Spotlight on Seminar

Students attend weekly Seminar class every Friday that isn’t a Service Friday at CSD High School.  Seminar is an important facet of our students’ time and gives our counselors a chance to help students learn more about themselves; who they currently are and what they may do when they leave CSD. Read on for updates as to what’s been happening in Sophomore, Junior and Senior Seminars so far this year, along with ways parents can support their students at home:spotlight-303864_1280



So far this fall in Sophomore Seminar students have learned how to search for summer programs and why using that time to explore, work, volunteer and learn is so important. Students have also taken a turn at Virtual Campus Tours and sat in on at least one College Admission Rep visit here at CSD. While we encourage students to focus more on exploring their passions during this year, we do see value in finding opportunities to learn from the upperclassmen (i.e what kinds of questions are being asked by juniors and seniors in these sessions, etc.).

Over the next few weeks we will be start a unit based on What Color is Your Parachute? for Teens. This workshop will take us through the end of the year. Students will complete the “Do What You Are” survey (Myers-Briggs type personality survey) and dig into other career and interest inventories. Students will then research a profession they hope to learn more about through an Informational Interview in January/February. We stress to students that the objective is not to decide on a major or career, but rather to learn networking and research skills to use to explore various careers of interest. We hope this is a skill they can continue to use in the future, especially when they arrive at college and prepare to declare a major or research internship opportunities.

What can parents do to support their student?

  • Encourage students to take risks and use this time to explore.  
  • Keep the focus on engagement and exploring passions and interests, rather than thinking about specific colleges. For many students, their interests are not so clear to them. Have them to try camps, clubs, volunteer work.
  • For “kicks”, take students on occasional college visits just to “window shop” and look for patterns at what excites them.  Vary the types and sizes of the college visits. Have fun with it!



In Junior Seminar, students have been participating in a common book read using “College Match”.  They have just completed a set of inventories where they have been asked to reflect about their educational attitudes, goals and perspectives about college. Students have been thinking about how they would view themselves as a college student, if and why they want to go to college and what are those qualities that would make a college right for them.

Students should have signed up during our last seminar on Friday for the individual Next Step Conference with their counselor.  If they have not, they should refer to Schoology (Week 7 in Junior Seminar) for the sign-up link. Please encourage your student to mark their appointments down on their google calendar.  Students should make sure they sign up during one of their  learning lab or PE classes and check in with their teacher before reporting to our office. Rescheduling could take a while if they miss their appointment.

After meeting with the student, the counselors will then meet with the entire Career and College Counseling Team the following week to discuss that student’s plans. After we have met with all juniors, we will then schedule conferences with students and families where we will present a list of colleges that may like a great starting place for their research and college visits.  In the meantime, students should not wait to begin “window shopping” at colleges whenever they get a opportunity to do so.

What can parents do to support their student?

  • Complete the Parent Survey in the About Me tab.
  • Ask students to share with you some of the college search tools they will be learning about over the next month.
  • Help students come up with an organizational system (binder with plastic sleeves or accordian folder) to store test scores and other important college information.
  • Look for PSAT scores to arrive in December.  On the score report, there will be helpful links to Khan Academy that will help them study for the Revised SAT based on their strengths and areas of growth.
  • The counselors will review your student’s testing plan at the Next Steps meetings.

For additional questions about the Next Step Planning process, contact your student’s counselor:

A-J   Jessica Smith,

K-Z  Ann Marie McAfee,



In Senior Seminar this fall, students have been working hard on applications to college and gap year programs. They have had time to work one-on-one with counselors on essays, resumes, college choices, and the nuts and bolts of the application process. They have also learned about resources for finding scholarships, and they have had time to work on that process. In December, they will participate in mock interviews to prepare them for scholarship and job interviews down the road.

What can parents do to support their student?

  • Communicate often about the college application process. Talk about finances and other factors to consider during this important time of decisions.
  • Prepare for the financial aid application process. The CSS Profile is required by some schools, and that is available now on the College Board website. The FAFSA is required by all colleges for anyone requesting financial aid. That will be available online on January 1st.
  • Support your student during this potentially emotional time. Waiting on decisions is hard! Hearing back from colleges can be hard, too. Try to keep your student excited about their opportunities for next year.

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