Sophomore Newsletter
Summer 2016

Greetings from the College Counseling Office! These periodic newsletters will help you learn more about counseling programs and plan ahead for the college process. See what schools counselors has been visiting, and read articles about the world of higher education. It's all here!

College Visiting for Rising Juniors

While we recommend that students begin visiting colleges in earnest during the spring of their junior year, some sophomores may express an interest in visiting campuses this summer. These visits should be less about touring schools to which a student might eventually apply and more about simply stepping foot on different campuses to get a feel for different "types" of schools in terms of size and setting. We are fortunate to live in an area rich with options for higher education, and you could visit a variety of schools without leaving the Baltimore area (e.g. Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Goucher, McDaniel, UMBC, Towson, Maryland, Morgan State, or Stevenson). Or, if your travel plans take you near a college campus this summer, consider signing up for a tour.


If, conversely, your son doesn't mention anything about visiting college campuses, that's okay, too. Rising juniors can have an equally meaningful and worthwhile summer by engaging in a service project, working, going to camp, reading a few books, traveling with family, or playing on a sports team. 

Standardized Testing


On October 19, 2016, students will be taking the PSAT at Gilman. For more information on the test and to see sample questions, please visit the College Board's PSAT website. If you are a student who has been approved to receive testing accommodations (such as extended time) at Gilman, learn more about the process of requesting extended time on the PSAT by visiting the College Board's website on Services for Students with Disabilities. Please also note that formal requests for accommodations must be made by August 30, 2016.


Winter SAT Test Prep

Capital Educators will offer an SAT prep class at Gilman this fall; the schedule is online here. The course is scheduled so that it will conclude in time for the December and January SAT dates, the time we advise juniors to sit for their first standardized test. For more details and to register, please contact Capital Educators at (410) 532-9400. If your family receives financial aid from Gilman, Capital Educators will provide the same percentage discount to their fee. Inform the staff when you register, and we will coordinate the information with their office.


Common Standardized Testing Timeline

Fall of Junior Year: PSAT at Gilman

Winter of Junior Year: Take your first SAT and/or ACT

Spring of Junior Year: Take another SAT and/or ACT

June: Take SAT Subject Tests (if advised by your college counselor)

Fall of Senior Year: Take final SAT and/or ACT 

What Can You Be Doing Now?

We always answer this question the same way: be deeply engaged in every aspect of being a student, from doing your homework to studying for tests to being involved in the vibrant extracurricular life at Gilman to being a good teammate. Try to cultivate joy in your course work and nurture meaningful relationships with peers and teachers.

Below is our list of five things you can be doing now:

  1. Strive to do your best in your classes. The most important element of the selective college admission process is your academic record.
  2. Invest yourself in a few activities, over time, that are meaningful to you and provide opportunity for you to grow and take on increased responsibilities.
  3. Read. Read outside of the curriculum for your own personal enjoyment. Try to read the newspaper whenever you can. Voracious readers fair better on standardized tests, are better writers, and tend to have a better grasp on the complexity of the world and their place within it.
  4. Don't just do community service. Reflect on it, and try to find meaning in it.
  5. Take academic and personal risks -- the kind that provide opportunities for growth.


Please remember that the Gilman CCO website and our Tenth Grade CCO Shared Folder contain many resources that will equip you for school and admission success.

Counselor Spotlight

Mr. Herman and Ms. Follensbee had the opportunity to visit Drexel University recently for their Counselor Open House. They enjoyed learning about Drexel's Co-Op plan. Did You Know? Students at Drexel attend classes full-time freshman year, then, depending on their academic program and Co-Op option, they alternate six-month periods of full-time study with full-time employment at University-approved employers. Find out more by visiting Drexel's Co-Op Opportunities website.


Mr. Baker traveled to Ocean City, MD, where he spent three days with fellow college counselors and college admission officers at the annual PCACAC Conference. Did You Know? Each Gilman counselor belongs to regional and national professional organizations like PCACAC, NACAC, and ACCIS where they meet and network with college counseling and admission professionals.

Let's Chat

Carl Ahlgren

410-323-3800 ext. 226

Matt Herman

410-323-3800 ext. 748

Anna Follensbee

410-323-3800 ext. 307

Justin Baker

410-323-3800 ext. 741

5407 Roland Avenue / Baltimore, Maryland 21210 / 410.323.3800 ext. 396

College Counseling Website

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