College & Career Counseling

College & Career Counseling

Lyons Middle Senior counselors can assist students with a variety of post-secondary options. Click on a subject below to expand the box and learn more.

What is the ICAP?

The purpose of the ICAP is to assist students and their parents / legal guardians in exploring the post-secondary career and educational opportunities available to the student, aligning course work and curriculum, applying to post-secondary education institutions, securing financial aid and ultimately entering the workforce.

ICAP is a multi-year process, one that will span the lives of students who are now in middle and high school and that will continue into adulthood.  By adopting research-based best practices and by revamping our knowledge for developmentally appropriate ICAP activities with secondary students, Colorado’s schools and districts now focus on a meaningful process which results in a plan.

ICAP may include:

  • career and college interest surveys,
  • written postsecondary and workforce goals, intermediate benchmarks and data reflecting progress toward those goals,
  • scores on assessments,
  • experiences in service learning and/or work environments,
  • activities that establish connections between school-based instruction and the world of work,
  • an intentional sequence of courses that reflect progress towards the postsecondary goal
  • academic progress,
  • college application(s), a resume, or alternative work-based applications,
  • an understanding of the financial impact of life after high school, including an education

ICAP High School Quality Indicators:

  • Self-Awareness: Understand how one’s unique interests, talents and aspirations play a role in decision-making and interpersonal relationships and how individual thoughts and feelings get students excited about life and learning.
  • Career Awareness: Know the difference between jobs, occupations and careers. Articulate a wide range local regional of local regional, national and global career pathways and opportunities. Consider economic and cultural influences and the impact of stereotypes on career choice.
  • Postsecondary Aspirations: Participate in career exploration activities centered on students’ passions, interests, dreams and visions of their future self and perceived options.
  • Postsecondary Options: Be aware of and participate in a variety of postsecondary and career opportunities. Use tools such as career clusters, personality assessments and learning style inventories to highlight individual strengths and capabilities.
  • Environmental Expectations: Consider how school, family, community, culture and world view might influence the students’ career development and postsecondary plans.
  • Academic Planning: Apply the skills and knowledge necessary to map out and pass the academic courses required to achieve postsecondary goals.
  • Employability Skills: Define, develop and hone skills that increase the likelihood of becoming and remaining successfully employed and civically responsible citizens.
  • Financial Literacy: Recognize personal financial literacy and financial aid topics and vocabulary and know what options are available to pay for postsecondary. Understand and articulate personal financial literacy concepts, the cost of postsecondary options and apply this awareness to the postsecondary career and academic planning process.

9th Grade

Fall
  • Meet with the school counselor to talk about college and career options and to make sure you’re taking the most-appropriate classes. Learn more about the high school counselor’s role.
  • Set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps you stay motivated and focused.
  • Explore extracurricular activities. Getting involved in clubs and other groups is a great way for you to identify interests and feel more engaged in school. Read more about the benefits of extracurriculars.
Winter
Spring
  • Start a college list. Visit College Search Step-by-Step to get tips on starting a college search and figuring out what matters most to you when choosing a college.
  • See how much you need to save for college. Use the College Savings Calculator to get an idea of where you are compared with your savings goal.
  • Make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills — and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Find out ways to stay motivated this summer.

10th Grade

Fall
  • Meet with the school counselor to talk about college and career options and to make sure you’re taking the most-appropriate classes. Learn more about the high school counselor’s role.
  • Set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps you stay motivated and focused.
  • Keep up with your schoolwork. If you keep up with your tests, papers and homework assignments, you can celebrate successes and head off problems before they arise. Get homework tips.
  • Get ready to take preliminary exams. Taking the PSAT/NMSQT or the PLAN this fall can help you prepare for college admission tests. Sophomores can also use their score reports to figure out which academic areas they need to work on. Learn more about the PSAT/NMSQT.
Winter
  • Review your PSAT/NMSQT or PLAN results. Your score report indicates your academic strengths and weaknesses. Log in to My College QuickStart to get personalized feedback based on your PSAT/NMSQT score report.
  • Start thinking about ways to pay for college. Most students get help paying for college costs. Read 7 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid to learn more.
  • Discuss next year’s classes. Make sure you are challenging yourself — and taking the courses college admission officers expect to see. Learn more about the high school classes that colleges look for.
Spring
  • Make a college wish list. Think about qualities you may want in a college in terms of location, size, majors offered and so on. Check out How to Find a College That Fits You to learn more about deciding on college must-haves.
  • See how much you need to save for college. Use the College Savings Calculator to get an idea of where you are in terms of your savings goal.
  • Make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills — and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Find out ways to stay motivated this summer.

11th Grade

Fall
  • Meet with the school counselor. This meeting is especially important this year as you start to engage in the college application process. Learn more about the counselor’s role in applying to college.
  • Set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps you stay motivated and focused.
  • Stay organized. Make weekly or monthly to-do lists to keep on top of the tasks required to get ready for applying to colleges. For more time-management tips, see 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time.
  • Get ready for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. This is a preliminary test that helps students practice for the SAT and assess their academic skills. Juniors who score well on the test are also eligible for scholarship opportunities. Find out more about the PSAT/NMSQT.
Winter
  • Review your PSAT/NMSQT results. Your score report comes with a free SAT study plan. This online, customized plan is based on your test scores and can help you work on areas that need improvement. Learn more about this individualized SAT study plan.
  • Prepare for college admission tests. Many juniors take college admission tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, in the spring so they can get a head start on planning for college. See which tests you may need to take.
  • Discuss taking challenging courses next year. Taking college-level or honors courses as a senior can help you prepare for college work — and these are also the courses that college admission officers like to see. Learn more about advanced classes.
  • Consider taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges require or recommend taking these tests to get a sense of your skills in a certain academic area. In general, it’s best to take a Subject Test right after taking the relevant course. Learn more about SAT Subject Tests.
  • Take AP Exams. If you take AP or other advanced classes, talk with teachers now about taking these tests in May. Read more about the AP Program.
Spring
  • Search for colleges that meet your needs. Once you have an idea of the qualities you are looking for in a college, enter these criteria into College Search to create a list of colleges to consider applying to.
  • Research scholarships. This form of financial aid provides money for college that doesn’t need to be repaid. Learn more through College Board’s Scholarship Search.
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid events. These events allow you to meet with college representatives and get answers to questions. You can ask the school counselor how to find events in your area. Check out the College Fair Checklist for more information.
  • Make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills — and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Look into summer learning programs or find a job or internship.
  • Visit colleges. Make plans to check out the campuses of colleges you’re interested in. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.

12th Grade

Summer
  • Visit colleges. If you haven’t already, make plans to check out the campuses of colleges you’re interested in. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.
  • Finalize a college list. Choose which colleges to apply to by weighing how well each college meets your needs, for example. Find out more about how to finalize a college list.
  • Find out a college’s actual cost. Once you have a list of a few colleges you’re interested in, use theNet Price Calculator together to find out the potential for financial aid and the true out-of-pocket cost — or net price — of each college.
  • Get started on applications. Get the easy stuff out of the way now by filling in as much required information on college applications as possible. Read about how to get started on applications.
  • Decide about applying early. If you are set on going to a certain college, you should think about whether applying early is a good option. Now is the time to decide because early applications are usually due in November. Read about the pros and cons of applying early.
Fall
  • Meet with the school counselor. This year, you will work with the counselor to complete and submit college applications. Learn more about the counselor’s role in applying to college.
  • Create a calendar. This should include application deadlines and other important dates. You can find specific colleges’ deadlines in College Search. If you save colleges to a list there, you can get a custom online calendar that shows those colleges’ deadlines.
  • Prepare for college admission tests. Many seniors retake college admission tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, in the fall. Learn more about how to prepare for admission tests.
  • Find and apply for scholarships. You can find out about scholarship opportunities from the school counselor. You will need to request and complete scholarship applications and submit them on time. Learn more about scholarships.
  • Set up college interviews. An interview is a great way for you to learn more about a college and for a college to learn more about you. Get an overview of the interview process.
Winter
  • Apply for financial aid. Contact the financial aid offices at the colleges you’re interested in to find out what forms students must submit to apply for aid. Make sure you apply for aid by or before any stated deadlines. Funds are limited, so the earlier you apply, the better.
  • Fill out the FAFSA to apply for aid. The government and many colleges use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to award aid. Now it’s easier than ever to fill out this form because you can automatically transfer your tax information online from the IRS to the FAFSA. Read How to Complete the FAFSA to learn more.
  • Learn about college loan options. Borrowing money for college can be a smart choice — especially if you get a low-interest federal loan.
  • Take SAT Subject Tests. These tests can showcase your interests and achievements — and many colleges require or recommend that applicants take one or more Subject Tests. Read more about SAT Subject Tests.
  • Take AP Exams. If you take AP or other advanced classes, talk with teachers now about taking these tests in May. Read more about the AP Program.
Spring
  • Process college responses. Read about how to choose a college.
  • Review financial aid offers. Be sure to pay attention to and meet any deadlines for acceptance. Get more information on financial aid awards.
  • Complete the paperwork to accept a college’s offer of admittance. Once you have decided which college to attend, you will need to accept a college’s offer, mail a tuition deposit and submit other required paperwork. Learn more about your next steps.

Source: The College Board
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/make-a-plan

Naviance

The Lyons Middle Senior High School Counseling Department is thrilled to be using Naviance, a college and career readiness tool that helps connect academic achievement to postsecondary goals. Naviance is a web-based college search engine that allows students to research colleges, find scholarships, build resumes, match interests to careers and plan for after high school. Students also use Naviance to access our college visit calendar and scholarship lists. Naviance logins are the same as students’ original Infinite Campus logins.

Naviance Search Tools

Students can begin searching for colleges using the Find Your Fit tools available in Naviance Student on the Colleges Home page.  Those Tools are:

  1. SuperMatch
  2. College Match
  3. Scattergrams
  4. Advanced College Search
  5. College Lookup

Once colleges of interest have been identified, they can begin researching colleges using tools listed in the College Research section of the Colleges Home page in Naviance Student.   Here is a list of some of the available research tools:

  1. College Compare
  2. College Resources
  3. Acceptance History
  4. Enrichment Programs
  5. College Maps
  • Students can Add Colleges to Colleges I’m Thinking About in Naviance Student and create a list.
  • Students can Add Colleges to List with SuperMatch and Save Searches in SuperMatch College Search.

Other College Search Tools

Attending a college fair is a great way to check out your options, meet with college representatives and find out tons of information about colleges and universities.  For fairs for 2020-21, click here.

Colorado ASSET

This website has information about Colorado ASSET, which allows eligible students without documentation to pay in-state, rather than out-of-state tuition, as well as receive the College Opportunity Fund stipend at Colorado public colleges. This site will help undocumented students and families, along with the professionals assisting them, to understand and take advantage of ASSET.

Every public college and university has a website with information on ASSET.  Here’s a few samples from local schools:

This page includes links to information created by other public and private organizations. Lyons Middle Senior High School does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.  These links are provided for the user’s convenience, and the inclusion of these links is not intended to endorse products or services offered, or views expressed, on these websites. 

Schools that are members of the NCAA participate in one of three divisions; I, II or III. These divisions are based on size of school, number of sports available, and the level of competition. Athletes may be recruited by colleges, but usually, the student initiates interest in an athletic program. Talk to your coach about the possibility of playing at the college level.

To play for Division I or II schools, you must register with the NCAA online at the beginning of your junior year at the NCAA Eligibility Center.  Follow the instructions to register and see your counselor if you have questions about the process.  You will need Lyon’s CEEB code: 060955, a credit card to pay the application fee, and a strong knowledge of your coursework at Lyons Middle Senior High School.

Make sure you speak with your counselor to make sure you are taking NCAA approved core classes, as not all Lyons Middle High School courses are approved by NCAA.

To play for Division III schools, your application will go directly through the school.

NCAA Student Guide 19-20

NCAA Eligibility Presentation for Student Athletes

Many students choose to take a Gap Year between high school and college, but what does a Gap Year really mean and how do colleges view them?  

Loosely defined, a Gap-Year is a time period taken off between high school and college meant to explore a career path through interning or work,  to study and learn in a new environment or abroad, or to volunteer with a service organization at home or abroad.

It is highly recommended that students who are considering a Gap Year should follow the normal college application process during their senior year and, once accepted, work with each individual college or university to apply for a deferred enrollment.

NACAC, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, offers a starting point for researching Gap Years. Click here for more information.

As with any type of “program”, there is a myriad of choices, from for-profit travel groups, to government and non-profit service programs, to paid-consultants and sites to help you design your own Gap Year.

Non-Profit and Goverment-based programs:

For-Profit resources:

Gap Year Fairs

Universities with Gap Year Deferral programs or their own Gap Year programs

General Enlistment and Recruiting – Military recruiters from all branches of the military generally interact with Lyons students during lunches, but are also available for 1:1 meetings, at a student’s/parent’s request.

For more information on recruitment  and careers in the military, go to: Today’s Military

ASVAB – The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is one of the most widely used, multiple aptitude tests in the world, developed and maintained by the Department of Defense. More than half of all high schools nationwide administer the ASVAB test to students in grades 10, 11 and 12 (sophomores cannot use their scores for enlistment eligibility). Students may also take the test at another school or through a recruiter and may retake the test at any time. The ASVAB is administered each spring at the SVVSD Career Development Center (CDC). Click here for more information on the ASVAB, including study resources.

ROTC – stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps. It’s a college program offered at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military. In exchange for a paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, cadets commit to serve in the Military after graduation. Click here for more information on opportunities in ROTC programs.

U.S. Service Academies – Service Academies, Senior Military Colleges and Maritime Academies offer world-class education and a deeper understanding of military culture. Plus, most of these schools grant scholarship money in exchange for a period of service. Click here for more information on Military Service Academies and keep an eye on Naviance for announcements of U.S. Service Academy college visits and regional U.S. Service Academy Information Days. For information about receiving required Congressional nominations, see these links:

Senator Michael Bennet’s Academies website

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter

This page includes links to information created by other public and private organizations. Lyons Middle Senior High School does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.  These links are provided for the user’s convenience, and the inclusion of these links is not intended to endorse products or services offered, or views expressed, on these websites.