St. Paul High School

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Counselors' Corner



Mrs. Susan Rosales; Dean of Guidance                               Mrs. Anna Dickan

 Counselor Grade 9,10                                                          Counselor Grade 11, 12                                               

Mrs. Andrea Candelas; Registrar                                                                                                                                                                          



Important Guidance Department Dates for the First Quarter

Sept. 18, 2015: GAIN High School and College Plan Program for Juniors (Religion classes)

Sept. 19, 2015: (Sat.) College Faire at Veteran’s Park (Commerce, CA) 10 – 2 pm

Sept. 24, 2015: Whittier High School College Faire (6-8 pm; fliers in Guidance Office)

Sept. 25, 2015: GAIN High School and College Plan Program for Seniors (Religion classes)

Oct. 5, 2015: GAIN High School and College Plan Program for Sophomores (Religion classes)

Oct. 6, 2015: GAIN High School and College Plan Program for Freshmen (Religion classes)

Oct. 12, 2015: *PARENT WORKSHOP: GAIN High School and College Plan Program—all levels—Library, 6:30 pm—Parents strongly encouraged to attend!

Oct. 14, 2015: *TESTING DAY: Grade 9—PSAT 9; Grades 10 and 11—PSAT

Oct. 14, 2015: Senior College Application Workshop Day—by appointment only; 9:00 am, Library 



During the fall months, there will be several opportunities for your student to attend presentations by college representatives. The following presentations have already been scheduled:

  • September 9, 2015: Whittier College (9:30 am)
  • September 15, 2015: Mount St. Mary’s University (9:00 am)
  • September 23, 2015: Grand Canyon University (11:30 am)
  • September 24, 2015: Loyola Marymount University (8:15 am)
  • September 24, 2015: Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising—FIDM (11:00 am) “Brown Bag Lunch”
  • September 28, 2015: St. John’s University (9:15 am)
  • October 30, 2015: Northern Arizona University (10:45 am)

Students should sign up for these presentations in the Guidance Office if they are seriously interested in learning about a particular college or university. Sign-ups must be made in advance of the presentation date by students.


Two off-campus trips to universities have been scheduled. Sign-ups will begin soon (per morning announcements), and will be first-come, first serve:

October 7, 2015: San Diego State University--8:00 am – 2:30 pm

November 19, 2015: UCLA—8:00 am-2:30 pm


An overview of the key aspects of the college application process, and pointers for a successful school year will be presented at the G.A.I.N. Program for parents of students at every level, to be held on campus Monday, 10/12/15 at 6:30 pm.

For those who would like a “look ahead”, a copy of the G.A.I.N. 9th-12th Grade Checklists for College/Career Preparation is featured on our school website under “Guidance”.



If your student is planning to apply for admission to one or more four-year universities this Fall, it is essential they take at least one college admission test--SAT or ACT. For Cal State and UC colleges, the December 2015 testing date is the last one accepted. The next SAT is offered October 3, 2015, and its registration deadline is Friday, September 3rd; the ACT is offered October 24, 2015, and its registration deadline is September 18th. If your son or daughter has already taken one of these exams, they may wish to register to retake the exam, since colleges will accept submissions of all test scores, and many will accept the best score from each subtest. 

Registrations for these exams are completed online; always register for the “with Writing” subtest option. Registration is not difficult! To register for the SAT, simply go to; registration for the ACT is at Simply go to the website and follow the prompts. You will need a credit card; the fees are $54.50 and $56.50 for the SAT and ACT, respectively.


Here are a few tips that may help avoid unnecessary stress:

Most universities do not open their applications for Fall 2016 admission until October 1, 2015. A few universities open their application process in October. For the early application deadlines, be careful: some having a “binding” agreement that holds the student to attendance at the university, if accepted. If your student wishes to weigh admission/acceptance options, it is generally best to apply during the “regular” admission process.

All universities post their application deadlines on their websites, and there are links to begin the application process online. This year, the UC Application opened on August 1. Although the application is officially “open”, it cannot be submitted until 11/1/15 at the earliest. Applying earlier in the submission cycle does not put a student at an advantage to being accepted to a Cal State or UC school.

When applying to four-year universities, it is recommended that seniors apply to universities in this order: 1) California State Universities (applications accepted 10/1-11/30/15), 2) University of California campuses (applications accepted 11/1-11/30/15) and finally, 3) Private Universities (application deadlines vary, with many schools accepting applications into December, January, and even February 2016).

Cal State University Applications: Apply to one or more of the 23 Cal State campuses online at Have available: an unofficial transcript of 9-11th grades, social security number, SAT/ACT scores, and credit card.

Don’t forget to forward all SAT/ACT scores to CSU Mentor at code 3594. With this code, scores will reach all Cal State Universities.

University of California Applications: Apply online at “My UC Application”. Because these applications are more involved than those of the CSUs, it is recommended they are completed in more than one sitting. Have available: an unofficial transcript of 9-11th grades, social security number, SAT/ACT scores, completed “Letter of Recommendation Form” with listing of all activities involved in and awards earned during high school, and credit card.

On October 14, 2015 (Testing Day for grades 9-11), the Guidance Department will hold a College Application Workshop for interested seniors. This will be a “hands-on” workshop assisting students with their applications. Sign-ups will begin soon in the Guidance Office.

In general, letters of recommendation are not required for applications to a Cal State or UC university. (This is dependent on the program the student is applying to.) 

The campus applied to will notify the student if a “Letter of Recommendation” from a teacher is required. Students may not enter a teacher’s name as “recommender” until that teacher has been asked personally by the student for a recommendation. Two weeks minimum notice is required of all students asking teachers for a recommendation. A follow-up thank you to the recommender is a thoughtful act of courtesy.

Here are the Fall 2016 prompts: (Respond to both prompts, using a maximum of 1,000 words total)

Prompt #1

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Prompt #2

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Note: The Guidance Department will hold a “Personal Statement Workshop” the afternoon of November 5, 2015. Student sign-up details will soon be announced.

Private University and Out-of-State University Applications:

Since deadlines vary, it is extremely important to check the school’s own website for important dates.

Whenever possible, use The Common Application (online at to apply to these schools. This application template permits several schools to utilize the same application with a few additional supplement pages required for particular universities.

Have available: an unofficial transcript of 9-11th grades, social security number, SAT/ACT scores, completed “Letter of Recommendation Form” with listing of all activities involved in and awards earned during high school, and credit card.

Most private universities require letters of recommendation. Students should be sure to complete the “Letter of Recommendation Form” available in the Guidance Office, and several make copies of it. This form is given to a teacher, coach or counselor to assist them in composing a letter of recommendation for a student. Students should request letters of recommendation at least two weeks before they are due. A follow-up thank you to the recommender is a thoughtful act of courtesy.

Most private universities also require one or more Personal Statements, each with its own prompt(s). As stated previously, The Guidance Department will hold a “Personal Statement Workshop” the afternoon of November 5, 2015. Student sign-up details will be announced, and students must RSVP in the Guidance Office.


Here are prompts for applications for the Common Application, for Fall 2016 admission.

Students must choose one essay only, and limit their response to 650 words.

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.


A few general reminders:

1) Check for emails from colleges daily! Email is the primary form of communication between the university and the student.

2) Official transcripts are mailed by the Registrar, Mrs. Candelas, but please do not request they be sent until the university specifically asks for them.

3) Do not procrastinate and try to complete an application in just one sitting! Errors can be made and even servers jammed if students try to submit their application on the last day.

4) Don’t forget to forward all test scores (SAT/ACT) from CollegeBoard to the universities applied to as soon as they are available. Also, if a student-athlete, be sure to forward SAT/ACT scores to NCAA via CollegeBoard. (the code is 9999)

5) Work steadily on applications, and hang in there!

For any questions, visit us in the Counseling Office

Mrs. Susan Rosales, Dean of Guidance, Counselor, grades 9 and 10 ext. 725

Mrs. Anna Dickan, Guidance Counselor, grades 11 and 12, ext. 723

Mrs. Andrea Candelas, Registrar

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