"Frequently Asked Questions"
Frequently Asked Questions 1. What are the Somers High School graduation requirements? Graduation requirements are outlined in detail in the Student Handbook. A minimum of 22 credits must be successfully completed (see Handbook for details), plus the student must achieve a 5 on the Somers Science Competency Profile and on the Somers Math Competency Profile, a 6 on the Somers Social Studies Competency Profile and on the Somers Language Arts Competency Profile, and the student must pass a “technology application” course (see your counselor wit any questions). 2. Can I attend summer school? Information on summer school eligibility is available in the Student Handbook. SHS students who have failed an academic course are eligible for summer school if they have a cumulative course average of 50% or higher, or administrative approval. Students may also attend summer school if they have passed a course, but did not meet the grade prerequisite for the next level course. Summer school is offered in neighboring towns for a fee. See your school counselor for more information. 3. Can I change my schedule / take a lower level class? The faculty and administration do not encourage changes in schedules, as this causes disruption to the learning and teaching process. Once schedules have been issued, parental written permission must be received prior to any change being made. Forms for schedule change are available through the CCC. Changes made within 10 school days of the beginning of the term will carry no penalty. Changes made after the 10th school day will carry a WDF designation (“withdrawn / failing”) on all official records. A WDF course will be used in calculating class rank, National Honor Society standing, academic eligibility, and in determining “good student” status for car insurance discounts. 4. How can I obtain working papers? In order to work in the state of Connecticut before turning 18 years old (as a minor), working papers will need to be obtained. There are age and hours restrictions on certain types of work, so be sure to check the Connecticut Department of Labor website for details before proceeding. If a job is not legally permitted for your age, working papers will not be granted. The CT Department of Labor’s website is http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/minors/wgminors.htm. To get working papers, you must bring a written promise of employment from your potential employer, proof of your age (such as a birth certificate or passport), and your Social Security card to Somers High School. Working papers must be obtained before you begin working! 5. What can I do to plan for my future if I do not intend to go to a 4-year college? A four-year college may not be the best option for everyone upon graduating high school. The Roadmap to your Future handbook, found here [insert link to RTYF here], has information about alternative choices for your future. Some options are a 2- year college (Associate’s degree), a Certificate program (such as HVAC), vocational/technical schools, and the military. 6. How do I find out if I can afford college? All federal college aid is given based on information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. It is not possible to know how much financial aid a student will receive until after this form is submitted. If college is part of you future plans, you can apply to colleges and submit the FAFSA, as well as applying for any scholarships for which you qualify. Financial aid packages will be offered through the colleges to which the student has been accepted, and a decision can be made based on the financial aid offers received. More detailed information is available in the Roadmap to your Future handbook, found here [insert link to RTYF here], at the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation website, www.cslf.com, and at the FAFSA website, http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. 7. When should I start applying to colleges? Students should apply to college in the fall of their senior year. Work on essays during the summer and familiarize yourself with applications and the information in the first few pages of the Road Map to your Future document provided to you by the CCC. Many colleges are expecting completed packages from students by Thanksgiving and admissions are becoming increasingly more competitive. The sooner you start, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your senior year at SHS. 8. Why do we use a 12.0 scale rather than a 4.0 scale for GPA? A 12.0 scale allows for an “A+” grade to be incorporated into a student’s GPA. The 4.0 scale only goes up to the letter grade “A;” therefore the scales are not comparable, as they are not measuring the same grade range. A committee comprised of school board members, administrators, teachers, community members, and parents decided to keep the A+ on our grade scale. This issue may be revisited in the future. 9. What is the difference between the SAT, SAT 2 and ACT? The SAT and the ACT both have math, reading, and writing components. The ACT’s writing section is optional, whereas, the SAT’s is mandatory. The ACT includes some trigonometry questions; the SAT does not. The ACT has a “science reasoning” component, which includes some logic and scientific terms; the SAT does not. The SAT includes vocabulary more than the ACT. Colleges will accept scores from the SAT or the ACT without preference. They are more likely to look at the highest score in each section of the SAT vs. the composite score of all section of the ACT. The SAT 2 tests are subject area content tests only, such as Biology. 10. When should a student take the PSAT? Students should take the PSAT (practice test for the SAT) in October of their junior year in preparation for the spring SAT. Sophomores may also consider taking the PSAT, particularly if they’ve completed geometry.