Message from Mr. Hewitt, 3/20

Dear Palm Valley Families,

As our Seniors head into the season of decision letters, and Juniors begin the college research process in earnest, I wanted to reach out to you with some resources, events, and items that may be of interest.

This year, Palm Valley is continuing with our Spring Speaker Series on College Admission. We kicked off two weeks ago with the University of La Verne discussing some of the differences between public and private colleges. Last week Emerson College talked about studying the arts in college, and how to make a career out of your arts degree. Upcoming presenters include Pomona College and NYU. Topics will include holistic review and college essays.

We have also started a new Career Days program this year, and I offer my thanks to the members of the Palm Valley community who have volunteered their time to speak with our students about their own career trajectories. If you’re interested in participating, please let me know.

Upcoming Events
Spring means it’s time for the (free) regional NACAC Fairs! These are all great opportunities to meet representatives from hundreds of schools, and I highly recommend that families take advantage of these opportunities. Some upcoming fairs include (please follow the links for more details and to register):

Attending these fairs has always been one of my favorite parts of this job. These fairs can provide you with information about programs you’ve never heard of - as well as connect you with admissions officers who might one day be reading your applications.

Standardized Testing
For Juniors, it’s time to put the Testing Plans you made back in October to good use. You can register for the ACT at, and for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests at International students who plan to take the TOEFL can register at and for the IELTS, can register at

Registration Deadline for the May 5th SAT: April 6th
Registration Deadline for the June 2nd SAT: May 3rd
Registration Deadline for the June 9th ACT: May 4th
Registration Deadline for the July 14th ACT: June 15th

Junior families should all have access to Naviance at this point. If you’re having trouble accessing your account, please let me know. In Naviance, families can view the list of schools their student is considering, scattergrams showing previous admissions data, average net prices for tuition, and other statistics. In addition, families can view the Journal section to see my notes on student meetings.

Net Price Calculators
Affordability, or “financial fit” as some counselors call it, is increasingly becoming part of the college search and application process. One tool which I recommend all families utilize is the Net Price Calculator. A Net Price Calculator provides an estimate of actual costs, as opposed to the “sticker price,” of attending a given institution. Each college makes its own Net Price Calculator, and they are usually available on the Admissions, Financial Aid, or Tuition and Fees page of a college website. The results are not exact, and don’t guarantee a financial package of the equivalent amount, but can provide a ballpark estimate based on income, assets, and sometimes student achievement.

Reading Corner
Last but not least, I’m always digging through articles on higher education in various journals, newspapers, and on Twitter, and often come across things that make me pause and think - or that are just plain helpful.

National Survey of Student Engagement: “What Types of Questions Should We Ask Admissions Officers”
US News & World Report: “How US News Calculated the 2018 Best College Rankings”

Mr. Hewitt
Director of College Counseling