Student Services

College Planning & Information

Nicolet High School sends approximately 80% of graduates to four-year colleges and an additional 10% to two-year colleges. As freshmen, students will meet with their counselor to develop an individualized learning plan to map out their pathway for achieving their goals. Counselors also hold individual sophomore conferences with students and their parents to help them plan for post-secondary options. The following pages provide additional information to help students prepare for college.

Bigfuture - A comprehensive, interactive online resource that can help students plan for college.

4 Steps to College - Grade level breakdown for college planning.

Compass Guide - Learn more about planning and paying for college.

Guideline for College Planning - What students should be doing and when?

Resources in the Counseling Office - Are there also some books I can look at to help me?


How do I know which college is right for me? There is no one perfect college for anybody. Instead, for each student there are several colleges where he/she would feel very comfortable. It is important for students to realize that a great college for their best friend may not be the best college for themselves. The following are some factors which students should consider in selecting a college:

Location - In which states would you like to attend college? Do you want the campus to be located in a large city (urban) or in the open country (rural)?

Distance - Will you live at home? Do you want to be close enough so you can drive home on the weekends? Are you comfortable being very far away and only coming home once or twice during the school year?

Size/Enrollment - Are you going to be most comfortable at a college about the size of your high school or smaller? How would you like to be at a college with more than 30,000 students? Or are you looking for something in between the two?

Type of Institution - Is a two year or four year college best suited for your future goals? Should you attend a technical college or perhaps a liberal arts one?

Curriculum - Which colleges offer the major you are most interested in? What are the best colleges for your major?

Admission Statistics - Which colleges best match your academic qualifications in terms of grade point average and standardized test scores?

Social & Political Climate - Do you have enough self-discipline to be academically successful at a college where students are very active socially? Would you feel most comfortable at a college where the majority of students are liberal or conservative?

Religious Affiliation - Are you interested in attending a college with a specific religious affiliation? Would you prefer to attend a secular college?

Diversity - Are you interested in attending a Historically Black college? Would you like to attend a college with a significant minority percentage?

Cost - Is it best to stay in-state because of the lower tuition cost? Which colleges offer the best financial aid? Where is my best chance of receiving scholarships to attend that college?

Make an appointment to meet with your counselor to discuss all of these options and which ones might be best for you.


College admission committees look at various factors when deciding if a student should be accepted, denied, or waitlisted. Each college has a unique way of evaluating an applicant, but all will consider a student's academic record, test scores, and extracurricular involvement.

Academic Record

Grade Point Average (GPA) - the average of a student's semester grades. Grades earned during first semester freshman year through second semester junior year all count equally in determining the GPA. Nicolet students will be able to send either their weighted or unweighted GPA to colleges.

Class Rank - a method used to compare a student's academic performance to other members of the graduating class. The student with the highest GPA in the class is ranked number 1 and so on. To get a percentile rank, divide the student's rank by the number of students in the class.  Nicolet no longer uses a class rank.

Transcript - a document noting courses, grades, and credits for each semester in high school. The cumulative GPA and class rank are also included. Colleges use this document to look at the trend in grades and rigor of courses selected.

Test Scores

Most colleges will accept ACT or SAT test scores. These tests are usually taken in the spring of junior year and students have the option of taking the test more than once. Registration information is available in the counseling office or online ( Click on "ACT" or "SAT" below ). The best way to prepare for these college entrance exams is by doing practice problems because this allows students to become familiar with the instructions, test format, and types of questions they can expect on the actual tests.

ACT - This test contains four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading , and Science Reasoning. The scores from these sections are averaged to form a Composite score. Scores range from 1 (lowest) to 36 (highest), with a national average Composite score of 21. Students should answer each question because the ACT does not assess penalties for guessing.

** The ACT also has an optional writing section. Click here to look up which colleges require this section for admission. Students will have 30 minutes to respond to a given topic.

SAT- This test only has two scores: Reading & Writing, Math. These two scores are added to arrive at the combined score. Scores range from 200 (lowest) to 800 (highest) for each section.  The SAT no longer has an additional penalty for guessing.

SAT Subject Tests - These are one hour exams which test a student's knowledge in a specific area. One or more of these subject tests may be required or recommended by selective colleges.

Personal Profile

Essay - This is the students' chance to let the admission committee know about their strengths, interests, and experiences. Proper spelling and grammar is very important so students should have several people proofread their essay.

Letters of Recommendation - Some colleges require feedback from teachers and school counselors, while other colleges make the recommendations optional. These letters give valuable insight that goes beyond grades and test scores. Consider getting a letter from somebody outside the school setting as well.

Extracurricular Activities - This includes athletics, clubs, organizations, volunteer work, and paid jobs. Colleges are not interested in quantity, but in the quality of students' involvement in these activities.


The University of Wisconsin System starts accepting college applications on September 1st of a student's senior year. This is also a good guideline for other colleges as well. We encourage students to send their information out early to avoid missing deadlines or running into a problem when colleges fill up before the deadline date. Students wishing to have their application material sent prior to winter vacation should give everything to their counselor by December 1st . The application process works as follows:

1. College Application - the easiest way to apply to a school is through their website. Paper applications are also accepted by many colleges and should be given to your counselor upon completion.
2. Application Fee - this can be paid online with a credit card, or a check (made out to the college) can be sent with the application packet.
3. Essay and Resume - these are often times part of the application, but can be typed and printed on a separate page, even if you are applying online. Your counselor can send these for you as well.
4. Counselor Section - for online applications, you must print this section and give it to your counselor to complete or send them a web link to this page.
5. Transcript Request - transcripts are requested through Naviance for each school a student applies to in the counseling office and need to be completed for each school a student applies to.  Each transcript will be assessed a $5 fee that will be put on the students bill in the second semester of their senior year.
6. Letters of Recommendation - please make an appointment with the teachers you are asking to write letters of recommendation for you.  Teachers will write the letters and send them based on the application deadlines stated on your recommendation forms. Please give your teachers accurate deadlines to assure letters are sent in a timely manner.  You must enter the teacher's name in Naviance so they can upload and send their application.
7. ACT/SAT Scores - YOU must notify the testing company to send your scores directly to the colleges. Nicolet is not responsible for this part of your application. You can do this online at (ACT) or (SAT).


Counselors will send a counselor forms, transcripts, and additional materials to your colleges.  Watch your deadlines!


There are several different kinds of admission options students should consider when applying to college. The most common ones are:

  1. Early Decision - Students who are accepted to a college under this option must attend that college. Although applications may be submitted to other schools, only one may be under the early decision option. Furthermore, students must withdraw all other applications if accepted through the early decision option.
  2. Early Action - Students apply by an earlier deadline in order to receive an earlier decision from the college. This is not a binding decision so students can still decide if they want to attend that college or not.
  3. Regular Decision - Applications need to be submitted by a specified deadline. They will all be reviewed after this deadline and decisions will be sent out by a set date.
  4. Rolling Admission - Applications are reviewed as they are received. Students usually receive an admission decision within four to six weeks. Students generally benefit from applying early.
  5. Open Admission - Most two year colleges use this type of admission. Students are admitted to the school upon application.
After carefully reviewing students' applications, the college admission committees will send students a letter to inform them of their decision. Most responses are:
  1. Admit/Accept - Congratulations! The student has been granted the option of attending the college upon graduating from high school. Most colleges allow students until May 1st to decide if they will be attending.
  2. Deny/Decline - Unfortunately, the admission committee did not feel the student met the requirements to be academically successful at their college.
  3. Defer/Postpone/Wait List - The student is close to meeting the admission requirements, but the colleges would like more information before making a final decision. This usually includes grades from first semester of senior year and/or new ACT/SAT test scores. Admission committees review applications again in the spring and students can expect a final decision around April.


The following is a sampling of books can be helpful in the college search process and are available for review in the counseling office. Many of them can also be found at book stores in our area or ordered online.

Admissions Process:
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College - Edward Fisk
50 College Admissions Directors Speak to Parents - MacGowen & McGinty
College Admissions - A Crash Course for Panicked Parents - Rubenston & Dalby
Making it Into a Top College - Greene & Greene
A is for Admission - Hernandez
Opening College Doors - Ordovensky & Thornton
Getting In - Paul
Smart Parents Guide to College - Boyer
Your College Application - Gelband, Kubale, & Schorr
Playing the Selective College Admissions Game - Moll
Countdown to College - Schneider & Kalb
College Admissions: Cracking the System - Robinson & Katzman
How to Get Into College - Kaplan (Newsweek)
Campus Visits and College Interviews - Schneider
Student Athlete's Guide to College - Princeton Review

College Information and Reference:
College Handbook - The College Board
Four-Year Colleges - Peterson's
Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD - Peterson's
The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with L.D. or ADD - Princeton Review
Official Catholic College & University Guidebook - NCCAA
Hillel Guide to Jewish Life on Campus - Princeton Review
The Performing Arts Major's College Guide - Everett (ARCO)
Art Student's College Guide - Sweetow & Brown (ARCO)
The Black Students Guide to College - Beckham
America 's Black Colleges - Bowman
The Real Guide to Canadian Universities - Borins

College Recommendation Guides:
The Best 351 Colleges - Princeton Review
Fiske Guide to Colleges - Fiske
Rugg's Recommendations on the Colleges - Rugg
Colleges That Change Lives - Pope
The Gourman Report - Gourman

Majors and Careers:
Major Options - Basta
150 Popular Majors - The College Board
The College Majors Handbook - Fogg, Harrington, & Harrington
Careers in Art - Brommer & Gatto
Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes - Gottfredson & Holland

Cash for College - McKee & McKee
Scholarship Handbook - The College Board
The Scholarship Book - Cassidy

Study Guides for ACT, SAT, SAT subject tests, and most AP Tests are also available in the Counseling Department.