College Counseling

In the spirit of cura personalis, the members of Bellarmine’s College Counseling department are committed to helping you identify and apply to colleges that are good matches with regard to your aspirations, achievements, learning style, and needs. In order to reduce stress throughout the college search and application process, we strive to ensure that students and parents alike have the information that they need when they need it. We do so through the following methods:

  • Evening assemblies for parents
  • In-school presentations for students
  • Two-week College Guidance class in January of junior year, covering topics including testing, financial aid, and finding the right colleges
  • Individual and family meetings, from February of junior year through senior year
  • Intensive Senior Orientation assembly in August of senior year covering application procedures



When will I start college counseling?


Juniors will take the College Counseling course in the first eight days of their Social Justice classes in January. At that time, you will learn who your college counselor is (assigned alphabetically.) After the class, once your assignments are complete, you will begin working with your college counselor. Your family may join you for a meeting after the initial “get to know you meeting.”


What is the difference between the ACT and SAT?


ll colleges and universities accept both the SAT and ACT and do not prefer one test over the other, really! Both the SAT and ACT are standardized, timed tests.

The SAT is scored in three sections – Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. There is a sub-score for the Essay that students write. Each section is scored out of a possible 800, which means the highest possible score is a 2400. The SAT is a reasoning test, more about “how you know” things.

The ACT is scored in four sections – English, Math, Reading, and Science. The English/Writing section is optional and we strongly encourage our students to include this when taking the ACT. Writing is given a sub-score and the entire test is given a Composite (Average) Score. The highest possible score is 36. The ACT is about “what you know.”


When do I take an SAT, ACT or Subject Test?


Freshman – 1st Semester Juniors: We recommend that ONLY if you are enrolled (and doing well) in an Honors or AP that has a corresponding SAT Subject Test that you take it. We do not recommend taking an SAT Reasoning or ACT test before the 2nd semester of the Junior year.

2nd-Semester Juniors & Seniors: We recommend that you take either the SAT Reasoning or ACT with Writing, and in some cases both, and no test more than three times. We will give you the tools to decide which test (SAT or ACT) will be best for you, and recommend that you take your first in the 2nd semester of Junior year. Subject Tests are required by some private colleges and some programs at the University of California. We’ll work with you on the best tests to take when.


How and when do I send my test scores?


Students are responsible for sending their SAT or ACT scores to colleges and universities. All colleges and universities expect that students send all SAT scores – do not use the Score Choice service.

Students will log in to the website of either ACT or SAT and request that scores are sent to each college or university they are applying to. Reporting takes 2-3 weeks.

If students are applying to the CSU system, it’s one report to the common code. If students are applying to the UC system, it’s one report to one UC.


How and when do I request a transcript?


Freshmen – Juniors: See Ms. Toohey

Seniors: the Application Plan serves as your transcript request.


How and when do I request a letter of recommendation for a college application?


At Senior Orientation students are given a form necessary to complete the recommendation process. We recommend you talk to your teacher(s) in person at the start of the Senior year, and if they agree to write letters on your behalf, turn in the appropriate forms to them by the deadline.

Naviance is a web-based program used by Bellarmine’s Personal and College Counseling departments to help foster communication between students and counselors. You receive a personalized account at the outset of your freshman year and are encouraged to share this login information with your parents.

Naviance’s many features include a robust college search engine and other college research tools, information on scholarships and summer opportunities, online test preparation for ACT and SAT, and a resume builder.

Summertime News

January 18, 2019 Edition 











College Counselors & Staff

College Guidance