Sunday, January 26, 2014

Making the blog a little more searchable

With more feedback and consideration, it sounds like aside from the majority of visitors to view this blog from desktop to read the posts and the pages, there are two other groups to address:
First, those who view the blog from a mobile device, and seem to only see the Pages:
When this came to my attention, I started adding key blog post titles and links within the respective and pertinent pages so that mobile users would be able to click on the links and read the blog posts.
What I didn't consider was that some users indicate that they try using the SEARCH function to look for information, and cannot find what we all know to be in the Pages. Apparently, the Blogger system only allows the SEARCH function to look in posts, and not pages. 
So to help our searchers, below will be an enormous searchable post that contains all of the pages' current information, and you can navigate around from there:


Click to view the school profile that we send with transcripts.
Read where our recent grads have reported admissions.
Pikesville High School is located at 7621 Labyrinth Road, Baltimore, MD 21208.
Pikesville is a suburban town in Baltimore County that is adjacent to the Baltimore city/county line. In clockwise rotation, our residential footprint borders the following school zones: Dulaney High, Towson High, Baltimore City, Woodlawn High, Milford Mill High, Randallstown High, and Owings Mills High.
To see your zoned high school, consult
Who is my child's school counselor?
Last names A-F: Jeremy Goldman, NCC - 
  • Department Chairperson
  • AP Coordinator
  • SAT/PSAT Coordinator
  • Local Scholarship Coordinator
  • AVID Counselor
  • Blogger/@PHSCouns Tweeter (also #scchatmoderator)
  • MSCA President-Elect

Last names G-O: Erin Murphy, NCC -
  • Homeless Liaison
  • CPS Liaison
  • Project Lead-the-Way trained

Last names P-Z: Yolanda Price -
  • College Board SSD Coordinator
  • AVID Trained
  • INTERACT co-advisor 

Whom else can I contact?
Ms. Billingslea is the school counseling secretary. Call her at 410-887-1219 to help schedule appointments, manage transcript requests, and arrange enrollment.

Mrs. Pope is the records secretary. Call her at 410-887-1219 to arrange withdrawals and transfers, request records, and ask other records-related questions.

Our school psychologist is Dr. Karl Fleischer. He runs our Student Support Team.
Our school-to-career teacher is Mr. David Kreller.

To monitor your child's progress in school, or see other information about school, please use Edline. You will need to request a personalized access code from any of the clerical staff at school.

We also maintain an EDline Counseling department page with much of the same information.

School Counselors have many ethical and professional responsibilities. We also work to ensure that our students acquire many developmentally appropriate academic, career, and personal/social related skills.

We, along with the other school counselors in Baltimore County Public Schools, are currently working on aligning our programs with the ASCA National Model.

School Counseling Mission Statement
The mission of the Pikesville High School Counseling Department is to empower all students to independently make their own choices, using all available resources. The department recognizes the evolving nature of the global economic, political, and cultural systems, while honoring the history, background, and needs of our diverse local community. The Pikesville High School community values high academic achievement, and the School Counseling Department works to support our students’ academic goals by providing our community with all pertinent information to make informed choices. The Department works to support our students’ personal and social developmental needs by fostering a sense of interdependence and responsible choices. The Department works to support our students’ career development by introducing them to the decision-making process and the many post-secondary paths to achieve their long-term goals. The department values the use of technology to access the many resources at our students’ disposal, recognizing that our students are increasingly native to technology use.

Grade 9 information

Related blog posts:
Putting it Together
What is #PHSfit?
This Too Shall Pass
Anti-Bullying Day
What are You Doing This Summer?
The College Secret
Make a Strong Finish

Grade 10 information

Related blog posts:
College Pathways
Is My Score Good?
Putting it Together
College and Career Searching
This Too Shall Pass
What Are You Doing This Summer?
The College Secret
Make a Strong Finish

Tenth grade is the time to get a sense of what type of college a student finds most appealing. While it is very important to have several conversations with your school counselor in junior year about what colleges are good matches, those conversations are informed by a junior's awareness of his or her priorities. During sophomore year, visit a representative sample of the many options, that are only a short drive away:

University of Baltimore
Johns Hopkins U
Howard University
Temple University
Goucher College
Notre Dame U of Maryland
Morgan State University
University of Maryland
University of Delaware
Hood College
McDaniel College
U of Maryland Eastern Shore
Frostburg State U
Salisbury University
Penn State University

  • Now, you don't need to visit all of the colleges listed, or even one from each box. If you can see one small, one medium, and one large college, that also happen to be in an urban, suburban, and rural area, then you can rule-in or rule-out a particular group of colleges. At this stage of the game, the academic rigor or specific culture of a college is not necessarily relevant, although it is worthwhile to make mental notes of your impressions as you go, because you may need them later.
  • In order to come back as a junior next year, you will need to have earned at least nine credits, including English 9 AND Government, as well as either English 10 or World History.
  • Understanding PSAT results - also see Carolyn Lawrence's blog
  • Use this spreadsheet to anticipate your cumulative GPA and QPA.
  • From a college admissions perspective, your Grade Point Average is one-third established. Whatever you earn this year can help to mitigate any issues you had last year, with the expectation that next year's grades will be the best you earn in high school, while the whole time, increasing the level of academic rigor in your high school program.
  • Please understand that when we talk about increasing your rigor and adding Advanced Placement coursework in your junior and senior years, more is not necessarily better. Just because four teachers recommend you for AP coursework as a junior, that does not mean that it's really in your best interest to take four AP courses next year. Understand that each AP course carries with it tremendous responsibility and an enormous time commitment. Think about your many roles - sibling, child, employee, friend, athlete, leader, and, of course, student. But while academics is the most important aspect of your life right now, it is certainly not the only aspect of your life. Colleges look for "rigor." Internalize that message as striking a balance between your ability, your interest, and your overall life's priorities and obligations.
  • Register in March or April to take the SAT Subject Tests in Chemistry, World History if they are particular strengths of yours.
  • If you plan to be eligible for NCAA intercollegiate athletics, use thisspreadsheet to anticipate your core GPA. Also, make sure youchoose electives that meet NCAA criteria (school code 210176).

Grade 11 information

Related blog posts:
Is my score good?
Putting it Together
College and Career Searching
This Too Shall Pass
What Are You Doing This Summer?
The College Secret
Make a Strong Finish
  • Understanding PSAT results - also see Carolyn Lawrence's blog
  • Pikesville HS Library's SAT prep Livebinder site
  • Baltimore County Public Schools' school counselors collaborated to develop the Junior Jump Start college planning guide - use this for charting your course for the last two years of high school.
  • Use this spreadsheet to anticipate your cumulative GPA and QPA.
  • Your grade point average is already two-thirds set for college admissions, so understand that if your GPA is less than a 2.5 at this point, even straight A's this year will not bring your cumulative GPA over the 3.0 mark. However, smaller colleges will definitely notice if you've consistently and progressively improved your academic rigor and success since whatever transitional issues you had in freshman year. Just be sure to finish your high school program with a solid load of academic rigor, including Advanced Placement coursework.
  • Make sure you go on college visits this year, and register - don't just randomly stroll around. By registering for such a tour, you are showing "demonstrated interest," which could help you gain a potential edge in the admissions process.
  • In order to come back as a senior, you will need to be enrolled in every remaining credit that you need for a diploma, even if that means taking classes in evening school and/or Saturday school.
  • If you are (1) considering a college with elite-level prestige, (2) done taking your world language, and (3) were very successful in world language last year, register in September for the November SAT Subject Test in that language with listening.
  • If you plan to be eligible for NCAA intercollegiate athletics, use this spreadsheet to anticipate your core GPA. Also, make sure you choose electives that meet NCAA criteria (school code 210176).
  • Before you leave for summer vacation, make sure you ask 2-3 teachers to write letters of recommendation for you, so that they can focus on this before we all get inundated with the responsibilities of the school year in the fall.

Grade 12 information

Related blog posts:
This Too Shall Pass
The College Secret

Senior year can run smoothly if you stick to a plan. Here are suggested activities to complete as your senior year progresses:
If you are participating in a parallel enrollment program at a local college, verify that you are scheduled for your intended class(es) and that your tuition is fully paid.
When you get your schedule, verify that you are enrolled in the credits that are remaining for you to earn a high school diploma. You will not have the option of changing your mind about a level of a class or an elective, but if a required class is somehow missing, notify your school counselor immediately. Evening or Saturday School may be necessary.
Ensure that your college list is set to 4-8 schools, and start the applications. You can establish your account on August 1 and start working on the essays and other supplements. Also, make sure that you can log on to your College Board and ACT accounts, to authorize them to send your scores to your colleges by the application deadlines.
If that is part of your plan, register for the September ACT. The registration deadline is usually at the end of the second week of August.
Read through the college planning guide that was distributed in English 12 classes.
Continue working your college applications, including the essays. Schedule college visits for weekends and school days that are planned to be closed for students.
Polish your resume and make sure that you have two teachers willing to write recommendation letters for your application. For schools that you are applying to on Common App, provide the teachers' email addresses so that they can log on and upload their recommendation letters.
Request transcripts through the Naviance Family Connection, provide a parent's signature to authorize school to send your records, and pay the required processing fees. When you bring in these forms to the school counseling office,  you should also indicate whether or not you need your school counselor to write a letter of recommendation. Common App requires it. If you do, please provide the counselor recommendation form so that we can incorporate your perspective into the letter.
College Application red flags:
  • Lower-than-usual grades that aren't addressed in your statements.
  • NOT waiving your FERPA rights.
It is your responsibility to know your college application deadlines, and submit all of the necessary transcript and recommendation letter request forms about 3-4 weeks before your deadlines to ensure smooth processing.
The registration deadline for the October SAT is usually the second week of September, and the registration deadline for the October ACT is usually the last week of September.
This is the time to get your applications done, particularly if you have November and December deadlines. If you have not yet done so, request your transcript and recommendation letter with 3-4 weeks to spare before these deadlines.
Ensure that you have requested your SAT/ACT scores to be sent directly to your colleges. The deadline to register for the November SAT is usually the end of the first week of October.
Submit your college applications by the set deadlines, and ensure that you have paid the application fees, requested that College Board send your SAT scores and ACT send their scores, and requested your transcripts and teacher/counselor letters of recommendation, all by those deadlines.
Check your application status with the colleges about two weeks after you are sure everything was submitted, to verify their receipt. Admissions offices process hundreds to thousands of applications, each comprising of many documents. It sometimes takes several weeks to process all of these documents before a student's application is complete, and can then be evaluated.
In December, your family should request your FAFSA PIN to ensure smooth submission of your FAFSA. Because we don't get W-2's until the end of January, it is advised that you prepare to estimate your income based off of last year's 1040's and this year's year-end pay stubs.
As early as possible in January, submit your FAFSA. The earlier you complete and submit this, the more likely you will be to receive federal and state grants.
Review the admissions requirements for the colleges to which you are applying and note which schools require midyear transcripts. Follow our procedures for requesting midyear transcripts, which will not be available until you get your 2nd quarter report cards - regardless of when colleges say they want your midyear transcript.
If you have not yet done so, start applying for scholarships.
Ensure that you request your midyear transcript before our stated deadline (usually the Friday before 2nd quarter report cards are released).
Register for AP exams.
Apply for local scholarships by the stated deadline.
Now that local scholarships were due, you are advised to spend your time this month visiting your colleges one last time to make your decision, working on other scholarships, and studying for your AP exams.
If you end up not getting admitted to any of your colleges, see your school counselor for a list of colleges that  have late deadlines, or consider CCBC as a viable method for starting college at a very reasonable cost.
Take your AP exams, send your deposit to your colleges, and arrange for freshman placement testing.
Ensure that before you are done with AP testing, you indicate on your answer sheet what college you are going to in order to ensure that the college receives your scores in a timely fashion.
Contact your college's academic advisor to discuss first-semester courses. AP scores are available in July.

How to request your high school transcript:

  1. Return the transcript release form (available in the counseling office), signed by parent.
  2. Log onto your Naviance Family Connection account and add the transcript requests through "Colleges I'm applying to."
  3. Pay $2 per transcript (we will take care of the envelope and postage).
  4. If you need a letter of recommendation, be sure to complete the school counselor recommendation letter survey in the "about me" tab.
  5. Within ten days of the above four steps being complete, transcripts (and letter, if applicable) will be sent in the most efficent manner possible.

To request a letter of recommendation from your school counselor, complete page 20 of the College Admissions Process packet, along with a copy of your resume or activity list. The letter from your counselor should really not be a reiteration of your activities and transcript, but it often helps us to understand what else you do outside of school.
Please don't request changes to your schedule senior year
Applying for scholarships

Pikesville HS Library's SAT prep Livebinder site

Preparing your graduating senior for college

College Search Resources

You do not need to know what you want to be when you grow up in order to go to college.
  • Presentation with audio recorded at October 25, 2012 college workshop for parents.: 

  • When should I take the SAT and/or ACT?
    Who should take?
    College-bound seniors
    College-bound seniors
    College-bound seniors
    College-bound seniors
    Juniors who are done with world language may choose to take that Subject test with listening
    College-bound seniors
    College-bound seniors
    College-bound juniors
    College-bound juniors
    College-bound juniors
    College-bound juniors
    College-bound juniors
    Juniors in AP Bio, Physics, US History, Calc AB, Spanish may choose to take up to three of those subject tests
    College-bound juniors
    Freshmen still strong in Hebrew should take Hebrew Subject test
    Underclassmen in AP or GT Bio, Physics, Math, World History, or US History may choose to take up to three of those subject tests
    College-bound juniors
  • Pikesville HS Library's SAT prep Livebinder site
  • Pikesville HS Library's College Fit Livebinder site
  • Curious about what your PSAT score means?
  • Use College Navigator to generate a list that can be exported to MS Excel.
  • Search for colleges using Google Maps:
  • If you are interested in athletics, check out academic rankings of the colleges in the BCS top 25 or the NCAA Basketball tournament. TheDirector's Cup is a competition among colleges rewarding those with the most athletic tournament wins, and a college's rank therein would be a sure sign of campus's sports culture.
  • For those who value attending college where the Queer community is accepted and embraced, use the Campus Pride index.
  • NACAC's suggestions on how to take advantage of having a school counselor.
  • Do Colleges care about Gifted and Talented?
  • List of HBCU's and even an HBCU common app
  • List of colleges with a reputation for being supportive of students with Asperger's.
  • Rational perspective on elite colleges and college "fit", by ISCA and IACAC
  • Great advice from an admissions counselor from Lasell College.
  • If you can't find your major in Maryland, use your in-state tuition elsewhere with the Academic Common Market.
  • If you plan to transfer enrollment (or even just credits) from one Maryland college to another, you are strongly advised to consult with the ARTSYS, which allows you to see what credit you would be awarded for a course at your first institution.
  • Participate in online chats, watch on-demand videos, and even search for scholarships at CollegeWeekLive.
  • Dr. Nancy Berk's College Bound podcasts are available for download.
  • Some colleges also offer online matriculation. See Maryland's options.
  • Lots of higher education data is avaliable at 
  • Grades and tests scores aren't so hot? Some colleges see you as more than just a number. Watch this #AdmissionsLive video on noncognitive traits.
Questions to ask on a college visit

Questions to ask at a college fair:
  • Shake hands. Look the representative in the eye.
  • Do you use SAT and the ACT in your admissions decisions? Is there a preference?
  • Do you require or recommend SAT subject tests? Which ones?
  • What grade point average range do you typically admit? How much emphasis do you place on academic rigor, like honors and AP courses?
  • What types of merit and/or need based scholarship programs are available?
  • What resources are available when students need academic assistance? 
  • Do you guarantee on-campus housing for freshmen? How likely is it for a student to be in “temporary housing?”
  • How large are your typical freshman-level classes, like Introductory Chemistry/Biology, English Composition, and Accounting?
  • What opportunities do students have to participate in recreational sports?
  • What type of class schedule do you look for in an applicant's senior year? is THE place to go for everything you need to know about life after high school. Plus, you can win up to $10,000 by entering the Win Free Tuition contest! Check it out.

Planning your college visit schedule

Alphabet soup - what are all these different degrees?

Formal Degree Name
Community College, two-year degrees
Associate of Applied Science
2-year, technical focus
Associate of Arts
2-year, with plans to focus on an artistic bachelor degree
Associate of Science
2-year, with plans to transfer to a scientific bachelor degree
Four-year degrees, either start at college or transfer from community college
Bachelor of Science
4-year scientific focus
Bachelor of Arts
4-year artistic focus
Bachelor of Fine Arts
4-year in performing or visual arts
Bachelor of Social Work
4-year social work training
Graduate degrees that require at least a four year degree for admission
Master of Social Work
1-2 year advanced training in social work
Master of Science
1-3 year advanced training in a science
Master of Arts
1-3 year advanced study in an art
Master of Education
1-3 year advanced training in education
Master of Business Administration
2-3 year advanced training in business administration
Master of Fine Arts
2-3 year advanced training in performing or visual arts
Juris Doctor
3 year degree in law
Medical Doctor
4 year degree in medicine
Doctor of Osteopathy
4 year degree in osteopathic medicine
Doctor of Psychology
4-7 year degree in clinical psychology
Doctor of Education
3-6 year degree in education
Doctor of Philosophy
3-8 year degree in advanced study of a chosen field, usually to prepare to teach at the university level

    In addition to following college admissions offices on twitter, learn what not to do by following AdmissionsProblems on twitter or facebook. Also, participate in tweetchats: #campuschat (First Wed of each month at 9pm), #collegebound uschat
      Recommended Reading
      The College Solution by Lynn O'Shaughnessy
      College Bound and Gagged by Nancy Berk
      Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope
      Acceptance by David Marcus
      Crazy U by Andrew Ferguson
      Gatekeepers by Jacques Steinberg
      Making it into a Top College by Howard Greene

      Tips for writing essays:
      The College Board and its Big Future
      U of Michigan
      U of Chicago

      Personal/Social Development

      Related blog posts:
      Be SMART in 2013
      What is #PHSfit?
      This Too Shall Pass
      Anti-Bullying Day

      Career Development

      Related blog posts:

      You do not need to know what you want to be when you grow up in order to go to college.
      When conducting career assessments, the important thing to keep in mind is that nobody is telling you what you "should" be. Ponder the results, take into consideration what themes you find in the results, and look into ways to meet your personal values and priorities in career areas that interest you.

      The Heart of the Matter from americanacad on Vimeo.

      Academic Support

      Related blog posts:
      Task-oriented or Time-Oriented
      Putting it Together
      Be SMART in 2013
      What is #PHSfit?
      This Too Shall Pass
      Making Plans for Next Year
      Make a Strong Finish

      Directions for registering for 2014-15 courses are found at

      Find the right AP course(s) for you, straight from this year's teachers and students, thanks to the #PHSfit Virtual AP Fair YouTube Playlist, viaPHSLibrary:

      • The College Board has launched and AP site and twitter feed just for students.
      • Please use Edline to monitor academic progress on an ongoing basis.
      • Do Colleges care about Gifted and Talented?
      • BCPS Graduation requirements and course registration guide
      • Teachers are available at least once a week for "coach class" tutoring sessions, and students are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity - not just on an as-needed basis, but as a regular check-in to ensure accurate understanding of course material.
      • How not to be a helicopter parent.
      • Students can sign up in Room 200 for peer tutors who are available twice a week after school, as well as on as for ongoing support.
      • Use your planner to stay current on when assignments are due and when planned tests are scheduled. This will help structure your study plan.
      • Being time-oriented instead of task-oriented sometimes helps students to stay focused on a particular course for a set period of time, even after the daily assigned homework is complete. If there are twenty minutes remaining in your planned time for that course, you can rewrite and review your notes, review old notes, and pre-read for upcoming lessons.
      • BCPS Learning Styles Inventory
      • One of our members of the Class of 2014 developed a site to help you predict your GPA. Click here to use his site.
      • Plan for your final grades, and predict your GPA at the end of 9th grade.
      • Use this spreadsheet to anticipate your cumulative GPA and QPA.
      • Online tutoring resources at Khan Academy
      • - Finding balance in your student's course selections. 
      • This Washington Post article may surprise you about what you thought you knew about studying.

      Paying for College Resources

      Check regularly to monitor the list of scholarships that we update as soon as we hear about new sources of cash!

      MHEC Money for College (from December 2013) - this link will take you to the PikesvilleHSLibrary's Youtube page.

      Before January, each senior and one of his or her parents should request their FAFSA pin at

      As early as possible in January, seniors will need to complete their FAFSA. It is advisable to estimate your 2012 earnings based on your last pay stub of 2012 and/or your 1040 from 2011, rather than waiting until you get W-2s at the end of January. Ultimately, the deadline to receive Maryland-related grants is March 1.

      If you need assistance completing your FAFSA, attend one of the College Goal Sunday Events. Loyola University Maryland is likely the most convenient for Pikesville HS families.
      Access web-based resources related to, and eventually watch online, MPT's "You Can Afford College" program.
      Many private colleges accept or require the CSS Profile. This application is in addition to, and more thorough than, the FAFSA. Please adhere to your colleges' individual deadlines for completing the CSS Profile.

      CollegeWeekLive's Paying for College Event January 10
      How to tell if a scholarship is a scam - from FastWeb. Also, search for scholarship opportunities at and
      Also, sign up for notifications from

      Use CCBC’s financial aid video feed at

      Congressman Cummings’s “How to Pay for College" event

      Keith Maderer's articles about FAFSA tipsScholarships, and last-minute saving for college.

      Ten Tips for Scholarship Seekers
      How much does your college really cost?

      Professional Resources

      Below are links to resources to be shared with professionals with an interest in school counseling:

      School Counseling on Air YouTube Channel - videos by school counselors, for school counselors
      The Digital Counselor - Presentation to BCPS School Counselors as part of 2013 Summer Academy

      Critical for a quality letter of recommendation are: 1. Personify the individual whose transcript, resume, and test scores are being evaluated. 2. Tell anecdotes to give the admissions counselor a story to tell in committee. 3. Don't waste time and space rehashing the resume. 4. Explain unusual circumstances that led to aberrations on the transcript, including a top student's inability to take a highly desired class, due to a conflict in the master schedule, or family/personal interference. 5. Whenever possible, paint a picture of context, so that colleges and scholarship organizations know what it means to do what the applicant/student did amid the culture of the school and its community.

      A School Counselor's Reading List
      Acceptance by David Marcus
      My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
      The Primal Teen by Barbara Strauch
      It Gets Better, edited by Dan Savage
      The Gatekeepers by Jacques Steinberg
      The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons
      The Over Achievers by Alexandra Robbins
      Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher
      Real Boys by William Pollack
      Do What You Are by Barbara Barron-Tieger