College Planning

Welcome to College Planning!

Welcome to College Planning with the Cardinal Gibbons High School! We start with students Freshman year through Senior year to guide them through making good choices throughout high school, and ultimately the college application process. If you have any questions please reach out to your college counselor!

College Planning by Year

Freshman

  • Strive for A/B’s in all of your courses so that your unweighted GPA is just as strong as your weighted GPA.
  • Get Involved! Explore various leadership, co-curricular, and spiritual opportunities offered at Gibbons. Also consider community based opportunities.
     
  • Discover Naviance, a database that allows you to explore colleges, careers and so much more! Students log-in into your Gibbons website and click on Naviance button to access your account. Parents contact your child’s College Counselor in order to gain access to Naviance. Once you have- log in to Naviance.
  • In mid-October, all freshmen will take the PSAT/NMSQT. Do not get overwhelmed by the scores- this is a practice opportunity for freshmen.
     
  • Meet with your College Counselor and do not be afraid to ask help with academic scheduling, study tips, college planning and/or if you need emotional support.
     
  • When selecting your sophomore courses challenge yourself by selecting courses that are rigorous but you will do well in.
  • Parents should attend one College Forum for Freshmen and Sophomore Parents sessions. Check the calendar for additional details.

Sophomore

  • Continue striving for A/B’s in all of your courses so that your unweighted GPA is just as strong as your weighted GPA.
  • Check-in with your College Counselor and don’t be afraid to ask for help with academic scheduling, study tips, college planning, or if you need emotional support.
     
  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in mid-October.
     
  • Explore Naviance to research colleges, take interest/learning inventories, and start building your on-line resume .
     
  • Parents should attend one College Forum for Freshmen and Sophomore Parents sessions. Review the calendar for additional details.
  • When selecting your junior year courses challenge yourself by selecting courses that are rigorous but you will do well in.
  • Traveling to another state? Drive/walk through a nearby college(s) to get familiar with different types of colleges/universities. Not planning to travel? Visit universities in North Carolina.

Junior

  • Get organized…your course load may include multiple honors or APs classes for the first time.
     
  • Get Connected! It is not too late. Explore all the different co-curricular, leadership, and spiritual opportunities available at Gibbons or research other community-based opportunities.
     
  • Parents and students should attend Junior Jumpstart in mid-September.
     
  • Begin to reflect about college. What are your must-haves and deal-breakers? Complete the Junior Reflection form on Naviance to help you explore what is important to you.
     
  • Attend college information sessions scheduled at Gibbons. You must sign up at least 2 days in advance using Naviance or see Ms. Edrington in the College Counseling office.
     
  • All juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT exam in mid-October.
     
  • Students register to take the ACT and/or SAT.
     
  • Schedule a second semester junior meeting with your College Counselor to discuss the college process.
     
  • Students and parents complete their brag sheet in Naviance. Students be sure to update your resume in Naviance.
     
  • Identify 1 or 2 teachers willing to write a college recommendation letter (if needed). When selecting your senior year courses challenge yourself by selecting courses that are rigorous but you will do well in.
     
  • Continue to visit campuses to help narrow down your list of potential schools.

Senior

  • Parents should attend a College Application Information session (see calendar for description, date and time).
  • Create a plan to manage your classes, extracurricular commitments and college applications.
  • Have a family conversation about how to pay for college.
  • Make sure you are aware of college application and financial aid deadlines and adhere to them.
  • Schedule to re-take the ACT or SAT (if necessary).
     
  • Submit your official test scores to each college/university. To send SAT scores, go to collegeboard.com and request ACT scores at actstudent.org.
  • Continue attending college representative information sessions at Gibbons. Remember you must sign up at least 2 days in advance using Naviance or see Ms. Edrington in the College Counseling office. 
  • If you still have not submitted your brag sheet, go to Naviance.
  • Follow-up with your teachers about your recommendation letter (if necessary).
     
  • Attend Financial Information Night for Senior Families. Review the calendar for details.
  • Research and apply for scholarships (do NOT wait until April).
     
  • Students celebrate Cupcake Day and share your college decision!
Resized version of the Class of 2018 College Counseling Poster

Forms and Financial Aid

College Counseling Forms

Need Based Financial Aid Information

  • Need-Based Financial Aid is awarded based on information from the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and, at some institutions, the CSS Profile.    
  • The FAFSA opens on October 1 each year and uses prior-prior year tax information.
  • Get free help from professionals at FAFSA Day in October.
  • Every college is required by law to have a Net Price Calculator on their website which estimates a family’s Expected Family Contribution, specific to that institution.
  • College Savings Plan contributions are considered as part of a family’s EFC.
  • First page of the PDF file: nacac_financial_aid_101_2017

    Merit Scholarships

  • Merit Scholarships vary based on institutional funds and priorities. While some universities consider every student for scholarships, other require additional information through a separate application process. A college’s website is the best place to find this information.
    • External/Community Scholarships, like the list on Naviance, are not tied to a specific university and can be used to pay for expenses wherever a student chooses to enroll.
    • Searchable scholarship databases:

    North Carolina Community Foundation currently administers nearly 150 scholarship funds for individuals, families, school systems and organizations in the counties we serve throughout North Carolina.

    Raise.me allows students earn scholarship money for achievements such as good grades, participating in clubs, playing on a sports team, volunteering, visiting a college campus, and more.

    www.CFNC.org

    www.fastweb.com

    www.scholarships.com

    www.goodcall.com/scholarships

    www.studentscholarshipsearch.com

    www.goingmerry.com

    www.raiseme.com

    College Counseling Team

    Cardinal Gibbons does offer one in school SAT open to Juniors during the spring semester. The dates listed above for the SAT and ACT are dates the tests are held, and are not at Cardinal Gibbons. If you have any questions please contact your college counselor. 

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