Counselor Newsletter- December 2016

All Students: Strategies for Semester Exams:  Ms. Tish Green, Counselor, offers the following advice for students as they anticipate their semester exams. To best prepare, students should

  • Complete currently required work, daily study, keep corrected papers organized, and save those old tests to use as study guides;
  • Spend time (about 20 minutes) each school day, and a bit longer on weekends, to review learned materials using the available tools: notes, textbooks, handouts, and graded papers.
  • Create 3X5 cards of your study guides or old tests questions you missed (if you haven’t already) and bring them with you to school to study during those odd moments when nothing is happening; i.e.; before school, waiting for a ride, between classes or after lunch.


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 with your feet on the floor; and take notes. Be engaged!
  • 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 in the room, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and blow it out slowly (a “cleansing” breath) to the count of eight. Do this three times and 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 more. As 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:    Test results will be sent via e-mail in mid-December.   During the month of January, the sophomores and juniors will receive their PSAT test results in a paper form 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 resources available when they receive their scores online to look over their results and review the questions they missed.  Kahn Academy access is available and a dedicated PSAT link is available to help students review and understand missed questions in math.

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 college application process in the United States. Go to to register.  For more information about the TOEFL and the preparation needed for International students, please go to


Seniors and their parents:  If you haven’t already done so, please go online this month to register for the FSAID (a personal identification number).   Each student and one parent should register for a FSA ID. It allows the parent and student to file and sign the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) electronically to save time.  

Go to or to register.

  •   Remember only one parent and the student should have a FSA ID.
  •   All 4yr college-bound students/parents should file a FAFSA, even if you do not think  you will receive federal or state monies.  


Do File a FAFSA!  (If you are going to a 2 year college first, you may opt to wait until you transfer to a 4yr program). Filing the FAFSA allows your student to receive college scholarships and loans for college.  NO FAFSA, NO LOANS or Scholarships!   The filing period is Oct. 1st-March 2nd .  Remember that the money runs out quickly, so file early!!!


Mrs Green has filed the Cal Grant GPA Verification forms for all seniors who have returned signed permission forms.  The forms are still available. 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.

Senior parents will use the 2015 tax return information to file the FAFSA.  By checking the box to allow the federal government to send your tax information to the FAFSA, you don’t have to put in the numbers yourself…it will do so automatically. Do use the Youtube self-help videos before you begin to file the FAFSA…they are designed to assist you in filing the FAFSA.

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

Seniors and their Parents: Cabrillo College will be holding FAFSA Fridays workshops--dates to be announced on Cabrillo’s website.    Financial aid 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.  


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