Friday, April 13, 2018

Dear Juniors:

Spring of your junior year is a great time to start taking college tours.  Although I recognize it is easy to tour a campus online, there is nothing better than a campus tour when you are trying to get a feel for the college or university.  All colleges and universities offer campus tours.  The advantage to visiting a college or university in the spring is that classes are in session, which will give you an opportunity to talk to students.

To sign up for a tour, click the Admissions tab of the college or university you would like to visit and you will see a link to schedule a visit.  This time of the year, colleges and universities typically offer tours one Saturday per month.  Below are the links to schedule tours at each of Connecticut’s state universities.

Western Connecticut State University

Southern Connecticut State University

Eastern Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University

University of Connecticut

When visiting a college, follow the steps below:

·      Be prepared.  Research the school’s programs, faculty-student ratio and educational mission.
·      Read while you wait.  Once you arrive on campus, check out the bulletins, pick up a copy of the college newspaper and grab a few brochures from the admissions office.
·      Ask questions.  Be sure to create a list of questions before the tour and have them available the day of the tour.
·      Talk to students.  Some of your best feedback will come from the students who are actually at the college!  Visit the campus coffee shop or commons and ask students what the campus is really like.
·      Talk to the tour guide.  Your tour guide will be an actual student at the college you are visiting, so be prepared to ask questions.
·      After the tour.  Write down five impressions of the school.  Consider the campus personality, diversity of the student body, the size of the lecture hall and student interaction.  These little mental reminders will help you compare colleges later.

Good luck preparing for your senior year.  If you have any questions or need further assistance, please see your school counselor.

Kind regards,

Vikki Carlson
Department Head for Secondary Schools, School Counseling

Friday, November 17, 2017

7 Mistakes That Could Cost Students Federal Aid

Millions of parents and students fill out the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) every year, but making one mistake can cost families thousands of dollars.  To begin with, filing as close to the October 1st annual debut as possible is vital for families to get maximum financial aid.  Here is how to help your family get the most financial aid and to avoid these seven common mistakes:

1.     Not Filling Out the FAFSA:  Families often think they make too much money to qualify for federal student aid.  If you do not fill out the FAFSA, you’re telling the school you don’t want their financial help.  FAFSA is the first step in applying for most scholarships and university grants, which can have much higher income limits than Pell Grants.
2.     Being Afraid of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:  Because of the Equifax data breach, families are scared to use electronic tools with financial information.  The IRS Data Retrieval Tool that will import 2016 tax data into the form is easy to use and is highly secure.
3.     Waiting Too Long to File:  Financial aid such as university and state grants can be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.  With the relatively new October 1st debut date for the 2018-2019 academic year, schools have the option to award financial aid packages months earlier than in past years. 
4.     Not Naming Enough Schools:  You can choose up to 10 schools to receive your financial aid information.  Pick 10.  Why is this important?  If a school is not on your list and you do end up choosing the school, you will get financial aid behind other students who named their school on the FAFSA form when first filing.  If you don’t have 10 schools you’re considering among your final choices, add schools from your maybe list or a school that’s a bit of a reach academically or financially.
5.     Not Listing State Schools First:  Some state schools will give more aid to the students who listed their college at the top of the list. 
6.     Not Being Prepared:  When you sit down to fill out the FAFSA form, you may experience delays if you don’t have all your information ready.  Parents and students should create a user ID and password for the student and each parent beforehand.  Parents should also gather financial records from brokerage accounts, bank accounts, 529 plan accounts and information on their real estate.
7.     Paying to File the FAFSA:  The first “F” in FAFSA stands for free.  There is no fee for completing the FAFSA.  If you are asked to pay to complete the FAFSA, you are on the wrong website.  The correct site is

If you have any questions, please contact your school counselor.  Good luck! 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dear Seniors and Parents/Guardians:

On Monday, November 20th representatives from Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) will be available in our media center to help you complete your student’s FAFSA.  This assistance is available to all students regardless of the school they plan to attend.  There will be two counselors (one Spanish speaking) available from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  If you are interested in receiving help with the FAFSA, please call your school counselor to make an appointment with a WCSU representative on November 20th.

Students and families should come prepared with their 2016 income tax information, 2016 tax returns, W-2s and social security numbers.  We encourage each student and one parent/guardian to set up their FSA ID at in advance of November 20th.  If you are unable to do this, the representatives from Western Connecticut State University can assist you with this also.

If you have any questions, please contact your student’s school counselor.

Kind regards,

Vikki Carlson
Department Head, School Counseling

Monday, August 14, 2017

Welcome Back Letter

Welcome Back, Danbury High School Students!

The DHS School Counseling Department is excited to introduce our new website.  Our new design was created with our families, staff and communities in mind.  Our hope is that information is easy to find, accurate and easy to understand.

Take a few minutes to look around to find where the information you find most valuable is located.

We hope your school year has gotten off to a good start!