Do not set an ultimate destination.  Do not try to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.  You're going to be a very different person in two or three years and that person will have her/his own ideas.
    "Start early, finish early.  Take it step by step and don't underestimate the amount of time it will take."
      ~ Max, Class of 2020
    "Think about the environment you want to live in.  You will be independent, in charge of your emotional and academic well-being.  It requires ADAPTATION."  ~ Drea, Class of 2018


    Increased Personal Responsibility – what will I now do as a Student?

    • Understand how to access resources and information to explore personal, academic & career goals
    • Begin independent research of next steps in my post-secondary planning process. 
    • Become a self advocate - seeking out guidance when questions arise (communicating effectively)
    • Understand how current choices impact future options
    • Understand the importance of balancing academic, extra curricular & personal responsibilities 

    College Email

    College email:  Colleges will be communicating via email the majority of the time so consider creating a separate email just for college applications.  Use your first and last name instead of nicknames. 



    YOUR FUTURE:   "Ignore what everyone else is doing and really focus on yourself."  Olivia Blantz
    • YOUR PERSONAL GOALS?  Think challenge, fun, intrinsically rewarding…and balanced!
    • What do you hope to learn in your years at university? (For example: job skills, expand knowledge, grow as critical thinker, play sport, travel abroad.) 2-3 sentences with your own personal goals and hopes for yourself.
    • Visualize yourself at age 28. What have you accomplished, how have you grown and what is in your future?
    • If you could write a recommendation for yourself, what qualities/skills/characteristics/talents would you emphasize?



    Transcript Review/Graduation Requirements: Number of credits needed to graduate = 220. English and Social Studies are required senior year. Math and science are strongly recommended for all students.

    Graduation Requirements Outlined in the Course Guide.

    UC "a-g" list with eligibility requirements for both UC/CSU systems 





    • Free for two years for first year college students while completing the transfer curriculum for UC or CSU (does not apply to all JC's - you must check each one)
    • Guaranteed Transfer Agreement can hold a spot for you at a UC for junior year
    • Increase your odds of admissionto UC from 7% senior year at Drake to 85% sophomore year at COM
    • Time to explore your curiosities without making a major decision
    • Time to get to know yourself, your abilities, your ambitions before spending thousands of dollars 
    • Great opportunity to reinvent yourself as a student and leave your high school GPA in the dust

    College Entrance Testing Schedule – Spring of Junior Year

    All students are encouraged to start (and hopefully complete) their college entrance testing in spring of junior year in order to alleviate the stress of fall examinations during the college application process.

    • SAT (reading, math, writing and language + optional essay) The UC system no longer requires SATs. They are test blind. As of June 2021, the essay portion of the SAT will be discontinued
    • SAT Subject exams will be discontinued as of June 2021
    • ACT with Writing (math, English, reading, science) 
    • AP exams for AP classes:  May, see AP secretary with questions
    • If testing is not your strength, please consider 'Test Optional' schools - there are over 800 of them and counting.  www.fairtest.org.  "My GPA was high, but my test scores were low. It's not all about test scores. I got into my reach schools without high test scores."  Georgia, Class of 2019

     FEE WAIVER Information and Resources are Available - see Ms Lisa Neumaier for assistance! 

    AP/Honors Information: 

    Review the AP/Honors Matrix for entrance criteria.

    AP/Honors Information and Advice

    BALANCE:  How will I balance my life (i.e., handle AP classes with athletics, drama, ballet and a job?).   Complete Time Management worksheet on website, discuss w/ your parents and bring it in to discuss with your counselor if you are taking more than 2 AP courses (which I DO NOT advise).  When Counselors rate students on the Common Application, we regard any student who has taken at least 5 AP or Honors courses as 'Most Demanding.'  Hence, taking more than 5 of those courses during the course of your four year high school career, does not grant you a higher rating.  Keep this in mind when designing your senior year. Balance and health are more important than completing college before you get to college. 

     Advice from Stanford, Duke, Penn, Harvard & Georgetown

    • Avoid Group Think (i.e., don't follow the paths of others, not everyone has to take identical curriculum)
    • Be True to Yourself
    • Be a Man or Woman for Others
    • It is a False Narrative to Believe that Perfect Scores Guarantee Admission to competitive schools
    • Focus on the ESSAYS
    • Avoid Perfection – Strive for Excellence in an Intellectual area of Your Choosing
    • Develop your OWN intellectual interests – you’ll be more interesting and competitive – we don’t want 500 4.5 gpa engineers!


    Letter of Recommendation from Souder or Baker: you MUST complete the LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FORM on or before October 1st.  Really?  Yes, October 1st. This way you will have one less form to fill out during the UC/CSU application window and I will have your letter ready to go by any early application deadlines on the Common Application.  Ms Souder would like it by the end of May.

    Teacher Letter of Recommendation:  Start thinking about teachers to ask now and speak with them early.  Some have a limit to the number of letters they write each year and they each have their own forms and deadlines.  Some teachers like to use the Form on this page.




    The College Visit – How to Organize – Questions to Ask.  "Small class size equals opportunity, but with opportunity comes responsibility."  Drea, Class of 2018

    College Admissions Visits – over 90 college reps visit Drake in fall.  Sign up on Naviance

    Warranted Absences - get forms for college visits from Mark Machado, complete them in advance

    Gap Year Programs:  Info available in the CCC.  Gap Year gives you time to restablish priorities, get to know yourself, get re-energized, get your application in a separate pool, rest, focus on curiosities and not grades. 

    Job Shadows, Internships, Marin ROP career classes – see Mr Davison (gdavison@tamdistrict.org)

    College Athletics, NCAA Clearinghouse, see Ms Neumaier, & contact coaches as early as possible.

    Pathways:  Senior Year option with two classes for graduation, internship, COM opportunities


    • Temper Hope with Reality:  What are my reasonable chances of acceptance at X university?  "I got rejected from all of the schools that I should not have applied to."  Robyn, Class of 2016
    • Compare your record: Look at published  admission standards & patterns (Naviance & College Board & College Prowler)
    • Review websites written by students for first hand reviews (Unigo(Niche)
    • Discuss finances: The sooner the better!  Don’t get emotionally attached to a school that sets you or your family up for financial ruin!!!  Review the loan calculator for each college for estimates on potential debt, payments and salary needed to make those payments.
    • The Student Loan Report - this site is full of useful stats and maps related to college debt.
    • Smart Asset has a great loan calculator where you can compare loans: 


    • Review Net Price Calculators for each college for Price, Debt at Graduation & Graduation Stats  
    • Play Time For Payback - a great way to make thoughtful decisions and get feedback on how they impact your college life and debt
    • Under Careers in Naviance,  check out the RoadTrip Nation interview archive and explore possible roads to travel
    • "Don't be afraid to look in the Mid-West or South. There is often better merit aid." Sydney, Class of 2020

    “Students should have eight first choices.  Prioritizing before you get in closes minds.”  Joyce Slayton Mitchell, Author, 8 First Choices: an Expert’s Strategies for Getting Into College



    Read the Junior Follow Up Emails, Designing A Year in Your Life, and attend Junior College Workshops (there will be several in coming weeks/months). 
    College Application Guide - download and review.

    Review Senior Advice to Juniors   

    Spring Workshops with Sheila/Molly/Lisa/Molly/Kyle!  Wednesday tutorials - SIGN UP IN ADVANCE ON NAVIANCE
    • Looking Ahead: My College Criteria (EXCEL Examples for YOU)
    • College Search assistance 
    • How to Start Your College Application Process
    • Common Application Essay
    • Community College Transfer: How to Guarantee a Spot at the UC. Guests from College of Marin. Find out why starting your college career at a Community College may set you up for more success, more options and less debt  
    • Financing Your Future: Scholarship & Financial Aid Preview
    • UC Personal Insight Questions
    • International College Options
    • College Q&A: Every Question Answered - the Spring Wrap Up

    Thanks for your time and energy.  See us often throughout the next two semesters for on-going support with your post high school planning! 

    "There is a school for everyone and if you can't go straight to the college of your choice there are community colleges that you can attend then transfer." 
      ~  Oliver Higgins, Class of 2019 
    "I was the first in my family to apply to college and the first in my family to graduate from college.  It was really hard, but I learned that ANYTHING IS ACHIEVABLE.
      ~  Juan Rodas, Class of 2015


    Last modified by Sheila R Souder on 12/17/2019