Counselor Newsletter- December 2015


Counselor Newsletter- December 2015

Strategies for Semester Exams:  The best preparation for preparing for the semester final examinations starts with the completion of current course work, spending time reviewing what you have learned this semester, and keeping your corrected papers organized. Save those old tests to use as study guides!  Students should devote about 20 minutes each school day, or a bit longer on weekends, to review of learned materials using the available tools: notes, textbooks, handouts, and graded papers.

Test anxiety is a common complaint among students. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Pay attention in class by participating and staying focused…sit upright in your chair, keep your feet on the floor, and take notes to help stay focused.
  • Analyze the types of tests the instructor gives. What are the expectations?   Study a little each night--DO NOT leave all the studying to the night before. “Cramming” just creates more anxiety.
  • When waiting for the test to begin, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and blow it out slowly (a “cleansing” breath) to the count of eight. Repeat this three times, then breathe calmly. Think positive thoughts and calm the spirit by envisioning yourself doing well on this exam. This only takes 20-30 seconds!
  • Read all directions on the test before beginning.  
  • Look at the essay questions at the back of the test.  Do a “mind dump” on the backside of the test...just putting down all the facts you remember about the essay topic.  As you go through the test you may remember you do, jot the new information down in the “dump” notes to write about later.
  • Decide how much time to spend on each section and start by answering the easy questions first. Strive to answer all the questions within the allotted time leaving enough time for the essays.  If you see you are running out of time, start the essay(s), they are usually worth more points so you want to complete them to the best of your ability .
  • If unsure of a particular answer, put a question mark by it so you can return to it later if times allows.
  • Don’t get stuck on any one question. Keep moving forward.

PSAT Results:     During the month of January, the sophomores and juniors will receive their PSAT test results from the tests taken in October 2015.  Results will be distributed in theology classes along with their test booklet and correct answers.  A review of how to interpret their scores will be held at that time.  Juniors are urged to review the test and work on incorrect answers before taking SAT exams next spring.

Parents are asked to encourage students to use the QuickStart Program (information coming in January) to take the personality and career interest inventory to begin the college search process.

International Junior Students and Host Families:  It is time to register for the TOEFL English Language Test. This test is an important part of the US college application process. Go to to register.  For more information about the TOEFL and the preparation needed for International students, please go to

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Seniors and their parents will need to go on-line this month to register for the FAFSA FSAID (a personal identification number).   Each student and one parent should register for a FSAID. It allows the parent and student to file and sign the FAFSA electronically to save time.  Go to

or to register.

  • Remember only one parent and the student should have a PIN.
  • All 4 year college-bound students/parents should file a FAFSA, even if you do not think you will receive federal or state monies.  Filing the FAFSA allows your student to receive college scholarships and loans for college.  NO FAFSA=NO LOANS or scholarships!   
  • The filing period is January 1st-March 2nd .  Remember that the money runs out quickly, so file early!!!
  • Senior parents should also begin putting their income tax information together to be ready to file the FAFSA in January.  Remember that you should “guess-timate” your income based on last year’s income when filing the FAFSA.  You will be able to correct the numbers later in the year when you have prepared your taxes, so do not wait to file.
  • Use the Youtube self-help videos before you begin to file the FAFSA…they are designed to assist you in filing your student’s FAFSA.
  • Cabrillo College will be holding FAFSA Fridays workshops. The dates will be announced on Cabrillo’s website.  Help is available to help you fill out the FAFSA and get your questions answered.  You do not need to attend Cabrillo to use their help line.  Call 831-479-6415 for more information.  

Other Financial Aid News: St. Francis counseling department will file the Cal Grant GPA Verification forms for all seniors who have returned signed permission forms.  The forms have be given out at the beginning of November to all seniors and must be returned no later than December 20th to Mrs. Green.  If a student needs a form see Mrs. Green ASAP. This is one step in the financial aid process that could net free money for college.

Check out the St. Francis website and use the Counseling tab to find helpful links and college information on Financial Aid, new scholarship information, and other great resources.

Cabrillo College Bound Seniors: Cabrillo College Scholarship application for students planning on attending Cabrillo next fall is available in the counseling office. Cabrillo College- bound students should see Mrs. Green or use this link to apply for a Cabrillo scholarship.

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