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 sophomore conferences with students and their parents to help them plan for post-secondary options.

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?

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.

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.

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 August 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:

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.