CLASS OF 2014
Welcome to the last semester of high school! As we go through the last few months, there is a lot to remember. Although senior year can be a challenge for many students and parents, we encourage continued good attendance, following all school rules and policies and continued good effort in all classes. This year still counts! The end seems so close, but you must finish strong. Two of the “tragic” things that can happen senior year are not graduating because of failing a necessary class and/or having a college or university revoke admissions because of a “D” or “F” in the last semester. Please, please, please keep working hard and stay focused.
College Admissions -
Acceptances & Denials
Colleges have started to notify applicants of acceptances and denials. The next couple of months will be an exciting, yet sometimes difficult, time. There is no solid answer as to who gets accepted and who doesn’t. The college admissions process is so complex that we will never really know why one student gets into a certain school and why another does not. Keep this in mind when you are receiving your letters. Remember, it is not where you go, but what you accomplish where you go.
We are in the process of submitting all the mid-year reports for the private schools. Please be patient, we have a lot of them to complete. Also, if the CSU or the UC would like a 7th semester transcript from you, they will let you know. This is a situation where you would use Parchment/Docufide http://www.parchment.com on the DBHS.org website to send a transcript electronically.
If you earned a “D”/“F” or dropped an academic class from first semester, it is in your best interest to notify the universities that you applied to and let
them know about the grade or class. It is always better to give the information up front rather than have a college find out later. They have the right to retract the offer of admission if anything on the transcript doesn’t meet their expectations.
A representative from Mt. Sac will be visiting English classes on January 21st and 23rd to provide students with important information about the Mt. Sac application process and programs offered. There will also be application workshops on February 3rd and 4th in room 572 at lunch. If you would like to receive reminders and updates regarding the Mt. Sac application process, please see Mrs. Carson in the Career Center. She will add you to her email list and send out regular updates. If you are pursuing any other community college besides MSAC such as Fullerton JC, seniors may start the application process on their own. Students should go to the school’s website and download any admission applications and complete and submit them as soon as possible.
How do you pay for college? Students (regardless of college destination – UC, CSU, Private, JC or Trade School) should have started the process of completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The first step is for both the student and the parent to apply for a PIN (personal identification number) at www.pin.ed.gov and this serves as the electronic signature on the documents. Then go to www.FAFSA.gov to fill out the FAFSA form. The last date to submit the form is March 2, 2014 but the earlier you complete it the better. The majority of federal and state grants, loans, and work-study awards are given based on the information submitted on the FAFSA form. You will also need to mail in the Cal Grant GPA Verification form. This form is available in the guidance office. Fill it out and give it to Mrs. Taylor. She will do the calculations and return it to you to mail out. The deadline to give it to Mrs. Taylor is February 24th. It needs to be postmarked no later than March 2, 2014. Regardless of whether or not you think you qualify for need-based financial aid, the FAFSA should still be submitted just in case. Some merit-based scholarships will want information from the FAFSA as well.
Some universities may also want you to fill out a supplemental form called the CSS Profile. Check with each of your schools to see if they want you to submit this form as well and what the deadline is if it has not already passed. You can find the form through the Collegeboard website at https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp.
And….Scholarships! Please read “The Senior Bulletin.” The Senior Bulletin is posted once a month with plenty of useful scholarship opportunities and information. This can be accessed on the DBHS.org website and is emailed home to senior parents and students. If you are not receiving the senior bulletin via email, please contact your child’s GLC. Additional financial aid information sources are www.finaid.org and www.studentaid.ed.gov. And additional free scholarship searches are www.fastweb.com and www.scholarships.com. The more you hunt and apply for, the more you may be awarded.
CLASS OF 2015
We want the juniors to keep working as hard as possible in all of their classes. We’ve been to several conferences with CSU and UC admissions counselors this year, and they’ve all said the same thing we emphasized during our summer meetings – good grades and a challenging curriculum are the most important factors for admissions. Yes, it’s good to do as well as possible on the SAT or ACT, and yes, it’s great both for an application and a student’s personal development to be involved in extra-curricular activities and community service, but there is nothing as important as performance in the classroom.
Remember that four-year universities like the UC and CSU schools require “C” grades or better in ALL college prep classes. If your child earned a D in foreign language or math, he/she can validate that grade by earning a C or better in the second semester. A “D” grade in English or American History will earn graduation credit, but will not count towards college requirements and will have to be repeated during summer school if you are university bound.
Any “F” grade in a graduation requirement such as English or American History will have to be repeated during summer school. These classes cannot be repeated during the school year.
SAT and ACT
Students hoping to attend a four-year university should plan on taking the SAT’s at least once by the end of junior year. Students register for this test on their own online at www.collegeboard.org. We encourage students to take the SAT near the end of junior year, in March, May, or June, and then again at the beginning of senior year. Students will be learning new reading, math, and writing skills and should perform their best toward the end of the year. If your student is interested in improving his/her score, there would still be plenty of time to study through a class or independently (e.g. with an SAT review book) during the summer before taking the test again next October and/or November. The CSU/UC will only use a student’s best score, so we definitely recommend taking the SAT Reasoning Test at least twice.
SAT Subject Tests are not required by the UC, but they are definitely encouraged, especially for some majors like science or engineering. If your student is already preparing for an AP test in May, that would also be a good time to sign up for an SAT in the same subject.
The ACT provides an option to the SAT as the UC and CSU will accept this test in place of the SAT. Since the UC will accept either test, we recommend trying it at least once. Some students do better on the ACT and some do better on the SAT so it makes sense to try them both and see which works out better. The ACT is different from the SAT in that it:
- has a science reasoning test,
- includes some trigonometry while the SAT goes through algebra II only,
- tests English grammar.
Registration for the ACT may be completed online at www.act.org, and students must sign up for the ACT with writing for the score to count for the UC.
College Search Process
A great way to begin narrowing your college choices is by making campus visits. Many students find that the spring break and summer vacation are good times to go on campus tours. Students should research different schools they might like on a site like www.collegeboard.org (under the College Search tab), then find information about college tours on each school’s individual website.
It is very important to start this process now and to decide what the student is looking for in the college experience! Remember - finding the university or career that is the “Best Fit” should be every student’s goal.
· Students who took the PSAT in October have the opportunity to pick-up their scores in early January by going to a presentation on how to understand their results and take advantage of Collegeboard resources.
- Over-sleeping is not recognized as an excuse for missing school by the state of California. Students who miss class because of over-sleeping will be given a cut for the missed class or classes and receive disciplinary consequences.
- Some students have made the mistake of cheating this year. Whether it’s cheating on a test, plagiarizing an essay, or allowing another student to copy homework, cheating is always the wrong thing to do. Along with the disciplinary consequences of cheating, which include possible suspension, students put all of their hard work into question and damage their reputation by trying to get ahead dishonestly.
CLASS OF 2016
First Semester Grades
Your child’s first semester grades have just been posted. As a reminder, the first semester grades from sophomore year are the first grades included in your student’s CSU/UC GPA. All of the grades from freshmen year will be seen as well, but the academic grades from tenth and eleventh are the actual grades used to calculate a student’s admission GPA. There are many students who seem to understand this and they earned some of their best high school grades last semester!
D and F Make-Up in Summer School
If your child earned an F in a graduation requirement, he or she needs to plan on attending summer school this summer to get back on track for graduation.
If your child earned a D in a course required for CSU/UC admission, he or she needs to plan on attending summer school this summer and earning a C or better to meet admission requirements. While grades of D in the first semester of math or foreign language can be validated by a grade of C or better in the second semester of that class, your child may do better if he makes up the D in summer school as well and builds up a stronger foundation for success at the next level.
Information about Summer School dates and courses will be available at the beginning of February at dbhs.org.
Sophomores will be taking the California High School Exit Exam on March 18th and 19th. Passing this state mandated exam is a graduation requirement. The first attempt will be in sophomore year, but students who do not pass will be able to retake the exam in junior and senior year. It is imperative that all students are in attendance for both days of the test. CAHSEE prep classes will be available on campus after school starting in February 2014.
If your child wants to do better in the second semester, he or she should make a commitment to do every single homework assignment. Students who stay on top of their homework earn more points, perform better on tests, and have a better overall understanding of the content taught in their classes.
Later in the second semester, your child will be bringing home information about junior year course selection. Make sure you discuss these courses with your child so you’re both comfortable with the junior year schedule. Careful selection of honors, AP and college prep courses is essential. If your child is currently overwhelmed by the number of honors classes he or she is taking, you should discuss the number of honors classes selected for junior year. If your child is currently getting very good grades without honors classes, you should discuss adding some AP or honors class to provide more rigor to her schedule. Also, don’t forget your child needs to take a Visual Performing Arts (VPA) class before graduating in order to meet UC/CSU admissions. If your child hasn’t taken one yet, he or she should make sure a VPA will be taken in junior or senior year. Check the online course catalog on the school website to see if a course qualifies as a VPA. Select the Guidance tab to locate this document.
CLASS OF 2017
First Semester Grades
By now you’ve had a chance to review your child’s first semester grades. These are the first official grades on your student’s academic transcript. If your child earned an F in a class required for graduation, he or she needs to plan on making it up in summer school this summer. If your child earned a D-/D/D+ in a class required for CSU/UC (Cal State University/University of California) admissions, he or she should make it up in summer school this summer.
- Grades of (D-) or higher will earn credit towards high school graduation.
- To earn credit towards admission to a 4-year university a grade of (C-) or higher must be earned.
- Exception: If your student earned a D-/D/D+ in the first semester of math or foreign language, a C- or better in the second semester would allow him/her to move on to the next course level as a 10th grader and earn credit towards university admission. This is called “validation”. If this is your student’s situation, we suggest contacting the GLC about possible tutors for hire.
If you have questions about how your child can do better in the second semester, please contact his or her teacher.
DBHS IB Prep.
DBHS IB prep. freshmen: there is important information about your participation in the IB program in the latest IB Prep Newsletter. Find it at http://newsletter.dbhsib.org. Check it out!
In March, we’ll be visiting English classes and giving students information about course selection for sophomore year. Please go over this information carefully and have your child see us with any questions before returning the class request card.
FYI: Tenth grade is a very crowded year, with most students taking a full load of five academic classes – English, math, science, world history, foreign language – and one period of P.E. If your child hopes to take something as an elective in sophomore year, for example, orchestra, he or she may make room in the tenth grade schedule by taking world history or science in summer school this summer.
Parent Portal and Tutoring
Many of you have been actively monitoring your child’s progress in classes via the parent portal and already know what a useful tool this can be. It’s a great way to have informed conversations with your child about class assignments and overall performance. If you have trouble getting started, please contact your child’s GLC and we will help you.
CSF Tutoring is available. Students are available Monday- Thursday in room 605 from 3-4:30pm for FREE tutoring. If your child needs a private tutor for any subject, please have your student see his or her GLC for names and contact information.