October 2018

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LSW Counselors

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Counseling Calendar

October Calendar

  • 2nd * Sophomore Family Meeting * 6:30 PM
    • Contact Person: Mr. Feeken
  • 4th * Apply2College Now * 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM
    • Contact Person: Mr. Peterson
  • 13th * PSAT Test @ LSW * 7:30 – 11:15 AM
    • Contact Person: Mr. Feeken
  • 23rd * Freshman Family Meeting @ Auditorium * 6:30 PM
    • Contact Person: Mr. Sederberg
  • 24th * Small Group Meetings for Freshmen Begin (Continue through November 21st)

It’s A WRAP For Wellness

Parents: Could your student use some extra support for their emotional or physical wellbeing?

If so, LSW offers the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), a small group consisting of 4-10 students who are empowered to create individualized plans around any type of challenge, such as mental health issues (stress, anxiety, frustration), medical conditions (diabetes, weight gain, pain management), life issues (addiction, smoking, trauma), and more. By identifying early warning signs and creating an action plan for these difficult situations, students are more likely to navigate crises more safely or avoid them entirely. Here’s what some students said about last year’s group:

  • “It was nice to make more connections, and this group feels safe.”
  • “It’s easy to talk and laugh in group.”
  • “I feel I have a closer friend group and know more people at school.”

The key concepts of hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, and support are explored over the 9 interactive WRAP sessions, which are free and take place during the school day (alternating between periods so that the impact on any one classes is as minimal as possible). This group is facilitated by the Mental Health Association of Nebraska and our school social worker, Michael Barber. For questions or to see if this might be a good fit for your student, can contact him at mbarber@lps.org or 402.436.1659. Your school counselor can also discuss this with you as well.

Students who feel they could use some extra support are encouraged to visit with their counselor or Mr. Barber, LSW School Social Worker, to learn more about the WRAP small group sessions.

Steps for Sophomores

The Sophomore Family Meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 2nd in the Auditorium. The sophomore year is a critical year as students begin to realize that they getting much closer to life beyond high school. This informative session will provide sophomores and their families with guidelines for planning life beyond high school.

During the sophomore year, students are ready for the next step in planning their educational journey as the transition to high school associated with their freshman year is behind them. According to Kelli Mahoney, author of “What to Expect Your Sophomore Year (May 2018),” the sophomore year allows students to take post-secondary planning more seriously while remaining comfortable in their surroundings.

What steps should students take during the sophomore year? Mahoney offers the following suggestions:

  • Assist the current freshmen as you’re no longer the little fish in the big pond of high school
  • Make the most of your study skills as coursework becomes more rigorous
  • Identify current career and college readiness by doing your best on the Pre-ACT test
  • Choose elective classes and extra-curricular activities that will help define your interests, strengths/weaknesses, and assist with post-secondary preparation
  • Explore college and career options as the reality of college becomes more than a random thought
  • Make smart/healthy choices as you assume more responsibilities such as working part-time, getting your driver’s license, and gaining more independence

Apply2College Now!

Apply2College is a state-wide campaign that helps seniors complete at least one college application during the school day.

LSW’s A2C Day will be Thurs, Oct 4, from 8:30-3:30 in C113. We will have college reps from the NU System, NWU, Doane, Concordia, Peru State, and SCC available to assist, but students applying to other colleges are also encouraged to attend.

Information and sign-up available using the QR code below:





The  Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, commonly referred to as the PSAT/NMSQT will be given at LSW on the morning of Saturday, October 13th. Interested juniors may register in the Counseling Center (C101) from September 24 – October 5. The registration fee is $22.00. Cash or checks payable to Lincoln Southwest or Lincoln Public Schools will be accepted. No credit or debit cards accepted for payment. If you have questions, please contact Mr. Feeken in the Counseling Center at efeeken@lps.org or 402-436-1306 Option 3.

College-bound juniors are encouraged to take the PSAT/NMSQT because it measures what they learn in high school and what is needed to succeed in college. To prepare for this test, students are recommended to follow the steps below:

  • Take challenging courses
  • Do your homework
  • Prepare for tests and quizzes
  • Ask and answer lots of questions

PrepScholar.com explains that the PSAT and SAT are quite similar in regard to content, structure, and even scoring.  However, there are some differences between the PSAT and SAT, which are listed below:

  • The SAT contains an optional Essay section, whereas the PSAT does not.
  • The PSAT is slightly easier than the SAT.
  • There are fewer questions on the PSAT than there are on the SAT.

 In addition to acting as a preparatory test for the SAT, the PSAT serves as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program, in which the PSAT scores determine students’ eligibility for National Merit scholarships. The top 1 percent of juniors who take the  PSAT become Semifinalists. Of these students, 7,500 go on to win scholarship money.

Navigating The Freshman Year

Freshmen and their families are encouraged to attend the Freshman Family Meeting on Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. Information about mapping and navigating a successful high school journey will be presented.

In The Statesman Journal, Matt Bergdall, Assistant Principal at Oregon Connections Academy, states, “Making the transition from middle school to high school is an important milestone for several reasons. Students are becoming more independent, exploring new extracurricular activities, and making new friends.” He explains, “Freshman year is also a make-or-break year for graduating high school. Studies show ninth grade students tend to have lower academic performance, an increase in absences, and more behavior problems compared to other high school grade levels. High school can be an intimidating environment, so when you add in peer pressure, and adolescent hormones, teens find it hard to stay motivated on courses.”

Bergdall offers the six tips shown below for freshmen to successfully navigate their freshman year of high school:

  • Talk to teachers and counselors
    • Establishing relationships with teachers and counselors is not only a good way to practice communication skills but it will also help for assistance with college applications or resume letters.
  • Do homework
    • Reinforce what you’re learning in class and maybe even improve your grades
  • Utilize time and space management
    • Have a designated learning space at home, free from clutter, stocked up with all the necessary school supplies
  • Find your community
    • A great way to get adjusted to life in high school is joining a club or trying out for an activity
  • Maintain daily balance
    • Parents need to check in with their student to make sure they’re getting enough rest, eating right and taking care of themselves
  • Keep open communication between students and parents
    • Parents should ask their freshmen how they’re doing on a frequent basis, but know that short answers still show they appreciate having your support

Bergdall also suggests that parents monitor their students’ academic progress and watch for any changes in behavior or problems like substance abuse. Contact the school counselor for assistance when needed.

Taking It To The Next Level

College-bound student-athletes need to be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center to compete at an NCAA Division I or II school. Click here to create a Certification Account to make official visits to Divisions I and II schools or to sign a National Letter of Intent. Student-athletes who plan to complete at a Division III school or are not sure where they want to compete need to complete a Profile Page, which provide them with a NCAA ID.

The NAIA requires all student-athletes who have never played a championship sport in the NAIA to have their eligibility determined before they can play. Register with the NAIA Eligibility Center by clicking here to create a Student-Athlete Profile.

For student-athletes interested in competing at the juco level, please click here to view the 2018-19 Eligibility Rules Pamphlet, which contains the NJCAA bylaws pertaining specifically to student-athlete eligibility.


Survival Tips For Seniors

Frank Bruni of The New York Times offers the following tips for seniors to not only survive, but to thrive, as they prepare for their post-secondary plans:

  • Broaden social circles to connect with those of different backgrounds or differing opinions
  • Invest in relationships with faculty and mentors
  • Explore existing passion areas and new areas of interest
  • Effectively use critical skills, like communication and storytelling

Organization is a critical skill for the senior year in balancing academics, extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs, friends/family, and making plans for the next stage of life. A critical factor for seniors to consider when organizing their schedules is time management, especially when it involves deadlines for applying to college, completing scholarships, filing for the FAFSA, and other tasks.

Seniors and their families are reminded that they can begin filing for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on October 1st. Prior to completing the FAFSA, seniors and one of their parents each need to apply for a FSA ID #. For free assistance with the FAFSA and other college planning/financial aid processes, R.J. Vega is the EducationQuest representative who is at LSW every other Wednesday. To schedule an appointment with R.J., please click here.

Seniors who need a transcript, must submit a completed Transcript Release Form to Mrs. Cornell in the Registrar’s Office. Students who are 18 or older, may sign the Form.

Experience Of A Lifetime

The Princeton Review defines a gap year as “a year spent taking time off between life stages. An increasingly popular option, it provides time for traveling, volunteering, learning a new language, or experiencing any number of other activities for personal growth.” Most students taking a gap year, do so after graduating from high school and before attending college.

Generally, a gap year involves traveling, volunteering, working, or all three. Students who have completed a gap year often say it is a life changing experience and feel more energized for returning to academia. The Princeton Review  shares that David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, says “[T]aking a gap year …could actually help students succeed in college, since participants may be more focused, mature, and motivated for their undergraduate experience.

A gap year can provide students with an opportunity to help others through social justice endeavors. For students choosing to spend the year volunteering abroad, they report that the benefits include the following:

  • Enlightening cultural exchange between the student and inhabitants of the host country
  • Making a real difference in the lives of the people of developing countries
  • The chance to make a positive impact on the environment.