St. Mary's High School focuses on preparing students and families to be well informed of the ever-changing landscape of the college admissions process. Our focus on college preparedness is grounded in the mission of the school "to educate students in the Catholic tradition to be responsible, moral, critical thinkers and leaders, well-prepared for college and life."
Students are assigned one guidance counselor for their four years in attendance at St. Mary’s, however the guidance counselors are available to all students. The guidance counselor’s goal is to know each student at St. Mary’s personally. This is accomplished through a series of one-on-one student conferences, group meetings, and individual parent conferences as needed.
Our two college guidance counselors, Mary Anne Aragon and Mike Biondini, who are both graduates of St. Mary's, split the alphabet by student’s last names A-L and M-Z. The chairperson of the Theology department, Fr. Joe Dygert, as well as the Dean of Students, Archie Malloy, and the Academic Dean, Anna Sanzo, are also available to meet with students on a more personal level and to assist with life issues.
The guidance counselors encourage students to strive to develop strong applications, create balanced lists and apply to colleges that are a “good match” for their academic talents, abilities, and interests. Mike and Mary Anne, our two guidance counselors, have a wealth of information and resources at their fingertips to help in the college admissions, scholarship applications, and financial aid processes. They provide a direct link to college admission offices, including military schools.
College planning and awareness begins as soon as your student enters the doors at St. Mary's. Our guidance counselors meet individually with all students multiple times throughout the school year. Parents are welcome to make an appointment to discuss personal situations with the student's counselor. In the fall, Freshmen sit for the standardized Iowa test; sophomores take the ACT test; and juniors take the PSAT. Counselors emphasize the importance of early academic preparation and planning. All incoming students and their parents set up an individual account on Naviance, an online college research tool that helps create a balanced list of colleges of interest to the student and family.
At SMHS, we strive to educate and empower our community by coordinating on-site College Representative visits throughout the school year to assist with the process.
Our College Guidance office guides students and families through an exceptional college-preparatory curriculum at St. Mary's High School, including 9 AP courses and 4 honors courses. Selection of courses each year occurs through individual student appointments with the guidance counselor with weigh-in from the parents. Early college planning is strongly emphasized.
- Individualized one-on-one academic and college planning
- Provide monthly communication to SMHS families
- Liaison between students and college admission officers
- Maintain relationships with college, university, and military institutions
- Scholarship coordination
- Facilitate parent / teacher communication
Scholarships and Financial Aid
National Scholarship Opportunities – In addition to local scholarships, we encourage you to look at other free sources of scholarships. For a national database of scholarship information, we suggest Fast Web or Sallie Mae. Both access the CASHE database, which is the largest in the nation and has over 600,000 scholarships listed.
College Scholarships Opportunities – The largest source of money for college is the college itself. If a student applies to a college with rolling-admissions, they should hear about acceptance to the college within 4 to 6 weeks. After being accepted, a student should contact the college office (example: College of Arts and Sciences office within the University of Colorado) and the specific department office (example: Chemistry office) for a list of scholarships. In addition, a student should contact the financial aid office for a list of scholarships that are available for students attending their institution. If a student is applying to a college that has an Early-April notification date, they should contact the same college offices mentioned above a few weeks after their complete application is mailed to the college.
CHSAA Scholarship Opportunity, presented by Wells Fargo, is open to Juniors and Seniors who currently attend a CHSAA member school, such as St. Mary's High School. Students are required to submit a 500-word essay detailing the best strategies for becoming financially prepared for college. Please see the submission form for specific criteria/requirements. Three winners are selected and these students are honored at the CHSAA Legislative Council Meeting in mid-April. All submissions are due to the CHSAA office by the third week of March. You can find the submission form by going to the CHSAA website.
Visit Scholarships.com for more information about scholarships, student loans, the FAFSA, scholarship scams, etc.