College Counseling
Common Application – Frequently referred to as the Common App, this is an application used by more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States. The Common App is exactly as its name implies: it is a common application that students may use to apply to a large number of colleges, thus cutting down on the number of individual college applications a student must write. Most colleges that utilize the Common Application also require students to fill out a college-specific Supplement (your children may refer to this as a Supp) in addition to the Common Application. The Supplement may (or may not) require additional essays and personal information about applicants.
SAT I – refers to what we all know as the SAT. The SAT I is now composed of three different sections: Critical Reading (what used to be known as Verbal), Math, and Writing. All sections are scored on a scale of 200 – 800 points, and the Writing section includes an Essay component that is graded by outside readers/teachers on a scale of 2 – 12. Most colleges consider all three sections of the SAT in their evaluation of an applicant, but some consider only the Critical Reading and Math sections. For information on the new SAT, which will affect current sophomores and younger students, click here
SAT Subject Tests – are hour-long tests given in individual subject areas in English literature, science, mathematics, foreign language, and history. Many selective colleges require at least one or two Subject tests of each applicant, while a few require three for the admission process (and others require none at all). We recommend that students begin taking their SAT Subject tests in most areas at the end of junior year except for those students performing well in chemistry (in sophomore year) and who think they may go on to apply to physical science or engineering programs in college. Engineering applicants, in particular, will need to submit a Subject Test in both math and chemistry or English. SAT Subject tests are also scored on a 200–800 point scale. Foreign language Subject tests with a spoken component are offered only in November of each calendar year.
Score Choice – is an option given by the College Board, the agency that administers the SAT I and Subject tests and sends these scores off to admission offices at the request of students during the college admission process. Score Choice allows a student to pick and choose which SAT I and Subject scores they would like to have considered in the application process (when a college allows for it). Using score choice, students may send only the full roster of test scores from a single SAT I sitting (all three scores from an  SAT I date must be sent – they cannot be broken up or parceled out to individual components.); students may send any individual SAT Subject test scores they have earned (regardless of whether a student sat for 1, 2, or 3 Subject tests on a given Saturday).
ACT – a very popular alternative to the SAT I, the ACT is a subject-based exam accepted with equal measure by college admission offices in place of the SAT I. The ACT is composed of 4 subject areas (English, Science, Math, and Reading) with an optional Writing Component. We recommend that all Tower Hill students who take the ACT register for and take the ACT exam with Writing. For the most competitive colleges and universities, the ACT with Writing is required in lieu of the SAT I.
Naviance – the online database system utilized by the Tower Hill School college counseling office and thousands of other college counseling offices around the world. Every Tower Hill parent and student has a Naviance account beginning in grade 9.
GPA – is the grade point average of each student at Tower Hill School. GPA for THS students is calculated on an unweighted and weighted basis and uses only the grades a student has earned at Tower Hill School. If a student transferred to THS after grade 9, we will send an official transcript from both the previous high school and Tower Hill School (Tower Net does not give us the capability of combining the two, unfortunately). We will not use the grades they earned at that previous school in the calculation of the THS GPA reported to colleges.
FAFSA – is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, an application commonly used by college financial aid offices in the calculation of need-based financial assistance. Many colleges require that families submit the FAFSA; check with each college to note which financial aid forms each requires. The FAFSA is administered by the U.S. government.
CSS Profile – is another financial aid worksheet and application piece often utilized in the assessment of need-based financial assistance at private colleges and universities. It can be found at The CSS Profile has a charge associated with it (the FAFSA does not), and is used by many but not all college financial aid offices.
Early Decision – ED - is an early application process used by many private colleges as a way to fill part of their classes early on in the application season. ED is a binding admission process. If a student is admitted to a college under an Early Decision program, they are obligated to attend that college so long as it is financially viable for a family to do so once the financial aid package has been received. Most colleges offer one round of ED applications, though many now offer a second round of ED applications (commonly called ED Round 2). Round 1 ED applications are often due between November 1 and November 15, whereas ED Round 2 applications are usually due between January 1 and February 1. Students are permitted to apply to only one college under an ED Round 1 or Round 2.
Early Action – EA – is an early application process used by many colleges to admit some of their very best applicants early in the senior year. Early Action is not a binding admission process; if a student is admitted under an early action program, she/he is under no obligation to attend that college, but they do have the advantage of knowing they have been admitted earlier in their senior year. Early Action applications are generally due to a university between November 1 and November 15 of a student’s senior year.
Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be - New York Times columnist Frank Bruni
The Fiske Guide to Colleges - updated every year, it provides a bit more of a narrative approach and synopsis (rather than just average statistics) to nearly 400 colleges and universities
The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2015: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know, 41st Edition - Yale Daily News Staff
Colleges That Change Lives - Loren Pope
Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You - Jay Mathews
Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right for You - Loren Pope
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success - Julie Lythcott-Haims
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed - Jessica Lahey
Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life - William Deresiewicz
The Gatekeepers - Jacques Steinberg