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College and Career Planning Programs
Benilde-St. Margaret’s offers a comprehensive guidance program that includes personal and academic counseling, with emphasis placed on helping students plan for their future.
BSM’s Guidance and College Counselors
Amy Larson – Guidance and College Counselor, last names A-Do
Kate Berry – Guidance and College Counselor, last names Dr-I
Heidi Wessman – Guidance and College Counselor, last names J-McG
Fran Roby – Guidance and College Counselor, last names McH-Sc
Amanda Anderson – Guidance and College Counselor, last names Se-Z
Freshmen Individual Meetings (Fall): Counselors meet individually with students and parents (optional) to discuss the student’s high school and college goals.
Naviance Family Connection Introduction (October): Freshmen are introduced to Naviance, a college and career planning website that they will use throughout their years at BSM.
EXPLORE Test with Interest Inventory (October): BSM freshmen take the EXPLORE test, a test developed by ACT that covers the same areas as the ACT: English, Math, Reading and Science. They also take the EXPLORE interest inventory. Results are mailed home in December.
Freshmen High School and College Planning (Yearlong): The counselors meet with the freshmen eight times on “Freshmen Fridays” during the school year. At these meetings, they talk to the students about how to make the most out of high school including the importance of academics, study skills and extracurricular involvement. Freshmen also hear from a panel of our seniors who will pass along advice and tips about how to make the most out of their years at BSM. During the spring sessions, they will go over the EXPLORE test results and continue to research information about colleges and careers using Naviance Family Connection.
PLAN test with interest inventory (October): BSM sophomores take the PLAN test, the practice test for the ACT, and they also take the PLAN interest inventory. Results are mailed home in December.
Sophomore Sessions: The counselors will work with the sophomores for five days throughout the year regarding college and career planning. Sophomores will also hear from a panel of our seniors in the spring regarding college visits, test preparation and the college planning and application process. Also in the spring sessions, they will go over the PLAN test results and continue to research information about colleges and careers using Naviance Family Connection.
College Planning Meeting for Parents of Sophomores (March): The counselors host an evening presentation for parents of sophomores that will introduce parents to the college planning and application process.
BSM College Fair (April): Representatives from approximately 120 colleges and universities in the United States are invited to BSM. This is a great opportunity for students to ask questions and gather information. BSM juniors are required to attend. Sophomores from BSM and students from other schools are strongly encouraged to attend. The fair is held in late April.
Junior PSAT/College Planning Timeline Meeting (September): The counselors meet with all juniors to address the details of the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). The students also receive a college planning timeline for their junior year and are encouraged to attend fall college fairs and information sessions in the area.
PSAT (October): All BSM juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT (practice test for the SAT). Results are mailed home in December.
Practice ACT Test (November): BSM juniors are invited to take a free full-length practice ACT Test (with writing) at school on a non-school day.
Junior "Building Your Future Day" (February): All BSM juniors take part in this all-day college/career planning workshop. The students attend several sessions led by college admissions counselors, a representative from a test-prep agency and the BSM Guidance and College Counseling Team. Students will also receive a college/career portfolio that is worth .5 credits and a letter grade, and is a graduation requirement. Part of the portfolio is required attendance at the BSM College Fair in April.
College Planning Meeting for Parents of Juniors (February): The counselors host a presentation for parents of juniors. The meeting will summarize the information their sons and daughters received on the "Building Your Future" day, including information about the required portfolio that is due in April. The counselors will discuss the college application process, and will refer to forms, deadlines and details specific to BSM. In addition, they will address ACT/SAT testing, scholarships and financial aid.
Junior/Counselor Individual Meetings (February/March): The counselors meet individually with each junior during February and March to discuss the following topics: possible post-secondary options, important criteria in college selection, possible majors/career fields, college application process, etc. The counselors also review transcripts and senior-year course selections with each junior.
Letter of Recommendation Survey (due in April): Juniors fill out a survey about their high school activities and achievements, their post-secondary plans and their goals for the future. This survey is required of any student who will need a recommendation letter from a teacher or a counselor.
BSM College Fair (April): Representatives from approximately 120 colleges and universities in the United States are invited to BSM. This is a great opportunity for students to ask questions and gather information. BSM juniors are required to attend. The fair is held in mid-April.
Senior Small Group Meetings (September): The counselors meet with all seniors in small groups during their BSM hours. The counselors address the policy regarding students’ visits with college representatives in the College and Career Center, the college visit policy, applying for scholarships, taking or retaking ACT/SAT tests, NCAA policies, the process of requesting letters of recommendation, and the timeline and procedures for applying to college through BSM.
College Planning Meeting for Parents of Seniors (September): The counselors host a college planning meeting for senior parents during the first part of September. The counselors address the policy regarding students’ visits with college representatives in the College and Career Center, the college visit policy, applying for scholarships, taking or retaking ACT/SAT tests, NCAA policies, the process of requesting letters of recommendation, and the timeline and procedures for applying to college through BSM.
Parent Questionnaire: Parents of seniors will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their sons and daughters. This questionnaire is used by the counselors when writing letters of recommendation.
Individual Counselor Meetings (September/October): The counselors meet at least one time with each senior to go over their college application progress. Counselors will help make sure each student has a well-rounded list, and will help organize deadlines and requirements for each of their colleges. Students can meet with their counselors thereafter as needed.
College Financial Aid Program for Parents of Seniors (November): Parents of seniors are encouraged to attend this informative session on financial aid given by a financial aid officer from a local college or university.