- College counseling
- Testing Coordinator
- Scheduling – Course selection begins in February
Learning Center Coordinator*
Student Achievement Advisor
- Coordinator for tracking and monitoring student progress
- Make-up Test Coordinator
- Recovery Test Coordinator
- Attendance Clerk
- Transcript requests
- Community service hours
Upper School Administrative Assistant
* WCS offers a Learning Center for additional support for students who qualify for accommodations based upon the diagnosis of certain learning differences and recommendations by a licensed diagnostician. A current psychological educational evaluation is required. Contact the WCS Admissions Office for more information.
Updates/Reminders, College Rep Visits and Event Information
Students looking for community service opportunities should check the Outreach page of the Spiritial Life section of the web site for details, deadlines, etc. on current options.
On-Campus College Rep Visits
Watch this space to see which colleges and universities will be visiting WCS in 2016-2017.
March 28, 2017 (Tuesday) — Houston Area Recruiters’ Network (HARN) College Fair
Off-Campus College Events
Watch this space for details on college and university events and visit weekends for prospective students.
April 13, 2017 (Thursday) — Houston National College Fair
NRG Center (One NRG Park, Houston, 77054)
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. & 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling invites current high school sophomores and juniors in the Greater Houston Area to come and visit with representatives from more than 200 colleges and universities from all over the country. In addition, an on-site Counseling Center will be available to help students with general questions about admissions, financial aid, veteran benefits and NCAA. The event is free, and students are encouraged to register online in advance to share their contact information with the representatives they meet at the fair, rather than having to complete information cards for each institution in which they are interested.
College Application Process & Timeline
Freshman and Sophomore Years:
Make sure your classes are in line with college goals. Work with your school counselor to develop a four-year high school plan.
Consider Advanced Placement (AP) or Pre-AP/Honors courses.
Get involved in extracurricular activities. Remember that colleges would rather see real involvement in one activity instead of a loose connection to several.
Educate yourself about college costs and financial aid options.
Read as much as possible throughout the year.
Begin thinking about your life after school, including the types of jobs that might interest you. Identify your interests – likes and dislikes – not just in classes but in every area. Make lists of your abilities, social/cultural preferences and personal qualities. List things you may want to study and do in college. Talk to other people, such as your school counselor, teachers, recent college graduates who are working, and professionals in the community about careers you might find interesting.
Tour college campuses – large, small, public, and private. Begin locally – UH, HBU, TSU, Rice University, University of St. Thomas.
Attend college and career fairs.
Begin researching 30-40 colleges and universities that interest you to force yourself away from your comfort zone.
Begin keeping notes on college information in one notebook.
Study – keeping up with your grades is important.
Explore summer opportunities. Look for a job, internship or volunteer position that will help you learn about a field of interest.
Summer – Continue to explore career interests and goals.
- Make a file to manage your college search, testing and application data.
- Continue to update information in your college notebook.
- Consider test preparation for ACT and SAT.
- Ensure you are on track with high school graduation requirements – WCS follows the Recommended Diploma Program set forth by the TEA (http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074f.html; http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074g.html).
- Create a master list or calendar of test dates (best times to take the ACT and/or SAT are spring of Junior year and end of Junior year or beginning of Senior year), fees, and registration deadlines.
September/October – Meet with college representatives when they visit WCS; attend recommended college fairs in Houston and browse college websites.
October – Take the PSAT/NMSQT.
November/December – Register to take the ACT and/or SAT in the spring.
March – Register to take AP exams if enrolled in AP courses.
During the year –
Visit college campuses. School days are best, but weekends and summers are better than no visit at all. For absences for college visits to be excused, the student must have previously obtained written permission from the Upper School Principal prior to missing school and must provide documentation, on college letterhead or a pre-printed form, from the college verifying that a campus visit occurred on the date that was requested and approved for a college visit. (page 26 of the Student Handbook)
By senior year, narrow down your list of colleges to about six total – two dream or reach schools, two target schools (where your academic profile and test scores match those of current freshmen), and two solid or safety schools. Note: Many universities publish GPA, SAT and ACT data for each new freshman class on their website. This kind of information helps prospective students get a better idea of the kind of score they need to be admitted to the university.
Begin a dialogue with an admissions counselor at the universities to which you choose to apply.
It is the responsibility of each family to research the colleges and universities for their deadlines.
- Visit (or at least begin planning visits to) college campuses and meet with admission officers.
- Register with the NCAA Clearinghouse (www.ncaaclearinghouse.org) if you plan to play sports at a Division I or II school.
- Begin thinking about essays and other requirements for college applications.
- Begin a checklist of requirements, fees and deadlines for college applications, financial aid forms and deadlines, test dates, and other key information.
Create a master list or calendar of:
- test dates (best times to take the ACT and/or SAT are spring of Junior year and end of Junior year or beginning of Senior year), fees, and registration deadlines
- college application due dates
- required financial aid application forms and their deadlines (aid applications may be due before college applications)
Begin the application process; request transcripts through the registrar’s office.
Register to take the ACT and/or SAT and have your score reports sent to colleges.
Get recommendation letters from teachers.
September – Continue to meet with college representatives when they visit WCS and attend local college fairs.
October – Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, if it is required by any of your selected colleges.
- Sign up for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) at www.pin.ed.gov for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Complete your application essays, and be sure to proofread for mistakes.
- Be sure not to miss early decision deadlines, many of which are in November.
- Gather the data needed for the FAFSA.
- Finish all college applications before winter break.
- Complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1.
- Request mid-year transcripts through the registrar’s office.
February – No senioritis! Accepting colleges really do look at second-semester senior grades.
- Register to take AP exams if enrolled in AP classes.
- Some admissions decisions arrive this month. Carefully read everything you receive, as some of it may require action on your part.
- Most admissions decisions arrive this month. Carefully read everything you receive, as some of it may require action on your part.
- Compare financial aid award letters from colleges to which you’ve been accepted.
- Decide which college to attend, accept any aid offers, and mail a deposit check by May 1.
- Request through the registrar’s office a final transcript to your college choice . If you plan on competing in Division I or II sports, request through the registrar’s office a final transcript to the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.
- Check to see that any final paperwork has been completed, such as registering for orientation or housing.
The following are the student’s responsibility:
1. Teacher recommendations
2. Adherence to application deadlines specific to each university to which they are applying
3. Sending ACT and/or SAT test scores
4. Supplemental essays
5. Scholarship applications
6. Residence room applications and enrollment deposits (due May 1)
Factors in the college admission decision – ranked in order of importance:
1. Grades in college-prep courses/core subjects
2. Strength of curriculum
3. Admission test scores (SAT, ACT)
4. Grades in all courses
5. Essay or writing sample
6. Counselor recommendation
7. Class rank
8. Teacher recommendation
9. Other (portfolio, interview, extracurricular activities, work, etc.)
College Testing (ACT, SAT, AP, CLEP)
The ACT and the SAT are the two major standardized tests used by admissions committees to evaluate undergraduate applicants. All colleges and universities accept both tests interchangeably, so students are free to choose which of the two to take. Students should take one or the other in the winter or spring of junior year and/or fall of senior year. Know your college deadlines.
What is the difference between the ACT and the SAT?
|New SAT (Spring 2016)||ACT|
|Good to know||All of your scores will be reported to colleges.||You can take it more than once and choose which scores get sent to colleges.|
|Focus||An aptitude test designed to measure a student’s general analytical abilities and problem-solving skills||An achievement test designed to measure what a student has learned|
|How it is scored||Composite score (400-1600); 2 section scores (200-800)||1 score (1 to 36) on each test (English, math, reading and science) and a composite ACT score, which is an average of these 4 tests|
|Time allowed||3 hours (without essay); 3 hours, 50 minutes (with optional essay)||3 hours 25 minutes|
|Format||2 section exam: 1 math section and 1 evidence-based reading and writing section.||4 content areas: English, math, reading, science, and writing (optional). An optional experimental section is added to the exam only on certain dates and is clearly marked.|
|Content||Reading and Writing: multiple-meaning words; informational graphics (charts); complex structure/vocabulary; passage-based grammar, including punctuationMath: application-based, multi-step questions; higher-level math, including trigonometry; “extended-thinking” grid-in question; core math competencies (translating math into English and English into math); deep understanding of theories behind mathematical principles, such as building equations||Math: algebra I and II, geometry, statistics, and trigonometryReading: four passages, one each of prose fiction, social sciences, humanities, and natural sciencesEnglish: stresses grammarWriting: optional essayScience: charts, graphs, data, earth science, physics, chemistry, biology|
|Is there a penalty for a wrong answer?||No||No|
Use the WCS High School Code 443459 when registering for the ACT and/or SAT.
It is the students’ responsibility to submit ACT and/or SAT test scores.
ACT submits singular sittings to colleges and universities; SAT submits cumulative scores from all sittings.
NOTE: Many colleges and universities superscore, meaning they will take the highest test score in certain categories from different sittings.
To register for the ACT, visit www.actstudent.org/start.
- Based on high school curriculum.
- Accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the U.S.
- Access to free and affordable test preparation materials.
- Send up to four score reports free by listing those colleges when you register.
- Scores are normally reported 2-8 weeks after you test (5-8 weeks for the ACT Plus Writing). Get your score report through your ACT web account.
- For information about test accommodations for students with disabilities, eligibility, and testing options, visit the ACT website before registering online.
- After registration and for a fee, you may change test date, test option, test center, and college reports.
- Visit the ACT website to find ACT’s calculator policy and a detailed checklist of what to bring to the test center, what not to bring, and requirements for admission.
- Writing Test is optional. Check the ACT website to see if the colleges you are considering require or recommend the ACT Writing Test.
- Test Fees: ACT (No Writing) – $42.50; ACT Plus Writing – $58.50
|Test Date||Registration Deadline||Late Registration Period
(Late Fee Required)
|September 10, 2016||August 7, 2016||August 8-19, 2016|
|October 22, 2016||September 16, 2016||September 17-30, 2016|
|December 10, 2016||November 4, 2016||November 5-18, 2016|
|February 11, 2017||January 13, 2017||January 14-20, 2017|
|April 8, 2017||March 3, 2017||March 4-17, 2017|
|June 10, 2017||May 5, 2017||May 6-19, 2017|
Learn more, register, and get free practice at www.sat.org.
To register for the SAT, visit www.sat.org/register.
|Test Date*||Registration Deadline||Late Registration Deadline
|October 1, 2016||September 1, 2016||September 20, 2016|
|November 5, 2016||October 7, 2016||October 25, 2016|
|December 3, 2016||November 3, 2016||November 22, 2016|
|January 21, 2017||December 21, 2016||January 10, 2017|
|March 11, 2017||February 10, 2017||February 28, 2017|
|May 6, 2017||April 7, 2017||April 25, 2017|
|June 3, 2017||May 9, 2017||May 24, 2017|
WCS is an open-enrollment AP class school. Research tells us that students who take AP courses and exams are more likely than their peers to complete a bachelor’s degree in four years or less.
CLEP (College-Level Examination Program)
CLEP offers 34 exams covering courses in the disciplines of business, composition and literature, foreign languages, history and social sciences, and science and mathematics.
CLEP exams require college-level knowledge and critical-thinking ability; sufficient preparation is required to do well.
CLEP exams are administered on computer.
The exams are timed. All are approximately 90 minutes.
Most questions are multiple choice, but some exams include essay questions.
All exams are scored on a scale of 20 to 80.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Information
Financial aid is need-based; most scholarships are asset or merit-based. Most aid students receive is institutionally based.
To be eligible to receive federal student aid, you must:
- Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the U.S.
- Have a valid social security number
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress
- Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan
- Register (or already be registered) with Selective Service, if you are a male and not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid
Regardless of income, all families should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) annually. Students are required to complete the online FAFSA application at www.fafsa.ed.gov in order to qualify for federal and/or institutional aid. This application will require your tax and income information from the previous year. Applications should be completed as soon as parents receive their W-2s, but students can go online to complete most of the application before W-2s arrive.
Students and their parents can get started early by requesting their FAFSA PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. The FASFA PIN is the code that the U.S. Department of Education uses to identify you online.
Complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov no earlier than but as soon as possible after January 1 for the upcoming calendar year.
Receive an early estimate of what types of federal aid you might qualify for by using the FAFSA Forecaster at www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov.
A few weeks after completing the FAFSA, you’ll receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). This report includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), how much the government believes you and your family should contribute toward your education).
Next you’ll receive award letters from the schools to which you’ve applied. The award letter outlines how much financial aid you qualify for, including grants, scholarship, work-study programs, and federal loans.
- Scholarships – research online
- Pell Grant – The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to post-secondary education. Grant money is not required to be repaid.
- State aid – To be considered for state-based aid, you should consider attending an in-state college.
- Institutional aid – Many colleges and universities, both public and private, provide grants or scholarships to students to help them pay for all or part of the tuition and fees charged by the institution.
- Federal Work-Study Program
- Tuition payment plan
Always borrow federal first. Federal student loans are cheaper, more available and have better repayment terms than private student loans.
First-choice student loans:
Federal Perkins Loan – For undergrad (loan amount up to $5,500) and grad/professional students (loan amount up to $8,000). College is the lender.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan
- Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan – For undergrad students enrolled at least half-time. Loan amount between $3,500 and $5,500, depending on school. No interest charged while in school. Department of Education is the lender.
- Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan – For undergrad and grad students enrolled at least half-time. Loan amount between $5,500 to $20,500, less subsidized amount. Student responsible for interest. Department of Education is the lender.
Student loans to cover remaining college costs:
Federal Direct PLUS Loan – For parents of dependent students enrolled at least half-time. Loan amount is maximum cost of attendance, less any other financial aid. Parent is responsible for interest. Department of Education is the lender.
Private or alternative loans – More expensive than Federal student loans. Eligibility, interest rate and fees based on credit scores. For more information on private/alternative loans, visit www.finaid.org/privateloans
Every school has a tool called the Net Price Calculator you can use to estimate your “net price” to attend a particular college or university. Net price is the difference between the full cost to attend a specific college, minus any grants (federal money) and scholarships for which you may be eligible. Full cost includes direct charges (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses).
- Raise.me — a program started with support from the Gates Foundation to make the path to college more tangible for students — is offering students the opportunity to earn performance-based “Micro-Scholarships” from Houston Baptist University and 150 other colleges for each of their academic and extracurricular achievements from 9th-12th grade. For example, participating students can earn $150 for participating in an extracurricular activity, $550 for getting an “A” in a course, $2,000 for taking an AP course, and $1,500 for visiting the campus of a participating college. See Mrs. Ballard in the Counselor’s Office to learn how you can start building your portfolio and earning Raise.me micro-scholarships from HBU and other participating colleges.
A word about scholarship scams:
Unsolicited emails that bear the logo of your bank or credit card appear legitimate but are traps to lure you into giving out your personal or account information. NEVER give out social security, credit card, or bank account numbers in response to unsolicited emails or phone calls.
- You have to pay a fee
- Money-back offers or guarantees
- Credit card or bank account information required
- Provides “exclusive” information
- National Fraud Information Center – www.fraud.org
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0082-scholarship-and-financial-aid-scams or 877-FTC-HELP
- State Attorney General’s Office – www.naag.org
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service – www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov or 877-876-2455
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) – www.bbb.org or 703-276-0100
[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Terms and Resources”] The Myths of Community Colleges: What High School Students and Counselors Should Know
Assured Admission Requirements for Texas colleges and universities and selected schools in surrounding states.
Naviance is a tool for electronic submission for transcripts and letters of recommendation: www.naviance.com.
GPA is based on a student’s cumulative numeric average from all 4 years of high school and is unweighted. Many universities recalculate GPA based on classes of their choosing.
Class rank is based on a student’s cumulative numeric average from all 4 years of high school and is weighted. Five extra points are figured into the average for every Pre-AP and Honors class taken and ten points for every AP class taken.
State law mandates that the University of Texas must accept any high school graduate from Texas who graduated in the top 7% of their class. State law mandates that ALL other Texas state universities admit any high school graduate from Texas who graduated in the top 10% of their class.
Westbury Christian School adheres to the Texas Education Agency Recommended Program. The TEA Recommended Program requires completion of courses required for admission into all Texas state universities. For more information on the TEA Recommended Program, visit ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074f.html.
PSAT is the pre-SAT. All sophomores and juniors are required to take the exam.
Aspire is the pre-ACT. Students in grades 3-11 take this exam.
Advanced Placement (AP) – College-level courses offered in high school, with exams at the end of the course. Students can earn credits toward their college degree based on their exam scores.
Award letter – A letter received by applicants that describes the financial aid package being offered by the college.
Early Action (not binding) – A student applies to a school early in the senior year, between October 30 and January 15, and requests an early application review and notification of admission. The answer usually takes three to four weeks after application. If accepted, the student is not obligated to attend that institution and can still apply to other colleges during the regular admission cycle.
Early Decision (binding) – This means that if that school accepts you, you are “bound” to attend and you must withdraw your applications from other schools. An acceptance means that you have made your commitment, and you will not be able to compare financial aid offers from other colleges.
Expected Family Contribution – The amount the government believes you and your family should contribute toward your education.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – Form completed by all applicants for federal student aid.
Open admissions – A college that has open admissions allows any student with a high school diploma or GED certificate to attend. Open admissions gives any student who has completed high school the opportunity to pursue a college degree.
Rolling admissions – There is no deadline for filing college applications.
NCAA Clearinghouse: www.ncaaclearinghouse.net/ncaa/NCAA/common/index.html
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): www.fafsa.ed.gov
FAFSA PIN Registration: www.pin.ed.gov
FAFSA 4Caster: www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov
CSS Profile: student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile
Resources by State: www.finaid.org/state
International Students: www.edupass.org
Mapping Your Future: www.mappingyourfuture.org
Guide to Federal Student Aid: www.studentaid.ed.gov/guide
Financial Aid Calculators: www.finaid.org/calculators
General College Information
College Board: www.collegeboard.org
Colleges That Change Lives: www.ctcl.org
Fiske Guide: www.fiskeguide.com
National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC): www.nacacnet.org
Peterson’s Guide: www.petersons.com
Princeton Review: www.princetonreview.com
U.S. News & World Report: colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges
NACAC College Fairs: www.nacacnet.org/college-fairs/students-parents/Pages/default.aspx
Chegg Test Prep gives students instant access to hundreds of expert SAT, ACT, and GRE test prep guides, as well as helpful information, such as Top 50 Strategies for ACT Test Day:
In order to play sports at an NCAA school, you must qualify through the NCAA Clearinghouse: www.ncaaclearinghouse.net/ncaa/NCAA/common/index.html
ADDED FEB. 18, 2015: Former “elite” school admissions officer has tips for parents wanting to help students develop a healthy approach to college admissions. Parents: Let Harvard Go
Education is a process, not a product. Students are learners, not customers. College admission should be part of an educational process directed toward student autonomy and intellectual maturity.
Rankings oversimplify and mislead.
A student’s intellectual skills and attitude about learning are more important than which college a student attends.
An admission decision, test score, or GPA is not a measure of your self-worth.
Applying to college involves thoughtful research to determine distinctions among colleges, as well as careful self-examination to identify your interests, learning style and other criteria.
Choosing a college is an important process, but not a life or death decision. Most students are admitted to colleges they want to attend.
Resist the notion that there is one perfect college. Great education happens in many places.
Use a variety of resources for gathering information.
Resist taking any standardized test numerous times (twice is usually sufficient).
Know that what you do in college is a better predictor of future success and happiness than where you go to college.
Considerations when applying to college:
- Academic programs
- Location – rural, urban, suburban
- Size – small, medium, large
- Greek life
- Region (Texas, southwest, west coast, Midwest, southeast, New England, international, etc.)
Set personal deadlines to help meet hard application deadlines during senior year. Complete the process – many parts of the admissions process require further action from students – responding to award letters, acceptance letters, ensuring colleges have received all application forms, etc.
Adopting the following study skills while in high school can make you a more effective student today while also helping you develop characteristics associated with successful professionals:
- Effective listening during lectures
- Productive note-taking for lecture and textbook reading
- Active learning techniques
- Time management and scheduling
- Test preparation strategies
- Memory and concentration enhancers
- Handling stress and anxiety
- Studying by learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
Mastering good study skills prepares students to excel in “soft skills” like the following, which are highly valued by employers across a variety of fields and industries:
- Reading comprehension
- Critical thinking
- Active learning
- Attention to detail
- Written expression
- Time management
- Active listening
- Learning strategies
50 words worth knowing:
WCS Academic Profile
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
National Christian Schools Association (NCSA)
The school day consists of eight (8) forty-six (46) minute class periods.
WCS follows the TEA Recommended High School Program, plus 1 Bible credit every year. Students must earn 28 credits to graduate.
Required credits per subject area:
Math – 4
Science – 4
English – 4
Social Studies – 3 ½
Economics – ½
Bible* – 4
Speech – ½
Health – ½
PE – 1
Foreign Language – 2
Fine Arts – 1
In addition, WCS requires 20 hours of community service per year.
*Students entering after freshman year are not required to make up Bible credits.
Advanced Placement (AP) and Pre-AP Classes Offered
English Language and Composition
English Literature and Composition
English (9th grade)
English (10th or 11th grade)
WCS allows open enrollment for all AP classes.
WCS Grading Scale
A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 75-79
D = 70-74
F = 0-69
WCS does not weight grades when calculating GPA. WCS does weight grades when calculating rank. Pre-AP classes are calculated with an additional 5 points. AP classes are calculated with an additional 10 points.
SAT Scores – Class of 2016 – Top 25%
CR (Verbal) – 671
Math – 721
Writing – 648
ACT Scores – Class of 2016 – Top 25%
WCS is a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS), which offers competition in academics, band, drama, art and athletic events.
Students compete annually in local events for fine arts, including the TAPPS District and Regional competition as well as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Athletic competition at the varsity level includes golf, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross-country, football, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, and volleyball.
Sampling of Universities to Which WCS Graduates Have Been Accepted
Abilene Christian University
Clark Atlanta University
David Lipscomb University
Florida A&M University
Georgia Tech University
Houston Baptist University
Lubbock Christian University
Louisiana State University
New York University
Oklahoma Christian University
Oklahoma State University
Prairie View A&M University
St. Johns University
Texas A&M University
Texas Christian University
U.S. Air Force Academy
U.S. Military Academy at West Point
University of Arkansas
University of Houston
University of Iowa
University of North Carolina
University of Texas at Austin
Wake Forest University