Answers to questions frequently asked by students & parents.

What is our school code?


Do we rank our students?

We do not rank our students.

What does unweighted GPA mean?

It means that we do not take the difficulty of a course into account. For example, an “A” in an AP class is the same 4.0 as an “A” in a regular course. Colleges will look at our school in its context. They will see that we do not rank students, that our GPAs are unweighted, and that we offer few AP/Honors courses. Students will not be penalized for not taking courses that we do not offer as part of our curriculum. They will look, however, to see if the student has taken the most challenging courses available to them.

When do colleges begin visiting our school?

College visits have already begun. We have had four since last Friday. I write all visits on the whiteboard in the upstairs hallway, send a list to the seniors in weekly email reminders, announce them at the Monday meeting, post them in the weekly bulletin, and I have emailed seniors a Google spreadsheet with all the college rep visits for the month. They can sign up for each visit on that spreadsheet. If your senior does not know about this spreadsheet, please remind them that all college counseling correspondence is sent to their @sfwhs.org email accounts

Are there any college fairs in the area?

College fairs will be on the College Counseling Calendar. Please be sure to check the calendar frequently or link the RSS feed to your personal calendar so you never miss a college event!

Are there any scholarships my senior can apply for?

Please see the Scholarship section under Parent Resources for a list of scholarship resources. We host a financial aid night in October every year. A financial aid representative from a local college will be here to explain the process and answer any questions for you.

Be sure to check the calendar and read the weekly bulletin for information about these events.

Should my senior take a gap year?

Leading US colleges and universities are openly supporting a gap year for admitted freshman, recognizing that by taking a productive year off, students enter college with more maturity and self-confidence and better wisdom and experience to handle the upcoming challenges. Many universities now allow accepted students to defer entrance one year.

Students must make a formal request in writing after they have accepted admission. Students must ensure their request demonstrates a well-structured plan with an outline of the goals and benefits they hope to gain during their gap year. Students should discuss why they want to defer admission, what they hope to do during the semester or year off, and why they want to hold their place at the college. These requests are often granted, and students go on to do many exciting things.

How many schools should be on my senior’s list?

About 6-8. Think “balanced.” Two reach schools, two safety schools, and four match schools. And, remember, seniors should not apply to schools that they wouldn’t gladly attend if offered the choice.

How does the college interview work? Does the student need to set this up?

Not all schools do interviews. Seniors will learn from the admissions counselor at each institution if they will need to and how to set up an interview.

Do all parts of the application need to be submitted at the same time?

No, just be sure everything is submitted by the deadline.

Can we read the teacher/counselor letters of recommendation?

No. Students sign away their rights to read the letters when they sign the FERPA waiver.

Is is acceptable for parents to contact admissions representatives with questions?

I would advise you to have your senior contact the admissions rep directly.

What is the difference between Early Decisions 1 & 2, Restrictive Early Action, and Early Action?

Early Decision (ED), Early Decision II (ED II), Early Action (EA), Restrictive Early Action (REA). All of these are ways students can apply to a school before Regular Decision. But, it is easy to get lost in a sea of abbreviations, overlapping deadlines, and indecipherable admission statistics. So we’re going to go through and outline the differences between these programs, what they mean, and the various deadlines.

When you apply to a school Early Decision or Early Decision II, it is an essentially binding agreeing that if you are accepted you will attend the school. ED applications are due in early November and most schools will notify of their decision in Mid-December. ED II applications are due in early January and students are notified in February. While applying ED can improve your chances, students should carefully weigh the pros and cons of committing themselves to attend the school if admitted. Students who apply ED simply to increase their odds of getting in or to get the process over with may be disappointed in December or unhappy with the school they’ve locked themselves into. The bottom line is you can only apply to one ED school, and you can apply only to non-restrictive Early Action programs. If you are admitted, you are prohibited from applying to any schools Regular Decision.

There are two types of Early Action: non-restrictive and restrictive. Both Early Action applications are due in November and return decisions in mid-to-late December. Both forms are non-binding, meaning that if you’re admitted, you are under no obligation to attend. You may still apply to other schools regular decision and make your decision by May 1st. The difference lies in where else you can apply simultaneously. Non-restrictive Early Action is just that: non-restrictive. You may apply to other schools Early Decision or Early Action at the same time. Restrictive Early Action prohibits you from applying to any other private, domestic universities Early Decision or Early Action.