The Path

The Westminster college guidance program seeks to help parents and students see the admissions process as a path by which students come to know who they are, how to face reality, and how to launch out of the home and into the freedom of adulthood. 

Components of The Path

  1. College Events: A series of discussions to help parents and students start thinking about life’s next step.
    1. 11th/12th Grade college Admissions Panel at 7:00 on August 29 in S-180
    2. 11th/12th  Parents Panel on the college process at 7:00 on September 28 in the upper school atrium
  1. The Journey: A step-by-step checklist of what you need to do and when.
  1. Readiness: There will be meetings during the enrichment period to help students work through the College Path. We will devote time to the following for students:
    1. Decision Grid-factors to take in to consideration when choosing a college
    2. Financial Planning-information on how to pay for college
    3. The Application Process-looking at what it takes to apply to colleges
    4. Scholarships-familiarity with the different types of scholarships offered
    5. Standardized Testing-what test to take and when to take it
    6. College Essay-writing a better essay for a prospective college
Principle Resources

Self Portrait

Here you can find formation on what colleges are looking for from their applicants

5 Categories of Schools

For a student, it could be said that in life’s next step after high school, there are over 5000 choices. Those choices can be divided into five categories.

College Jargon Guide

A guide to the jargon you have no doubt heard by this point. A good place to start.
The Path – Grade Checklists
Freshman Checklist - Developing Identity
  1. Take a Personality Test through the enrichment period in the first nine weeks. Take a look at the Knightly Herald article by Abigail Mathis
  2. Attend seminars during enrichment period to discuss the personality test results. 
  3. Get involved in co-curricular activities to see what areas you would like to commit to over high school.
  4.   Attend decision-making seminar “Developing Identity” during the enrichment period. 
  5.   Attend decision-making seminar “Facing Reality”during the enrichment period.
  6.   Read “Five Kinds of Colleges” on the website during the enrichment period
  7.   Begin your résumé.  For an example of one click here
Sophomore Checklist - Facing Reality
  1. Continue building your résumé.  For an example, click here.
  2. Take the PSAT/NMSQT on October 11 (for more information see Standardized Tests Page).
  3. Work on writing the college essay during the enrichment period. 
  4. See the GPA worksheet handout and link.
  5. Take ACT on June 9, register by May 4
  6. Take SAT  on June 2, register by May 3
Junior Checklist - Narrowing Options
  1. Attend 11th/12th Grade College Admissions Panel at 7:00 on August 29 in S-180
  2. Attend 11th/12th  Parents Panel on the college process at 7:00 on September 28 in the upper school atrium.
  3. Prepare for the SAT, ACT, PSAT/NMSQT during the enrichment period.
  4. Continue building your résumé.  For an example, click here.
  5. Take either the ACT or the SAT at least twice.

ACT dates and sign-up deadlines

  • test on September 9, register by August 4
  • test on October 28, register by September 22
  • test on December 9, register by November 3
  • test on February 10, register by January 12
  • test on April 14, register by March 9
  • test on June 9, register by May 4
  • test on July 14, register by June 15

SAT dates and registration deadlines

  • test on August 28, register by July 28
  • test on October 7, register by September 8
  • test on November 4, register by October 5
  • test on December 2, register by November 23
  • test on March 10, register by February 9
  • test on May 5, register by April 6
  • test on June 2, register by May 3
  1. Attend a career trip, possibly shadowing a potential occupation. 
  2. Attend on-campus visits from various college representatives.
  3. Attend one of the following college fairs:

  4. Go on the College Tour, September 11-15. 
  5. Take a look at the Knightly Herald Article by Ethan Shaw. Schedule a personal college guidance meeting with Mr. Herring by May 1 and be prepared to discuss the above plus the following:
    • Co-curricular activities
    • Leadership roles
    • Making contributions in high school
  1. Take the PSAT/NMSQT on October 11 (at Westminster for no charge)
  2. Continue to make college visits second semester and into the summer as needed.
Senior Checklist - Making the Decision
  1. Keep up your grades in all of your classes!
  2. Attend 11th/12th Grade College Admissions Panel at 7:00 on August 29 in S-180.
  3. Attend 11th/12th  Parents Panel on the college process at 7:00 on September 28 in the upper school atrium.
  4. Schedule an admissions checklist meeting with Mr. Herring by October 5.
  5. Accomplish the following before the meeting:
    • Read the Common Application page on the school website, if your college choices are a part of the Common Application.  To see if your prospective college is included click here.
    • Select 3-5 preferred colleges.
    • Create an account with each college or through the Common Application.
    • Request a transcript.  It must be signed by you and a parent if you are under the age of 18.
    • Request teacher recommendations.
    • Finalize your résumé
    • List acceptance deadlines.
    • List housing deadlines.
    • List scholarship deadlines.
    • List college ministry opportunities.
  1. Register for the SAT and/or ACT by September 8, including any remaining SAT subject tests that you need to take.  Take either the ACT or the SAT at least twice.
    ACT dates and sign-up deadlines
  • test on September 9, register by August 4
  • test on October 28, register by September 22
  • test on December 9, register by November 3
  • test on February 10, register by January 12
  • test on April 14, register by March 9
  • test on June 9, register by May 4
  • test on July 14, register by June 15

SAT dates and registration deadlines

  • test on August 28, register by July 28
  • test on October 7, register by September 8
  • test on November 4, register by October 5
  • test on December 2, register by November 23
  • test on March 10, register by February 9
  • test on May 5, register by April 6
  • test on June 2, register by May 3
  1. If helpful and appropriate, attend a college fair.
  1. Attend the résumé seminar during the enrichment period
  2. Be aware that early decision deadlines are between October 1 and November 1.
  3. Usually applications need to be completed by October or November for early action, but check with the colleges where you are applying for a specific date.
  4. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which opens in October 
  5. Sign up for your final meeting with Mr. Herring by March 1.
Additional Resources

Financial Aid

Here you can find information on scholarships, grants, and financial aid

College Advisor Expectations

What to expect from a Westminster College Advisor

Online Resources

Helpful links that might be useful in your college search

Standardized Tests

Information and links to the SAT and ACT tests

The Common Application

The Common Application is a general application for admission to 517 member colleges and universities in 47 states and the District of Columbia, as well as multiple countries.

Sample Resume

An example of a sample resume for colleges

Junior Form

A checklist for juniors to fill out before they meet with Mr. Herring

Senior Form

A checklist for seniors to fill out before they meet with Mr. Herring

Westminster School at Oak Mountain

5080 Cahaba Valley Trace
Birmingham, AL 35242
2505-995-9694