Thursday, February 9, 2012

Around Town: The college admissions two-step

In its January newsletter, La Cañada Unified released the statistics for the La Cañada High School class of 2011. There were 375 LCHS graduates in June of 2011, excluding five foreign exchange students. Ninety-eight percent have enrolled at colleges throughout the country and abroad, of whom 84% chose four-year colleges. (See — click on “District Newsletter.”)

As February begins, high school seniors from the class of 2012 have completed most of their college applications and have transmitted their midyear final-exam grades.

At Flintridge Prep, between 40 and 50% of the senior class applied “early action” or “early decision” and the college counseling office is recuperating from what it calls the December craziness. The applications are in, but the work continues.

Lyn Logan, the mother of two Flintridge Prep graduates, is now the owner of Lyn Logan College Counseling. After her kids got through the college application process in late 1990s, Logan obtained a college counseling certificate. She worked as assistant director of college counseling at La Salle High School in Pasadena and then started her own business.

Logan relayed the following advice: “Seniors, it is the beginning of February and by now, you should have submitted your college applications (if you still have some to submit — finish up). Be sure that you regularly check your email and college admissions portals for important messages and updates about your application status. Also, remember to have your high school counselor send in mid-year reports, with transcripts from the first semester of this year, to all of the private schools and out-of-state public schools that you have applied to.”

Meanwhile, at Harvard-Westlake, the juniors get a handbook that includes a summary of the college acceptance statistics for the prior two years, broken down into eight rounded GPA ranges, college-by-college, by number of applications and number of acceptances. The handbook is a tremendous resource that summarizes the college application process. It available online at

The Harvard-Westlake counselors caution parents against getting too involved. They want the children to take ownership of the process, with the parents at a comfortable distance.

That’s easier said than done, when the children are in a school setting with overworked college counselors. Logan suggests that parents stay involved. February is a good month to look into the financial-aid process.

Logan says, “If your senior is applying for financial aid, you should be filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now. Go to to get started. Some private schools also require the CSS PROFILE, which can be found on the College Board website. The FAFSA must be filed by March 2 for California schools. (Out-of-state schools may have earlier deadlines — be sure you know what they are.) Seniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA who have at least one California school on the FAFSA should submit a GPA Verification Form (available from their counselor) to the California State Aid Commission; they may be eligible for a Cal Grant, as well as federal aid.”

Deadlines. Forms. It’s lots of work, but as the Harvard-Westlake counselors caution that the admission process is not an assessment of a student’s self-worth. “Admission officers admit and deny applications (pieces of paper), not applicants.” (Harvard-Westlake Handbook)

Good luck to the Class of 2012!Around Town: The college admissions two-step

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