General Application Procedures
What does an application file usually consist of?
From the student:
- Application with essay(s)
- Standardized Test Scores
From the College Counseling Office:
- Transcript and Report Forms
- School Profile
- Counselor Recommendation
- Teacher recommendations
Location: Urban, suburban, rural? North, South, East, or West?
Distance: How far do you want to be from home? A car ride? A plane flight? How much will it cost me to get home for holidays or for an emergency?
Cost: For many families the cost of a school is a major factor. While it should be taken in to consideration, don’t let the “sticker price” alone be the determinant of where to apply. Use the schools’ Net Price Calculator to get an estimate of what the cost will be for your family. Also, be aware of scholarships and grants that can make an expensive school more affordable. Ask these questions: Can you afford it? Is it worth the expense? What type of Financial Aid is available?
School Size: Small (under 5,000), Medium (5,000-15,000), Large (15,000 and over) in terms of student population. Also, consider the number of undergraduate students vs. the number of graduate students.
Student Faculty ratio and average class size: How many students will be in a class with you? Are classes taught by professors or graduate students? Will you get to know your professors or walk around campus fairly anonymously?
Academics: What majors does the school offer? Do you apply directly to a particular major or to the school overall Does the school have a core curriculum? How hard is it to change majors? How accessible are classes? Is scheduling easy or difficult? Does the school have an Honors program or other special opportunities?
Campus Life: Is campus housing guaranteed? For how many years? What do students do on the weekends? Does everyone go home or stay on campus? What kind of activities take place on campus? Is there a town or city nearby?
What your parents think: Your parents know you better than anyone else, they want what is best for you, and they are most likely paying for your education. We advise that you listen to what they have to say.
What your college counselor thinks: They might not know you as well as your parents, but they also want what is best for you and have professional expertise to help determine what colleges may be the best fit for you.
You should be looking for the school that best fits your needs. This means applying to colleges that are academically appropriate, and that meet your needs for your major interests and personality. If you love the excitement of the city, don’t apply to schools in rural areas. If you can’t stand crowds, consider applying to a smaller school. You should know what a college has to offer YOU as an individual, not simply a ranking or a reputation that you read about in a magazine or a guidebook.
1. Application with essay(s)
A student’s application consists of biographical, academic, and extracurricular information. There are varying amounts of writing required: most schools require at least one essay and many require additional school-specific supplemental essays. Students are responsible for sending their application electronically or by mail. Students are responsible for submitting their application and application fees electronically or by mail before the due date. We recommend that students allow their counselor to review their application for completion before they hit final submission.
Applicants to specialized programs or with special skills might have different application procedures. See below for more details.
2. Transcript Request
While the Office of College Counseling will send the transcript, a request for each college to which a student is applying must be submitted through SCOIR.
Transcript requests must be made at least two weeks in advance of college’s deadline.
3. Test Scores
Students are responsible for determining which colleges require which test scores and for sending them directly from the College Board and/or ACT. SPSG does not report test scores to colleges or universities.
Schools set their own requirements about testing (score choice, score optional, superscore, etc.) so students should read carefully to be sure they’re are sending the correct information to the correct institution. (For more information about testing, please visit our resources page.)
Scores will take an average of four-five weeks to arrive unless you order “rush reporting” at an additional fee, which will deliver the scores in two-four business days.
4. Thank you notes to teacher recommenders.
This is recommended, but not required!
As always, if there are any questions, students can consult their counselors.
The Office of College Counseling will submit the following materials on behalf of SPSG students:
- SPSG Transcript (as well as transcripts from previous high schools or classes at universities) at time of application as well as Final Transcript upon graduation
- SSR (Secondary School Reports) including Mid-Year and Final Report
- School profile
- Counselor Recommendation
- Once teachers write their letters, they send them to the Office of College Counseling to be delivered with the student’s other materials.
Since most submissions are completed electronically, families can monitor the status of submissions through SCOIR. In addition, most colleges offer students a portal through which they can monitor their application file. It’s important to note that there is a lag between our office’s submission of materials and the college manually logging them into these systems. If there seems to be a discrepancy, however, do not hesitate to contact the College Counseling Office to confirm submission.
Accreditation: Recognition by an accrediting organization or agency that a college meets certain minimum standards in program, services, and facilities.
ACT: American College Testing Program-a curriculum-based college admission test. The test measures English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning abilities. The writing section is optional.
Advanced Placement (AP): Courses offered in high school for which colleges may grant standing and/or college credit depending upon scores earned on AP exams.
Aid Packages: The combination of aid (scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study) which is determined by a college’s financial aid office.
CEEB Code: College Entrance Examination Board designated number. St. Paul’s School for Girls code is 210296. Also known as the School Code.
Common Application: The Common Application serves students by providing an admission application - online and in print - that students may submit to more than 500 member colleges and universities. Information is available here.
Early Action: When a student applies early in the fall of their senior year (usually by November 1 or 15) and receives notification usually by the end of January. This is not a binding commitment and allows the student to submit additional applications and to accept or decline the offer of admission by May 1.
Early Decision: When a student applies early in the fall of senior year (usually by November 1 or 15) to her first choice college and agrees by contract to enroll in that college if offered admission. If accepted (usually by the end of December), the student MUST withdraw all other applications. For more detailed help with this, please see your Counselor.
FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid): The application for federal student financial aid, processed at no cost to the applicant. It is used by colleges to determine a student’s eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study funds. FAFSA does NOT award money, colleges and universities DO.
FERPA: Federal Education Release Privacy Act. This law maintains the privacy of a student’s school records. SPSG asks that every student sign a waiver of their FERPA rights so that we can send their transcript to colleges and universities when requested to do so.
Grants: Monetary awards based on financial need that do not require repayment. Also known as “free money”, grants are available through the federal government, state agencies, educational agencies and colleges and universities.
National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test: PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs. The PSAT/NMSQT measures: critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. (See PSAT below)
NCAA Eligibility Center: Students planning to participate in college athletics at the Division I or Division II level must register with the NCAA during their senior year of high school. The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies that the student has met certain academic standards, as required under NCAA guidelines, in order to compete and receive athletic-based scholarships or financial aid.
PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test): A shorter version of the SAT Reasoning Test given during sophomore and junior year. The results determine eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program, the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students and the National Hispanic Recognition Program.
Rolling Admissions: An admission’s procedure by which a college considers each application as soon as all required materials have been received. The college then notifies each applicant of acceptance or rejection as soon as possible. Candidates have until May 1st to reply to the college.
SAT Reasoning Test: A standardized test that measures the critical reasoning, mathematical, and writing abilities of the student. Most colleges require some standardized test as part of the admissions process.
SAT Subject Tests: Individual subject tests that measure your knowledge of a particular subject and your ability to apply that knowledge. Some highly selective colleges require a student take two or three of these exams as part of the admissions process.
School Code: The six-digit number used both by the SAT and ACT programs to send a report of a student’s scores to colleges and universities. The number for SPSG is 210296. (See CEEB Code)
Scoir: A web-based information system used by SPSG for student college applications. Scoir is used for requesting transcripts in senior year.
Transcript: The official record of high school courses and grades required as part of the college application.