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October 2015 Senior College Essay Writing Retreat at Lake Anna!

October 2015 Senior College Essay Writing Retreat at Lake Anna!

GWCS College Application Process FAQ

Q: Who is responsible for college applications at GWCS?

A: The college application process is something parents and children should work on together. You and your child are responsible for making sure that applications are filled out correctly, and that requests for transcripts, recommendations, and any other required forms are communicated clearly to the school and to teachers in a timely manner.

We are happy to work with you to answer any questions you may have.

Q: I have a question about the senior college unit, the college application process at GWCS or the college search process. To whom should I direct it?

A: Daniel Pereira. Email is preferred:

Q: I have a question about my child’s transcript, credit, or diploma. To whom should I direct it?

A: Cassie Sinichko. Call the school or email:

Q: What is the College Unit?

A:  The College Unit is a six-week program for seniors at the beginning of the year which uses the college application process as a framework for teaching practical reading and writing skills. It is an English credit, and seniors who are not planning on applying to college can still benefit from taking it. During this unit, students will research colleges and organize the information they discover, read and begin to fill out applications, write letters requesting recommendations, and do a great deal of personal essay writing. This unit culminates in the Essay Writing Retreat at Lake Anna, during which students will write and complete an authentic, positive personal essay suitable for use for their college applications.

Q: Will my child complete their applications during the College Unit?

A: Time is provided to work on applications, but most students cannot complete their applications during the college unit. Nor can students complete applications without parents' help.  College applications request information about parents education, finances, residency, and more. The time we spend is usually dedicated to answering questions, problem solving, and making sure that students understand what the application process looks like. Check with your child to find out where they are in their application process.

Q: Will my child request recommendations from teachers and counselors as part of the College Unit?

A: As part of the college unit (the first six weeks of school), your child will be given time to work on requesting recommendations and getting the paperwork together necessary to do so. However, this does not mean that they actually requested the recommendations.

Q: I would like to know if my child requested recommendations from teachers and counselors. How can I find this information?

A: You can check in the College Recommendations Tracker in CoyoteWeb on either the parent or student view.  See video below.  

Q:  Is there anything we should provide teachers to assist in writing letters of recommendations?

A:  Teachers will have access to transcripts.  Any additional information you can provide helps teachers to address strengths and interests that are not necessarily school related.  We strongly recommend students and parents complete the senior self-evaluation and then make copies for each person writing a recommendation.


A:  Students should complete applications well in advance of the due date.  Each college has their own process, and almost all of these processes are confusing. By getting applications finished early (at least three weeks in advance of deadline), students insure that there’s enough time to work out any challenges relating to the application process.

College application deadlines are all different but most do fall into the following time frames:  Early November, early December,  early January or rolling admission.  In addition to the application deadline, it's important to remember weekends and holidays! They increase how much time GWCS will need to get transcripts and recommendations out. Some dates to watch out for:

  • November 1st college application deadlines:  Students should complete their application in early October and designate counselor and teacher recommenders on their application at that time.  Students will complete their essay on the GWCS Senior Essay Writing Retreat in October.  
  • December 1st college application deadlines: GWCS Thanksgiving break begins on November 23, 2015 and we do not return until November 30th, so applications should be submitted around Nov 9th.
  • January 1st deadlines: GWCS goes on winter break on December 18, 2015 and we do not return until January 4, 2016, so applications should be submitted around December 4th.


A:  Yes, some colleges will request an updated transcript and counselor evaluation at the end of first semester.  It is important for students to inform their counselor which colleges want midyear updates.  What is the midyear update process for your colleges?

  • Common App - Students need to ask their counselor to upload their midyear transcript and the midyear counselor evaluation.
  • Email - Some colleges will email applicants and tell them to ask their school to send their midyear transcript.  They may want it (1) sent via their own admissions program, or (2) emailed to an admissions email address, or (3) mailed paper copies.  Student needs to explain specifically what is needed to their counselor.
  • Mail - Students may need to print out a midyear evaluation and provide it to their counselor at the time of requesting midyear transcripts.  Student should also supply their counselor with an addressed stamped envelope and due date.

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All GWCS seniors all have a "College Recommendations" block on their CoyoteWeb account.  Click on the above link for detailed information on how this block should be used.  Video Tutorial

Senior Self-Evaluation

We recommend that seniors print, complete and then provide copies of this Senior Self-Evaluation to each person they have asked to write them a letter of recommendation.  

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helpful college application links

  • The College Board

    • Register for SATs & SAT Subject exams
    • Get your test results 
    • Explore colleges, careers and financial aid
  • The ACT

    • Register for ACT
    • Get your test results
    • Explore colleges, careers and financial aid
  • the Common Application

    • Create an account
    • Submit applications
    • Check application status

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important graduation dates:

  • April 6:  Seniors measured for cap and gown
  • April 7:  Order your Graduation Announcements by this date
  • April 21:  Beach Trip Permission Forms due by this date
  • May 9:  Memory Board Making Party at GWCS at 6:30 pm
  • May 12:  Graduation announcements should be mailed by this date
  • May 19: RSVP with total number of guests and submit graduation fee
  • May 22-26:  Senior Beach Week in Corolla, NC
  • June 1: Memory Board Making Party at GWCS at 6:30 pm
  • June 13:  Graduation Speeches are due - turn in to Ms. Mauney
  • June 13:  Memory Boards are due - turn in to Ms. Mauney
  • June 16:  Graduation Rehearsal at Masonic Temple
  • June 18:  Class of 2016 Graduation Ceremony & Reception


George Washington Masonic National Memorial
101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA  22301  (MAP)

Saturday, June 18, 2016
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Graduation Ceremony followed by Reception
Tickets Required for Admittance

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Last Updated: June 14, 2016
*Final Choice

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  • Guilford College, NC
  • Hampshire College, MA*
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  • Lynn University, FL
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  • Marymount University, VA*
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  • Mount Saint Mary University, MD*
  • Northern Virginia Community College*
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  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, VA*
  • West Virginia University, WV