• The College Application Process and the WHS Counseling Office

    The WHS Counseling Office and staff are available to assist in the process of applying for college, financial aid and scholarships.  

    Frequently asked Questions:

    How do I apply for college/university?  

    Universities encourage students to apply for undergraduate admissions online.  Go to the university’s website and a link will take you to a secure application link.  Have your MasterCard/Visa ready for online payment. Some students may qualify for a fee waiver. Please see your counselor about this. Students who use a fee waiver to take SAT assessments are entitled to 4 additional college application fee waivers.  The application fee waivers can be located in your College Board account.   

    2. How do I get started on my college essays?

    A good way to start the process is to brainstorm topic ideas and jot down your thoughts. Topics can​ ​range from personal experiences to persons who have influenced your life.  Often college applications will give a​ ​range of prompts from which to choose (such as Common App).  Focus on a captivating beginning paragraph -​ ​words that draw the reader in.  Don’t be afraid to use humor and emotion. A good rule of thumb is that in sharing​ ​a personal experience, the writer tries to show how he/she was able to work through a problem or experience. Try​ ​not to be redundant just to meet the minimum word requirement.  Finally, proofread everything and perhaps share your essay with knowledgeable friends, family, teacher(s), or perhaps your school counselor.

    3. Once I apply for admission, how do I have my transcript sent?
    If you apply online, you will need to contact the WHS Counseling Office to have your official transcript sent.  If you apply over the summer, a simple phone call will get the job done. If you apply in the fall, come into the Counseling Office and fill out a green-colored “Transcript Release Form.” Please make sure you take the time to fill out this form correctly – checking or circling everything you want us to send.  Attach any other documentation you’d like us to send (ie.  signed forms, fee waiver forms). We do not charge a fee or postage for any of these services while you are a student at Whitehall. The Counseling Office phone number is 610-437-5081 extensions 1808 or 1809.

    Other universities, such as Penn State, are now requiring that students complete a Self -Reported Academic Record (SRAR).  The student enters all courses and final grades from 9th - 11th grades and lists grade 12 courses only. The student will only be responsible to send an official transcript from his/her high school if he/she is accepted and plans to attend that university.

    4. How do I get my teacher and/or counselor to provide a recommendation for me?

    Many universities require that a student provide 1-2 teacher recommendations, as well as, a school counselor recommendation.  Teachers/Counselors often request that students provide them with a “recommendation form.” Go to your university’s website application link.  If a recommendation is required, the university may provide its own teacher and counselor forms. Other universities will accept a letter written on school stationery.  

    There are several universities that utilize the Common Application which allows the student to complete an application once and to then send it to universities who are Common Application members.  There are over 700 Common Application members. They are listed on the website - www.commonapp.org.  If the student is applying to a school which uses the Common Application, teacher recommendations are requested on the website by the student for each university listed. Please make sure to input the correct teacher email so that your teacher/counselor receives an online invitation to complete a recommendation.  

    Other universities may use a program called SENDEdu, which is very similar to Common Application but is less involved in its details. 

    All teacher and counselor recommendations are considered confidential and will not be viewed by the student.

    5. How can I have my SAT/ACT scores sent to colleges/universities?

    When you register to take the SAT or ACT in your grade 11 year, you are permitted to send your scores to up to 4 universities at no fee.  If you list colleges, your test scores will be electronically sent to the universities you designate.  

    6. How do I register to take the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT and what is the difference?

    The SAT Reasoning test is a college entrance aptitude exam put out by College Board that assesses the student in critical reading, mathematics, and optional writing.  To register to take the SAT Reasoning Test go to sat.org/register. 

    The ACT test is a college entrance achievement exam put out by the American Testing Corporation.  It assesses the student in various subjects including: English, Reading, Mathematics, Science Reasoning, and an optional Writing portion as well.  The test provides some additional scores that the SAT does not. Universities are increasingly using the ACT as not only a reasoning but as a subject test as well.  Go to www.actstudent.org to register. Most students take the SAT and ACT in the spring of grade 11 and/or early fall of grade 12.  You can take one test or the other but we recommend that students consider taking both if possible.
    Please pick up registration materials and fee waivers (if applicable), in the high school Counseling Office.

    7. Should I take the SAT Subject Tests?

    Several universities do not require that you take the SAT Subject Tests.  Selective universities may have a requirement that a student take 2 to 3 of these tests.  To make certain, access your university of interest to check requirements. Also check to see if the ACT would be accepted in lieu of the SAT Subject Tests.

    8. When  should I be applying for college admission?

    As soon as possible. Usually early August, summer after junior year, is the start time for the application process.  We recommend that students get the majority of their applications out at least 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.  Deadlines are often much earlier if you are applying for Early Action or Early Decision.  These deadlines are clearly designated by each university on their websites.  Remember, the Admissions Office of each university will look favorably on a student who completes the application process in a timely fashion.

    9. What can I do now to enhance my college application and high school transcript?

    It is strongly encouraged by college admissions persons that students assume leadership roles in the activities in which they are involved.  Running for a leadership position or being a point person in a club displays a positive aspect of your personality.  Quality versus quantity. Colleges are also looking for students who volunteer for organizations or, in some cases, organize an activity to benefit either the school or persons/causes in the greater community (ie. runs for cancer, volunteering at a hospital, or assisting at a soup kitchen).  Find something that you feel strongly about and appeals to you.

    Competitive colleges are seeking applicants who have taken a rigorous curriculum and are often more willing to accept a student who has taken an AP or Honors course and may have earned a B average versus a student who may have taken all technical and traditional courses and earned a strong A.  In other words, challenge yourself and try not to worry about the numbers. You’ll be better prepared for the transition to college in the long run.

    10. How do I go about visiting the university or taking a tour?

    Access the university website and look for a college tour link (most have this option). Some universities allow you to register for a visitation day online, while others ask that you call to register.  Sometimes students and parents/guardians will drop in without an appointment. This is permitted; however, you may not be able to enter some of the university’s buildings without a tour guide from the Admissions Office.  Please remember to complete a WCSD Educational Trip form if you plan to visit a university on a school day so that your absence is excused.

    11. What should I look for when exploring and visiting a college campus?

    Check out the college website before you set foot on campus.  You will have many questions answered by navigating this important portal. Bring a notebook along to take notes during the informational session.  An admissions counselor and financial aid personnel are usually available to impart information and to take audience questions. Possible questions on your end may include the following:

    Campus Security and Safety

    Can I keep a vehicle on campus my freshman year?

    When you will be connected with your college advisor

    Declaring a major and whether it is possible to have 2 majors or a major and a minor

    Financial aid, scholarship availability, and work study

    Studying abroad

    Internships and experiential opportunities

    Percentage of students who are finding jobs in their field

    Academic supports available to all students

    Students with disabilities - how to connect with support staff

    Activities on campus

    12. Counseling Office Website:

    Please access the daily announcements on the district website – www.whitehallcoplay.org.  The Counseling Office link on the high school page of this website is another great resource.  We have most of our information posted on this link.  Some of the following information links are available:  SAT/ACT, Scholarships, College Visitations, Important Information, Counselor Contact, Transcript Release, and Career Information. We also post on Twitter. Go to Twitter.com/_WHScounseling. The Twitter link is also located on the Counseling webpage.

    University/College visits at the High School: 
    The HS Counseling Office posts announcements for colleges/universities that are visiting our school specifically to speak to our juniors and seniors  about their programs. If you hear of a university that is visiting in which you have interest, sign up on our Counseling Office website ASAP. Sometimes students are given an application fee waiver if they attend a visit either on campus or at the high school.

    Scholarships:
    WHS-based Scholarships “Senior Scholarship Opportunities”: September – Early March: Each year the various clubs, departments, community organizations, and families sponsor scholarships for which only Whitehall HS seniors may apply.  These students are honored at a Senior Awards ceremony at the high school in June. Applications for some of these scholarships can be found on the district website (www.whitehallcoplay.org) on the Counseling Office link. Paper applications are available in the Counseling Office.  Applications are due to the Counseling Office usually by March 1 and are reviewed by a committee for final student selections.

    Community/Outside Scholarships: The Counseling Office link on the school district website is a great resource for scholarships.  You can also access scholarships through online searches. When applying for online scholarships which require an official high school transcript, complete a green Transcript Release form found in the Counseling Office.  Include the name of the scholarship and the address to where it will be sent. If a paper application is required, complete the transcript release form and attach the scholarship application (and any other paperwork). Make sure to completely fill out all student sections of the application.

    13. How do I apply for financial aid?

    Complete the federal student aid form, FAFSA, soon after October 1st.  Men 18 years or older must register for the Selective Service to receive financial aid.  Apply at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  You will also have to register for a parent and student pin number. Rising seniors will use the 2020-2021 version, using 2019 tax return information.

    To get the most attractive award package, apply as early as possible and by the priority date.  For Early Decision application, you must apply by the deadline in the fall. Keep copies of everything you send.

    Some selective schools will request that the CSS Profile be filled out as well.  Apply at student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile. Please check the university’s website to be sure what financial aid documentation needs to be completed.  The correct links are often found on university websites as well.

    A yearly Financial Aid Workshop is held at the HS for grades 11 and 12 students and parents to review the process to apply for federal and state financial aid. The presenter is an expert on this topic on this topic.  Our Financial Aid Workshop will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2020 virtually.

    14. Playing Division 1 or 2 sports in college?

    Reminder: Any junior who is planning to participate in a Division I or II sport at the university-level will need to register with NCAA Eligibility Center– the national athletic center.  Go to eligibilitycenter.org to complete the necessary procedure. Students should log on and start to familiarize themselves with the requirements, core course needs, and the SAT/ACT scores needed.  Once registered, let the Counseling Office know. We will need you to complete a Transcript Release Form authorizing us to send your official transcript.  You will also need to have College Board and American Testing Corporation send SAT and ACT scores directly to the Eligibility Center. The NCAA code is 9999.

    15. What is the Whitehall High School College Board Testing Code (CEEB code)?  391-785

    16. What is the Whitehall High School address and my counselor’s contact information?

    Whitehall High School ; 3800 Mechanicsville Road  Whitehall, Pa 18052 (610)437-5081

    Ms. Nicole Seng ext. 1811 sengn@whitehallcoplay.org

    Ms. Amy Shoup ext. 1812 shoupa@whitehallcoplay.org

    Mrs. Meredith McLaughlin ext. 1818 mclaughlinm@whitehallcoplay.org

    Mr. Chad Stefanyak ext. 1813 stefanyakc@whitehallcoplay.org

    Mr. Shawn Hazim ext. 1810 hazims@whitehallcoplay.org

    Important Links

    Common Application – www.commonapp.org

    Financial Aid: FastWeb - http://www.finaid.org/finaid/fastweb.html

    Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) – www.pheaa.org

    Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) – www.fafsa.ed.gov

    NCAA Eligibility for Athletes – www.eligibilitycenter.org  www.corecourseGPA.com

Planning for College Tips and Advice Guide