Counseling Corner College & Career edition

Upcoming Dates

RMACAC College Fair - September 11, 1:00-3:30PM - Juan Diego Catholic High School, Draper - Colleges from across the country will be represented.

Pre-Fair Workshops - September 11, 10:45AM-12:50PM - Open to students and families and will be led by experienced admissions professionals who will cover topics such as college essay writing tips, organizing the application process, building a balanced and affordable college list, COVID-19 impact on your application and much more.

NACAC Virtual College Fair - September 12, October 3, October 24, November 14 11:00AM-4:00PM - Colleges from across the country will be represented.

ACT - October 23; Registration Deadline is September 17. December 11; Registration Deadline is November 5. Help with registration is available on September 15 & 16 during both lunches in the Highland Library.

Resume & Cover Letter Workshop -September 25, 2:00-3:30PM @ SLCC's Community Writing Center - 210 East 400 South #8 - Cost: $10

Utah College Application Week - October 4th-8th - Students will receive help to complete college applications during school. Some colleges waive their application fee during this event.

FAFSA Completion Night - October 12, 5:00-7:00PM - Highland Library Families can have questions answered or receive help from trained professionals in filling out the FAFSA Application.

Senior Year Coursework

Graduation Progress - You must have 24 credits in specific areas in order to graduate. You can check which requirements you still need on PowerSchool using the 'Graduation Progress' tool in 'Historical Grades'. If you have questions see your counselor.

Credit Recovery - If you failed a class that is required for graduation, be sure to meet with your counselor to come up with a plan to make up that credit. Highland offers a few options for credit recovery. Start early to be sure to make it up in time for graduation!

Future Education and Career Goals - Addition coursework helps to ensure that you are college and/or career ready. Colleges often require or recommend additional coursework beyond what is required to graduate from high school. Completion of CTE courses and CTE Pathways can prepare you for a job or addition training in your field.

Required for High School; Recommended for College

  • Language Arts - 4.0 credits
  • Math - 3.0 credits; 4.0 credits
  • Science - 3.0 credits; Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Social Studies - 3.0 credits
  • Fine Arts - 1.5
  • Career & Technical Education - 1.0 credit
  • Computer Tech / Digital Studies - 0.5 credits
  • Financial Literacy - 0.5 credits
  • PE/Health - 2.0 credits (PE Skills, Fit for Life, Lifetime Activity)
  • Electives - 5.5 credits; 2 years of a World Language in a progressive manner

Career Ready = 3 credits in a Career Pathway

Honors Diploma Requirements:

  • 16 Honors courses taken and passed in 4 years of high school, 3 credits of which need to be AP or IB or Concurrent.
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • Must have taken and passed 2 consecutive years of a World Language. (Level III or higher World Language classes count as Honors.)

Career Pathway

The goal of high school is to prepare students for college and a career. A high school diploma is the first step, but that is just the beginning. The majority of careers now require more advanced education: a 1-year certificate, 2-year associates degree, 4-year bachelors degree or more (college = 1, 2, 4, or More). Every senior should be working to develop a College and Career Plan. This plan should include a career pathway, the education necessary, and coursework that will support those goals. Don't wait until you graduate. The path starts now. Work with your counselor and parents to develop a plan that's right for you.

Choosing a College

First and foremost, college choice should be based on career goals. Which career path you wish to pursue will dictate what education you need to attain. College = 1, 2, 4, or more. This means it can include a 1-year certificate, 2-year associates degree, 4-year bachelors degree, or more such as graduate school, law school, medical school etc. It's important to keep in mind that not every college will offer every major or degree program. The links below can help you to find a college program that is right for you. Not quite sure what you want to study in college? Keep in mind that larger universities will have more programs to offer.

College Fairs, Tours & Events

College Fairs are a great way to see what schools are out there and to talk to a representative.

Once you have a list of schools you are interested in, it's a good idea to take a tour or attend an event. Touring a college's campus and attending admission events allows you to get a sense of the school community to see if it's a good fit. Many schools have virtual tours available on their website or on youtube.

It is also possible for you to set up a more specific tour or meeting with someone from a program or department of interest. Not every program is the same from school to school. Knowing the pros and cons and what they have to offer can help to inform your decision to apply or attend.

Get Organized

Once you have found colleges with majors you are interested in, narrow them down to 4-10. You should have schools that fall into three categories: Safety Schools, Good Fit Schools, and Reach Schools.

Next, create a calendar of important deadlines. Deadlines to include are:

  • Application deadlines (Priority vs Final)
  • Scholarship deadlines (General and Department)
  • Financial Aid deadline
  • Audition/Portfolio deadline (if program requires)
  • NCAA deadlines and requirements

Application Process

Understanding what documents to submit for your college and scholarship applications is important to know well in advance. All colleges will require an application and official transcript. Colleges may require an ACT score. Some colleges are waiving it for admissions, but still requiring it for merit-based scholarships. Some colleges and scholarships will require additional materials.

Application documents may include:

  • Application - Each college will require an application; The length of the application can vary. Applications are available online on the college's website, allowing you to start, save and edit as necessary. Might as well start early! Some colleges use the Common Application, which allows you to apply to multiple schools at once.
  • Transcript - All colleges will want an OFFICIAL copy of your transcript. An official copy means it comes directly from the school. It is a good idea to review your "Historical Grades" on PowerSchool to make sure all grades are included and accurate. You can request an official copy from the the Registrar. Give at least a week for requests to be processed.
  • ACT/SAT Scores - While many schools are waiving this requirement for admissions. Some colleges are still requiring it to award scholarships. Some colleges will also use it for class placement. Most colleges want scores sent directly from ACT. Use the link below to make a request.

Additional Materials

Letters of Recommendation - Some schools and scholarships require letters of recommendation. Consider a counselor, teacher, coach, supervisor, etc who knows you and can speak to your strengths and character. It is also helpful to provide a resume to the person writing your letter in order to give additional information. You can use the following form. Please give at least 2 weeks notice. Remember - you are not the only one requesting a letter of recommendation.

Essay/Personal Statement - Some colleges, honors programs, or scholarships require an essay or personal statement. This is an opportunity to show the college something special about you and also demonstrate your writing skills. It is recommended that you take your time in developing this piece. Proper use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling are important. When possible, show with examples rather than just telling. Below are some tips and a resource for FREE writing coaching:

Audition/Portfolio/Interview - Some colleges or programs will require an audition, portfolio, or interview. Each program will have specific requirements that may differ greatly from one program to the next. It is very important to start preparing audition and portfolio pieces early. Contact the school or program to learn the details of what is required.


While many colleges are waiving test score requirements for admissions, a good test score will still improve your chances of admission, especially if your GPA is low. Furthermore, many merit-based scholarships and some college majors (i.e. Business or Engineering) will still require test scores. Locations in the Salt Lake Valley will offer the October 23 tests, the Registration Deadline is September 17. There will also be a December 11 test, the Registration Deadline is November 5. Accommodations can be requested for English language learners and students with a disability. Fee Waivers are available for those who qualify. For help registering, students can register with Emily Paul, our College Access Advisor, during lunch on September 15 & 16 in the HHS Library.

ACT Prep

Shmoop offers an online ACT prep program that is FREE to Utah students. This program includes tutorials targeted toward the specific needs of each student as assessed in an initial practice test. To create an account, click the link below. Magic Word: FLATTOP

There are classes in the community. Check out the link below.

Highland will offer a FREE ACT Prep class starting September 15. Space is limited! Students who scored less than a 20 on the ACT are strongly encouraged to sign up.

Paying for College

How to pay for college is on everyone's mind during this process. There are a lot of opportunities to decrease the cost of college. Paying attention to deadlines is very important in this process.

Financial Aid

FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Up to $6,345 is available in grants per student. While federal aid is based on need, many colleges require students to fill out the FAFSA in order to be eligible for other scholarships as well. The application opens October 1. It is only necessary to fill out the application one time in order to submit it for all schools, but the deadline varies by school; Some deadlines are as early as February so get it done early!

For students who qualify for any portion of the federal grant, the Utah Promise Scholarship can cover costs for tuition and fees for up to two years. This scholarship is offered at Utah's public colleges and universities, as well as Utah's public technical colleges. See individual college's website for more details.


Scholarships can come from a variety of places and can be awarded for a variety of reasons. Scholarships may be awarded for:

  • Academics/Merit Based
  • Talent
  • Service
  • Leadership

You can get scholarships from:

  • College/University in general
  • Specific Department at College/University
  • Community Organization

Here are some tips:

For help finding scholarships, contact the colleges and universities of interest. Scholarship bulletins, organized by month, are available on the Highland Counseling website (top of webpage).

Help is Available

Meet with your counselor:

  • Claudia Kassner, A-D - claudia.kassner@slcschools.org
  • Mary Akers, E-G and IB Students - mary.akers@slcschools.org
  • Mia Naddeo, H-Ma - mia.naddeo@slcschools.org
  • Sierra Collins, Mb-R - sierra.collins@slcschools.org
  • John Vallentine, S-Z - john.vallentine@slcschools.org

College Access Advisor - Emily.Paul @utah.edu

Scholarship Coordinator - TBD

Registrar/Transcripts - TBD


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