Exploring Colleges

During junior and senior year, school counselors meet with every student, individually, to discuss postsecondary plans, whether college or another path. Parents and guardians are welcome to contact the student’s counselor as well.

Naviance is one of the most helpful online tools for Weston High School students. Guidance provides this tool to students for career and college exploration, access to documents needed for Career and Guidance Seminars, scholarships, and other useful information. Students create their own space in Naviance, allowing them to save colleges they are thinking about, create activity lists, and help assess where they fall in relation to other Weston students’ applications to specific colleges.

Big Future by The College Board is a site to help you find a  college, pay for college and make a plan.

Go Higher is the Massachusetts Department of Education’s home for exploring community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses.

There are other numerous websites to help in the college search. Click here for a valuable online resource for the college search process including: testing info, college search tools, college fair information,application tools and more.

Finally, there are wonderful books in the Guidance office that students can peruse, including colleges for specific majors, colleges with programs for students with special needs or interests, etc.

The College Database is an Excel spreadsheet that details the college acceptance experience of Weston High School graduates.  Students cam download the spreadsheet and manipulate and analyze the data to determine what schools are best suited to them. Click here to download the latest spreadsheet.

Visits by College Representatives

Many colleges and universities send representatives from their Admissions offices to high schools.  They provide a convenient way for students to learn about the institutions and application process. Students with frees or at lunch may attend any session. If the session occurs during a class, students must seek permission from their teachers at least one day in advance. (Please note that the teacher has the right to say no.) A comprehensive list of college visits can be found in Naviance. Click on the college name for details and to sign up online.

GPAs & Transcripts

GPA (Grade Point Average)

Weston High School calculates a weighted academic GPA and an overall unweighted GPA. Both are on a 4.0 scale (even though a weighted GPA may be greater than 4.0) and, beginning with the class of 2017, both are reported on the transcript.

The weighted GPA includes only academic subjects worth 2.5 or 5.0 credits (as well as AP Music Theory) taken at Weston High School and includes a numerical “bump” for honors and AP courses. The unweighted GPA includes all courses, but all are calculated as if CP (no additional weight). However, courses graded on a pass/fail basis are not included in GPA calculation. Students attending Weston High for at least four semesters have their GPAs computed five times: at the end of the sophomore and junior years; at the mid-point of junior and senior years averaging in the first semester; and a final GPA upon graduation.

GPA is reported to present a complete picture of each student highlighting their strengths and allowing colleges to see them in the context of their class.  Please note that most colleges recalculate GPA for admissions purposes based on their own institutional criteria.

See the Program of Studies for grade values used to calculate GPAs.

Transcripts

Weston High School transcripts show only final grades for prior academic years and quarter/semester grades, as available, for the current academic year. It includes the GPAs, cumulative credits earned and attendance by year. As indicated above, only students who have completed four semesters at Weston High School will receive GPAs. Official transcripts are sent directly to another institution. Students needing a transcript for colleges, coaches, or others may receive an unofficial transcript. Please contact Chris Wadsworth to request an unofficial transcript.

Applying to College – Nuts & Bolts

The Application Checklist is a useful form for students to manage the application process. There are several key forms used by Guidance as part of the application process:

  • Transcript Request Form documents the colleges to which you are applying, the application types, the deadlines and the status of the materials being sent by Guidance. Student and parent signatures on the form authorize us to release the transcript and other pertinent records. Once the initial form is started, additional schools are added to the same document. This form may also be used to send official records to other programs. Please see Chris Wadsworth in the Guidance Office to get your personalized Transcript Request Form, as your transcript is printed on the back.
  • Guidance Letter Options Form indicates your preference for the confidentiality of the Guidance Letter.
  • Support Services Release  allows counselors to discuss a student’s use of special education or a 504 Plan in ways that help to provide a more comprehensive portrait of the student’s achievements.
  • The Transcript Addendum is used by students to provide detail to colleges about independent studies, college courses, or other academic programs not provided on the transcript.
  • Teacher Letters of Recommendations are managed by students. This information sheet provides guidelines for students and a form which is used by teachers.

Applications & Decisions

Types of Applications

  • Regular Decision — Students apply by a specific deadline (usually in January-February) and colleges notify all students after reviewing the pool of applicants (usually in March-April)
  • Early Decision (ED) — Students apply in the fall (usually November) or in a second round, if available in January, and commit to a binding agreement that if accepted, they will attend and withdraw all other applications. Colleges notify students in a shorter period of time (December for the fall applications).
  • Early Action (EA) — Students apply in the early fall (usually October-November) and colleges notify students in late fall. Unlike ED, students are able to apply to other colleges and do not need to commit to attend until May 1st.
  • Restricted Early Action/Early Action Single Choice — Students apply in the fall (usually November) and the application is not binding. However, the college or university places restrictions on the students’ other applications, not allowing students to apply ED to another school and sometimes to early action programs other than their state university. It is important to check the colleges’ websites for specific limitations.
  • Priority/Early Evaluation — Students are invited to apply prior to the regular decision deadline and usually receive notification in December/January.
  • Rolling Admission — Generally used by large public universities, students apply anytime in the application period, which can extend well into the spring. Each applicant is evaluated on an individual basis. Because the class fills over time, it benefits students to apply early in the year.
  • Open Admission — Typically used by community colleges, nearly all high school applicants are accepted. Students may enroll in any term during the year.

College Decisions

  • When you’re accepted — If you were accepted under an Early Decision program, you must withdraw all of your other applications in writing. For all other application types, you have until May 1 (a universal date) to accept your admission. Usually this requires a deposit.
  • What it means to be “deferred” — If you have applied under the Early Action or the Early Decision plan and were deferred, this means that you have been pushed back into the regular pool.  If you applied Rolling admission, the college/university would like to have more information in order to make a decision. In almost every case, a college or university would like to see more grades from your senior year.
  • What it means to be “waitlisted” — Being on a waitlist means that the college/university has finished reviewing your file and made a decision to put you on a waiting list for admission.
  • What it means to be “denied” — If you have applied under the Early Action or the Early Decision plan and were denied, the college/university has made a final decision. You cannot reapply under Regular decision. Try not to take it personally or feel rejected; instead feel proud of your effort and know that colleges also look to fit their priorities. There are 4,000 colleges and universities in the country and MANY will be great for you.