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New Salem - August 27, 2008

Counselor’s Corner

© 2008 Dr. Gaylynn Becker
National Certified Career Counselor
National Certified School Counselor
New Salem High School

Welcome Back!
After having a busy, interesting and rewarding summer, it was certainly nice being back at New Salem High School last week for the first days of school. As every year at New Salem High School, the school was full of young smiling students ready for a new school year – at least it looked that way for most students. It is amazing how students grow and change over the summer.
I write these articles for students, parents, community members, and anyone else who chooses to read them. I also want to inform readers of some of the things that the New Salem Career Counseling Program does to help students in preparing for their future and to help them realize their “Field of Dreams.”
This article and additional career information can be seen at my website at

I have the new ACT registration packets in my office. North Dakota colleges and universities require the ACT. Students can pick them up at any time. The cost for taking the ACT is $ 31. If a student wants to take the ACT Plus Writing, the cost is $ 46. If a student misses the regular registration deadline then add an additional $ 20. Another method of ACT registration is online at

ACT Testing Schedule
Below is the 2008-2009 ACT testing schedule in North Dakota.
Test Date ................Postmark Deadline.......Late Reg. Deadline
October 25, 2008 .....September 19, 2008 ....September 20 – October 3, 2008
December 13, 2008 ..November 7, 2008 .......November 8 - 20, 2008
February 7, 2008 .....January 6, 2009 ...........January 7 - 16, 2009
April 4, 2009 ............February 27, 2009 ........February 28 – March 13, 2009
June 13, 2008 ..........May 8, 2009 .................May 9 - 22, 2009

ACT Fee Waivers
If you or your son or daughter qualifies for an ACT fee waiver, please stop by my office to get the waiver. The number of fee waivers are limited. If you qualify for one, please stop by my office to get one before ACT meets their quota. To qualify for a fee waiver only one of the following indicators of economic need must be met:
1. Family receives public assistance
2. Student is a ward of the state
3. Student resides in a foster home
4. Student participates in free or reduced-price lunch program at school
5. Student participates in federally funded TRIO Program such as Upward Bound
6. Family is at or below the 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics Low Standard Budget listed below:
# in Family 2008 Total Income Before Taxes
3 $ 27,200.
4 $ 33,600.
5 $ 39,600.
6 $ 46,300.

ACT Assessment Uses
The ACT assists students in college planning. In addition to tests in reading, English, mathematics, and science, the ACT also includes an interest inventory that provides feedback on various career clusters based on student interests.

ACT results are used in many ways. Many colleges use ACT scores for English and mathematics course placement. This can mean that some students who score low may need to take remediation courses that do not count for college credit. Students who take remediation courses will need to pay tuition to get caught up to where they should be in order to be successful in the regular college course. The best way for students to be ready for college coursework and to do well on the ACT is to take and do well in advanced math, English, and advanced science courses. In addition, students need to learn and do well in all the high school courses they are currently taking.

Many colleges also use the ACT in the scholarship selection process. For example one university in North Dakota provides students who have an ACT score of 32 or higher a $ 12,000. ($ 3,000/year) Presidential Scholarship. This is a great reward for students who work hard in school and take advanced mathematics, science, and English courses. I mention these courses as these courses are directly assessed. Oh, the Reading ACT Test contains social studies and literature selections. High school elective courses also involve mathematics, science, reading, and English concepts as well and can help students do better on the ACT.

Many scholarships offered from various sources consider not only at ACT scores but also grade point average, awards, school and community activities, etc. Participation in these activities is important. Leadership in these activities is important as well.

Keep record of these activities on your High School Activity Sheet in your Career Planning Portfolio in my office so that when you are applying for scholarships, you have a complete list of these activities and awards in a place that is easy to access. When students - primarily seniors - ask me to write a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, job, or college admission, I pull the student’s Career Planning Portfolio to look up activities in which they have been involved. I can also see their resumes and any other documents they may have in their portfolio that will assist me in writing the best recommendation possible.

Yes, it is great to be back for another school year. I hope that all of our students have a great school year that assists them in pursuing their “Field of Dreams.” Now I need to get ready for a 30-mile bike ride.

If you have any questions on career and other counseling issues, please contact me at New Salem High School at 843-7610. If something urgent comes up please call me at my residence at 222-3222.

Have an excellent Academic Year!