Four Year Colleges

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 here.
  • 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 Naviance and google Common Data Set for a specific college (ie. the  2021-22 JMU 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. A majority of colleges in the US have “test optional” application policies. See or the university websites directly for specific details. Other schools require the SAT or ACT.

  • 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 are a member of the College Partnership Program). 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

Follow the transcript request process here.

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.

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).

Invite recommenders via email through the application process at least 3-4 weeks before the deadline. Be sure to use the address for teachers and school staff.

Step 6: College Visits

Register in Naviance to attend informational college visits in the CVHS College & Career Center every fall. Juniors and Seniors must communicate with their teacher about their absence. 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 Naviance regularly for scholarships vetted by FCPS. Review the weekly College and Career Center Corner newsletter and the Student Services Schoology course for scholarship opportunities and financial aid workshops.

Stop by the College & Career Center to explore options and ask questions.