Standardized Tests (PSAT, SAT, ACT)
Naviance is a web-based, college counseling software package that enables students to research prospective universities. Naviance also catalogs admissions trends for Heights graduates. Please see: Accessing Prep Me and Naviance.
Within Naviance, there is also a test-preparation program for the SAT and ACT called Prep Me. All Heights students have free access to this program.
Parents and students should use Naviance to research schools and determine the likelihood of admission to those schools.
Naviance has profiles for every university. The profiles provide application deadlines, as well as financial aid and admissions information.
Each profile also includes a graph of former Heights students who applied to that school. These graphs track Heights admission trends based on GPA and standardized test scores.
Students must provide their email address to a college counselor to get an account. An enrollment email message will then be sent with a temporary, auto-generated password for the account. Upon logging in for the first time, students will be prompted to create their own personal password.
The initial registration email will come from “Family Connection.”
Parents/students are asked not to input the GPA or test scores. The college counselors will continually update these statistics as they receive new test scores, grades, etc.
Parents/students are asked not to input prospective colleges. College counselors will input this data once they have received an official transcript request (also called a Secondary School Report or SSR form—available in the counselors’ offices).
Standardized Tests (PSAT, SAT, ACT)
Heights students take the PSAT their freshman, sophomore, and junior years in October on campus during school hours. The PSAT taken junior year is the one that can result in a student qualifying as a National Merit Scholar.
Students are encouraged to complete an SAT or ACT test their junior year. Colleges accept either test.
SAT Subject Tests are required by some schools and recommended by others. Students should plan to take these the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year.
The Heights has purchased access to Prep Me, a web-based test-preparation software package. Students can utilize this program starting their freshman year. Access is granted through the Naviance program.
Prep Me can be used to prepare for either the SAT or ACT. Initial diagnostic tests allow the program to tailor an individualized regimen for students based on their specific areas of strengths/weaknesses.
Students can take either test; colleges accept both. Some students perform better on SATs; others on ACTs. The SAT tends to have greater emphasis on vocabulary while the ACT has more advanced math questions, as well as a science section. Many say that ACT questions are more straightforward.
Students are encouraged early in their high school years to make a determination about which test is a better fit for them, so that they have more time to prepare for that specific test.
There are a few local test-preparation companies who provide resources that help to make this determination. If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities, please see one of the college counselors.
Some schools require these; others recommend them. If recommended, the tests should still be taken.
Some schools accept AP scores in place of SAT Subject Test scores.
Since much of the material on the SAT Subject Test overlaps with the material on an AP exam, it is a good idea to complete the Subject Test soon after completing the AP course. For example, a sophomore having just completed AP US History can likely perform very well on the US History Subject Test; he should take this Subject Test at the end of his sophomore year.
Students should write their essays as soon as prompts are available; the more summer-time that can be used for this purpose, the better. Students who wait to write their essays in the fall often find themselves over-extended, and usually either the applications or grades suffer.
The college essay is meant to reveal your writing skills, but it is also a window into who you are. Proper grammar and syntax are crucial. Also crucial are thoughtfulness, passion, and specificity.
Teachers with whom you have had recent courses are the best choices. In general, teachers from your Junior year know you better than one from your Freshman year, given that you have grown a great deal in two years.
Make sure to ask teachers who have positive things to say about you. The more specific and detailed they are, the better.
Approach a teacher right away. Ask him whether he prefers to mail in the letter or to submit it online. If he does request to send the letter through the mail, provide pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes for him.
The letter should be sent according to the preference of the recommender. Do your best to accommodate his wishes.
A letter from a mentor or coach can be a good thing—as a secondary recommendation. But the teacher recommendation should come from someone who had to go on the record, as it were, and give you an official evaluation or grade.
Students must submit a Secondary School Report form (or SSR) for each school to which they are applying at least 30 days prior to their respective application due dates.
These forms are available in the counselors’ offices.
While The Heights does not weight their GPAs, for the purposes of scholarships and those schools who are interested, we do include a footnoted, weighted GPA on the transcript.
Early Decision is binding; Early Action is non-binding. If you are accepted Early Decision, you must withdraw all other applications to other schools.
You can only apply Early Decision to one school; you can apply Early Action (generally speaking) to multiple schools.
You should apply Early Decision if and only if:
1) the school is absolutely your first choice and
2) if finances are not a concern.
Applying Early Decision shows a college that you are willing to commit to them; consequently, they are more likely to accept you.
Financial aid packages, though, are sent out after you have been accepted and after you have fulfilled your promise to withdraw all other applications. If your financial aid package is not sufficient, you might find yourself in a frustrating situation.