Senior Newsletter
August 2016

We look forward to kicking off the new school year with the Senior-Parent Breakfast on Tuesday, August 30, from 8:00 to 10:00 am in the Dining Room of the Lumen Center. 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 this year's speaker, Sally Richmond, Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid at Washington and Lee University.


In order to prepare for breakfast, we ask that parents RSVP to Ms. Sawyer at as soon as possible. Due to a number of events on campus that morning, we ask seniors and families to park on the lower lot. Student attendance is required; parent attendance is encouraged.

August Checklist

Seniors should already have completed the following:

  • Placed colleges that you are considering in the area designated "Colleges I am Thinking About" on Naviance
  • Confirmed with two teachers that they will write recommendations for you
  • Aspiring DI and DII NCAA student-athletes should have already started their initial eligibility at the NCAA Eligibility Center 

Before August 15, please attend to the following:

  • RSVP to Ms. Sawyer the number that will be attending the Senior-Parent Breakfast
  • Register for the October SAT, September ACT, and/or October ACT (please note that the September ACT is now in the late registration period)
    • Please remember the potential advantages for taking an ACT with Writing: 1) A number of Gilman seniors post a stronger result on the ACT, and even if they don't, the admission office will always make use of the highest score earned; 2) Your ACT results will arrive in late September or early October, giving you plenty of time to evaluate and consider different ED and EA options

Before September 1, please attend to the following:

  • Complete all campus visits and interviews (if applicable) at colleges that will receive an application
  • Seniors: Create a Common App account (the new Common App was released on August 1) and/or Coalition App account
  • Seniors: Set a September appointment with your college counselor; you can book that meeting in the "Contact the College Counseling Office" section below
  • Parents: Set a September appointment with your son's college counselor; likewise, you can book that meeting in the "Contact the College Counseling Office" section below
  • Parents seeking/relying on college financial aid should be making use of each college's Net Price Calculator in order to determine the approximate amount of financial support these colleges can offer

Monthly Focus

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:

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.



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. 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.


PSAT: October 19
The PSAT will be administered on October 19. Seniors will be at school participating in various workshops related to the college application process or, with approval from the CCO, may use the day to visit colleges.

Reminders Sent to your Phone

The CCO has established an account with REMIND. If you would like occasional application and admission reminders sent directly as a text to your phone, whether senior or parent. To register, access this link

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 their 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. 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 now or will soon be accessible via that college's website.

Mark Your Calendars

AUG 30

Senior-Parent Breakfast 

AUG 31

First Day of School


Gilman's Parent Night


FAFSA and CSS Profile Available

For Your Consideration

Students, as you begin to fill out the Common App, read the Five Things Applicants Need to Know about the 2016-2017 Common App.

Parents, to support your sons as they begin the application process we suggest reading: Five Things Parents Need to Know about the 2016-2017 Common App.

Wake Forest Dean of Admission Martha Allman offers answers to the "top ten" admission questions she gets every year; read her insightful responses here.

Contact the CCO

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

Unsubscribe from this eNotice.