Policies & Procedures

Portsmouth Abbey School's College Counselors are members of The New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and comply with the NACAC Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP).

  • In accordance with the SPGP, we will not endorse or support more than one Early Decision application and we will not endorse or support more than one admission deposit.
  • Students are expected to answer honestly all questions about disciplinary probations, suspensions, or expulsions that have occurred during their secondary school career. They should do so in consultation with their College Counselor. Any change in status (academic or disciplinary) that occurs during Sixth Form year will be reported by the College Counselor and should also be reported by the student.
  • Counselor Recommendations are, by Portsmouth Abbey School policy, a confidential communication between the counselor and the colleges to which a student is applying and will not be shared with the student or the student's family.
  • Advisory grades are, by Portsmouth Abbey School policy, not considered actual grades; rather they informal indicators of how a student is doing. We do not send advisory grades. Any students who feel that their applications would be strengthened by sending their advisory grades may do so themselves, after consulting with their counselor.

The following procedures are in place for processing transcripts and other supporting material:

The College Counseling Office sends transcripts and other supporting material to colleges before the application deadlines, following the schedule below; "sent" dates assume that the student has entered the college into Maia Learning in a timely manner:

  • Early decision, early action, rolling and other priority deadlines take precedence and are processed as quickly as possible.
  • January 1 deadlines - submitted before Christmas
  • January 15 deadlines - submitted no later than the first week of the New Year (usually earlier)
  • February 1 & February 15 deadlines - submitted no later than January 15 (usually earlier)
  • Transcripts and material requested after the first week in January are generally processed and submitted within two days

The College Counseling Office is responsible for sending the following:

  1. Completed Secondary School Report Form (SSR) - All Common Application forms are submitted electronically. For other schools, both electronic and paper, we have designed and use a Portsmouth Abbey School-specific SSR. This is common practice, particularly among prep schools, and does not disadvantage our students in any way.
  2. Transcript - listing  courses,  with  AP  and  honor  courses  designated  where  appropriate,  grades,  GPA  (per  year;  Portsmouth Abbey School  does  not  publish  a  cumulative  GPA)  and  academic  honors  and  awards  received. We  also  send  copies  of  transcript(s)  from  all  previous  secondary  schools. It is the responsibility of the family to be sure that our Academic Office has an official copy of previous transcripts before the beginning of Sixth Form Year.
  3. Counselor's Recommendation - a descriptive essay which is objective and positive, highlighting the student's personal as well as academic qualities, as well  as  social and extra-curricular activities. The counselor tries to convey the student's uniqueness. Sources for the essay are the self-evaluation questionnaire, advisors, teachers, parents, houseparents, and coaches comments.
  4. School Profile and Abbey at a Glance - describe Portsmouth Abbey School, requirements, grading system, courses, grade distribution, leadership and enrichment opportunities, and college placement record.
  5. Fall Term Grades and Mid-Year Report (MYR) - transcript showing fall grades and an additional short comment by the counselor when appropriate
  6. Winter Term Grades – on an “as asked for” basis.

Students are responsible for sending:

  1. Application - this will include biographical information as well as information about testing, family, activities, work experience, hobbies, and extra-curricular  activities (it is important  to highlight what you have done outside of your classes).
  2. Essay - the essay is very important. Be sure your essay is neat and well conceived. Proofread it yourself, and then have someone whose opinion you value proof read it for you. Your essay is your opportunity to tell the college about yourself. Your counselor will want to see your essay before you send it.
  3. Letters of Recommendation - (usually two) Students are responsible for requesting recommendations from teachers (by October 1 for all early deadlines; November 1 for all others). You must request the recommendation in person. Many teachers will ask for a resume or other information, so be prepared! We submit the letters.
  4. Scores – Students are responsible for having all standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, or TOEFL) sent to colleges. Test scores are not on your Portsmouth Abbey transcript. You must request score reports from the College Board, the ACT, or TOEFL, and make sure  to request those in advance of the application deadline.  It can sometimes take the testing companies 4-6 weeks to process those requests!
  5. Application fee – most  schools will accept a credit card; a few still require a check or money order. There are some schools which waive the application fee for on-line applications.