Frequently Asked Questions
When should college applications be started?
The best time to start college applications is Fall of Senior year.
- Check your deadlines to see when you need to have your applications and supporting documents submitted. There are no deadlines for applications in August or September.
- Students have the support of their English teachers if the student needs a personal statement/college essay.
- The information needed about procedures, processes and everything else about applications students need from South High takes place in August and early September. This information, distributed through the Senior Workshop, is critical to a smooth application experience.
- Students will have the assistance, guidance and teamwork from Ms Seuc in the Fall. This is important to presenting the strongest applications to your colleges.
What is a "core” GPA?
A core grade point average (GPA) is calculated differently by different colleges. Most of the time, it means unweighting the grades and only using the five core subjects to calculate the cumulative core GPA. The five core subjects are: English, Math, Social Students, Science and World Language. Mizzou, when determining a core GPA, uses the above five core subjects, but then adds 1.0 credit (two semesters) of fine arts.
NCAA and NAIA use only the five core subjects, but have a required number from different categories. For more information on NCAA and NAIA core GPA calculations, utilize the resources on college athletics in the Junior area of the Counseling webpages and NCACC and NAIA on the Counseling webpage: Click here for Information
What is Parkway's grading scale?
Parkway uses a weighted 4.0 grading scale based on an A-F grade. Each letter grade has a number value: A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0. If the class is an Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) class, a "bump" of 0.5 is added, making the letter grade number value: A = 4.5, B = 3.5, C = 2.5, D = 1.5, F = 0. We have an H as a possibility in Honors and AP classes; an H is worth 5.0.
What is my class rank?
Parkway, like most private and public schools in St Louis, does not use a class rank. Parkway has the Latin Honors system: 4.0 and above = Summa Cum Laude, 3.75 - 3.99 = Magna Cum Laude, and 3.5 - 3.74 = Cum Laud Not using a class rank allows colleges to examine your transcript more thoroughly to give a better view of what you have chosen to take and how well you have done. Your transcript tells more about you than just a class rank number. We want you and your high school academic experience to be considered, but just your numbers.
How many activities are the right number for college applications?
It is not the number of activities that matter, nor is there one activity that is the "right" to be a participant. What is important is that your activities demonstrate passion, growth, leadership, or curiosity. Activities include PSH or outside athletics, clubs, organizations, volunteering, employment, helping at home, community service, hobbies, shadowing, interning, developing a skill or honing a talent.
When do I apply for scholarships?
While there are a few scholarships open to Juniors, most scholarships are for Seniors. Most scholarship dollars come directly from universities , there are a variety of private scholarships available. For scholarships offered by a university, the senior must first apply for admission before being allowed to be considered or to apply for a merit scholarship. More information can be found by clicking here.
To learn more about financial aid, view the page listed above, and this short tutorial.
When do I file the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is filed the year before you attend college. The FAFSA will open up for you to complete October of your senior year for your first year of college. The FAFSA must be filed for each year in college is you want to be considered for financial aid. For more information on FAFSA and financial aid go to this page.
What is the CSS Profile?
The CSS Profile is an additional financial aid form that is required by a few private highly selective universities in addition to the FAFSA. It is used for a more in-depth examination of potential financial aid need in order for the university to offer institutional aid, not just federal funding. There is a fee for filing the CSS Profile per college. You should not file a CSS Profile if your college does not require it for financial aid.
I plan to play college athletics. If a coach is discussing my joining the team, do I need to do anything else?
YES! Unfortunately, there can be miscommunication and misunderstandings about college athletics and college admissions. The two (athletics and admissions) are separate processes. Even if a coach is talking to you about playing athletics, you must still apply and be accepted to the university. Athletics does not take the place of the application process for admission. The application process takes place in senior year and is the same for athletes and non-athletes.
One other requirement for potential college student athletes planning to play NCAA Division 1 or 2 or NAIA is to register with the appropriate eligibility center at the end of junior year. More information can be found on this page, and also in this short tutorial.
When should I write my personal statement/college essay?
While this is something you can start on shortly before senior year, or you can wait until your senior year. The topics can change slightly from year to year.
Parkway South High English teachers are a great help and resource to our students who need to provide a personal statement/college essay, as well as any supplemental essays/short answers that some colleges require as part of their application.
So while you can start on your essay earlier than senior year, understand that the essay is a tool to get to know who you are when you are applying. Sometimes our experiences make us who we are, which might change what we write about. Additional time and learning helps make a better written essay, especially when our College Composition and AP English Literature and Composition teachers use their expertise to teach and assign lessons to support writing the personal statement.
Other points to know:
Not all colleges require a personal statement/college essay.
College admissions that require a personal statement use it to get to know you. The college may change their prompt from year to year. The Common App (used by more then 900 colleges) gives a choice of several prompts that can change from year to year, although always included is a self-directed option.
When should I ask my teachers for recommendations?
Senior year. Other high schools may have a different policy, but at South High, senior year is best. Not all college applications require teacher recommendations. If you do not need a recommendation, it is better to allow teachers to write for the students whose applications require a recommendation. Teachers will be writing the recommendations during the first half of your senior year. It is best to ask them closer to when you are applying. You will learn more about recommendations, how to ask, what you need to provide, how long is a reasonable time to give a recommender time to write, etc. at the beginning of senior year.
Will colleges require an ACT or SAT for the Class of 2023 and 2024?
It varies from college to college.
Each college makes its own decision about the use of the ACT/SAT admission readiness exams. Colleges require the ACT or SAT, others are Test Optional or still other colleges are Test Free/Test Blind.
Some colleges that are offering Test Optional, may require an ACT or SAT if the applicant's GPA is lower than the accepted admissions standard. Other colleges that are Test Optional may require additional tasks to replace the test scores, such as a resume/activity list and/or a personal statement. A few colleges that are Test Optional for admissions may still require an ACT or SAT for merit scholarships; check the college scholarship webpage for more information.
What is Test-Optional, Test-Blind, and Test-Free?
Test Optional means that students have a choice whether to submit their test scores or not as part of the admissions process. If they choose not to use an ACT or SAT score, they are not penalized for not providing a score. Students may also submit their ACT or SAT scores if it helps strengthen their application. It is the student's choice. If a student does provide an ACT or SAT score as part of their application, they may not change their mind and ask to change to Test Optional. On the other hand, if a student applies with the Test Optional option and then earns a higher ACT or SAT score that would improve their application, they can ask to change from Test Optional to using an ACT or SAT score.
As stated above, some colleges that offer Test Optional may require a replacement task or tasks such as a resume/activity list and/or personal statement (essay)
Test-Blind or Test-Free
Two terms that mean the same thing. The college does not use the ACT or SAT as part of the admissions decision process. The college admissions does not want, does not use, and will not consider an ACT or SAT score. If the student sends a score, it is not looked at and not used. One of the most well-known college networks that is Test-Blind is the University of California campuses.
If I had a suspension, am I required to report it to the college when applying?
If a college asks, you do need to report the suspension with an explanation. It would be best to work with Ms Seuc on your response and how you would address the issue. Not all colleges ask about suspension. If a college does not ask about discipline, you do not have to disclose the incident.
What is the role of your College & Career counselor?
To provide up-to-date information, assistance, resources, expertise and personal attention. Ms Seuc stays current by working directly with college admission representatives, attending workshops and webinars, subscribing to higher education publications and with her membership in college admissions related organizations.
It is to your advantage to begin your work with Ms Seuc junior year to allow her to get to know you, your dreams and post-high-school plans. She will answer your individual questions and work with you one-on-one if you utilize her experience. Ms Seuc will also provide information through newsletters, emails, webpages, Naviance, announcements and social media to teach and guide you on your post-high school journey.
Senior year, you will work with Ms Seuc on your college and scholarship applications. She will continue to be part of your team to advise, educate and provide support through senior year. Ms Seuc will provide information, resources, knowledge, and personalized support though a blend of different communication methods and personal meetings.
Ms Seuc will be administering and organizing the supporting documents for your applications (transcripts, high school profile, secondary school reports, counselor evaluations, counselor recommendation letter, teacher evaluations and recommendation letters and any other needed documents). Ms Seuc will be the counselor to complete your secondary school reports, counselor evaluations and counselor letter of recommendation.