November 20th Raptor Events


College Counseling

Thank you, Juniors and Families of Juniors, for your great attendance at the Junior College Counseling Program! What a fantastic turnout!

For those of you who could not make it, here is the presentation shared during the event. It is obviously a rough outline of the topics discussed. For the next few weeks, I will tackle each subject in the report.  This week, we will start with the college search process.

There are several resources available to help students explore the thousands of colleges across the country (and abroad).  I recommend using search engines such as the College Board’s Bright Future tool.  If you prefer something hard-copy, I have plenty of resources in my office that I am happy to loan out. I like the Fiske Guide best, but there are a lot of other great books out there.  I will be introducing the Naviance software system to the junior class in the next month or so and that will be another great resource for students.  Finally, it is helpful to take advantage of the college campuses in our area. When you have free time, schedule an official tour or three at the schools nearby. It is helpful to become familiar with the vocabulary of the college application process, and taking official tours and listening to information sessions.

While it is obvious to think about academic programs/majors when considering a college search, other criteria are equally important. Students should think about factors such as size, location, and special programs (i.e. study abroad, internships).  It is definitely ok for students to be completely unsure about what they want to study in college and instead think about the academic climate that best fits their learning style.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to schedule an individual meeting so we can further discuss the college search process. Thanks!

June 5th Raptor Events

College Counseling News

Congrats Class of 2017!

The end of the school year is here. It is time to wish our graduating class well and send them off to the next chapter in their lives. In this final blog post of the 2016-17 school year, I’d like to wish everyone a happy summer! Before you know it, the Class of 2018 will be starting the first day of their last year of high school. :)

Again, here is the list of colleges acceptances for the Class of 2017.

May 30th Raptor Events

College Counseling News

2017

I once worked at a job where our boss talked constantly about measuring our success. We were always trying to figure out better ways to assess how we were doing. During a staff meeting, we talked about how we could improve and we were never content to simply rest on our laurels. We talk a lot about how we can make RTHS a better place. We look for ways to understand if what we are doing is working. I think that is really healthy and will help us grow as a school and community. Personally, I have goals for myself each year, and I create a professional development plan to grow as a college counselor. I know that I have room for improvement (a lot of room) and I hope each year I get better and better at meeting the needs of our students. As this year wraps up, however, I simply want to enjoy the success of our seniors (and treasure their hugs) and know that to some extent, their success is a part of my success.

On Thursday, we held a senior celebration during seminar to recognize outstanding accomplishments of the Class of 2017. Each department awarded special achievement certificates to students who demonstrated particular strengths in those disciplines. Every faculty member mentioned how difficult it was to select only one or two students to recognize. The depth of talent in this class is impressive. At some schools, award ceremonies tend to celebrate the achievements of the same small handful of students and on Thursday, our faculty recognized 13 different students. The depth of talent is reflected in the diverse places these students are headed to after graduation. While many are choosing to enroll in one of the strong institutions in North Carolina, several of our seniors will be venturing to places as far away as Idaho, New York, and New Hampshire (the full list of colleges to which our students are enrolling can be found here). Our college map is filled with pins of the 32 different colleges to which our students are enrolling, and yet it seems like just yesterday it was August of 2016 and I was meeting students from the Class of 2017 in Gallery 2 for the first time on a hot summer day. At least twenty students had gathered on a non-school day (this was at least two weeks before school started) to get started on their college applications. As a group, we talked about the Common Application, discussed essay topic ideas, and learned how to report a weighted GPA. I started to really get to know them then. I watched how they interacted with each other and admired their ability to help each other and share their knowledge. Early on I could tell they were a tight-knit group. It was obvious they knew each other well and knew how to support one another.

So when I think about this class as a whole, what I am most proud of is their ability to cheer for each other. During the senior celebration ceremony, you could see the pride on their faces when one of their friends was called out for special attention. They are truly happy for each other and know how to celebrate the successes of each other. That is a really mature skill. They’ve displayed that level of maturity throughout the year, too. The college application process can be stressful. It is certainly filled with drama. The highs are high and the lows can be especially low. But this class handled the anxiety and pressure that comes with applying to college with grace and dignity. I’m excited to continue celebrating them as they transition to alumni of RTHS.

May 22nd Raptor Events

College Counseling News

We’re Number Two!

I’m a big fan of The Godfather trilogy. I first read the books in my early twenties and then watched all three movies within a forty-eight hour time span. I was binge watching before binge watching was even a thing. I’m not sure what initially drew me to the stories, I think I was eating a lot of pasta at the time maybe, but for some reason, I was hooked. The first movie was really good, but the second was even better. I’m not the only one who thinks that either. The Godfather II won six Oscar awards compared to the three won by the original movie.

Although we usually think first is better than second, there are a lot of examples that prove otherwise. Piano Man is the second studio album released by Billy Joel and is obviously his breakout record. The musical, Hamilton, is Lin Manuel Miranda’s second major broadway show and infinitely more popular than his debut, In The Heights. Basketball star, Kevin Durant, was a second draft pick, and more successful than first pick Greg Oden (thanks to Mr. Pedersen for that fun fact). The Second Amendment is just as important as the First and second United States President, John Adams…well, it is hard to argue that Adams was better than George Washington in any aspect of his presidency. Believe me, I tried.

All in all, the case can clearly be made that second is just as significant as first. The RTHS community will witness this first hand as the the second graduating class of the school will receive their diplomas in a few short weeks. They are a special group. Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing some statistics and anecdotes about their accomplishments and achievements. Stay tuned as we celebrate the success of the Class of 2017!


Food Truck Rodeo

Food truck event at RTHS on May 31st

Details to follow.

January 17th Raptor Events

College Counseling News

RTHS Graduation 2016
Snow

I grew up in Syracuse, NY. Winter weather always reminds me why I don’t live in Syracuse now. Snow storms in April were not uncommon. In fact, I remember winter weather causing problems at the end of May. My family was traveling to Potsdam, NY to attend my cousin’s college graduation ceremony at Clarkson University. We were delayed because of a blizzard. In May. I was young when my cousin graduated from college, but the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony left an impression on me. The event was serious and formal. I like serious and formal. My cousin’s accomplishment seemed amazing to me (and it is) and from that time on, I knew I wanted to graduate from college too. Not just go to college, but graduate from college.

My own college graduation from UNC Chapel Hill felt very different from the one I witnessed at Clarkson. I was hoping for serious and formal, and what I got was Carolina blue silliness. Beach balls, balloons, and crazy graduation caps ruined my image of an ideal graduation ceremony. Where were the black gowns and stiff suits? Graduates had on flip-flops for goodness sake! Regardless of the let-down I experienced from the actual ceremony, I still felt proud and accomplished. I achieved my goal and felt prepared for the next steps in my life.

Our seniors at RTHS are looking ahead to their own graduation in just a few short months. Regardless of their expectations for the ceremony, they should be filled with pride and hope as they cross the stage and accept their diplomas. Before we can celebrate them, however, we have to help them cross the finish line. There is more work to be done and we know they can finish high school strongly. As we continue to progress through the school year, let’s keep the goal in sight and hope it doesn’t snow.

November 14th Raptor Events

College Counseling News

collegeahead
Financing a College Education

I’d like to share some best practices for paying for college. I’ve divided this blog into two parts: action steps for families with a senior, and advice for families with students in 9th-11th grade.  I know families with high school seniors need different information from families with high school sophomores. Feel free to read the whole blog, or just scroll to the section that best applies to you.

Seniors:

Let’s talk about action steps. If you have not yet completed the FAFSA form, I highly encourage you complete it now. Even if you haven’t applied to college, or haven’t heard back from college. The FAFSA qualifies you for all kinds of aid: need-based aid and scholarships.  Even if you don’t think you will qualify for need-based aid, it is important to complete the form. Some colleges award scholarships to students with a FAFSA form on file.

Along with the FAFSA form, some colleges require submission of a CSS Profile form to award financial aid. Check the list on the Profile website to find out if you need to the complete the form. It is similar to the FAFSA, but is not free to file. So check the list first. Just a heads-up, UNC Chapel Hill requires the Profile form.

Along with submitting the FAFSA and the Profile, now is also the time to submit applications for merit aid (scholarships).  Some colleges award scholarships simply based on an application for admissions. However, it is helpful to check the scholarship website for each college to make sure there aren’t other forms to complete. Some colleges (like Appalachian State University and the University of Charlotte, for example) do ask students to submit a separate application for scholarships.  It is also possible that students will receive an application for a scholarship based on the information provided in the application for admission. Encourage your students to regularly check their email.

After the FAFSA and Profile are complete, and university scholarships are applied for, then it is time to search for other scholarships. The best way to do that is to encourage your student to read the Daily Digest and create an account on Fastweb.com.  I like Fastweb because it is user-friendly and a reputable resource for scholarships. Never pay money to apply for a scholarship. That is usually a scam.  If you have questions about a scholarship, feel free to ask.

In February and March, you will receive a financial aid package from each college your student was admitted to. The package can be confusing, and it is better to call the financial aid office, or check in with me, than make assumptions about information. It isn’t always easy to understand how colleges offer financial aid. Sometimes what looks like a college grant, can actually be a loan. Make sure you read the fine print.

I like the advice from these sources:

9th – 11th Grade:

It is never too early to think about paying for college. It actually is never too late, either. So if college is only a year away, there is still time to put a plan in place to make college a reality. Along with thinking about how to pay for college, it is also important to think about the fees associated with applying for college.  Most colleges still require standardized tests. We offer the ACT for all juniors at RTHS.  During the registration process, students have the option to send their scores to up to four colleges for free. I highly recommend taking advantage of this step. After the initial registration process, it costs $12 to send a score report to a college.  Although the SAT is not administered at RTHS, I recommend that students take the test. Our counseling department can provide a fee waiver to cover the cost of the test. I’m happy to help you and your student create an individual testing plan so you can budget accordingly.

There are a lot of different ways to save for college. I like the advice from these sources:

When you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading,

Lindsey Ringenbach

November 7th Raptor Events

College Counseling News

collegeNovember 2016
The Kids Are Alright

I’ve wanted to write a blog since I started at RTHS last year. Of course, other pressing matters took priority, but now that I feel like I have some breathing room, I’m excited to share some thoughts with you (hopefully on a somewhat regular basis). I thought about calling the blog something cute like “The College Counselor’s Corner,” or something optimistic like, “Focus on the Future,” or something necessary, such as “Kindness Counts,” but as I enter my sixteenth year in this profession, I’ve learned that the anxiety that surrounds the admissions process really stems from wanting the best for our kids. So maybe, “The Kids Are Alright,” is the way to go. We’ll see. Stay tuned, the title might change. And send me your suggestions!

There are a lot of topics to cover and a lot of different audiences, as I imagine readers are in different stages of this process, so I thought as an introduction I’d just talk about my role at RTHS. We’ll get into more nuts and bolts stuff later. Instead of sharing a formal job description, perhaps it is best to explain what I actually do.

I listen – This is how I spend a lot of my time. I listen to you and your student’s concerns and questions. It is really important for me to know what you worry about and what keeps you up at night in regards to the college process. I can best do my job when I know that I am addressing the right issues and sharing the right information. So keep telling me your stories and asking your questions.

I create and maintain relationships – It’s all about who you know, right? I’m lucky to have worked with some great colleagues over the past few years. Staying in the loop and putting you in touch with the right people is a big part of my job. I invite and host college representatives at our school throughout the year (most frequently in the fall), I travel to national conferences to spread the word about RTHS, and I visit college campuses across the country. As a result of that work, our school is well-known and respected.

I advocate for our students in the college admissions process – This is my favorite part of my job. I tell your students all the time about how much I brag about them. I’m constantly singing their praises. I have the easy job of highlighting their strengths and accomplishments. I write a recommendation letter for every senior, complete countless forms touting the strength of our community, and email/call admissions offices to share good news about individual students.

I advise – Unsure about which financial aid package will be the right choice for your family? Confused about post-graduation options? Let me put on my advising hat and meet with you.

I inform – Colleges aren’t always clear when communicating information to students and families. Sometimes the language they use causes confusion. It’s my role to translate that lingo into information that makes sense to you. There is also a lot of misinformation out there about the college search and application process. The rumor mill is strong. So it is also my role to set the record straight and share with you the most accurate and up to date information.

No matter where you are in this process, I’m here to help you. Feel free to reach out to me anytime. And stay tuned to the blog!

Thanks,
Lindsey Ringenbach


Fall Flex Day – Friday, November 18th

Our Fall Flex Day is coming up on Friday, November 18th! On Flex Day our students are given the opportunity to explore big issues that relate to several different subject areas. These opportunities either bring students out into the world or bring “the world” into school to our students: Students participate in a whole-school activity in which real-world professionals share their expertise or work directly with students.

Please be aware that Flex Days are official school days: official attendance is taken, and assignments are given. We call these “Flex” days since they are a break from the usual pattern of classes. “Flex” does not mean, however, that it is an optional day for attendance – we are still teaching and doing it even harder!

  • There will be PTSO lunch served.
  • Students cannot drive themselves to the off-campus trips.
  • All students must ride in their assigned cars, there is no switching allowed.

WE NEED DRIVERS – Please  sign up to drive students to and from the North Carolina Museum of Art. Without bus services, we rely on YOU! Our dedicated parents help make field trips like this possible. We will be leaving the school at 9:35 am and leaving the museum at 11:30 am.

Ninth Grade Parents – Students will be participating in “The Amazing Musical Race”. They will compete in a number of activities studying topics in; music and biology, music and history, music and visual arts/theater, music and physics, and music and math.

Tenth Grade Parents – Students will be participating in “Lab & Law” which consists of 4 CSI labs including DNA, White Powder, Spectrometry, and Stride Length in the morning. The evidence in the labs will then be used to put the suspects “on trial” in the afternoon.

Eleventh Grade Parents – Students will be participating in “Language: A Weapon or a Tool?” They will investigate how language can be used in advertising, codes and code breaking, dialects, and look at slang through the ages.

Twelfth Grade Parents – Students will be participating in “Don’t Judge Me” which consists of viewing contemporary art at the NC Museum of Art. After returning to the school they will attend contemporary music and theatrical performances. They will then be charged with creating a defense for a piece of modern art, music or theater.

If you have any questions please contact Ms. Warren at jwarren@rthighschool.org .


Graduation Gowns & Announcements

Jostens will be on campus on Thursday, November 10th to take orders and deposits for graduation robes, invitations, diploma covers, announcements and class rings. Graduates will receive their order packets this week (also in Physics– thanks, Ms. Kaufman!)

All students must have a cap, gown, tassel and stole and diploma cover to participate in the ceremony. This is the basic “Cap & Gown Unit” for $57.

All other items are optional. Many families like to have the formal announcements, etc but there is no requirement to purchase. I have samples from last year if you would like to see what they will look like, and I will post pictures on the RTHS Graduation FaceBook page.

If purchasing the required items is a financial hardship for your family, please contact administration. Our goal is to have every senior participate in the ceremony.

Orders can also be placed online at Jostens under “Graduation” products. Just search for the school name to see options.