Guidance and Counseling
Upper School Guidance and College Counseling Update
Guidance and Counseling Office Administrative Assistant: Mrs. Considine is available to answer any questions you may have regarding Guidance and Counseling.
Registrar: Mrs. Sparks is available to assist students with questions involving scheduling, grades, and credit.
Counseling Office: Ms. Addis will still be available to students while we are distance learning. Please contact Ms. Addis via email or her Online Scheduling Link if you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or just need to talk with someone. She will get back with you as quickly as possible.
We are pleased most all colleges continue to report they are hoping and planning to fully open in the fall; we are hoping, too! However, they are understandably clear they cannot commit to that just yet.
In that spirit, we encourage you to call or check your college of choice website or admission portal regularly. They are constantly updating information about orientation, financial aid support, and various deadlines including deposits, housing and scholarships.
Explore: Podcast on understanding financial aid letters:
Reach out to Mrs. Benavidez or Dr. Moss if you have remaining questions about finalizing a college choice or other “final” questions.
Remember, if you have not already done so, to let Mrs. Considine know your final college or gap year plans and scholarship offers for next year.
We look forward to calling your names at Commencement!
Knowing you and your parents have many questions about how the college search and application processes will unfold this coming year, we want to provide you the following reminders and resources to assist you in better understanding the landscape moving forward.
SAT and ACT testing – it remains our recommendation you complete both exams at least once and your “preferred” exam at least one additional time. For the latest on testing options and deadlines please visit the following:
Test Prep - we continue to encourage SAT/ACT test prep. Some recommendations are free, others are fee based) Consider:
Teacher letters of recommendation – we recently sent an email reminding all juniors of the process for requesting letters from teachers. Most colleges require or recommend two letters of recommendation from teachers as part of the application process. It is our recommendation you make this request before the school year (May 22) ends. The following link details the process: How to Enter Request in Naviance Handout
Counselor letters of recommendation - Mrs. Benavidez and Dr. Moss will automatically complete your counselor recommendation without you making a formal request. However, you must complete your complete junior survey in Naviance before they are able to do so. Please also plan on doing this before the end of the school year. How to Complete Survey Handout
Resume – A common component of college admission and scholarship applications is a resume summarizing your varied extracurricular activities within and beyond the school setting. Now is the best time in the college “pre-application” timeline to begin organizing your resume. The following is the format we recommend for your resume preparation: Resume Template
Naviance career/college major assessments – This is an excellent time to begin to more deeply explore your interests and attributes as they relate to possible areas of study in college and future careers. Naviance provides a number of assessments allowing this exploration.
College Searches – Colleges have also closed their campuses for the foreseeable future, but this remains an important time to learn about the varying school character traits (size, location, programs of study, costs, residential options, honors programs, study abroad, scholarship criteria) you feel will fit well your academic, social, spiritual and workplace aspirations and life calling. Explore colleges at:
College Scholarships – Scholarships from outside sources (the largest source for merit scholarship monies comes from individual colleges themselves) are now publishing criteria and deadlines for scholarships for the Fall of 2021, so this is also a good time to begin to explore such possibilities. For information on possible college scholarships, please access the College Scholarship Document.
Virtual College Fairs – Although we have not had the benefit of hosting college representatives on campus, we are pleased to share with you this special opportunity to attend a virtual college fair on May 4-6. Please register at: Virtual College Fairs
Virtual College Tours – You have heard Mrs. Benavidez and Dr. Moss often say, “You gotta go to know” when it comes to campus visits. Obviously, our “going” has to be done by “staying” for the near term; however, colleges are increasingly providing robust opportunities to virtually visit their campuses. In addition to the search links provided here, most all colleges have significantly expanded their virtual visit programs to include campus tours, information sessions, individual counselor appointments and academic program presentations. Consider: College Virtual Toursand You Visit College Search
Coronavirus College Admission Implications - “CCAI”
Colleges are showing a great deal of flexibility concerning grading systems, standardized testing and deadlines during this time of COVID-19. Many are considering or have decided to modify or drop application fees, change application deadlines and make the SAT and ACT optional for the entering class of 2021 and perhaps future years. However, this remains a very fluid situation and it is difficult to provide absolutes about “all” colleges, but we are confident colleges will respond in an equitable way concerning the varied grading “scales” being revised or retained by high schools in the virtual environment. Be assured Mrs. Benavidez and Dr. Moss will continue to monitor the application landscape, noting general trends and proactively updating our knowledge about specific colleges we know are of interest to and strong “fits’ for PCA students.
In that spirit, we are continuing to advise that juniors (and sophomores) prep (links above) for and complete the SAT or ACT or both in anticipation of this next and future application cycles. Remember, too, as we have shared with you, that it is important you still pursue this semester as strongly as possible. Colleges will still want evidence of you staying engaged in learning during this “unconventional” spring semester. Continuing your learning and strong performance now also ensures you will have the preparation needed for success in next year’s classes. Certainly, as well, your preparation - or lack thereof – this semester will become evident in your grade performance next year.
We are also seeing many colleges and universities reassuring future applicants they will not be penalized for this worldwide disruption in their serving, living and learning, including participation in traditional extracurricular activities (theatre, FPS, job, Mock Trial, sports, community service, Pom, band, and the like). However, this does not mean they will find “doing nothing” beyond schoolwork a compelling reason to admit you! Even if application deadlines and requirements are modified for this next year and future years, the application and admission process will continue to ask the question of what you have done with what you have been given – with the time and opportunities you have been given.
Although I briefly addressed this point in my video to you earlier in April, we wanted to provide you some specific “idea-generators” for you that demonstrate your creativity to think a bit out of the box and continue to invest your talents in this less traditional, but especially opportunistic “extracurricular” environment. It is our hope these ideas will complement that which you may already be doing or ignite new imagination in this important arena of using God’s gift of time well.
Consider these: Idea Generators
The opportunities are only limited by your individual gifts and interests, so they really are not limited. Frankly, this is about far more than the expectations of colleges when you apply in future years; it is about a life calling to creatively discovering, developing and deploying your individual God-given talents as a lifelong pursuit; as a worshipped filled lifestyle.
Jesus gave it all. What can you give? The best gift you can give to others is your time. Pray about and then fuel your fire for using well what you have been given to the benefit of others and the Kingdom.
- Daily check your school email, MyPCA, and CANVAS for general information regarding assignments, grades, and announcements.
- Stick to a daily routine by getting up around the same time each day, getting dressed, and working in a distraction free environment. Since many of your classes may utilize live online conferencing, please be sure to dress appropriately.
- Reach out to your teachers if you have questions or concerns. Try not to procrastinate, it is easy to get behind with online learning if you put things off to the last minute.
- Stay engaged in your classes. Communicate with your teachers when they ask you to, so they know you are engaged.
- Be sure you take time after your classes to participate in some kind of physical activity and take a break from looking at a screen all day. This could include: taking a walk, running or biking, exercising, baking or cooking, be creative.
- Connect personally with at least one or two other people and discuss anything except school.
- Encourage and help your student find and set up a place in your home where he/she can work each day that is quiet and accessible, (preferably out in the open rather than in their room). Students should dress appropriately as some classes will take place Live via webcam.
- Encourage your student to stay engaged and communicate with their teachers. They should be able to solve most issues by staying in contact with their teacher.
- Encourage your student to drink plenty of water and eat well balanced meals.
- Encourage your student to maintain, as normal, a routine schedule as possible by getting up at a set time each morning and going to bed at a decent hour each night.
- Encourage your student to get plenty of exercise, drink plenty of water, and spend time away from their computer screen each day.
- If you need help or have questions, please reach out to us. We are here to help.
Stay Strong in HIM! “A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him, Every valley shall be filled, and every hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.” (Luke 3:4-5)