High School Placement – November 20

Please let me know if you have any questions: Erin Stoller, estoller@sdfrenchschool.org
Also please note that I am part-time, working Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays.

Thank you! Most of you and your 8th graders are well on your way with high school applications and have identified possible pathways. If you are stuck, anxious, and/or need assistance, please let me know. We can email, set up a phone or zoom meeting, I can proofread and brainstorm about essays, help students prepare for interviews, etc.

One suggestion:
No matter what your high school pathway might be, I would like to encourage you to take intentional time over the next several months to create opportunities for your 8th graders to take baby steps toward becoming more independent. It’s important for them to feel CAPABLE of managing some aspects of their life and making some of their own decisions, but they need to PRACTICE these skills and have your confidence in their ability to do so as a foundation. In high school there will new freedoms and responsibilities, the need for more self-advocacy, weighing options, making good decisions and mistakes, prioritizing, balancing homework/fun/health/friends/family, etc. I encourage you to practice letting go in tiny ways now, allowing your 8th graders to have a voice and take responsibility, for example, setting own alarm and getting up, learning how to do laundry, budgeting, groceries, basic cooking and cleaning…perhaps consider having a family meeting to discuss these shifts? Fair and reasonable boundaries and logical consequences are still important, too, but perhaps reached by discussion, collaboration, negotiation. We as parents need to stay involved and engaged, as we also, sometimes heartbreakingly, loosen the reins.

As you finalize where to apply, and where to attend if you have multiple offers of admission, please consider attending a school’s virtual college info night or other events via zoom. (Check their website!) This will give you a bird’s eye view on some of the students, staff members (and probably alumni) and tone of the conversation around student and parent support, in addition to giving you a sneak-peek into the college application process and campus life.


Interviews: If you would like help with interview preparation, please let me know when your interviews are scheduled so I can book a zoom session with you to provide support on interviews and essays.

Interview tips

NEW LINK!! Common High School Interview / Essay Questions 

COVID-19 year: Lastly, this year, there is a larger number than usually of students applying to private schools, so getting in will be more competitive. Please consider having a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, including a public high school.

Recommendations and work samples: Please request recommendations as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.

If the school you are applying to requires samples of work (writing and math) please be aware that your teachers will receive one link for the recommendation and a different one to upload the work after report cards come out.

Requesting Recommendations – If you are applying to any private schools you will need to request recommendations in addition to completing the student/family portion of your application. Usually high schools ask for a Math, English, and Administrator recommendation. Whenever possible, we advise that the students ask their teachers/administrators for this directly, by email, on zoom, or in person, depending on the student. Here are the email addresses to type into the online application system – most schools use Ravenna. Once you type in the email address in Ravenna and click the button, the teachers will receive the link to complete the recommendation.

Please note:

  • Ms. Cohen and Mr. Giot will collaborate on Math Recommendations.
  • Ms. Mitchell and Mme Addo will collaborate on English recommendations.
  • Ms. Stoller, Mme Addo, Mr. Rosenblum and advisors will collaborate on Admin recommendations.

Please be mindful of deadlines and the time it takes for teachers to write complete, thorough, and thoughtful recommendations by requesting all recommendations by November 13 at the very latest, so that we can submit them in a timely manner, ideally prior to our break in December. Please see note below about Cathedral.

Test as part of thee application process Most San Diego area private high schools will not require the ISEE exams as part of the application process this year. This includes Bishop’s, Parker, Pacific Ridge, and La Jolla Country Day, so far. Grauer continues to NOT require the ISEE.

–The Catholic high schools traditionally require the HSPT, a different test. Ask the school to be sure.

–Some private schools may ask for the CSS Character Snapshot. https://www.ssat.org/pages/character-skills-snapshot



Most public and private schools are only doing virtual tours and open houses right now. This could change so be sure to check the admission page and do an “inquiry” sign up on the websites of schools you are interested in. Public schools are now closed, and will be slower to re-open so it is unlikely that there will be any in-person tours this fall.

Pacific Ridge, Grauer, Bishop’s, Parker, La Jolla Country Day, OLP and Saints are all doing virtual tours for now. Please go to their websites to sign up. Cathedral is offering in person tours. Please go to their website to sign up.

Mission Bay High School Virtual Tours

New! IB Diploma Program Course Pathways 2020 – 2021

Tracy Borg, the International Baccalaureate Coordinator at Mission Bay will host Future Tour Dates: December 10, January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May TBD.

All attendees will be asked to turn their camera on while in the waiting room and provide a full name on the zoom.

For more info please contact Tracy Borg tborg@sandi.net

There will also be a new parent “articulation night” on December 10th at 6:00 p.m. about graduation requirements and selecting courses for each grade level. Zoom link to follow.

La Jolla High School — will not be doing tours in person but will have a video soon.

La Jolla High School Q & A Session
Thanks to the many of you who attended the Q & A Session on Tuesday, October 27.
If you missed it, here is a recording: LJHS Q & A Recording – Password: FZ%s@7aV

LJHS Academic Handbook for more details about courses.

LJHS Profile

Cathedral Catholic Cathedral Catholic High School evening presentations by the Admissions Team, on Zoom.
Topics include Admissions, Academics, Athletics, College Planning Tuition Assistance, Scholarships and Q&A. Register on the Ravenna portal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 6:00 – 7:00pm

A particularity about applying to Cathedral: You will not be able to send the actual recommendation requests to teachers until December 14, when the links for Transcript & Recommendation requests will be posted by Cathedral in their Ravenna portal. However, please DO let the teachers know ahead of time that you will be applying to Cathedral, and then please set a reminder in your calendar to go back and send the link on December 14. (Teachers are aware of this difference for Cathedral.)

Cathedral is not asking for applicants to take the HSPT this year. However, they will ask applicants to take a placement test, date TBC in 2021. Because in normal years they DO ask applicants to take the HSPT, we anticipate that their placement test will probably be based on the HSPT, if you would like to use the attached resources to prepare.

Cathedral’s Interview sign-ups will be enabled in January 2021.

The weekly newsletter that Cathedral sends out to prospective families every Friday will have the most up to date information about family interview sign-ups, requesting recommendation letters and transcripts. The information on their website will also give updated information regarding the assessment test for 9th-grade applicants. The testing date will be updated in the Ravenna portal once it has been confirmed. (Do not be concerned by the “not complete” and “additional steps” notifications about the HSPT that you receive via Ravenna. For additional information contact cbui@cathedralcatholic.org

OLP – https://www.aolp.org/admission/

Fusion Academy offers one-on-one classes (open in a hybrid model now), with a very personalized, customized schedule for each individual student. Campus in Solana Beach and UTC, San Diego. https://www.fusionacademy.com/campuses/san-diego. This is a private school.

Grauer Discover Grauer Days:  Will be in-person and online (hybrid). The number of in-person participants at these events is limited to 12 and once that limit is reached for that specific date, registration will only be open for an online experience. November 19; December 2; January 7; January 13; January 22; January 28; February 10; February 25. For more info: oliviakleinrath@grauerschool.com

Pacific Ridge, Bishop’s, Parker, La Jolla Country Day, are all doing virtual tours for now. Please go to their websites to sign up.


Cathedral and OLP are NOT requiring the HSPT after all as part of their application.
Both will require their own placement test in January or February, but they have not yet set dates.
Saints is requiring the HSPT and have doubled merit-based scholarship award amount from $5k to $10k a year for top 10 HSPT scorers.



HSPT 300 words to know for High School

HSPT Practice Test 1

HSPT Practice Test 2


The I.B. is offered at San Diego High School, Mission Bay High School in San Diego, and further north at La Costa Canyon, Vista, and San Guajome. It is a very robust academic, college preparatory curriculum for free at these public schools. Many colleges give credit for IB classes / passing IB exams. Doing the IB looks good on college applications because it is a known, rigorous curriculum. It is not for everybody – it is very challenging, writing intensive, and has cumulative exams at the end of 12th (and sometimes 11th) Grade. The program is complex – please let me know if you wish to talk about it in detail. Learn more about the IB here:
IB General
IB College Admissions (video)


Academic Fit and Style; Public/Private/Religious; Location/Commute; Cost; Community; Diversity in all its forms; Athletics; Arts; Co-Curricular opportunities; Class Size; Size of School; Availability of individual support; College admission results; Mission and Philosophy; Programs – AP, IB, etc,; Classes available…and the intangible – how do you feel on campus? Can you imagine “living” here for the next four years? Even more difficult this year to know, as visits may not be possible.

Know that completing the SDFAS Middle School program will prepare you for any high school program you end up choosing. 

Know that you are making a 4-year commitment and the way things look right now is not the way they will look a year from now…

–Most San Diego area private high schools will not require the ISEE exams as part of the application process this year. This includes Bishop’s, Parker, Pacific Ridge, and La Jolla Country Day, so far. Grauer continues to NOT require the ISEE.

–The Catholic high schools traditionally require the HSPT, a different test, but they are still coming to an agreement about whether or not to require it this year. Ask the school.

–Some private schools may ask for the CSS Character Snapshot. https://www.ssat.org/pages/character-skills-snapshot

Each school is taking its own approach, and we know that things can change rapidly, pending Covid-19 data and directives from the county and state, so please be proactive with the schools you are interested in.
Most application windows will open October 1. Please keep me informed of your plans, and consider having a Plan A, B and C, to cover all the bases.

**In Case you have missed it** HIGH SCHOOL INFO NIGHT RECORDINGS

High School Info: Part 1 – Nuts & Bolts

Recording of our first High School Info event: HS Info Part 1 Nuts & Bolts, Passcode: nv4L&.jj (Heads up! You need to type in the passcode exactly – please cut/paste  – the last two letters are small j’s)

Please also see the accompanying slide deck from the webinar for reference, data, and information: Slide Deck

High School Info: Part 2 – Alumni Panel

Thank you for the many who attended this week’s event.

Here is the link to watch the recording if you missed it:

2020 Alumni Panel Recording – Access Passcode: q9T0F.jw