College Planning


The college application process can seem daunting when students first begin. However, School Counselors are here to assist students with this process. Effective organization and attention to detail is the key. Students, their families, and their School Counselor will work together to identify which colleges to investigate, chances for admission at each, and how students can most effectively present themselves to the institutions they are applying to. Suggestions to make the process go smoothly:

  1. Know yourself. This involves an in-depth look at desires, needs, strengths, and talents. Students should make an honest appraisal of academic strengths, weaknesses, and performance. Also, it's important to assess extra-curricular activities, interests, and goals.
  2. Know the institutions. This involves researching colleges in order to find ones that match a students' academic strengths, learning style, and extracurricular goals. Research plays a significant part while weighing all the factors important to a student, but visiting is the best way to truly get a feel for a college.
  3. Know that it's a process. It is likely that there will be several appropriate colleges for students to seriously consider. There will be plenty of deliberation and in-depth conversations over where a student should attend college. Although choosing a college is an important decision, it's not a choice that rigidly defines a student's future.

Applying to College:

Please visit the student services 'Applying to College' page for additional information and access to all the forms shared with seniors during fall Naviance lessons.

College Admissions FAQ

Counselor Information Form, Teacher, and Parent Questionnaires:

These forms are available via Naviance in the spring of a student's junior year. They are crucial for staff to have when writing recommendations for college admissions. These forms should be completed no later than June 1st of the student's junior year! If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact at your counselor.

College Planning: Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any financial aid information available for when student AND parent are in college simultaneously?

When families complete the FAFSA application, one question asks if there is any other person in the household who will be attending college at the same time as the student. If so, this factors into the formula that helps determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Having more than one household member reporting full-time status in post-secondary education will usually reduce the EFC, thus resulting in more financial need.

Class Rank

As of the 2020-2021 school year, HCPSS is no longer calculating class rank.

What things should JUNIOR parents/guardians and students do to be prepared for the college process?

Junior year is an important time to begin the college search process. Review the Post-High School Planning PPT shared with juniors in the spring. Below are some things that students and parents should be doing and thinking about. 

Take the PSAT/NMSQT - The test should be taken seriously as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship Program but also as a practice for the SAT exam.
Review PSAT score reports when they become available in December. Students may gain insight into the types of questions they may need additional practice with.
Research colleges that match student interests and ambitions.
Start thinking about financial aid applications and scholarships.
Take the SAT and/or ACT at least once prior to the end of Junior year.
Attend workshops offered by Student Services.
Complete extracurricular resume, participate in the Junior Interview program, and explore college essay topics.
Plan for summer internships, enrichment programs and/or employment.

Do students receive a copy of their counselor and/or teacher recommendation or are they sent directly to the college?

Students should waive their right to view the counselor or teacher recommendation. An understanding exists between colleges and secondary schools that evaluations and recommendations that they receive from high schools are confidential information. Should a counselor or teacher feel they could not write an outstanding letter for the student, they may elect to decline the request.

If there are colleges that are visiting other Howard County High Schools, but not coming to Glenelg, can my child attend these sessions (at the other school)?

Students may only visit representatives that attend Glenelg during the school day. If a university is visiting another Howard County School, but not Glenelg, please let your counselor know and we may contact the college representative to invite them to Glenelg. A lot of times, if the representative is in the area, they welcome the opportunity to attend another school.

Can a student take 3 years of a language and still be competitive?

It is important to check each school’s website where students are considering applying in order to identify their wishes in terms of foreign language requirements. Typically, schools will report that they require a minimum of two years of a foreign language at the high school level. For example, the University of Maryland College Park reports that the 2 year language criteria represent the minimum requirements for admission. Successful applicants typically present academic credentials which exceed the minimum. However, if there are specific questions, students and parents may call or email the admissions representative and ask what they look for.

If you write an essay, should you also write a personal statement?

The personal statement is an avenue to express any information about the candidate that may impact the admission decision. For example, students can write to express their level of interest in the school or to describe any adverse circumstances that have impacted the student’s academic record. Please see the counselor for specific guidance relating to this question.

How do students determine if they will receive credit from a particular university for an AP test score?

Each college/university will have different criteria for AP test scores transferring and counting as credit. If you go to the specific college/university website, there will be information about which scores will count. In addition, be sure to check if AP or SAT scores will exempt a student from taking a specific course.

Are essays and activities, AP test results attached as a part of the online application or are they mailed separately?

Essays, activities, SAT, ACT or AP test results all fall under the responsibility of the student to send. The essay and activities section is a part of the online application. Test results MUST be sent directly from the testing agency. Consult to send SAT and AP scores or for ACT scores. The Counseling Center will mail the transcript, counselor recommendation, and secondary school report only.

Please contact your child's counselor if you have additional questions.

Guidelines and Resources