Class of 2019 Newsletter

September 2017


Greetings from the College Counseling Office, and welcome back! Contained in this newsletter is a timeline of the junior year, information about the upcoming PSAT, and guidance regarding standardized testing. Likewise, please mark your calendar now for the Junior Class College Night which will be held on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Students and their families will begin meeting individually with the college counselors following that program. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to be in touch with any of us with questions; our contact information is located at the end of this newsletter.


Timeline of Junior Year


In order to help you prepare for the year ahead, please review this timeline with important dates regarding programs, counseling meetings, standardized testing, and potential college visit dates:

September - November: College admission reps visit Gilman; see full schedule here

September 27: AIMS Financial Aid Program at Maryvale Preparatory School

October 11: PSAT at Gilman

December 2: Recommended first SAT

December 9: ACT date

January 9: Junior Class College Night

January - May: College counselors meet with juniors (at least twice) and with parents (at least once); a suggested college list is created with your college counselor following the first meeting

February 10: ACT date

February 16 - 19: School closed (good time for college visits)

March 10: SAT date

March 10 - March 19: Spring Break (suggested time for college visits)

March 30 - April 2: School closed (potential time for college visits, though some schools may be closed)

April 14: ACT date

April: AIMS College Fair

May 5: SAT date

June 2: SAT date (possible date for three Subject Tests, if applicable per counsel)

June 9: ACT date

June - August: Continue researching and visiting colleges

July 14: ACT date

August 25: SAT date


Standardized Testing



Juniors will take the PSAT on Wednesday, October 11. Gilman has already registered your son for the PSAT. Free test prep is available through Khan Academy; you can also take a practice test here. PSAT scores are not reported to colleges, are not placed on the transcript, and have no bearing on the admission process. The PSAT does, however, serve as the qualifying test for the highly selective National Merit Scholarship program. Test-takers scoring in the top half of the highest 1% in Maryland are likely to be recognized by the National Merit program. Hard copies of the test results are sent to Gilman in December, and we will mail those reports to you. Results will also be available through a College Board account your son will create.   

When Should I Take My First Test?

We recommend that juniors choose December for their first SAT and/or ACT.  As juniors prepare to take their first standardized test, we hope that they will not obsess anxiously over the test but will direct their attention and energy to other equally important tasks before them - to the things that really do count in admissions and in life. Thus, juniors should also seek out appropriate academic and personal challenges, work hard to achieve and learn, and invest themselves meaningfully in the community.

How Many Tests Should I Take?

We recommend most students sit for three of any one standardized test before early applications are due in November of their senior year. Juniors should take at least two standardized tests - the SAT and/or the ACT - by the end of the 11th grade. Most seniors will sit for at least one more test in the summer or fall of the 12th grade. Students should register themselves in advance of the deadline. Registration is done online at, for the SAT, and at, for the ACT. Colleges consider the highest scores posted, so there is no risk in sitting for multiple test. 

SAT or the ACT?

We suggest that most students try both the SAT and ACT at least once to see which they might do better on. All colleges will accept both the SAT and the ACT; they have no preference for which you send. Thus, we encourage students to try both tests to give themselves the best chance to post their highest possible score.


SAT Test Prep at Gilman

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 SAT and ACT 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 or visit their site at the link provided above. 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 financial aid information with their office.

SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams

SAT Subject Tests attempt to measure a student's accomplishment in particular subject areas. Students seeking admission to especially selective colleges should plan on taking three of these tests. We recommend that SAT Subject Tests be taken, if they are taken at all, on the May or June SAT dates. As the time approaches we will advise students and families regarding the appropriate SAT Subject Tests. Form Meeting announcements and future newsletters will provide more specific guidance as we near the spring. AP exams, given only in May, can play a similar role, though are not required in the admission process.  As the time approaches we will convey detailed advice about the AP exams.


Common Standardized Testing Timeline

Junior Year:

  • October 11: PSAT at Gilman
  • December: Take your first SAT and/or ACT
  • February - May: Take another SAT and/or ACT
  • May: AP Tests
  • June: Take SAT Subject Tests (if advised by your college counselor)

Senior Year:

  • July - October: Take final SAT and/or ACT


Academic Record

Although standardized tests provide important data to the colleges for evaluating potential for college level work, they are but one component of an admissions application. The quality of a student's academic record (both grades and the rigor of the curriculum) continues to be the primary factor in the admission process. Colleges typically take particular note of your junior year performance, so we encourage you to put in your very best effort towards your schoolwork this year.


Beyond Testing


Junior Class College Night

This year's junior program will be held on Tuesday, January 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium. Please mark your calendars and plan on attending this very important and informative event.

AIMS Financial Aid Night

Please mark your calendars: this year's financial aid night will be held on Thursday, September 27, at 6:30 p.m. at Maryvale Preparatory School. This comprehensive financial aid program is strongly recommended for those planning on applying for college financial aid.


Each member of the class needs to establish a Naviance account. We placed registration instructions in your mailboxes last year. Students can login to their Naviance accounts online here. Once we embark upon the college counseling process in the winter, the college counselors will ask the juniors to make further use of the Naviance system. Students in need of login information should see Ms. Sawyer in the College Counseling Office on the first floor of Carey Hall.


Visiting Admission Representatives

Each year, over 100 college admission representatives visit Gilman to discuss their institutions with interested students. These visits occur at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily throughout the fall, and juniors are welcome and encouraged to attend, as long as they are not missing academic obligations. An updated schedule for these meetings is posted on the CCO website, in the CCO, and on the US bulletin boards.


Form Meetings and Email

The college counselors will make extensive use of Form Meetings throughout the year in order to convey information about college admission, testing, and course selection. The CCO will also make extensive use of student email in order to communicate with the juniors. Juniors should check their school email account frequently or arrange for messages to be forwarded to the account they use most often. Many colleges also rely primarily on email to relay information to prospective students.


The CCO Website

Please visit the College Counseling Office page on the Gilman website. A significant amount of college preparation and planning information is located at this helpful site.


Contact the CCO

Sarah Ross

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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