News and Views from College Counseling

March 13, 2019


Welcome back to News and Views. We would be remiss if we did not begin this issue by expressing our disappointment at the college admissions bribery scandal that began making headlines yesterday. Though the number of colleges involved is limited, and the alleged fraud centers on the practices of a single independent college counselor, the Justice Department's case sounds a cautionary note about the increasingly frenzied climate around mega-selective college admissions--and a reminder to all involved of the necessity of playing by the rules, imperfect though they may be.

Test Prep for Freshmen and Sophomores?

There seems to be a rumor floating around campus right now that sophomores (and even freshmen) should be taking ACT and/or SAT prep classes. We strongly encourage students and families to disregard this rumor. The consensus in the field of college counseling is that test prep should not start until students' junior year. Two of the most important steps students can take now regarding the college process are, first, to do their very best work in their classes and, second, to get involved in one or two activities that they really love. Students are also feel free to stop by the college counseling office any time to chat with Ms. Van Wagenen or Mr. White with questions they may have about the college admission process. Parents of freshmen and sophomores are likewise welcome to reach out to us.

Slavic American Cultural Organization Scholarships

If you have ancestors who lived in the republics that made up the former Yugoslavia (i.e., Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, or Slovenia) and your primary residence is in the counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, or San Benito, you are invited to apply for a scholarship from the Slavic American Cultural Organization. Besides the aforementioned requirements, applicants should simply be planning to attend an accredited university, college, junior college, or technical school and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The deadline to apply is April 3. We anticipate that the amount of the scholarship will be $1,000 and should note that a member of Catalina's class of 2018 received it. For more information and the necessary forms, see here.

MBSC Scholarship

The Monterey Bay Spouses Club (MBSC) is pleased to announce the availability of the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Scholarship. Applicants must be immediate family members of any active-duty, reserve, or retired military personnel serving or living in the Monterey Bay Area. Selection will be based upon academic achievement, extracurricular activities, community involvement, recognitions, standardized test scores, and an essay. More information can be seen in the program flyer, and the application form can be found here.

Carmel Valley Women's Club Foundation Scholarship

Among the 35 scholarships students can apply for with a single application to the Community Foundation for Monterey County is the Carmel Valley Women's Club (CVWC) Scholarship. Catalina students have received this scholarship in the past, and our CVWC point of contact, Connie Hong-Smith, has made it clear that they would love to see applications from the class of 2019. The application deadline of March 16 is coming right up, however, so do not delay if you are interested.

ACLU Summer Advocacy Program in Washington, DC

The ACLU Summer Advocacy Program (July 20-26) brings together high school students from across the United States to participate in a firsthand learning experience for the next generation of social justice advocates. During this week-long program in Washington, DC, students participate in electives and seminars led by lobbyists, community activists, lawyers, and ACLU experts to enhance their knowledge of civil liberties, social justice issues, and advocacy campaigns. The Close Up Foundation--a DC based civic education non-profit--partners with the ACLU to provide substantive experiential learning and small group discussion opportunities throughout the program. To read more about the program, please visit the program's website. The application can be found here.

Don't Fall for These Five College Planning Misconceptions

From our friends at Collegewise comes a reminder of five common misconceptions students and families should avoid in planning for the college application process. We know the Catalina community is a sophisticated one, and our hope is that none of our readers has embraced any of these erroneous ideas, but just in case the shoe fits, so to speak, we thought we would pass this along.

A Letter to College Applicants

We continue to respond warmly to the advice offered by The Derryfield School's Brennan Barnard in the pages of Forbes. His January 24 "A Letter To College Applicants" seems particularly relevant for juniors, but may be of interest to underclassmen, as well. He begins with a wise assertion, "Applying to college is not a test or project that you can, nor should attempt to, ace. It is an opportunity to be purposeful and grateful." And he ends with stirring exhortation, "When you are accepted, denied, deferred or waitlisted; when you do not get that invitation to an honors program; when a financial package or scholarship does not work out at your first choice school, I hope that you will remember, and be completely confident in this—you are bound for success." We hope you will read the whole thing.

College Visits

Tuesday March 19
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
College Counseling

Santa Catalina School

1500 Mark Thomas Drive | Monterey, CA 93940