Counseling office staff misses deadline

June 4, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 7 months ago

Juniors not informed of College Reporting Service opportunity

The counseling office did not promptly send letters to juniors who received a high-index score on the PSAT/NMSQT, failing to inform them of the possibility of returning a questionnaire to the College Reporting Service before the deadline. The questionnaires were due on May 17; however, the guidance office did not send the letters until after that date had passed.

Students with a selection index on the PSAT/NMSQT of 201 were eligible to submit answers to a questionnaire for the College Reporting Service. They were required to answer questions about career choices, coursework, GPA and possible majors in college, among others.

During the weeks preceding the application deadline, the counseling office was busy making preparations for AP testing and overlooked the due date of the letter, according to Karen Hunt, Director of School Counseling Services.

Hunt contacted the director of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Katherine Machery, who assured Blair counselors that students could continue to send in faxed copies of materials until June 1. Students and parents were informed of the mistake by way of the magnet E-list and the parent listserv.

The College Reporting Service is not a scholarship opportunity and does not give students special recognition; it is a marketing technique used by colleges to identify potential students. According to Hunt, students with a high selection index will receive attention from colleges regardless of answering the questionnaire. "It's not going to hurt the students' chances at being noticed by colleges," said Hunt.

Hunt suggested that the problem could have been more easily resolved if Blair had a mass e-mail list for students in all grades. "Counselors and career coordinators could send messages directly to [the affected] juniors. They wouldn't have to worry about [their] parents checking their e-mail," she said.

For more information on the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, click here.

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Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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