Welcome to the Senior Class of 2019 and Their Parents and Guardians!!!
We hope you have a fantastic senior year!!
The Counseling Services at West High School has compiled information in this Senior Handbook to assist you and your family in making informed decisions regarding your senior year, graduation, and post-secondary education and training. The information provided here is only intended to be a starting point for answering your questions. If at any time, you or your parent(s) have specific questions, please make an appointment to see your assigned school counselor. Counselor assignments are:
Mrs. Lilja- Health Services Academy & International Baccalaureate Program
Ms. Houston-English Language Learners
Mrs. Smith- Engineering, Manufacturing, Technology Academy
Mr. Topliff-Arts, Communication, and Business Academy
Ms. Watters– Performance Based Diploma Academy
Mrs. Wass-Human Services Academy
Counseling Services Administrative Assistant:
College Day at the McLeod Center: Seniors are provided the opportunity to attend this event on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Representatives from a wide variety of post-secondary institutions (4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, vocational programs, etc.) are available to provide information concerning their schools and programs of study. Announcements informing students of this opportunity are made to students throughout the week prior to the event, and students are encouraged to register.
College Representatives and Military Recruiters: Throughout the year, representatives from universities, colleges, community colleges, nursing schools, and the military services come to West. As a student, if you are interested in visiting with these representatives to learn more about their programs, you are encouraged to listen to the announcements and sign up in Counseling Services. Notification of these visits will also be posted on the West High website.
College Campus Visits: Seniors are allowed school days for college visitations. College visits need to be arranged through the college admissions office of the school you are interested in visiting. You can obtain a guided visitation by either writing or calling the college’s Office of Admissions. BE SURE to make arrangements by having your parent/guardian contact the Attendance office at West to notify them of your college visit.
Counseling Services Resources: Students are welcome to visit Counseling Services located on the second floor across from the IMC. There are ACT test prep books as well as information on the military branches. Additional information, such as applications for Talent Search and Upward Bound, is available in Counseling Services.
There are several free ACT and/or SAT test prep websites. Here are a few:
(this is also where you register for the ACT)
*It is recommended that students take advantage of these sites as other test prep study guides may charge fees.
Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), Dual Enrollment, Contracted Classes: Juniors and seniors may have the opportunity to enroll in college classes while in high school. There are specific entrance requirements with each program. Students who are enrolled in Post-Secondary (college) PSEO courses during their senior year are responsible for contacting their counselor for the necessary paperwork. If a student wants to drop a PSEO or any college course, it is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her counselor. Dropping a college credit course after the deadline will affect your financial aid in the future.
Full Time Status: To be considered full time, students are required to carry a minimum of five courses each semester, whether they are all taken at West High School, or a combination of West High School classes and college credit classes. This is important when you are considering family insurance. Students who voluntarily reduce their schedule to less than five credits will be required to complete the “Reduced Academic Schedule” form.
November 30th is the deadline to enroll in college classes for second semester.
If these classes are used for college credit, students must request official transcripts from the appropriate schools. Please note that taking a college credit course and the grade a student earns will begin his/her college GPA, as well as be factored into their high school GPA.
Students are exempt from PE if they are enrolled in PSEO courses or courses taken at Hawkeye or UNI on their campus. If a student drops a PSEO course, they may need to have PE added to their schedule. Students and parents are responsible for knowing the various drop dates/penalties for PSEO and other college credit courses.
College Entrance Exams: Colleges and universities require prospective students to take either the American College Testing Program (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for entrance. In addition, community colleges, such as Hawkeye Community College, offer the ACCUPLACER as their entrance/placement criteria. To register for the ACT, students will need to go online to www.actstudent.org. Testing dates are listed on this website and can be found on the West High website. Students are responsible for ACT/SAT registration. West High’s school code is: 164-520. Using this West High code guarantees that your scores will be sent to West High. You may designate up to four colleges to receive your test results. If you want a report sent to NCAA Clearinghouse, you code 9999. ACT and SAT results are mailed directly to the student.
UNI Educational Talent Search (ETS): Talent Search is a free program that helps students and their families prepare for college. This program can help students in the following ways:
- register and prepare for the ACT/SAT
- research college options
- college visitations
- assistance in completing college applications
- scholarship searches
- applying for financial aid
All ETS services are free, voluntary, and available at school. To learn more, call 433-1200 or visit the UNI-CUE office at 800 Sycamore St, Waterloo. Talent Search applications are available in the Counseling Services and at UNI-CUE.
Selective Service Registration: All men are required by law to register with the Selective Service thirty days prior to or after their 18th birthday. Registration forms are available at any U.S. Post Office, or online at:
NCAA Athletic Eligibility: Students who plan to participate in athletics at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I or II colleges MUST file a “student release” form with the NCAA Clearinghouse. This form authorizes colleges to review student transcripts and ACT or SAT exam scores. Students should see their counselor, Mr. Topliff, or Dr. Pappas to file this release form and to get a detailed explanation of filing procedures. For more information about the NCAA, visit: www.ncaaclearinghouse.net
It is best to register in the spring of your junior year in high school. You may register during your senior year as well.
Senior Pictures for the Yearbook:
November 1, 2018 is the deadline for submitting pictures to the yearbook. Students must fill these requirements:
- Vertical, 4×5 inch preferred
- High resolution digital copy preferred, glossy print acceptable
- Headshot (head and shoulders) only, no full body
- Plain background – gray or blue preferred
- No outdoor shots
- Appropriately dressed
- NO hands, arms, props, or hats in photo
If photos do no adhere to these guidelines, The Wahawk will use a school picture. If there is no school picture, the student will not be pictured in the section. All information regarding submitting senior photos and requirements can also be found at the West high website in the “Yearbook” section under the “Student Life” tab. When submitting an electronic version of your photo, please send to [email protected], or to [email protected]
November 1, 2018 is the deadline for the optional wallet-sized shot. This photo will be in the front or back inside cover of the book. Email shot preferred and it can be any pose. No weapons allowed in this shot and only one picture per senior. Cost is $10 to the business office. Pictures not adhering to these guidelines will not be published.
Questions may be addressed to Ms. Jenna Hansen, Yearbook Advisor.
Mid-Year Graduates: A mid-year graduate may participate in Prom, Post-Prom, and the Commencement Ceremony. Please make sure you come to Counseling Services to complete all paperwork required for early graduation. During the last week of the first semester, mid-year graduates are required to see their counselor for a checkout form. These forms must be signed by all teachers, the Business Office, the Media Center, and parent. When the form is complete, return it to your counselor. At that time you must complete the graduation intent form to indicate how your name is to appear on your diploma. Your school records will not be sent to a college/university until you have properly checked out and paid all of your financial obligations.
Senior Honors Program:
All seniors who receive scholarships/awards should email the name of the scholarship/award and the total dollar amount by May 1st to Mr. Topliff:
This information is needed for the Senior Honor’s Assembly that will be scheduled for the middle of May, 2018. See the “Important Dates for Seniors” document on the West High website in the Spring for the date of the Honor’s Assembly. If the accepted scholarship will be recognized on stage, you will receive a letter in the mail in early May to notify you. We appreciate your cooperation in emailing this information early, so that you can be recognized for your hard work and accomplishments!
Ordering your Diploma: You will fill out a sheet in November with your full legal name. A list will be posted for you to confirm that your name is spelled correctly. If your name is spelled incorrectly, or is not on the list, it is your responsibility to make the correction in Counseling Services. If the correction is not made before diplomas are ordered, you will have to pay for the corrected diploma.
Ordering Graduation Materials: There will be a special display for all seniors during fall conferences. A representative of Herff-Jones will provide students with information about ordering graduation announcements and other commemorative items. These are optional purchases. More information will be in the student announcements. Packets will be available in the Business Office.
A representative from Herff-Jones will be at West High during parent-teacher conferences (October 23 and October 25) to take orders for announcements as well as for caps and gowns.
Students are not allowed to pick up their graduation materials until all fees are paid (fee reminders are sent with every report card).
Students must have a cap and gown to participate in the graduation ceremony and are not allowed to participate unless all fees are paid by the date posted in the “Important Dates for Seniors” document, which will be given out in the spring.
Commencement Activities: Commencement will be held May 28, 2019, in the McLeod Center located on the University of Northern Iowa Campus. Graduation practice will be held the morning of graduation, also at the McLeod Center. Students must participate in the entire graduation practice in order to be permitted to attend the graduation ceremony. If any students need transportation to the McLeod Center for graduation practice, please notify your counselor or Mr. Miehe. Graduates who choose not to participate in the commencement ceremony may pick up their diploma after May 28, 2019.
Academic Recognition: The senior with the highest GPA at the end of the year will be recognized as the Valedictorian of the graduating class and will be recognized at the Senior Honor’s Assembly and at graduation.
UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES/TECHNICAL TRAINING SCHOOLS:
- Universities and colleges offer a four year degree leading to a Bachelor’s Degree.
- The three Iowa Regent Universities require an RAI of 245, or higher, for admission. See your counselor for details.
- Community Colleges offer an Associate’s Degree.
Completing College Applications: Seniors should begin completing college applications in the fall of their senior year. Most colleges accept either paper or online applications; some are free, others require an application fee. Please take this into consideration if you choose to apply to numerous schools. A word of advice: many colleges want to see the types of activities in which you have been involved and/or honors or recognitions you may have received. It would be helpful to you to compile a list of these things ahead of time (think of it as an informal resume) so that you do not have to come up with this list several times over. If possible, please provide a copy of this information to your counselor, as this person will also be asked to recommend you. It would also be wise to provide this information to any person writing a recommendation on your behalf.
Letters of Recommendation: Start early by asking adults who know you well, such as teachers, employers, coaches, clergy, and community leaders to write a letter of recommendation for you. Out of respect for people’s time, you should try to give two weeks’ notice and provide a stamped and addressed envelope for each letter requested. Please do not wait until the last minute to request a letter; your reference may not have the time to “drop everything” to complete your request. STUDENTS: Please be sure to complete all student information on forms before leaving those forms with your counselor.
IT IS APPROPRIATE TO WRITE A THANK-YOU TO PEOPLE WHO WRITE LETTERS FOR YOU.
Transcripts:A transcript is a record of your grades during your high school years. Colleges often require a copy of your transcript with the application. If accepted, a final copy following graduation will be required. All transcripts used for scholarship applications are free. The first three transcripts mailed for college applications are free. After three, additional transcripts printed and mailed on your behalf will cost $1.
TRANSCRIPTS ARE NOT OFFICIAL UNLESS MAILED FROM COUNSELING SERVICES.
Upon completion of your senior year, you will need to request a final transcript be sent to the college you will be attending in the fall. The final transcript will be at no cost.
FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION
Financial Aid Night:
This event is scheduled for February 14, 2019 in the Little Theatre. Students and parents who are applying for scholarships, grants, or loans should attend. A financial aid officer will present a program designed to help you understand the process of filling out an application for financial aid (FAFSA). These forms, both paper and online versions, will be discussed. You can start the process of filling out the FAFSA as early as October, using your 2017 tax information.
Scholarship opportunities are listed on the West High website. Scholarship opportunities are occasionally read in the daily announcements. Please note: Due to the wide variety and number of scholarships available, counselors cannot personally notify individual students when a particular scholarship for which they may qualify becomes available. Please make a habit of listening to the announcements and checking the West High website.
Be cautious! Like all things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! In the past, students have been contacted for money to have an outside company to perform scholarship searches. Do this at your own risk; in general, no student should ever have to pay for scholarships as there are many options that are free!
HELPFUL WEBSITES OF INTEREST
www.icansucceed.org (Iowa College Access Network/College Planning Center)
www.sss.gov (Selective Service Registration)
This Senior Handbook is also available on the West High website under Counseling Services.