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Academics

College Counseling

Siena prepares its students for successful college matriculation in three key ways:
  1. Siena's high school program is designed to develop the skills, abilities and self-confidence that will successfully position them for college;
  2. Siena individually supports each student and family with college counseling services; and
  3. Siena's administers the PLAN (the pre-ACT test) and ACT
College Advising
Siena provides in-depth college advising. Parents and students receive general information on the college process throughout their time at Siena and receive advice about high school coursework that will best prepare them for college. Individual family meetings take place during a student's 11th grade year, with a goal of helping students explore a variety of colleges and universities that offer support for students with learning differences. We also partner with college placement consultants to support families in the college search, and to help students find a good match with the proper support upon enrollment. Time is set aside for 11th and 12th graders to visit schools, and a number of college representatives meet with Siena students at Siena.
 
Click on the map to view colleges and universities that Siena students consider.


Testing
As part of the college application process, Siena recommends that its students take the ACT, which is accepted by all colleges and universities in the United States. Siena familiarizes 9th and 10th graders with the format of the test, and offer the PLAN (pre-ACT) to 10th and 11th graders.

Students may take the ACT at Siena. In order to receive accommodations on the ACT (extended time, large print type, etc), students must have current psycho-educational testing with specific recommendations for standardized test accommodations.

More information is available at http://www.actstudent.org.
 
THE TRANSITION TO COLLEGE
To experience what it is like to set one’s own timeline for studying, the seniors complete a two-week pre-college experience in May immediately followed by a two-week exam period. During this independent study time, students complete projects set by their teachers, meet deadlines by submitting work online or in person, and come to school for required individual meetings with their teachers.

Parents are not expected to supervise the students. It is the students’ responsibility to complete the work, make contact with their teachers etc. This independent study period was first implemented in May 2010 with the first graduating class and was extremely successful. Students are fully prepped before leaving and continue to have access to their teachers throughout the independent study period, using the scheduled class time as ‘office hours’. Only three months before going to college, this is an important opportunity for students to identify areas of strength and areas they need to work on to achieve at college.
 
College Process Timeline
 
9th Grade
  • Concentrate on doing well in school. Grades are the most important part of any college application.
  • Talk with your Advisor about how you’re transitioning to High School and how you might employ strategies and tools to be successful.
  • Self-advocate with your teachers for extra help and to develop a strong foundation of knowledge.
  • Explore outside of class interests. These include sports, school clubs, volunteer work, part-time jobs, religious activities, and fine arts lessons and activities. Remember colleges also like to see continual commitment to a core group of activities rather than a tenuous connection to numerous ones.
  • Start a folder of accomplishments (grade reports, awards, prizes, team memberships, leadership positions, jobs). Maintain this folder through 12th grade. It is invaluable when preparing a resume.
  • Secure an internship that allows you to explore interests you’ll want to study in college.
  • Attend the College Process and Financial Aid Information Sessions to get a feel for the scope of the college process and how to prepare for it.
10th Grade
  • Continue to focus on doing well in school. Grades are the most important part of any college application.
  • Continue to explore outside of class interests with an eye towards leadership roles. Perhaps volunteer to teach a lesson in one of your classes, or become a part of Student Government. Take the Pre-ACT at Siena in the Spring. All 10th grade students are automatically registered for this exam.
  • Schedule a time to update your psycho-educational testing. Spots fill up early, so you’ll want to plan ahead. This updated testing will allow you to receive accommodations on the ACT and in college. This will be the last round of testing you’ll need.
  • Attend the College Process and Financial Aid Information Sessions to get a feel for the scope of the college process and how to prepare for it.
  • Continue to meet with your Advisor to discuss your academic and extracurricular progress.
  • Secure an internship that allows you to explore interests you’ll want to study in college. Hopefully your internship in 9th grade helped you narrow or redefine your interests.
  • At the end of 1st and 3rd quarters, reflect on your grade reports and set academic goals. This workshop will help you determine if you’re developing skills you’ll use in college such as self-advocacy and academic follow-through.
  • Attend area college fairs to learn about different schools and practice introducing yourself to admissions officers.
11th Grade
FALL
  • Concentrate on your schoolwork and your activities. The college search process begins in earnest after the 1st quarter
  • In October take the Pre-Act again. Your results will give you a good sense of how you should prepare for the ACT.
  • Attend the Introduction to the College Process Junior Meeting. The different aspects of the college application and some key information about academic accommodations at the college level will be shared.
  • Complete the Parent and Student College Questionnaires and start reflecting on your interests and values. What do you want to study in college? What type of college community do you want to be a part of?
  • Attend Information Sessions given by visiting colleges. Ask the college representatives questions about your interests and the programs at their schools.
WINTER
  • Concentrate on your schoolwork and your activities. The midterm exams are worth 20% of your semester grade.
  • Meet with college counselor for an in-depth interview about your interests and values. They will use this meeting, and the questionnaires you completed, to create an initial list of colleges for you to explore.
  • Meet with college counselor and your family to discuss your college list and next steps.
  • Prepare for the ACT. Take a prep class, or complete some practice exams. You should focus on improving your strongest areas since the test averages your scores in the four subjects.
  • Complete an internship directly linked to what you would like to study in college or to a career you would like pursue after college. Speak to your sponsor about how they prepared for their career. What did they study in college?
SPRING
  • Research and visit the colleges on your list. Spring Break is a great time to visit schools and speak to students who attend the colleges on your list. Take notes and keep a visual record of your trips. Be sure to visit the Learning Center at each of the colleges you visit. You’ll want to ask about the level of support they offer and the types of accommodations they provide. Communicate with college counselor so that they can point you to other schools that may fit your interests.
  • Take the ACT. Your goal should be to do well enough that you won’t need to take it again. Colleges want to see a combined score of at least a 19.
  • Write your college essay in English 11. This is your chance to tell your story and to infuse your application with your personality.
  • Ask 2 teachers for letters of recommendation. You’ll want one from a humanities teacher (English or History) and one from a teacher in an area that interests you. Head of school and college counselor will also write a letter for you.
SUMMER
  • Continue to investigate colleges. This is the time to narrow your list and to decide which schools you’ll apply to. Create a list of their deadlines and admissions requirements.
  • Create a profile on the Common Application: www.commonapp.org and begin your applications. You’ll be in good shape if you complete your profile before the school year begins.
  • Pursue a summer job or an internship that allows you to continue to explore your college interests. Showing more independence and dedication to your passions will impress colleges.
  • Communicate with college counselor about what colleges you would like to visit Siena in the Fall.
12th Grade
FALL
  • Complete the College Deadlines form. This information is crucial for the college counselor to send in your materials on time to the colleges you apply to.
  • Inform your teachers of your deadlines for letters of recommendation. They need plenty of notice since they write many letters.
  • Attend the information sessions given by visiting colleges. Ask questions and demonstrate your interest. The college representatives at these sessions are responsible for advocating for you as their colleges determine who to admit. You want to make sure they’ll remember you.
  • Complete your applications and keep track of your deadlines. This is your process, so take ownership and demonstrate your independence.
  • Continue to concentrate on your classes and activities. Colleges will place particular emphasis on your 1st quarter grades.
WINTER
  • Continue to concentrate on your classes. Siena will send an updated transcript to all of your colleges at the end of the 2nd quarter. Colleges want to be sure you’re continuing to dedicate yourself to your school work and that you haven’t succumbed to “senior slump.”
  • Communicate with the college counselor about your college acceptances. They’re available to help you consider your options and determine which college will be the right fit.
  • Attend the Financial Aid Information Session. This workshop provides priceless information about completing the FAFSA and obtaining aid from other sources. The college counselor is also available to help you compare the award letters you receive from different colleges.
  • Re-visit the colleges you’ve been accepted to. Try imagining yourself spending the next four years on each campus.
SPRING
  • Keep your grades up. Your college acceptances are contingent upon how well you do in your classes.
  • In May, make a final decision about which college you’ll attend in the fall.
  • To help seniors prepare for college, seniors will wrap up their regular high school classes at the end of April. Then, for the first two weeks in May, seniors will have 2 weeks of independent assignments to complete at home to simulate the college experience. During this time, teachers are available for office hours, and students are welcome to come to school for help or just to work, just as they do in college.
  • During the last two weeks in May, seniors will take their final exams and projects. In the past, seniors have consistently told us how valuable it has been to model the college experience at the end of the senior year.
  • Graduate!

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