May 31, 2022

Postsecondary Counseling Newsletter

February 27th, 2024

10th graders and Families,

Elliot and I have been busy the last month working with the 10th graders during Advisory. We have done two postsecondary planning activities:

Lingo Bingo!

Students played bingo with postsecondary vocabulary terms in the squares on their cards instead of the traditional numbers. Parents/Caregivers: please take a moment to check out all of the terms we discussed and chat with your student about what they mean and how they feel relevant in your student's postsecondary planning journey.

Introduction to SCOIR & PrinciplesYou

Last Wednesday, sophomores were invited to join Scoir, our postsecondary planninng and application management software platform. Scoir also allows us to invite parents/caregivers join their student's account, so look for an invite to join Scoir shortly.

Students began the PrinciplesYou & Career Interest assesment within Scoir. These assessments provide a starting point that will help guide our conversations about LINK, high school courses, and postsecondary goals/plans. We will also reflect on these assessments during Sophomore Inspire Week, when we participate in our industry-sponsored service projects. Students will be able to request a service project that they feel aligns with their interests and aptitudes and afterward, we will reflect on how those interests and aptitudes played a role in each student's experience during the project. Parents/Caregivers, feel free to take a look at the slides from our lesson.

Timeline for 2024/25 Academic Planning/Course requests:

Next week - 2024/25 Course Catalog will be available for viewing by all current and prospective students & families

Next Week through May - Elliot and I will begin meeting with all 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students for individual academic planning meetings. During these meeting we will discuss:

  • Individual credit review and next steps for on-time graduation
  • Identifying electives that align with each student's interests and postsecondary goals/plans

Students will identify both a 1st and 2nd for each elective period. It is important to note that 12th grade is given first priority for course placement, followed by 11th, then 10th, then incoming 9th graders. While we do our best to place students in their 1st choice electives, it is not always possible. Please note that the order in which Elliot and I meet with students does not have an impact on their position in the queue for placement into their requested courses. Don't stress if we don't meet with you until late April or early May - everyone has an equal opportunity to be placed into their 1st choice electives.

Students interested in taking classes at Fort Lewis College in the Fall should complete this interest form.

Students will bring home a printed credit review/course request document after their meeting with Elliot or me for parent/caregiver review and signature. We will also have an electronic copy.

April - Juniors input course requests into IC with assistance from Erin & Elliot. Registration for continuing Dual enrollment students at FLC opens.

May - Registration for new Dual enrollment students at FLC opens.

TPOL Prep - current 9th and 10th graders will input course requests into IC with assistance from Erin & Elliot

Please reply directly to this email if you have questions!

AHS Application Case Study Workshop: learn about what colleges are looking for!

April 13th 9:00am-12:15pm @ AHS

What is an admissions case study? This is a workshop in which students and caregivers can learn about the holistic admissions process through the eyes of admissions officers. Participants are given applications submitted to a ficticious college by ficticious students to review as if they are the admissions officers. This workshop gives participants a better understanding of what holistic admissions means, which things are important in the application, and how to best present themselves and tell their whole story as a whole student through their extracurricular activities, work experience, interships, high school coursework, personal/life circumstances, and teacher/counselor recommendations. Students and their caregivers will also learn about institutional priorities and how they play a role in the admissions process.

This is also an extremely rare opportunity to meet college admissions officers from across the country in person, in Durango. Students interested in selective college admissions are strongly encouraged to attend.

Open to all grade levels and caregivers!

Register HERE


Do you feel unclear on whether the SAT will play an important role in college admissions by the time you or your student is a Senior? You're not alone. Colleges and Universities are also unclear and many of them are contradicting each other when it comes to policies and the justification of those policies. For the latest on this, check out this article from Inside Higher Ed, titled: 'The Future of Testing is Anything but Standardized.'

As a reminder, there are still over 1800 colleges and universities that are test optional for admission (many of them permanently). The important thing to remember is that test optional does not always mean without consequence. While not submitting test scores won't hurt a student's chances at a test optional school, it also won't help them (the absence of testing data won't be a negative in their application file, but it also won't provide any additional information that could help in terms of creating more context about a student).

So what should we do???

Sophomores will take the PSAT 10 on April 17th. I will be working with Sophomores in class on February 2nd to discuss the importance of the SAT and how we can use the PSAT to prepare. I will be providing guidance to students on how to access free SAT prep resources through Khan Academy and how to link their accounts to the College Board for customized test preparation.

Students should prepare for the SAT with the goal of setting themselves up for success in achieving the highest score they can. We want their SAT score to be a plus in their college application file. However, the decision to send the scores to colleges will be an individual one that I will provide advising around when the time comes. 

Upcoming College and Career Events

3/11: Grinnell College virtual visit @ lunch - Circulatory space

3/13: Spring Junior Postsecondary night @ AHS 5:30-7:30pm

3/14: Pacific Discovery Gap Year webinar (virtual) 12:00-12:45pm

4/3: 9th Grade Career site visit field trips

4/13: Admissions Case Study @ AHS 9:00am-12:00pm (9th-12th)

4/17: PSAT testing day (10th)

4/18: SAT testing day (11th)

4/19: PSAT testing day (9th)

4/24: Rising Seniors night

4/25-5/1: Sophomore Inspire Week (10th only)

5/1-5/21: LINK (Juniors only)

College & Career Events Calendar

Sunday, February 18, 2024, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM

2024 Spring February Virtual College Fair  More Info

Sunday, March 24, 2024, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM

2024 Spring March Virtual College Fair  More Info

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM

2024 Spring April Virtual College Fair  More Info

Summer planning

Two weeks ago during Advisory, we discussed how you will spend your summer. We explored the following questions:

  • Why is it important to do something in the summer?
  • What does it mean to do something enriching?
  • Why is it important to do something enriching?

Please take a look at these slides for answers to these questions and links to lots of summer opportunities.

Also see below for several local employment & internship opportunities!!

Financial Aid, Scholarships & paying for college

This podcast episode from the College Essay Guy on the basics of paying for college is an excellent introduction - give it a listen!

Podcast: A Crash Course in Paying for College & Common Affordability Myths

Also check out these other two episodes on colleges that are most generous with financial aid:

What Colleges Want Podcast Series

Listen: What Colleges Want: A 9-Part Podcast Series on the Factors Colleges Deem Important

 In this 9-episode podcast series, you’ll learn: 

  • Which factors in admission decisions are most important to colleges?
  • What are the main things for students to keep in mind when planning high school courses?
  • What exactly are "positive character attributes” and how do students show them in their application?
  • How has the emphasis on essays changed and how can students stand out in 2024?
  • Demonstrated Interest: What is it, which colleges care about it, and how do you show it?
  • Crash courses on recommendation letters, extracurricular activities, and more

Interested in or curious about a Gap Year?

Attend this virtual session (open to Parents and Caregivers too!) during lunch on March 14th with Amber Latimer about Gap Years and opportunities.Use this link to access the meeting

This show is a great way to build your knowledge bank about colleges!

The wait is over! The much-anticipated Season 9 of The College Tour is now available on Amazon Prime Video. This season celebrates diversity and inclusivity, showcasing students with unique backgrounds and goals.

The viewers will explore majors like Business Administration, Life Science, Civil Engineering, Literature, and more, all while taking campus tours of outstanding colleges and universities across America and hearing students share their authentic stories and the impact that higher education had on them.

Join our host, Alex Boylan, on this exciting journey through the vibrant world of modern college life.

The College Tour



Check out this rad video for a glimpse of the fun

Rotary Club of Durango Daybreak

RYLA Coordinator (John Angst, 252-639-0770, [email protected]) - Email for an application!

Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA) is a FREE program to assist high school students in developing leadership skills. The program centers on an intense, professionally led, 3-day leadership training retreat. Rotary District 5470 (covering the western and southern portions of Colorado) holds its retreat weekend in early June and will be hosted in Leadville, Colorado this year from June 13-16, 2024. 

What Happens at the Leadership Retreat Weekend? The RYLA Retreat weekend provides a series of professionally developed presentations and activities that takes participants through a process of assessing their personal leadership characteristics and behavioral styles, and understanding the ethics of leadership and setting personal goals. The activities also focus on building interpersonal skills by asking participants to work effectively with diverse peers to resolve conflict and to build consensus through collaboration. There will be many hands-on activities in addition to some traditional classroom style training throughout the event. 

How much does RYLA Cost? RYLA is free to all participating students. The RYLA program is sponsored by the various Rotary Clubs and local businesses from around District 5470.  Transportation is also provided to and from RYLA.

How are students selected to participate? Students are competitively selected by their local Rotary Club and awarded the opportunity to attend based upon their academic, extracurricular and service-based accomplishments.  Nomination forms can be  provided by your local Rotary Club. Most clubs sponsor between two and four students each year. 

Who should attend RYLA? RYLA is designed to take students who have already shown a commitment to excellence and service, to the next level of leadership capacity.  Successful applicants are in good standing at school and are actively involved with clubs, sports teams, or community groups. 

What else is RYLA? The RYLA program is an opportunity to meet other kids and to build friendships with fellow student leaders from around the state, as well as getting to know the Rotarian leaders in your community. Rotary is based on a foundation that Fellowship and Goodwill creates opportunities for service that will make our communities and the world a better place. An important part of RYLA is building these relationships – and most clubs will meet with students after the retreat to follow-up on what was learned at the retreat and how to apply that leadership in school, family, and friends.

Apply at

Interested in Health Care?

Register for the Colorado AHEC HOPE program! Montly virtual education sessions that culminate in the opportunity to attend a free, week-long summer institute in Colorado Springs or Denver! You only have to attend 3 sessions total to qualify for the summer institute. Register HERE

SUMMET program - apply now!

The Summer Multicultural Engineering Training (SUMMET) program is an engineering, science and technology program designed for rising juniors and seniors who are from underrepresented populations, including ethnic and racial minorities, women and first-generation prospective college students as well as students with demonstrated financial need.

SUMMET combines non-accredited coursework, hands-on projects, team building activities and social events. SUMMET provides exposure to the lifestyle, opportunities and challenges of college and is designed to help build skills and experiences for a smooth transition from high school to college. SUMMET is a one-week residential program, allowing participants to live on campus for the duration of the program, experience life as a college student and participate in STEM-related curriculum instruction.

This program is available at no cost to participants with the exception of a $50 confirmation fee for students accepted into the program. Transportation to and from the program is not included in the cost and is currently the responsibility of participants. For more information, check out the SUMMET website.


SUMMET Session Dates

June 2- June 7, 2024: Session I

June 9 – June 14, 2024: Session II

June 23 – June 28, 2024: Session III

On the application, please indicate which week you would like to attend.

Three Step Application Process

1. Click the application button below and submit an application by 11:59 P.M. MST on March 1, 2024.


2. Students must meet a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.3 and upload your current, unofficial high school transcript.

3. Provide answers to each of the short response questions on their application.


Apply Now

Interested in playing sports in college?

Last month, the Eligibility Center hosted a series of webinars. Staff provided overviews of NCAA requirements for high school counselors and administrators and initial-eligibility requirements for student-athletes. Click below for the specific webinar you would like to watch or share.

Erin Cummins-Roper (she/her)

Dean of Career & College Counseling  

Animas High School |Tel: (970) 247-2474 | x2272 | Cell: 970-903-1617 

Schedule an appointment with me!

Office hours:

T/TH 1:00pm-3:00pm

Fridays: 9:00am-12:00pm

Financial aid and scholarship help every Friday 12:00pm-3:00pm

Animas High School prepares all students for college and postsecondary success by creating critical thinkers and engaged citizens through an innovative, student-centered, project-based curriculum. We accomplish this through:
Rigorous academics, where all students are prepared for college success
Culture of excellence, where students are held to high expectations
Strong student-faculty relationships, where students are well known.
Engaging learning, where students see the relevance in their education

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