Cathleen Savery


781.741.1560 EXT. 2146


The Post-Secondary Planning Office serves as a resource for all students at Hingham High School. Available for both individual and small group work, the post-secondary planning office is a space for students to do more in-depth research on prospective careers, college majors, technical schools and programs and colleges and universities. 




Where to begin and what to consider  

Areas of Academic focus; Breadth of Majors and Minors



Statistics (SAT/ACT and your GPA relative to Naviance database)

Private vs. Public

Religious affiliation

Cost and availability of scholarships and aid

Visiting Colleges

Students and parents should start to visit colleges some time during the Junior Year.  A list of considerations is provided.  It is by no means exhaustive, but it covers many of the major factors that students (and parents) consider when evaluating schools for a good fit. 

If students know some of the factors that are very important to them, they should focus on those as they start to compare different schools.   If students are less sure about what they are looking for, noting major likes and dislikes after a few visits, may help them focus their search.

Campus information sessions and tours are both valuable in helping you to learn as much as you can about the college you are visiting.  Typically, these visits can be scheduled online via the college website.  Information sessions are usually led by members of the admissions staff (sometimes students also speak during these sessions).  Tours are typically given by student volunteers.

Additional Advice:

Don’t try to visit more than 2 colleges in one day.  It can be overwhelming and things may blur.

Take notes while you are on campus.  Note major likes/dislikes; pros/cons.  This will be invaluable later when you are trying to decide which schools you want to apply to.  You may also refer back to these impressions if you are asked to write an essay about why you want to attend a particular school.

Pick up a copy of the school newspaper, try out the cafeteria, sample a day in the life of a student.

Plan in advance for February and April break and other long weekends.  Many other people are also visiting colleges at these times and sessions may fill up. 

If you are particularly interested in a certain program, set up time to meet with a professor or sit in on a class. 

Ultimately, what’s most important is your overall impression.   Can you see yourself on the campus?  And will the school offer you whatever is most important to you in terms of academics and student life?

Use the guidelines from the school (GPA and test scores) and Naviance to evaluate whether the schools you are most interested in are realistic choices for you.

Stop by your counselor’s office and ask for the contact information of the Hingham High students currently attending the school or schools you are planning to visit.  They can be a great source of information even if you only connect via email.


Each fall (late September through early November), Hingham High School offers students the opportunity to meet with representatives from over 100 college and universities.  Juniors and Seniors are eligible and must sign up via Naviance.  Sessions are offered at different times throughout the day, so students must get permission from their teacher to leave a class to attend a session.

The purpose of the sessions are varied: students can get general information about schools they may be interested in, they may have specific questions to ask, or they may want to follow up with a rep if they have already made a campus visit and want to express continued interest.


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NCAC) offers College Fairs throughout the country.
See NACAC website for details on dates and locations locally.


Visiting college campuses is a great way to see a campus in action and learn more about what the school has to offer.  Note that students are allowed 3 excused absences during the Junior year and 3 during the Senior year.  Documentation from the college is required (e-mails are not acceptable).


NCAA Eligibility Rules


The College Board Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) is committed to providing services and reasonable accommodations appropriate to a student’s disability and the purpose of the exam. SSD provides Advanced Placement® (AP®), PSAT/NMSQT®, and SAT® testing accommodations for students who have documented disabilities.  

For more information go to: College Board Services for Students with Disabilities


Applying to college with the goal of majoring in a fine art (music, studio art, dance, theater) is a bit different from applying for a traditional liberal arts degree.  Explore both liberal arts schools and conservatories.  To help assess the strength of the program you can review the careers of alumni and the backgrounds and resumes of the college instructors.  Be sure to check the admission requirements for each school, as you will find many similarities, but also key differences.  In most cases, you will need to apply to both the college and the specific arts program.  Some programs will review your applications simultaneously, while others will accept you first to one program (the general college) and then to the arts program.  Many of the arts schools have early deadlines, so be prepared to approach most of your applications as if they are early applications, i.e. November and December deadlines.  

Depending upon your area of interest, you will need to schedule an audition, provide photos, submit recordings and/or a portfolio of your work, as well as essays explaining what you hope to gain from admittance to their program.  You will need recommendations from your high school counselor and academic teachers, and one or two instructors from your specialized area of interest (e.g., voice/dance/theater/music/etc.). The web site for each school has details about what specific requirements they have for both the recording/portfolio and for the live audition.  Generally, the arts program will review your written application and submitted recordings/photos, and if viewed favorably, invite you to come to the campus for a live audition.  These auditions usually take place in January and February, so plan on taking several days out of school for these.  It is best to give yourself plenty of time for these auditions; don’t schedule your flight to arrive on the day of your audition – you’ll want to be relaxed and focused for your audition and not worried about traffic!  Your private teacher should also be able to guide you in the process of applying to college for the arts, and provide helpful tips to better prepare you for what to expect.  Contact your school counselor for a list of HHS alumni who are willing to talk with you about your school or major choices.  Alumni can give a great deal of insight about the fine arts college application process and they specific school they are attending.



Student Responsibilities 

By the end of Junior Year, provide your counselor with all the materials they will need to write your recommendation: 

                 Student Questionnaire (your responsibility)
                 Activity Sheet (filled out by you)
                 Parent Information Sheet (completed by one or both parent)

Create a Common Application account.  The new Common Application form is usually available in early August.

Sign FERPA agreement and complete the list of “Colleges I’m Applying to” in Naviance.

Ask Teachers for recommendations and ensure they are aware of all application deadlines.  (Note: Some teachers send via Naviance while others send via mail.  Check with each teacher to understand what their requirements are. If they send by mail they will ask you for stamped/addressed envelopes.)

Give Record Release Forms to your Counselor at least 10 school days before application deadline (one form for each of the schools you plan to apply to).

Complete the Common App (and any other applications) including Essay and Supplements (if required; you must check for each school).

Request that Test Scores be sent (from The College Board for SATs or from and pay fees.

Pay the application fee

Check that each school to which you have applied has received all of the information you and your counselor have sent before the application deadline.  Many schools, once you have applied, will assign you an account so that you can track the status of the application materials. 

Complete local Scholarship form and give to your counselor (form available in early January; deadline for submission is early March).

Counselor Responsibilities

The following items are sent to each of the Colleges you’ve chosen to apply to by your Counselor.

Secondary School Report

School Profile

Counselor Recommendation

Your transcript through the end of Junior Year

1st Quarter grades (unless you request that they not be sent)

Mid-Year grades

Final grades (sent only to the school at which you plan to matriculate)

Parent Responsibilities

At the end of Junior Year, complete the  Parent Information Sheet  (give to your student and/or their counselor so that counselor may use the information in their recommendation.

For Financial Aid, complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS Profile, in required (only some schools require this form).  Check deadlines for submission.


Naviance Log in

Introduction to Naviance- a PowerPoint presentation

The Hingham High School Counseling Department is using a fantastic new web-based college and career counseling software program by Naviance.  The program enables students and families access from home to do college searches and to see college-admissions data from Hingham High School as well as national statistics. 

Naviance has extensive data on each school and can provide a wealth of information to the student in the college search and application process.  The College Search module allows students to enter criteria for their desired types of schools and to generate a list of schools which meet these criteria.  A student can then follow links to general information about a college as well as to an individual college’s web page for deeper investigation.  Students can then compare their personal profiles to national as well as Hingham High School data and compile a list of prospective schools.  

Together students and their counselors can share lists of prospective colleges. The data available, along with a student’s personal interests, will help counselors, students, and their parents investigate the sometimes overwhelming number of post-secondary options available.

Through junior seminars and ongoing individual meetings, counselors continue to introduce our students to the Naviance software. By entering the site with your user name and password, you and your student will be able to access his or her personal data page including GPA, all standardized test scores, the college search function and much more. 


The types of application plans students encounter during the college admissions process are explained below. Be sure to read each college’s literature carefully and consult your counselor if you have any questions about the different admissions plans.

Regular Admissions:  Many colleges establish an application deadline by which all applications must be received or postmarked, such as January 1, January 15, or February 1, etc. All students are then notified of the colleges’ decisions at a uniform response date, typically on or before April 1. 

Early Decision:  This plan is offered by many colleges to applicants who are sure they want to attend the college. This college clearly should be the applicant’s first choice. Traditionally, the deadline for early decision applications has been November 1 or 15. Colleges then render a decision by mid-December. Under the early decision plan, colleges may accept, deny or defer students to the regular admissions pool.  Some colleges also have a second round of early decision (usually in January or February). These later plans have the advantage of giving students more time to think through their decisions. You should not apply under an early decision admission plan unless you are certain that you want to attend that college. If accepted under this plan, the acceptance is binding which means the student is under an obligation to attend the college and to withdraw or forego applications to all other colleges.

Early Action:  This program is another option for early notification of acceptance. However, under this plan, if admitted the applicant is not obligated to attend that college and the student may apply to other colleges. If admitted, the student has until May 1st to decide just as with a regular admissions plan. 

Under the early action plan, colleges may accept, deny or defer students to the regular admissions pool.  Colleges typically offer either an early decision option or an early action option, although some colleges now offer both. 

Rolling Admissions:  Under this program a college considers a student’s application as soon as all the required credentials have been received. Notification of acceptance or rejection is mailed as soon as a decision is made. Colleges that follow this practice may make their admissions decisions continuously over several months in contrast to the practice of other colleges which accumulate their applications until a deadline date and then announce all their decisions at the same time. 

Deferred or Delayed Enrollment:  Most colleges allow an accepted candidate to postpone enrollment in a college, generally for one semester or one year. The accepted student must send a letter to the college of his/her choice requesting deferred enrollment and must send in a deposit by May 1, to hold his/her place.

Candidate’s Reply Date May 1 is the common date by which accepted applicants must indicate their intention to enroll at the college they choose to attend. By use of a common reply date, students may evaluate all notices of admission and financial aid awards before deciding on any one college, allowing students to make informed decision


Massachusetts state law requires that students earn a Competency Determination as a condition for high school graduation.  The Competency Determination will be awarded to students who pass the grade ten MCAS English Language Arts, Science, and Mathematics tests. Most students at Hingham High School will take the Biology test in June of the year they complete the Biology course. If a student needs additional chances to pass Mathematics or English Language Arts, he or she will be able to take the tests four more times before the end of 12th grade and will have additional opportunities after high school as well.  Additional Science tests are given once per year if needed.  Students who perform very well on the MCAS and in other academic areas may receive a prestigious Certificate of Mastery from the Commonwealth and qualify to receive free tuition at Massachusetts state colleges. 

The PSAT/NMSQT is a national test, which is administered by all high schools in October.  The PSAT takes approximately three hours to complete and is divided into three sections: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing Skills. All juniors planning post-secondary education are strongly encouraged to take the test for a number of reasons, including:

It is good practice for students to familiarize themselves with the timing and format of the SAT

It gives students an indicator of how they will score on the SAT Reasoning Test

Students can see how they compare to other college bound juniors

​The PSAT must be taken junior year if a student wants to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship. The selection of National Merit Scholars is done on the basis of scores obtained on the PSAT. All registration is done through Hingham High School and is not available on the College Board website. Students may visit the College Board website for more information and for online practice in conjunction with Khan Academy. Following the PSAT, students can visit PSAT Extra to read explanations for all the test questions, prepare further for the SAT, and access a tool to explore careers, majors, and colleges.

The SAT Reasoning Test is a college admission examination comprised of two sections: Reading & Writing, and Math. Scores range from 200-800 for each section. The highest possible combined score is 1600 (2400 prior to 2016).The SAT is typically taken in May or June of a student’s junior year, and once more in October of November of senior year if necessary. The test itself is offered several times per year through Hingham High School, and is also available through other high schools. Please refer to the college board calendar for all exam dates and registration details.  To register for the SAT Reasoning Test or for more information, go to the College Board website. Please note that in 2024 the College Board plans to transition from paper to computer testing. More information about this transition will be posted as it becomes available.

The ACT Assessment, or “A-C-T” as it is commonly called, is a national college admission examination that consists of tests in English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science (as well as an optional writing section). ACT results are accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and universities. Unlike the SAT, the ACT is not an aptitude or an IQ test. Instead, the questions on the ACT are directly related to material learned in high school English, Mathematics, and Science courses. Because the ACT tests are based on what is taught in the high school curriculum, students are generally more comfortable with the ACT than they are with the traditional aptitude tests or tests with narrower content. Students will typically take the ACT in May or June of junior year. The test is offered several times per year. Please refer to the ACT calendar for all exam dates and registration details.


​It is important for students to know the testing requirements of each school they are considering applying to for college. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of registration deadlines and to have test scores sent directly to colleges from the testing service. This can be done when initially registering, or following the exam by visiting the testing company’s web site. For the SAT, students can release and transmit scores to colleges of their choice by sending to ETS (Educational Testing Service–the test producer of the SAT) the release form in the registration booklet or on-line. 

In recent years more colleges and universities have become “test-optional” schools, meaning that some programs do not require SAT or ACT scores as part of admission requirements. If the student is concerned about his or her performance on standardized tests when applying to colleges, it is recommended that he or she researches colleges and universities where SATs and/or ACTs are optional.



Should I ask to remain active on the wait list?
Only if you are seriously interested in attending that college. If you are, then you should indicate in writing or by returning the postcards many colleges provide for that purpose as soon as possible. If you definitely will attend if admitted, tell the college that. 

When will I learn if I will be admitted from the wait list?
The very earliest you can expect to hear from colleges is late April, but usually not until after the first week of May. Most colleges will finalize the status of students by June 1. Occasionally colleges will extend to students the opportunity to remain on a wait list throughout the summer 

Should I call the college?
No! Colleges will only ask you to indicate your position in writing. Until the first week or so of May, colleges rarely have any information that will be helpful to you as you try to calculate your chances. 

What are my chances?
Until early May this is an impossible question for even the colleges to answer. Colleges must wait to hear from all of the students to whom they have extended an offer of admission. Those students have until May 1 to respond. Often times those responses, mailed on April 30, do not arrive until May 3 or 4. Colleges’ past records regarding their wait lists are not important. One year a college may take 50 students from its wait list, the next year it may not be able to take any. It will all depend on how many admitted students decide to enroll before May 1. 

How many applicants usually end up on a wait list?
Wait lists vary from school to school. Remember, not everybody who is offered a position on a wait list will wait to be considered. The initial number placed on a wait list is usually reduced significantly. 

How can I find out what my “rank” is on a wait list?
Colleges will not rank their wait list until after they have heard from both admitted candidates and wait list candidates (May 1). Most colleges will not inform you of your rank on the list. 

What can I do to improve my chances?If your grades since mid-year are good ones, sending them along to the colleges may help. If you have earned any honors, taken on responsibilities or in any other way distinguished yourself since you applied, don’t hesitate to let the colleges know. Remember, even if you have completely turned things around, this will not make a difference if the college does not go to its wait list. 

Should I try to set up another interview?
Colleges rarely permit second interviews, particularly before May 1. If you happen to be in the area, it doesn’t hurt to stop by and express your continuing interest in the school but a major investment of time and money to visit a college where you have been placed on a wait list is probably not worth the effort. Consult with your counselor regarding this matter. 

What should I do while I wait?
Assume you are not going to get in from the wait list. Statistics clearly indicate the chances are quite a bit less than 50/50. The most important thing for you to do at this time is to focus on the options you do have and make an informed, rational decision regarding those options. Should I make an enrollment deposit at my second choice college? YES! Unfortunately this fee is normally not refundable, but it is important for you to guarantee that you have a place in a college next year. Make your deposit before May 1. 

What should I do if I have been placed on several wait lists?
There is nothing wrong with remaining on more than one wait list as long as each one of them is a school that you are more interested in than the options you currently have. 



If you’ve received acceptance offers from more than one college, congratulations! Your hard work has paid off, and now you get to choose which college is best for you.

Don’t worry about choosing that one perfect college — there’s no such thing. The bottom line is that college is what you make of it: What you do while you’re there matters more than the college name on your diploma. Here’s how to make your decision.

You don’t have to decide overnight, but don’t miss the reply deadline.

Get More Information.  You already have a lot of information about each college, but digging a little deeper can help you make the best choice for you.

Ask questions. Create a list of any questions you still have about the colleges you’re considering. You may want to get answers to questions like these:

How many students return after freshman year? How many graduate?

Does the college offer a lot of majors I’m interested in?

What can I do for fun?

What kinds of students feel at home at this college?

Get answers. The best place to get an answer depends on the question. Here are some of the resources that can provide information:

People who work at the college

Current students at the college

The college’s official website and its College Search profile

As you search for answers, it’s important to use only trustworthy sources of information and to recognize the difference between fact and opinion. A college’s official website and its admission officers are often the best sources of factual information about that college.

Visit — or revisit — the campuses. If possible, check out a college’s campus to get more information. If you can’t visit a campus, call or email the admission office with your questions. Ask if someone there can put you in touch with current students and recent graduates. Your high school counselor and teachers also may know students who graduated from your high school and now attend the college.

Think things over. You’ve done research and asked questions. Now it’s time to check your own thoughts and feelings. Ask yourself questions like these:

How did I feel when I was on campus at each college I visited?

Which colleges best match my list of must-haves?

At which colleges can I imagine myself as successful and happy?

Compare the colleges. Use your new information to sort the colleges by what they offer and what you want. Make a list of the pros and cons for each college. You can also use College Search to compare up to three colleges side by side.

Compare Financial Aid Awards. This is an important step for many students. Talk to your family about which colleges work best financially. You should make decisions about financial aid, such as whether you should take a student loan or work-study job, together.

Make Your Decision.  You don’t have to decide overnight. Many colleges don’t expect your final decision until May 1, so you have some time to make up your mind. But remember that colleges are serious about reply deadlines. If you don’t send your deposit in time, you risk losing your place.

Respond to the Colleges. Once you’ve decided which college you want to attend, inform all the colleges that accepted you about your decision.

Respond to the college you’ve decided to attend. Make sure to send in the following items by the deadline:

Your acceptance letter

A deposit

A separate acceptance letter for financial aid, if required

Any other required items

Respond to the colleges whose offers you’re declining. Send a brief note to the other colleges to thank them and turn down their offers. This frees up places for other students. 


Each year, Hingham High School is proud to be able to present over $350,000 in scholarships to our graduating class. We are very fortunate to be able to offer two different opportunities to receive scholarships:

“The Town of Hingham Scholarship Fund” consists of generous memorial donations from local residents and beloved family members.
These funds are provided through the permanent funding program that is managed by the Hingham Town Treasurer.

Outside Scholarships are available to our graduating class. These awards require separate applications and/or essays, and have different
deadlines and requirements. These scholarships are decided on by the individual scholarship.

As always, please reach out to your School Counselor for more information