Loyola Preps Students for College from Freshman to Senior Year
From the time a student applies to Loyola through their senior year, Loyola College Prep works to help prepare all students for college. It’s in their name and woven into all aspects of the student’s high school experience.
Loyola’s curriculum aligns with the National College Readiness Standards and educates the students to meet those benchmark standards, focusing on tests that measure college readiness.
Students are also supported throughout their high school career by Glad Alexander, college placement director; Susan Hymel, director of guidance and counseling; and Stephanie Johnson, assistant principal of academics. These three women provide personal accommodations to each student at Loyola and prepare them for college.
Loyola’s goal is not only to see the students succeed once they leave high school, but also to help alleviate the stress of planning and preparing for college.
Loyola is proud to have the premier college readiness software for its faculty, students and family. Naviance College Engagement Tool is used throughout the student’s high school experience and proves invaluable in preparing for the college admissions process. During their freshman year, students learn how to explore this software and familiarize themselves with it.
All freshmen take the Pre-ACT test. This test is aligned to the ACT’s National College Readiness standards and tests first-year students in the same areas they will be tested on for the ACT – English, math, reading, science and writing. This test gives an ACT predicted score range and helps students on what they need to work on.
“The Pre-ACT also illustrates which students are on track to meet their college readiness benchmarks and which ones will need some extra assistance,” said Hymel. “This way, the faculty can better serve students for their individual needs. Since the Pre-ACT test is given in the fall and spring, it helps give the faculty a snapshot to help monitor students’ growth and progress throughout the school year and what they need to continue to do to be college-ready.”
By their sophomore year, students are discovering their academic strengths and study styles.
“The sophomore year is an excellent opportunity to help students uncover what career path might be best suited for them and examine what college major would be needed for their future,” said Alexander. “Exploring these options early helps set students up for success in college.”
During the sophomore year, students take both the PSAT and the Pre-ACT. The PSAT identifies thriving students, those who require greater challenges in the classroom and those who require additional academic support.
“These scores help make informed decisions about the curriculum and what enhancements need to be made to meet students’ needs,” said Johnson. “The PSAT also gives students an AP Potential score which tells which AP courses a student is likely to be successful in – a tool used in scheduling students for one of their many AP courses.”
Sophomores also take the Pre-ACT again in the spring, which allows faculty to track the progress they’ve made toward meeting their college readiness benchmarks from freshman year.
Junior year is when students put their practice to the test! Many students take the ACT or SAT for the first time. Loyola does offer an ACT test in the spring for those who might not have had the opportunity.
All juniors retake the PSAT at the beginning of the school year. This helps to continue to track and monitor students’ progress. The PSAT also enters students in the National Merit Scholarship competition.
“At Loyola, we are proud to have students who move forward in this competition each year,” said Johnson. “This year five seniors were National Merit Commended Scholars and may be notified in the fall of semi-finalist status.”
Juniors also take the ACT during the spring. This gives them the opportunity to test at their school in a familiar environment with familiar people, which allows many students to lessen their test anxiety and reach a higher score.
Typically, juniors have a day outside of routine classes to learn more about the college application process at our College Readiness Bootcamp led by Glad Alexander.
“This is a time for the students to learn about applications, deadlines, essays and finding scholarships and financial aid to help pay for college,” said Alexander.
She then walks them through the application process and follows up through high school graduation on their college choice and any scholarships they received.
“Students go into their senior year prepared and ready for the college application process with more confidence and less stress because of the personal attention and preparation,” said Alexander.
One of the most unique opportunities at Loyola is the service offered by Alexander, where she meets one on one with seniors to discuss college options, the college application process, financial assistance, scholarships and everything they may need to prepare for their senior year.
Glad continues to meet with students throughout the year to follow up and assist with any application or scholarship questions. At the end of the school year, seniors officially announce their college choice at a special ceremony.
“At Loyola we really go out for National College Signing day with our seniors and their families!” said Alexander. “It’s a time for seniors to see all of their hard work pay off and a time for the rest of the student body, faculty and parents to celebrate together.”