College Counseling

Pleasant View’s rigorous curriculum and many extracurricular opportunities support and promote the “education of the mind, soul and spirit” of each individual student and prepare them to continue their academic growth at the college level.

Faculty and advisors work closely with each student to guide them through the college search and application process. We want students to:

  • Understand their interests
  • Be empowered to make confident and constructive decisions about their academic and personal goals
  • Present themselves honestly and confidently to college admissions offices

Although our ultimate objective is to help students achieve admission to institutions of higher education, self-development and self-awareness are also important outcomes of the process.

The goal in starting in ninth grade is for students to adjust to the rigors of high school, learn more about themselves, and become involved in the life of Pleasant View School and the wider world around them.

Though this list may not sound like preparation for applying to college, students develop the skills and goals that set the stage for a successful high school career and a smooth college application process. The objectives listed below reflect Pleasant View’s mission and school philosophy.

  • Learn time management skills. Learn to balance academic demands, social interests, and extracurricular passions.
  • Get involved! Explore the extracurricular life of Pleasant View School. Try out for sports teams, join a club to explore your interests or hobbies, write forour publications, paint.
  • Play a sport or exercise regularly.
  • Expand your friendship circle. Reach out to new students.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to meet with your teachers outside of class when you have questions or want to explore a topic further.
  • Get to know at least one adult (advisor, coach, teacher) in the community well to help you navigate high school.
  • Make time to read for pleasure. Read a novel. Read the newspaper.
  • Explore Memphis. Bike the Shelby Farms Greenline. Visit the National Civil Rights Museum
  • Work hard in school.
  • Be kind and respectful to your parents and siblings.
  • Do community service. Make a plan to fulfill the community service requirement.
  • Select your academic courses for 10th grade with the help of your advisor. You should seek appropriate challenges and balance. You need to enjoy your classes and do well, and still have time for other aspects of life.
  • Plan ahead for standardized testing.
  • Take the SAT subject test in Biology – if appropriate. Speak to your biology teacher.
  • During the summer or as a sidelight on a family trip, swing by a college campus or two to begin to get a feeling for the types of schools that you find appealing – large, small, urban, rural, strong campus feeling, etc.
  • Use your summer to continue to expand your horizons. Find a job, take a class, continue with your art or music, attend sports camp, volunteer.

In the sophomore year students should continue to take advantage of the opportunities that Pleasant School presents. Strong academic and extracurricular involvement continues to be the keys to thriving in high school and beyond.

The college process gently begins when the sophomores take the PSAT for practice in the fall of the sophomore year. This marks the beginning of taking the standardized tests. Although the scores from the PSATs are NOT used for admissions, scores do help students begin to gauge testing strengths and weaknesses.

As students head into the junior year, they should continue to strive for balance in their academic, extracurricular, social and family lives. Eating well and getting enough sleep are also very important.

  • Keep goals from the freshman year!
  • Develop a passion.
  • Get and stay involved – drama, music, sports, art, service, etc. You still have time to explore new activities.
  • Stay balanced. Don’t feel that you must do it all; do what you do well.
  • Work hard in school.
  • Be kind and respectful to your parents and siblings.
  • Take the PSAT in October. Prepare by closely reading the practice materials distributed by Pleasant View and by taking and scoring the sample test. If you have questions about some of your errors, speak to your math or English teacher.
    Review your scores from the PSAT when you receive them in December. If your selection index is over 200, you might consider preparing for the exam in 11th grade as you could qualify for the National Merit program. Discuss this with one of the college counselors.
  • Give back to your community. Feel free to go beyond the service requirement!
  • Select your academic courses for 11th grade with the help of your advisor. You should seek appropriate challenges and balance. You need to enjoy your classes, do well in your classes and have time for other aspects of life. The college counselors, grade deans and advisors are in close contact regarding course selection as well.
  • Begin reading college guide books.
  • Consider taking an SAT subject test (in math, foreign language, chemistry) at the end of the year – but only if appropriate; speak with your teachers and college counselors for guidance.
  • Visit college campuses, if time permits. You are still in the early research phase of choosing what types of schools you prefer.
  • Again, use your summer to continue to expand your horizons. Find a job, take a class, continue with your art or music, attend sports camp, do a language immersion program, find and internship, volunteer.

College Admission Options

Types of Application Options Offered by U.S. Colleges and Universities.

Regular Admission:

These colleges have a firm application deadline and notify the applicant of her admissions decision in late March/early April. Admissions decisions fall into three responses: admit, deny, or wait list. This acceptance decision is NON-binding – the student may choose whether or not to attend. Admitted applicants have until May 1st to decide whether they will submit an enrollment deposit.

Rolling Admission:

These colleges accept and reject applicants until their freshman classes are full. They usually publish a final deadline by which all applications are due, or they may have a priority deadline for scholarship consideration. It is best to apply to universities with rolling decision fairly early, as they may deny competitive applicants who apply late in the admissions cycle. Admitted applicants have until May 1st to decide whether they will enroll. This acceptance decision is NON-binding.

Priority Deadline:

Many state universities have established a priority deadline in October or November, and students whose applications are received by that date are considered for admission as a group. Decisions of admit, deny or defer and usually released in December or January. Students applying after the priority deadline may have diminished chances of admission if many spaces in the freshman class have already been filled.

Early Action:

These colleges typically require application by early November to mid-December with an admit, deny, or defer response by late December, January or February. Admitted applicants have until May 1st to decide on enrollment. This acceptance decision is NON-binding.

Early Action Single Choice:

A few colleges have chosen to restrict their early action applicants from concurrently applying to any other college’s early action or early decision program. This program is NON-binding. Students admitted under Single Choice Early could still apply under the Regular Decision plan to other colleges.

Early Decision I:

These colleges typically require application in early November, with notification of the admissions decision by the end of December. The decision may be to admit, defer, or deny. In exchange for being considered early, the student agrees to withdraw all other college applications and commit to attend that college if admitted at early decision. This decision is BINDING*.

Early Decision II:

A relatively new option, these college typically require application in December or January and notify students of their decision in February or March. At this point, the student is usually admitted or denied. Upon acceptance, a student needs to withdraw all other college applications as this decision is BINDING*.

*BINDING means a student makes a commitment to go to the college if they accept her. Applications to all other colleges MUST be withdrawn.

The enrollment deposit deadline of May 1 is shared by U.S. colleges and universities. Students may only deposit at one institution, and violation of this policy can result in both institutions withdrawing their offers of admission. “Double-depositing” is also a violation of the Principles of Good Practice of the National Association of College Counseling and therefore can not be supported by the school.

Paying for College

No matter what your financial resources, do not allow the cost of a college education to cut short your student’s educational plans. Financial aid to attend college is available from a variety of sources – grant aid (institutional and/or outside scholarships) and self-help (loans and work-study funds). Once you submit information about your family’s financial status, college and university financial aid administrators will take many factors into consideration to prepare a financial aid package for your child.

Although some of the college price tags can be quite daunting — many colleges are more affordable than one might think. Recent information sent by various institutions indicates that even families with substantial incomes may qualify. After financial aid or merit scholarships are taken into consideration, the net price the average undergraduate pays for a college education is significantly lower than the published tuition and fees.

Talk with your college counselor about information sources in the College Resource Room or public library. Many websites will assist you in locating relevant information about the different types of financial aid, including state and private sources, and what colleges may offer. We hope this information will be helpful as you begin your college search. For more information, contact the web site of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).


Library College Resources

  • Guidebooks on both need-based and merit-based scholarship materials offered by colleges or other private and public sponsors

Financial Aid Workshop for Senior Parents

  • Held in January to assist with the completion of the FAFSA application- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is available online after January 1 of senior year and is required for ALL need-based aid.

CSS (College Scholarship Service) PROFILE

  • This financial aid form is available online beginning October 1 of senior year and is required in addition to the FAFSA at many private colleges and by some scholarship organizations.


Frequently Requested Telephone Numbers

  • General information about the Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs, assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): 1.800.433.3243
  • To check on the processing of your FAFSA or request a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR): 1.319.337.5665
  • TDD number for hearing-impaired individuals to call with any federal student aid questions: 1.800.730.8913
  • To order FAFSA Express on diskette: 1.800.801.0576
  • To report fraud, waste, or abuse involving federal student aid funds: 1.800.647.8733
  • FAFSA on the Web (general information and technical assistance): 1.800.801.0576

Ten Strategies for Parents

Help Your Child Find a Good College Match

1. Emphasize inherent value of college education versus prestige value of particular colleges.

2. Be open from the start regarding your expectations, biases, and geographic or financial restrictions.

3. Seek balance between under-involvement and over-involvement as parent. Your role is supportive; child’s role is central.

4. Assist your child with a preliminary investigation of colleges and admissions requirements; they will focus attention during spring of junior year and narrow a list of colleges during the summer of eleventh grade and fall of twelfth grade.

5. Provide a role model of open-mindedness, curiosity and discovery throughout the college search process. (Thoughtful questions vs. quick answers and assumptions).

6. Encourage your child’s self-appraisal (interests, abilities, social needs, values) as the key to finding a good fit. (Larger school or smaller; more urban or more rural; spirited or quieter; more intellectual or social; more liberal or conservative; etc.).7. Discuss your child’s course selection, standardized test results, and initial college interests with her college counselor. Then encourage your daughter to work closely with the college counselor throughout the process, informing her of any changing needs or concerns.

8. Be sure your child visits campuses – if possible while colleges are in session and before applying. Spring vacation of junior year is a great time. Summer visits can be good for interviews.

9. Try to reduce pressure about college admission rather than add to it. Do not make college choice the daily dinner topic.10. Remember that highly selective colleges look for:

  • Rigorous curriculum in secondary school
  • Strong motivation and performance (grades, class standing, teacher recommendations)
  • Test scores “in range” of their enrolled students
  • Special talents, service to others, personal qualities, potential for growth.

Candidates will be compared within the applicant pool and the number admitted will depend on the ratio of applicants to spaces in the freshman class, even if most candidates are “qualified.”

Each student is encouraged to pursue admission to a college that provides an appropriate match for their unique intellectual abilities, passions, talents, and personal values.

Throughout the high school sequence, students are guided by academic deans and advisors to maximize their learning experience and pursue choices that match their interests and abilities.

A college counseling curriculum aimed at developing self-awareness, maximizing academic and leadership opportunities, and exploring college options takes place in group meetings during freshman and sophomore years.

During junior year our efforts become more focused on the skills that students will need to create a resume, fill out applications, and undertake research to identify colleges of possible interest. Each student and their parents meet with a college counselor to initiate an examination of the family’s priorities, and with help from the counseling staff, students will explore specific colleges and universities that may be a good match for them.

As part of an ongoing series, we sponsor speakers and workshops on aspects of the college application process such as planning campus visits, interviewing skills, essay writing, and financial aid, to be attended by students, parents, or both.