Senior Newsletter

July 2016

Greetings from the College Counseling Office! We hope you are enjoying the summer. A main focus of this newsletter will be the important topic of college essays. While we share a lot of general information here, please know that the college counselors are also eager to work with seniors individually on their essays. We will continue to encourage students and parents to be in touch by email with questions or to update us on college visits.

Monthly Focus


Senior-Parent Breakfast

The Class of 2017 will begin the new school year with breakfast on Tuesday, August 30, 2016, from 8:00 to 10:00 am in the Dining Room of the Lumen Center. Student attendance is required; parent attendance is encouraged. This comprehensive program will address the senior year and the college application process. The centerpiece of the program will be our college admission presentation, which will feature Sally Richmond, Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid at Washington and Lee University. In order to prepare for the breakfast, we ask that parents RSVP to Ms. Sawyer at


Standardized Testing

In most cases, seniors should arrange to sit for another standardized test this fall. Often, a Gilman student's highest scores are posted in the fall of the senior year. If you need guidance on standardized testing, ​please email your counselor. It is best that you register now for fall dates, as this will increase the likelihood of receiving your first choice test site center (Gilman is a test center for the October SAT). An important reminder: the ACT is used and accepted at all colleges and universities.  The ACT has the added bonus of a September test date, so the score can be reviewed long before most ED and EA deadlines.

Fall Testing Dates and Registration:

September 10 - ACT

October 1 - SAT and SAT Subject Tests

October 22 - ACT

November 5 - SAT and SAT Subject Tests

Please be aware that colleges will expect an official score report from CollegeBoard and/or ACT. You will need to log in to these sites to request that your scores be sent to the colleges you are applying to - Gilman does not send scores. Plan to order scores at least three to four weeks prior to application deadlines.


Application Terminology

Let's review some terminology:

  • Early Action: A non-binding application plan that allows you to receive an earlier response. If accepted, you have until May 1 to make a decision.
  • Early Decision: A binding application plan that commits you to attending the institution if admitted.
  • Rolling Admission: A non-binding application plan where applications are reviewed as soon as they are completed, typically allowing you to receive a response within 6-8 weeks. You have until May 1 to make a decision.

Many colleges seek to admit a large percentage of their class - binding or not - as early as possible. Within this context, gaining admission can become much more difficult in January than in November, so we will encourage you to make use of Early Action deadlines when available. A school with Rolling Admission will fill spaces as the year progresses, so it is in your best interest to apply in early fall.


Financial Aid

We encourage parents to be frank with the college counselors about how finances might impact college aspiration, and we also encourage parents to have similar conversations with their sons. All colleges will have on their websites a Net Price Calculator, which will give families a more accurate picture of bottom line costs. We highly recommend that families make use of this tool.


NCAA Eligibility Center

Those considering the NCAA division I and II institutions need to begin their initial eligibility at the NCAA Eligibility Center.


This will be the first class to make use of both the Common App and the Coalition App.  We hope that this new online application does not add stress to your process, but we know that it will raise questions. This link will bring you to a list of the 56 institutions that will receive applications via the Coalition App, which is available now.  The Common App will go live on August 1. Please note that a previous newsletter shared that University of Maryland College Park would exclusively use the Coalition App. That has since changed, and UMCP will continue to use their own application. They do not accept the Common App.

Application Essays


Though we want rising seniors to savor the summer months away from schoolwork, we also know well that time invested in August on application essays makes for a happier senior (and happier college counselor!) in the fall. The essay is by far the most time and thought consuming portion of the application; getting an early start on essays allows you and your college counselor ample time to work through multiple drafts, and also alleviates some of the stress of what will be a very busy semester.

We are available during the summer for seniors seeking to begin work on the essays. Once you've started writing, please share a Google Doc with your CC (make sure to include the prompt and word limit). We will edit and provide suggestions and feedback ASAP. Please know that we want and expect to see all of your essays, including supplements, before they are submitted to colleges.


Essay Prompts 

Common App Essay Prompts: Please note, even though the Common App permits 650 words, it is our suggestion that you set 500 words as your target

Coalition App Essay Prompts


College Specific Essays

In addition to a main essay, many colleges require additional, supplemental essays. Click here to see a collection of sample essay questions from colleges and universities around the nation. If there are particular schools whose essays you'd like to see, they should soon be accessible via that college's website.

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

College Counseling Website

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