Four Year Colleges
Your path to an Undergraduate Degree
If your chosen path is a four-year college to pursue an undergraduate degree, plan to do the following:
- Attend Senior Information Night with your parents
- Schedule a senior interview with your counselor. Bring your completed Student and Parent Questionnaire forms, available in the document library on Family Connection.
- Follow the next steps to guide you through the application process
Step 1: Create Your College List
Research schools that match your personal criteria, including academic programs, campus life, size, setting, cost and selectivity. Use Scattergrams in Family Connection and google Common Data Set for a specific college (ie. the 2016-17 UVA report) to narrow your list of schools (the average is 7) to include:
- "Reach" schools - which ones stretch your academic and financial ability
- "Match" schools - which ones are likely to meet your needs and accept you
- "Safety" schools - which ones are you fairly certain would accept you
Step 2: Consider Standardized Tests
Look closely at the requirements for your selected schools. Over 815 colleges in the US have “test optional” application policies, including George Mason, James Madison, and George Washington Universities. See their websites directly for specific details. Other schools require the SAT or ACT and some require those tests with the writing section. A few selective schools also require SAT Subject Tests.
- Register online here for the SAT.
- Register online here for the ACT.
- Centreville High School’s CEEB Code is 470549.
Fee Waivers are available from the College & Career Center based on need (ie. if you are eligible for free or reduced-meals or receive public assistance)
Scores can be sent to 4 colleges as part of the registration fee. If you choose to send scores later, the cost is $12 per test per school.
If English is not your first language and you have been in the United States for less than 5 years, you might need to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to demonstrate English language proficiency. Fee waivers are available. Ask your counselor for more information.
Step 3: Request Transcripts
Pick up a Transcript Release Form from Student Services and return it with signatures and payment to Mrs. Young by the due date required (15 school days prior to the application deadline).
The first 3 transcripts are free. A $5 fee and two first class stamps are required for each additional transcript.
Seventh semester grades will be sent automatically in February for all schools on the Transcript Release Form
A final transcript will be sent to the college selected on the mandatory year-end Senior Survey completed each May
Step 4: College Applications
Keep track of application types and deadlines. Applications can be submitted through the college’s website, Common Application or Coalition Application. Fee waivers are available from your counselor for students who qualify based on need.
- Regular Decision – students submit an application by a specified date and receive a decision in a clearly stated period of time
- Rolling Admission – applications are reviewed as they are submitted and decisions are rendered throughout the admission cycle
- Early Action (EA) – students apply early and receive a decision well in advance of the college’s regular response date
- Early Decision (ED) – students make a binding commitment to a first choice college where, if admitted, they will definitely enroll. The application deadline and decisions occur early. Students can only apply to ONE school ED.
The personal statement and college essay responses should clearly reflect something unique about you. Nothing is optional if you want to submit a thorough application that demonstrates your point of view and personality. Use these opportunities to be authentic and mature and focus on a specific piece of your story, event, or experience. The CVHS English 12 curriculum will emphasize college essay writing in the beginning of the school year. Remember to edit, proofread, and repeat! Read it out loud, ask others to review it, and don’t rely just on spellcheck. Virginia School Deadlines
Step 5: Counselor and/or Teacher Recommendations
Speak with your counselor and/or teacher to request a recommendation. Provide any information they require (Student and Parent Questionnaire for counselors, often an activities resume for teachers).
Fill in the name of your recommenders on the Transcript Release Form.
Invite recommenders via email through the application process. Most letters can be uploaded by the recommender electronically. A few schools prefer teacher letters of recommendation in the mail, so in those cases provide a stamped, addressed envelope to your teacher.
Give recommenders a minimum of 3 weeks to write your letter
Step 6: College Visits
Register on Family Connection to attend informational college visits in the College & Career Center. Juniors and Seniors must have a signed pass from their teacher to attend. Click here for detailed instructions.
Visit a college campus to determine if it’s a good fit, preferably when classes are in session. Register for a tour and information session to get the most complete overview of the university.
Step 7: File the FAFSA & Apply for Scholarships
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid can help students secure grants, loans, and work-study funds for post-secondary education.
Online applications for FAFSA begin October 1. Check with individual schools for their preferred/priority/returning student deadlines.
CVHS hosts FAFSA workshops each year. Watch for notices from the College & Career Center or look for workshops on College Access Fairfax
Check Family Connection regularly for scholarships vetted by FCPS. Review the weekly Career Center Corner for scholarship opportunities and financial aid workshops.
Stop by the College & Career Center to get other resources for reputable scholarship and financial aid resources.