Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, and Friends of Herron High School,

As the autumn season eases in, our school and for many of our families, college planning becomes a primary focus.   We have begun to feel the excitement, and we have begun to witness the stress of the season.

As a mother of three college graduates, I have walked this journey with my own children. I want to quickly let you know that – the first child that you send off to college is one of the most profound emotional experiences you will have as a parent. The list seems daunting, and the stress of SAT/ACT scores, GPA’s, letters of recommendation, choosing which college or university, and the financial aid forms and, finally, making the right decision can all add up to a tension-filled family existence.

I urge you and your family not to fall into this emotionally-packed existence. The work has already begun in meaningful and strategic ways:

  • Nearly all of our seniors have attended one of our summer sessions on college planning. This is only one of our strategies to help our students with the college admission and selection process. All of our seniors are scheduled into a senior advisory; senior advisories are designed to assist our seniors with the details of applying to colleges. Our senior English teachers have spent the first weeks of school working with our seniors to write their college essays. Dr. Cooney and her team are working individually with students and their families to help them with all the details. Dr. Cooney also writes a college recommendation letter for EVERY senior student.
  • Senior Parent College Night is Thursday, September 24th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., and our seniors will take their annual Faculty College Tour this fall on October 14. This is a day that many of our teachers take seniors to their alma maters. Families also have the option of taking their seniors on family college visits on this day.
  • We will also help families and students through the financial maze of paying for college when we hold the FAFSA information night on January 21, 2016. It is always advisable for families of seniors to file their income taxes early so that there is a clear picture of the previous year’s earning. This will be needed to complete the FAFSA form. Working from a completed tax filing prevents the need to make revisions later.
  • Our juniors attended The College Fair this past week. They had an opportunity to talk to many college representatives and hear each college’s requirements. Junior Parent College Night is coming up on Thursday, October 8th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
  • Our sophomores will visit colleges this spring, and there will be specific College Nights for our 9th and 10th graders. Also, we start talking to our students about going to college the very moment they arrive at Herron High School. We urge you to start family conversations about college early in your student’s high school experience.

It is important that students understand the particular requirements of each college. You may have noticed that we have many college pendants hanging in the Steve and Livia Russel entrance. If you take a closer look at these pendants, each one has the minimum SAT/ACT score that is required to be considered for admission. Students, their academic advisors, and families should work together to set academic goals for students so that they can get into the college of their choice and have a chance to receive the necessary financial package. Merit-based scholarships can go a long way toward making college affordable.

I hope you find this letter helpful and that it can ease your family’s stress levels. We understand that the college selection and admission process is complex, but, please know we are prepared to walk the journey alongside our students and their families.

All my best,

Janet H. McNeal, Head of School

Complete newsletter here: HHS