College Counselor

College Process

College preparation begins in high school and starting on the right path is imperative. Since most of the top universities comprehensively evaluate students, we teach and train our students to demonstrate their abilities, motivation, and potential by carefully planning out their years at Saint Paul American School, Clark. Universities take into account more than a student’s GPA and scores on standardized tests. So at Saint Paul, we strongly encourage our students to build strong characters and qualities that will make them competitive and stand out among others. It is important for students to show a sustained commitment, and how they spend their years in high school greatly reflects what type of individual

Janos, Sagi

Terry Rhee

they are. This is why we push our students to become active and participate in various school and extracurricular activities. Throughout the year, college counselors regularly have one on one meetings with students, and provide them with guidance and objectives based on each individual’s needs and goals. As for test preparations, the information is as follows:

English Proficiency Tests

English proficiency tests are mandatory for students who have attended high school outside of the US. Most colleges in other parts of the world also require students to submit a TOEFL score. TOEFL classes are provided to students throughout the year. Depending on the student’s level, which is evaluated through a level test, the student is placed in a beginner, intermediate or advanced level class. The highest possible scores a student can achieve are 116-120 and are considered perfect scores. The chart below shows an example of where a student would be placed based on the student’s results.

English Proficiency Tests
Subjects / Scores 0-10 Points 11-20 Points 21-30 Points
Reading Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Listening
Speaking
Writing

The highest score possible for each subject is 30 points. The average TOEFL score requirements for most US colleges range from 79 to 90. Minimum scores may vary depending on schools and admission types/procedures. Since TOEFL scores are valid for two years, we advise our students to enroll in the course during their freshman/sophomore year and take the official exam during the summer vacation period before the start of their junior year. This will allow students to have more time and prepare for other standardized tests if needed.

SAT Exams

Not all schools require SAT scores; some have “Test Flexible” options. However, since more options are available to those who have high scores, and most reputable schools outside the US require SAT scores, we encourage our students to prepare for the exam. We support and provide our students with various programs and activities, such as study groups, tutoring, and after school classes.

At Saint Paul, we believe that it is never too early. Students who are ready and willing usually begin preparation in their freshman year, but all students who are required to take the exam must start during their sophomore year. The college counselor carefully manages each student who is taking the exam: study plans, practice tests, vocabulary quizzes, essays, etc. The college counselor regularly has one on one meetings with the student, provides weekly/monthly evaluations, and feed back.

  • Freshman Year
  • Sophomore Year
  • Junior Year 1st Semester
  • Junior Year 2nd Semester
  • Senior Year 1st Semester
  • Senior Year 2nd Semester

‘Early’ Preparation for SAT (Students considering AP exams and/or SAT subject tests)
It is necessary for students who are planning to take AP exams and/or SAT subject tests to prepare for the SAT during their freshmen year. This will allow the students to set flexible and effective study plan schedules, and accomplish more objectives throughout the rest of their high school years.

For Students:
  • • Freshmen meet with their guidance counselor as a group once a semester to discuss a number of transition topics, and are given a series of aptitude and personality tests in order to support them in a successful start on their college path.
  • • Advisors and counselors will explain the differences in report cards and transcripts. The GPA is also discussed, including the calculation of the cumulative GPA.
  • • Students are encouraged to get involved in extra curricular activities and clubs and in the Saint Paul community.
  • • Counselors will introduce freshmen to the components of the college application and the course they are on at Saint Paul.
For Parents:
  • • Freshmen/Sophomore Parent College Information Night (early January, 6pm)
  • • Freshmen/Sophomore/Junior Parent Meeting: Financial Aid (early March)
  • • Discuss with your child your expectations for grades, homework, social life, extracurricular activities, screen time, and family obligations.

Preparation for the SAT (All SAT students)
Most students will be preparing for the SAT during their sophomore year. At this point, the college counselor helps students set study plan schedules and conduct assessments. The college counselor carefully monitors each student’s progress and provides assessment and feedback to the student. If necessary, students will be advised to enroll in the afterschool SAT program.

For Students:
  • • Sophomores meet in groups with their guidance counselor once per semester to discuss sophomore goals and progress, and to continue taking aptitude and personality tests aimed at assisting them in their college and career choice.
  • • In September, sophomores will receive the PSAT information booklet in their guidance group along with an overview of the test.
  • • Sophomores will sit for the PSAT exam in mid-October.
  • • PSAT score results are distributed and discussed with sophomores in their guidance group usually upon return from Christmas break.
  • • Counselors will instruct sophomores on creating a Common Application account, which will be used junior and senior years, but will also show their PSAT results and useful practice tools.
  • • Advisors will regularly check in with students on academic progress.
For Parents:
  • • Freshmen/Sophomore Parent College Information Night (early January)
  • • Freshmen/Sophomore/Junior Parent Meeting: Financial Aid (early March)
  • • Consider your child’s involvement at Saint Paul and in outside activities.
  • • Discuss if SAT Subject Tests should be taken in June.
  • • Discuss possible summer plans.
  • • In certain cases, discuss some of the college materials being sent to your child.
SAT Exams
We suggest our students take their SAT exam in the fall of their junior year. Students usually take the exam back-to-back and possibly may consider a third exam a couple months after depending on their previous results. If the scores are unsatisfactory, the college counselor will conduct a series of practice exams, evaluate areas of weakness, and help the student(s) find solutions. We recommended that students take the exam two or three times; four at most.
For Students:
  • • In September, juniors will receive the PSAT information booklet in their guidance group along with an overview of the test.
  • • Juniors sit for the PSAT exam at Saint Paul in mid-October.
  • • PSAT score results are distributed and discussed with juniors in their guidance group usually upon return from Christmas break.
  • • The Junior Guidance Group will meet three times per semester. In these six meetings, juniors will begin researching colleges and college life.
  • • Juniors will create a working resume as well as investigate potential majors and careers using a career interest profiler.
For Parents:
  • • Begin to research the financial aid process.
  • • Discuss a standardized test plan with your child.
  • • Discuss summer plans.
  • • Begin discussing the different types of colleges, developing an initial list of potential colleges.
For Students:
  • • Junior Career Day (early March)
  • • Many students will take their first SAT in March or ACT in February or April.
  • • Students should use the June SAT exam for Subject Tests, if necessary.
  • • AP Qualifying Exam (mid-March): Students should start planning which courses they need to enroll in during senior year to match their interests and develop a rigorous schedule.
  • • Junior College Group Guidance begins in early February and runs through end of year. Topics include: Discussion on senior year courses, college search and list development, career research, resume writing, the teacher recommendation process, college admissions process, financial aid, visiting schools (if possible), majors, essay writing and more.
For Parents:
  • • Junior/Parent Meeting: Intro to the College Process (Early February, two offerings: weeknight and a Saturday)
  • • Freshmen/Sophomore/Junior Parent Meeting: Financial Aid (early March)
  • • Parents and students must sign Records Release Form, allowing Saint Paul to send school documents (i.e. transcript) to colleges.
  • • Discuss if SAT Subject Tests should be taken in June.
  • • Discuss best courses for senior year, considering balance of challenge, interest, and potential majors in college.
  • • Parents can seek out one-on-one meetings with the college counselor if desired.

Students who are planning for early admissions to US colleges will no longer have the opportunity to take the SAT during their senior year as deadlines begin in November. However, students who are applying to colleges by regular decision will have a little more time. During the start of senior year, college counselors work with individual students to go over the application process in detail: letters of recommendation, transcripts, personal statements, essays, etc. The college counselor also keeps track of each student’s application progress, and reviews the student’s application before submitting it in.

For Students:
  • • Senior College Workshop Day (early September) is the official kickoff to the college application season.
  • • Senior College Group Guidance runs through September and October. Students will learn about the entire application process, including how to Navigate the Common Application, request transcripts, and submit their personal statements.
  • • October, November, and possibly December are possible dates for seniors to take their final SATs.
  • • September, October, and possibly December are possible dates for seniors to take their final ACTs.
  • • College Admissions representatives visit Saint Paul from September through November to meet with interested students.
  • • Students should have finalized lists by November, and most applications sent out by December.
For Parents:
  • • Senior/Parent Meeting: Applying to College (Mid-September, two offerings: weeknight and a Saturday).
  • • Parents should reach out to college counselors for individual meetings if needed.
  • • Parents should help organize and possibly provide transportation in order for students to visit colleges.
  • • Parents should begin looking for potential private scholarships through various websites.
  • • Parents can complete the FASFA Profile (financial aid document required by some colleges through the College Board).
  • • Senior/Parent Financial Aid Workshop (early December).
For Students:
  • • Students should ensure that colleges have all necessary and required documents for admission review.
  • • Students should continue to visit colleges they have been accepted into, and start narrowing down schools they may attend.
  • • Students should not fall behind in their studies, as 1st semester grades and final transcripts can have a severe impact on admission.
  • • Students will alert the college counseling office of admissions decisions, throughout second semester.
  • • Students must make a deposit at ONE school by May 1st, where they intend on matriculating the following fall.
For Parents:
  • • Senior/Parent Meeting: What Do I Do Now (early January).
  • • Families must complete the FAFSA after January 1st in order to receive financial aid from colleges. Beware of early deadlines from colleges for this document.
  • • Parents should continue to support students in visiting colleges to make the best decision on where to attend.
  • • Closely analyze and compare financial aid award letters from colleges where students were accepted.
  • • Contact the financial aid office(s) if there are any discrepancies with financial aid.
  • • Pat yourself on the back for all your hard work and caring support, which has allowed your child to make it to college!