Policies & Procedures
Below are some guidelines regarding procedures and the timeline for the college application process.
- Ethical Practices
- Procedures and Important Dates
- Student Responsibilities
- College Counseling Responsibilties
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 Guide to Ethical Practices.
- In accordance with the Ethical Practices, 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 disciplinary status that occurs during Sixth Form year should also be reported by the student to the college if that college requires it.
- If a student has a change in status (withdrawal, leave of absence), the student should report that change to colleges where he/she has applied. The College Counselor will follow up with each college to confirm receipt of the new information.
- Counselor and teacher recommendations are, by Portsmouth Abbey School policy, a confidential communication between the counselor/teacher 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
- 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).
- 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.
- Recommendation Letter Request- (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. The College Office submits those teacher letters to individual colleges.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Teacher Recommendations-an insight into the student's academic work.
- School Profile - describes Portsmouth Abbey School, requirements, grading system, courses, grade distribution, leadership and enrichment opportunities, and college placement record.
- Fall Term Grades and Mid-Year Report (MYR) - transcript showing fall grades and an additional short comment by the counselor when appropriate
- Winter Term Grades – on an “as asked for” basis.
NOTE: CEEB CODE 400130; TEST CENTER CODE 40180