What We Offer
Personal counseling, the foundation of the counseling and guidance program, begins when a Dean first makes contact with a student, and continues throughout high school. Adjustment issues, crisis intervention, family difficulties and all the problems of being a teenager are discussed in the Dean's office.
When appropriate, the Dean may make a referral for psychological counseling, family counseling, substance abuse treatment, further testing, or other indicated services. Parents are encouraged to follow through on these recommendations.
COURSE SELECTION COUNSELING
Course selection, college planning and recommendations regarding transitional issues are all based on the Dean's assessment of the individual needs of the student. Scarsdale High School is proud to offer courses at different levels, from the remedial to the advanced placement level. Teachers make recommendations to the Dean regarding the appropriate level of study for their students. Students are encouraged to take the most challenging courses that they can manage successfully.
The section on “graduation requirements” outlines the courses a student must take in order to graduate. In addition to these requirements, many colleges want to see at least three years of foreign language. Electives in the academic areas, as well as coursework in music, art, the performing arts and computers offer opportunities for students to explore particular interests and talents.
Once a school year begins, every attempt should be make to avoid disruption in the learning process. Accordingly, students are encouraged to select their courses very carefully to avoid changes. However, for those changes deemed essential, the following guidelines have been established for withdrawal from a course:
- Withdrawals are allowed until a week after students receive their second quarter report card. After that point, students cannot withdraw from yearlong classes.
- No other withdrawals beyond the above deadline except by prior written agreement among the student, parent, teacher, department head and Dean to extend the drop date to the end of the third quarter, beyond which no withdrawal is possible.
- Withdrawals are allowed until a week after students receive their first or third quarter report cards. After that point, students may not withdraw from semester long classes.
- No other withdrawals beyond those deadlines except by prior written agreement among the student, parent, teacher, department head and Dean to extend the drop date to the end of fifteen weeks, beyond which no withdrawal is possible.
Although the junior year marks the “official” start of the college search process, college counseling begins long before through course conferences and planning for an appropriate testing schedule. The Deans always stress that success in a solid academic program is the most important criterion in college admissions decisions.
Our comprehensive college counseling program features:
- A College Planning Evening Meeting for Parents of Juniors
- Junior Seminar
- A series of workshops for juniors with their Dean to discuss all aspects of the college selection process including testing, college visits and interviews, early decision and early action plans, the SHS College and Career Center, college application essays and recommendations.
- The College Planning Packet
- Distributed to all juniors, it includes: the Junior Autobiography, a calendar of SAT and ACT administrations, and a general calendar that should guide them through the application process.
- The Junior Autobiography
- This document asks the student to record interests, extracurricular activities, and preferences, and to prepare essays similar to ones found on college applications. The Dean uses this information in suggesting colleges and preparing the student's recommendation.
- The Junior and Senior Year College Conferences
- Two individual college counseling meetings are held with the Dean, parents and students.
- Additional meetings are scheduled as needed.
- An Essay Writing Workshop for Seniors
- The Counselor Recommendation
- Required by most colleges to which a student applies, the Dean's recommendation is a detailed document giving insight into the student's personality, academic record and participation in activities. It is intended to present the student in the most favorable light and is based on information from a variety of sources including the Junior Autobiography, teacher reports, and years of experience with each individual student.
- Visits from College Representatives
- Approximately 250 representatives from different colleges visit Scarsdale High School each year to meet with out students and with the Deans. This information can be found on the electronic message board on the 3rd floor television, posted in the counseling center, and on Naviance. Any other pertinent college information is also posted in this manner.
- Parents, encourage your child to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about colleges. If a visit is scheduled when a student has a class, the student may get a pass IN ADVANCE from the Dean's secretary. STUDENTS ARE URGED TO USE GOOD JUDGEMENT IN ASKING TO BE EXCUSED FROM CLASS TO SEE A COLLEGE REPRESENTATIVE.
- Information About Scholarship and Financial Aid
- Students and parents should fully investigate the scholarship and financial aid offerings of the schools in which they are interested through the college's Financial Aid Office. Information on both need-based and merit-based scholarships is available in the College and Career Center (see “College and Career Center”). Locally sponsored awards such as the Scarsdale High School P.T.A. Scholarship should also be considered. The counseling department sponsors a Financial Aid Information meeting for parents of juniors and seniors in the fall.
- Parents interested in need based financial aid should file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) in January of their youngster's senior year. FAFSA is available online at fafsa.org and in the Deans' offices in December.
- PROFILE - Depending on the school to which students apply, families may need to register for the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE . The PROFILE is a customized financial aid form required by many private colleges if a student is applying for financial aid. Seniors are encouraged to review the PROFILE to see if any of their schools dictate its use. If students need to register for the PROFILE, they may pick up a registration form from their dean, or register at http://www.collegeboard.org/.
COLLEGE APPLICATION GUIDELINES
College Recommendation Policy
- During the initial months of twelfth grade, seniors will be submitting college applications to the counseling department for processing. Official school transcripts and letters of recommendation will be forwarded to colleges upon request. In addition, midyear reports are automatically sent to all schools to which students have applied. Please note that college recommendations are regarded as personal communications between the dean and the college admissions office and serve the student's best interest when kept confidential. Parents and students sign a consent form allowing the counseling department to send transcripts, confidential recommendations and other supporting data to colleges as requested by your child and by the college. It is Scarsdale High School policy for these reports to remain confidential.
Standardized Testing Reports
- In most instances colleges require official reports on standardized tests students have completed including the SAT Reasoning test, SAT Subject tests and/or ACT results. No scores are included on Scarsdale High School transcripts. It is the student's responsibility to send official scores directly to the college from the testing service when they apply.
Career counseling is a component of college and educational counseling which is an ongoing process. Material on career planning and occupations is available in the College & Career Center. Deans often serve as references for students who seek employment, writing recommendations to prospective employers upon request.
REGENTS/COMMON CORE EXAMINATIONS
The New York State Education Department requires that all students pass Regents/Common Core examinations in English, mathematics, social studies and science before receiving a high school diploma. This requirement is in addition to the local Scarsdale graduation requirements.
The New York State Education Department has established minimum scores that can be substituted for a Regents examination score when a student has successfully completed the course of study for that subject as follows:
- English - AP = 3
- Mathematics - AP = 3; SAT Subject Test Level I = 470; SAT Subject Test Level II = 510
- Science - AP Biology = 3, SAT Subject Test Biology = 520; SAT Subject Test Chemistry = 540; SAT Subject Test Physics = 530
- World History - AP=3
- US History - AP = 3; SAT Subject Test = 560
All examinations are offered in June and some examinations are available in January and August, if requested by the student.
Students may be referred for diagnostic testing if appropriate to investigate and clarify questions related to their educational progress. Individual diagnostic testing is provided by the school psychologist and special education teachers. After a student is evaluated, the results are reviewed with the parents. Students may be referred to the High School Pupil Study Team and/or to the District Committee on Special Education.
COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS
It is important to keep college admissions testing in perspective. The high school transcript is the single most important aspect of a student's college application. While standardized testing may enhance or confirm what the transcript demonstrates, test scores are never viewed in isolation. The college admissions testing program is comprehensive and involves careful planning and preparation during all four years of high school. The major examinations administered for college admission are as follows:
- The PSAT/NMSQT is administered in the fall of the junior year to students as a practice examination and a basis for projecting achievement on the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT taken in the junior year is also the basis for the National Merit Scholarship competition. Students are notified in the fall of their senior year if they are National Merit Semifinalists or National Merit Letter of Commendation winners. Semifinalists are automatically eligible to compete for National Merit Finalist status and are provided with appropriate applications and recommendations.
SAT Reasoning Test
- The SAT Reasoning Test measures ability in three areas – Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing Skills. It is required for admission to most colleges. Students are responsible for reporting their SAT Reasoning Test results to colleges.
- The Deans assist students in planning a schedule for SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Test examinations. Students who plan to apply Early Decision or Early Action are advised to complete all required tests by November of their senior year.
SAT Subject Tests
- SAT Subject Tests are required for application to a few very competitive colleges. Subject Tests reflect preparation in particular subject matter and are optimally taken at the completion of the course or sequence of courses which the Subject Test covers. Planning for Subject Tests may begin in ninth grade during the first course planning conference.
- College Board Subject Tests are offered in the following areas:
- US History
- World History
- Mathematics Level I
- Mathematics Level II
- Biology E/M
- French - Reading & Listening
- Modern Hebrew
- Spanish - Reading & Listening
- Chinese - Reading & Listening
- Japanese - Reading & Listening
- Korean - Reading & Listening
- The ACT assessment is an alternative to the SAT as a standardized college admission test of aptitude and achievement. The ACT is composed of four sections with standardized scores ranging from 1 (low) to 36 (high) and one optional section. The five sections of the test are English, Mathematics, Reading, Science Reasoning and an optional Writing section. It provides an overall estimate of a student's level of educational development in areas tested. Colleges will accept ACT scores in lieu of SAT Reasoning scores, and some will accept ACT scores in lieu of SAT Subject Tests as well. Testing centers are listed and registration forms are available online at www.act.org.
- The Test of English as a Foreign Language is available to students whose native language is not English. At Scarsdale High School the student body is international in composition and for many of our students scores on the TOEFL are an important supplement to the standardized testing information required by colleges. Typically the TOEFL is taken by students who have lived in an English-speaking country for five years or less.
- The students at Scarsdale will take the computer-based version of the TOEFL offered year-round in our area. It consists of four mandatory sections, listening, structure, Reading and writing (a 30 minute essay). The Structure and Writing sections yield a combined score.
Twenty-two credits must be completed for graduation. The following eighteen and one-half credits are required:
- English - 4 credits
- Social studies - 4 credits
- Mathematics - 3 credits
- Science - 3 credits (Biology, physical science, & one additional science)
- Foreign language - 1 credit
- Health - ½ credit
- Art &/or Music - 1 credit
- Physical Education - 2 credits (or ½ credit for each year in high school)
Physical science courses that meet the graduation requirement are: Earth Science 511, Earth Science 512, Earth Science 513, Chemistry 511, Chemistry 512, Chemistry 513, Chemistry 525, Physics 511, Physics 512, Physics 513, and Physics 525. The art/music requirement may be satisfied by a variety of courses in the Arts and Performing Arts Department.
A combination of prescribed credits and elective credits must equal at least 22 credits. Most students earn more than the minimum required graduation credits. All students must fulfill the New York State testing requirements for their year of graduation.
COLLEGE AND CAREER CENTER
The College and Career Center provides information for students and parents about colleges, careers, financial aid and summer programs. In the center there are hundreds of up-to-date college catalogs, CD's and view books as well as timely information about schools and summer opportunities. Additionally, the Naviance college search system provides a variety of search options and information via the Internet. Parent volunteers, trained by the deans, supervise the center and assist students.
COUNSELING DEPARTMENT EVENING PROGRAMS FOR PARENTS
8th Grade Parent Orientation
- Parents of eighth graders are invited to an evening meeting in the spring to meet their child's Dean and be provided with an overview of the counseling program. Deans discuss educational and social issues related to the transition to the high school.
11th Grade College Planning Evening
- In January, parents meet with Deans for an overview of the college planning process. Please see the section on college counseling for more information.
An Evening on College Admission for Students with Special Needs
- Tenth and eleventh grade students and parents are invited to a presentation on the college admissions process for students with special needs.
An Evening on College Admission for Student Athletes
- Parent and student athletes are invited to learn more about the NCAA Clearinghouse and the college recruitment process. This program is offered in alternating years.
College Information Night
- Juniors and their parents have the opportunity to meet a panel of college admissions directors representing a range of colleges and universities across the country. Participants provide an inside view of the college admissions process.
College Financial Planning Evening
- Parents of juniors and seniors are invited to an evening presentation of information about procedures and eligibility for financial aid, as well as strategies for planning to meet college expenses.