
    5. Standardized Test Scores:  SAT/ACT/Subject Tests (if required)
    6. College Essay that is well-written , has “voice”, and is personal
    7. College Interview:  If offered
    8. Special talents or Abilities that you will bring to the college community
  • The College Essay

    The college essay is your chance to tell the school something about yourself. The best essays are ones in which you reveal something about yourself that an admissions reader would not ordinarily discover by reading your application. Sometimes, essay questions are specific and this helps to focus the writer. However, most college essay topics are vague, offering the applicant a wide range of possibilities for topics. This is sometimes a challenge! The Director of College Guidance can help you to brainstorm ideas for an authentic essay that could really enhance your application. Teachers and parents often have excellent insights and ideas for college essays. Ask for help if you get stuck! Essays need to be well written, with no mistakes and perfect grammar! Always have someone proof your essays!
  • How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

    Each student applies to a different number of colleges. On average, most students find it comfortable to apply to 6-8 colleges. Some students may apply to more. Each college application has an application fee of approximately $40.00-$75.00. Applying is expensive and time consuming. If you do your research and campus visits, establishing that “balanced list” of colleges, you should be able to apply to a comfortable, not cumbersome, number of colleges.
  • Art, Music, Architecture and Performing Arts Majors

    Students applying to art, music, architecture or performing arts majors should be aware of additional application requirements. Art and architecture majors usually have to produce a portfolio and must attend “Portfolio Review Dates” at the colleges where they seek admission. Music and performing arts majors may have to send CDs or take part in scheduled auditions. Contact the Admissions Office of your chosen colleges for details. College Websites offer details to follow.
  • Should I Apply Under Early Decision? What's Early Action? What's Restricted Early Action?

    Early Decision:  Early Decision is legally binding. You can only apply to one school under Early Decision.  For qualified students at the time of the Early Decision deadline (usually Nov. 1), applying Early Decision can increase chances for admission.  If the student is accepted under Early Decision, all other college applications must be withdrawn.  Students will be notified of admission by mid-December.  Parents need to contact the Financial Aid Department of the chosen college before signing the Early Decision contract to establish a firm understanding of the estimate of financial aid that is given at the time of Early Decision acceptance.  Final Financial Aid packages do not come out until March, due to the fact that the FAFSA (Financial Application for Federal Student Aid) cannot be filed until after January of the year the student will attend college.

    Early Action: 
     Early Action is a terrific option for all students who are qualified for admission at an early date during the senior year (usually Nov. 1). The option allows students to apply early, and be notified early, of admission. It is an excellent option with no penalties or legally binding contracts. 

    Early Action Restricted or Single Choice:
      This is a fairly new application option, offering students the chance to apply to one school under Early Action, increasing the chances for admission and learning early of the admissions decision. It is NOT legally binding and students have until May (the universal reply date) to decide what school they will attend.
  • Understanding the Common Application

    Approximately 300 colleges and universities allow students to apply using one central application form, The Common Application. Go to to see what colleges participate in the Common Application. The advantage is that the student fills out one application that is then submitted to many colleges of the student’s choice. It is important to note that each school using the common application has a different application deadline and application fee. It is also important to note that many colleges require a supplement to the common application, which can be found on the Common Application website.
  • Do I Need to Set Up an Appointment for an Interview?

    Interviews are not required at all schools. It is recommended that you call the admissions office of the schools to which you are applying to see if interviews are offered, required or recommended. Any time you visit a campus, you can interview if one is offered. You do not need to wait to apply, to interview. If you’ve made the effort to visit a campus, by all means interview if possible. Students can meet with Mrs. Wilson to prepare for interviews.
  • What is the Best Way to Fill out my Application

    Applications are filled out online and submitted on line, using a credit card to pay. It is in your best interest to have your applications and essays reviewed by Mrs. Wilson before submitting them.
  • The College Requires an Official Transcript and Letters of Recommendation. How does this work?

    Mrs. Voelker, Registrar, will send the following documents: Official Transcript, Senior Schedule of Courses, School Profile, Counselor Form and Counselor Recommendation Letter, 2 Teacher Recommendations, Activity Resume (if student provides) and additional documents (if required by college).
  • Teacher Recommendations

    In the spring of junior year, ask two teachers for a letter of recommendation. This allows the teacher to complete the letter over the summer, when time is more abundant. Ask a teacher in person;  then follow up with the Naviance Recommendation Request process. If the teacher agrees, send them a thank you note immediately. If you ask a teacher for a recommendation and he or she is not comfortable writing one, say “Thank You” and find a different person to ask. Recommendation letters are a courtesy granted by the teacher. Plus, why would you want a letter from a teacher who is not able to give you a glowing recommendation?

College Guidance Calendar

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