November 2018

ccn | counseling center news

LSW Counselors

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Counseling Calendar


  • TBA * Susan Thompson Buffett Scholarship Workshop
    • Contact Person: Mr. Peterson
  • 27th * Small Group Junior Meetings Begin (Continue through December 16th)
    • Contact Person: Mr. Peterson

FAQs about the STB Scholarship? Answers Will be Provided

Updated information about the Susan Thompson Buffet Scholarship Workshop at LSW will included in the Seniors 2019 Google Classroom, Student Bulletin, and LSW Counseling Center website.  Workshop participants: Please bring Tax Info and Parent(s)’ Age(s) and Marital Status. If you have questions, please contact Mr. Peterson in the Counseling Center.

The Susan T. Buffett Foundation has offered scholarships to college students in Nebraska for over 60 years. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to first-time, entering freshmen who are residents of Nebraska, graduates of a Nebraska high school with plans to attend a Nebraska public college, and who have demonstrated financial need. There are a limited number of scholarships, so the Foundation is unable to provide awards to all eligible candidates. Please click here to learn more about the eligibility requirements.  The application opens on November 1, 2018 and the deadline is February 1, 2019 at 4 pm CST.  For additional information, please email or call (402) 943-1383.

Seniors: Reminders for Admissions, Tests, & Scholarships

The November issue of EducationQuest’s College Planning Bulletin offers the following recap of tasks seniors should complete this fall to stay on track to college.

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    • First, create an FSA ID for you and one for a parent at You’ll need it to access and sign the FAFSA. Click here for instructions.
    • Review our FAFSA Checklist for a list of items to gather before you start the form.
    • Complete the FAFSA at You may also complete it via the new myStudentAidapp for iOS and Android.
    • For free help with the FAFSA, see FAFSA Tools at or click here to make an appointment with R.J. Vega, EducationQuest Specialist who is at LSW every other Wednesday.  You may also call the Lincoln EducationQuest office at 402-4725-5222.
  • Apply to your top college choices
  • Retake the ACT and/or SAT. Colleges use your best scores for college admission and scholarships.
  • Get serious about applying for scholarships. See ScholarshipQuest at for Nebraska-based scholarships and a list of national search sites.
  • The Write Stuff

Lee Shulman Bierer, an independent college advisor, who has read thousands of essays and after conducting research on bad essay choices, says her “…vote for the two biggest essay offenders goes to: the last minute sports victory and the mission trip epiphany. These two topics tend to be among the worst subjects for essays because unless a student has a particularly inspiring, amusing or heartfelt story, colleges have seen it all, heard it all and read it all thousands of times before.”

Shulman Bierer explains, “Unless a student personalizes the sports essay with a meaningful anecdote, it is likely to focus on the importance of team work and sound cliché” when writing a last minute sports victory essay. When using the mission trip epiphany, cautious about using it as a college essay topic, Shulman Bierer states, “…the problem is the realizations that students choose to share, such as ‘while on the outside we may look different, I realized after this trip, that underneath, on the inside, we are really all the same’ often unwittingly demonstrate how sheltered their existence has been and perhaps how privileged a life they’ve led.”

To learn more about what is the write stuff for essays as well as other topics that Shulman Bierer suggests students avoid using, please click here.

Parents of Seniors: You Will Survive!

The senior year can be a challenging time for parents of students who are preparing to take the next step into adulthood. “If you set some mutual expectations and attend to the graduation details, you and your senior can reduce conflict,” said Laura Buddenberg, Boys Town Training Manager.

Boystown offers parents the following strategies for surviving their high school seniors:

  1. Set mutual expectations by talking with your senior about curfew, jobs, academics, graduation celebrations and activities, and plans for post high school.
    1. Allow extra freedom whenever possible to help with the transition into independence.
    2. Remind brothers and sisters that their time will come as sibling rivalry tends to increase at this time.
    3. Prepare a graduation checklist and contact your child’s school so you know what is needed for commencement.
    4. Enjoy your senior and take every opportunity to say “I love you” and “I’m proud of you.”

Buddenberg concludes, “The senior year is an opportunity when you should make the most of this special time together with your senior.”

Juniors: What’s Next?

The junior year is often considered the toughest year of a high school student’s life. One of the main reasons that the junior is the most important year for the majority of high school juniors, is because it’s the last full year of high school that colleges see. The junior year should most closely approximate a college course load, so that colleges can get a sense of how you would handle that level of work. According to the PrepScholar Blog, students are generally aware that what they do in the 11th grade matters to colleges, but they don’t know exactly how to plan for college. Beginning November 27th, Juniors will have the opportunity to meet in small groups with their assigned counselors to review the main components of the junior year which contribute to planning post-secondary options. Peterson’s 11th Grade Planning Timeline offers the following suggestions: offers the following guide for a junior year timeline:

  • Fall
    • Stay on track with your classes and grades
    • Take the PSAT
    • Evaluate your education options
    • Make a college list
    • Continue gathering college information
    • Organize a testing plan
    • Make sure you’re meeting any special requirements
  • Winter
    • Stay involved with extracurricular activities
    • Organize your college information
    • Begin narrowing down your college choices
    • Prepare for standardized tests
    • Talk to your family
    • Learn more about financial aid
  • Spring
    • Prepare a challenging schedule for senior year
    • Start a scholarship search
    • Contact your recommendation writers
    • Apply for a summer job or internship
    • Set up appointments at your top college choices
  • Summer
    • Visit colleges
    • Get advice from other college students
    • Organize your financial aid information
    • Start working on your application essays
    • Make early decision preparations

To view additional post-secondary  timelines for students and parents, please click here.

According to EducationQuest’s November College Planning Bulletin, if juniors narrow their college choices by the end of this year, the senior year will be less stressful. Here’s how to get started:

  • Review College Profiles at for information about colleges in Nebraska and across the country. If you’re interested in an out-of-state school, check out the Midwest Student Exchange Program to learn about tuition discounts.
  • Meet with college representatives who visit your school, and then visit the websites of the colleges that interest you to learn more about the schools.
  • Once you’ve narrowed your choices, schedule campus visits. Try to visit in the spring of your junior year while colleges are still in session.

For more tips, see the Selecting a College section at

Sophomore Year: A Student’s Perspective

On September 13th, 2018, Jocelyn, a current public high school student shared on Quora what her experience has been so far as a sophomore. Parents might find it interesting to learn about this student’s perspective, which is shown below:

I’m a sophomore in high school right now- here’s my experience!!”

  • First AP classes! I took my first AP class this year and it’s stressful but manageable- be ready!!
  • Judging the new freshmen “Oh my god, the new freshmen are so annoying wtf”
  • Driver’s Ed & Permits! In my state, you can take Driver’s Ed at 14 1/2 and get your permit at 15
  • SAT and ACT! Sophomore year is the time to start preparing for these tests!
  • More juuling and drinking! More kids start doing this stuff and don’t gaf
  • Juniors and seniors don’t seem as scary anymore and it’s not weird anymore to date a senior!
  • Teachers start telling you to think about and prepare for college ugh!

“Each high school is different and each experience will be unique but this is what my personal experience has been like so far! Sophomore year is harder than freshmen year but it can also be really fun and bring new people and things into your life!!”

Parents: Just in case you need a translation of teen slang terms that may or may not be used by your student, check out the following resources:

Freshmen: Expectations to Consider

Jester Refuerzo, a current high school student in Anchorage, AK, offers the following advice to high school freshmen. “Expect to meet some new people and make new friends. High schools are usually much larger than middle schools so you’re going to see people that you might have not seen before from middle school.” He continues, “This is typically a time when people start to differentiate between who they call their friends. I can say from personal experience that some of my best friends from elementary school are no longer my friends now. Be wary of that.”

Refuerzo also tells high school freshmen to “…expect more homework and projects. High school is a very stressful time, but it is also a very important time for everyone. Homework and such come with learning how to be more efficient and to have a solid work ethic. Skills such as these are probably the most useful things you can learn in high school.” He concludes, “Be ready for change. I understand that change can be scary, but change is also meant to lead to new experiences, relationships, events, etc. Embrace change to the fullest and trust me, you won’t regret it.”

 Student-Athletes: Free NCAA Profile Page Account

One of the most significant recent enhancements of the NCAA Eligibility Center’s registration website is the creation of the Profile Page account, which gives college-bound student-athletes the opportunity to make the best decision about their college choices earlier in their high school careers. Students may now choose from the traditional Certification Account for those wanting to attend and compete at Division I and II schools, or a free Profile Page account for those attending Division III schools or who are not yet sure at which school they want to attend and compete.

Registration for a Profile Page account is free and easy. Students should expect 10 to 20 minutes to complete this account. Also, if a student with a Profile Page account desires to compete at the Division I or II level, they can easily transition to a Certification account and pay the registration fee to begin their certification process. Freshmen student-athletes are encouraged to register for a free Profile Page account by clicking here.