College & Career Planning

College planning post it notes


School Profile

The school profile is a document utilized by college admission representatives to understand who we are as a high school. Our profile gives key information about our school, curriculum, programs, and students, in an aim to make sure colleges understand the type of school environment our students have been a part of in their pursuit towards a college education. It also specifically serves to help communicate the higher expectations we have and the rigorous courses we offer. This document is created in September of each school year in preparation for Fall and Winter college deadlines.

Class of 2015-2018

ICS Graduation Requirements VS. College Admission Requirements Comparison 

Class of 2019+

ICS Graduation Requirements VS. College Admission Requirements Comparison 

Your High School Record - How to prepare for college as a high school student


Post-High School Planning at ICS

Just getting started on the process of looking into post-high school planning, but don't know where to start?

Check out all the neat activities your counselors will be putting on here at ICS.

Group of student standing in front of building

Freshman Meetings

In Fall of students 9th grade year, every freshman student will meet in large groups with our principal and our college and career counselor to get to know high school at ICS. We cover a 4-year planning timeline and tips, strategies, and resources for helping students be successful at ICS academically.

Junior Meetings

Ms. Cummings, your awesome college and career counselor, hosts her annual Junior Meetings in February each year. These meetings are an opportunity for juniors and their parents to meet with the counselor in small groups to talk about post-high school planning and senior-year planning. We give students a folder of information so they can start getting organized around their goals and be prepared for whatever plan they are looking to pursue. Every student is required to attend the meeting, but for parents it is optional. Meeting topics consist of getting started on researching options, how applications work, ICS letter of recommendation process, thinking about senior year, etc.

Senior Meetings

In August, just before senior year begins, students are required to attend their Senior Meetings. For these, each student individually meets with me so I can assess their planning progress and help them identify what direction to go next, as well as how I will be supporting them during senior year. Each meeting will be 1 hour long and parents are welcome to attend. These meetings help ICS make sure students are prepared for their senior year before the school year even begins. We talk about where they are at in the research stage, timeline, how to get letters of recommendation as it pertains to their current situation, senior courses and planned class schedule, and any questions students or parents may have about planning. I also invite students to meet with me throughout the Fall to help them with anything they need in the post-high school planning process while they are in the middle of it.

SOHO Hours (Senior Office Hours Only)

During the Fall and early-Winter, Ms. Cummings hosts her senior office hours. These are specific times available for seniors to drop-in and ask questions, get help with essays or applications, work on scholarships, etc. Students do not need to make an appointment for SOHO. Times vary from year to year and student will be notified at their senior August meetings of the schedule for the current times and days.

Financial Aid Presentation

Each year, Ms. Cummings hosts a financial aid presentation at ICS for students interested in perusing college or higher educational opportunities after high school. Often held during the mid-winter, a presentation is given by a financial aid specialist from one of our local colleges. The presentation covers everything from how to get started and considerations along to the way, to what you'll need to know when. We also include some background into public and private scholarships and FAFSA information.

College Visits

Don't forget to come see the fabulous college representatives AND admission counselors that visit our school each year in the Fall from a wide variety of universities. Throughout the Fall we host college reps from schools all over the country in an attempt to give our students an easy opportunity to get to know some great universities, practice asking questions and talking to reps, and begin thinking about their post-high school goals. Please encourage your student to check out the bulletin board in the hallway to the lyceum to note dates, times, and colleges that will be visiting our campus. I would encourage students to check-out colleges they are unfamiliar with, as well as ones they are, to get a sense of all types of opportunities available. Students can attend for a few minutes or talk to them for their whole 30-minute stay and they can bring their lunch if it’s a lunch visit. Visits are held during specific lunches and after school times in the office conference room. We encourage all grade-level students to attend.

A schedule will be continually updated starting in September each year reflecting dates and times. The list will be posted on one of the bulletin boards in the hallway to the lyceum and will also be sent to all students via their school emails.

College Planning Day

Each year in late March our fabulous counselors, Ms. Christiansen and Ms. Cummings, take every junior ICS student to the Washington Council's College Planning Day. This is full day field trip where students take time to attend four seminars of their choice from a list of many of Washington's public and private colleges. Representatives from each school are present to give presentations and answer questions. In recent years we have attended the College Planning Day at the University of Washington: Bothell and in the 2016-2017 school year we will be continuing with the location.

Alumni Panel (Winter)

Every other year, our school hosts invites 6-8 graduates of ICS to return to our school and out on an assembly for our students. Graduates share their experiences about life after high school, their current activities and goals, and tips and tricks for how students at ICS can prepare for post-high school planning. For the 2016/2017 school year, we will be hosting the assembly on December 16th at the end of the school day. All students are invited and I know our graduates look forward to sharing their experiences.

Senior Panel (Spring)

In the Spring of each academic year, Ms. Cummings organizes a panel of 5-7 seniors to give juniors the inside scoop on what post-high planning will look like as it relates to college applications and planning. This event is specifically for junior grade level students and is most often held in our ICS library. Ms. Cummings will inform students when this opportunity is scheduled.

Scholarship Workshops

Once per month, our college and career counselor hosts a brief scholarship workshop for students. It is a drop-in opportunity that highlights the scholarship process, how-to’s, do’s and don’ts, resources, and an opportunity to get started. Most workshops are usually held in the main office conference room or resource room between 2:15pm and 2:45pm. Currently only junior and senior students are invited, but I will extend the invite to other grade levels starting in February of each academic year. Parents are welcome to join as well starting in February if they RSVP with me prior to the workshop date. I hope students will be encouraged to check it out! The next meeting dates and times tentatively scheduled are January 12th, February 27th, March 17th, April 19th, and May 9th. After school from 2:15pm-2:45pm. Wednesdays from 12:15-12:45pm.

Resume Building

Ms. Cummings facilitates resume building through Career Cruising and in personal interactions with students. Students will work on these through Career Cruising in one homeroom each year from 9th-11th grade. If students need further time to ask questions, edit, get feedback, or anything else, they can make an appointment to see Ms. Cummings when available and work on their resumes individually. Students can get helps year-round with resumes.

Virtual College and Campus Tours

Browse colleges and universities via virtual tours with the link below! Each school features a student-led virtual representation of the campus and what the college or university has to offer. This website highlights all kinds of college/university campuses including, liberal arts, art schools, ivy leagues, small and rural, private, public, and more.

Take a Virtual Tour Here

ICS College Planning Discussion Night - 2018

Thank you to our panelists and facilitator for a great discussion. View a recording of the session.

Below is the list of resources discussed during the session:


  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018
  • Colleges That Change Lives-Loren Pope
  • 25 Months Until College-Judy McNeely
  • Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be-Frank Bruni
  • Excellent Sheep-William Deresiewicz
  • How To Raise An Adult-Julie Lythcott-Haims


Post-High School Planning

Exploring Careers

Explore Careers

Last year, Lake Washington School District implemented our new High School and Beyond Plan program, Career Cruising. This program gives students the opportunity to search for careers and explore their interests in an easy to use way. Each of our students already has access to this program through their PowerSchool page and can work on career exploration at their own pace and in their own way.
For more information visit our High School and Beyond Plan Page.
Find and research career opportunities -

Career Happiness wheel


College Research and Exploration

Community College & Tech School

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Financial Aid and Paying for College

Grants and Scholarships

Student Loan Report - A Guide to Educational Loans

Qualifying for Financial Aid

The first step in obtaining money to help pay for college is to apply for the money by completing financial aid application forms. These include the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (if required), and other forms required by colleges and universities.

The FAFSA is used to apply for student financial aid from the federal government, the state government and most colleges and universities. It is the main gateway form for obtaining need-based student aid. Even some merit-based scholarship programs may require applicants to complete the FAFSA, usually to ensure that students receive all the need-based aid to which they are entitled. The FAFSA is also a prerequisite for obtaining low-cost federal education loans

The FAFSA should be completed by students and their families online as soon as possible after October 1 of their senior year in high school, using prior-prior tax year information. The FAFSA can be accessed online from FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) at

Who Gets Federal Student Aid? -

Federal Student Aid Eligibility Infographic -



College Admission Essays

SAT/ACT/Subject Tests


PSAT/NMSQT: (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardized test designed by the College Board. At ICS, students will be required to take this test in October during their 10th and 11th grade years. The test is an indicator of potential achievement on the college admission SAT Test and it is used to qualify 11th grade students for the National Merit Scholarship program. The qualifying score is determined annually by the College Board. Students’ results are usually available in early December. Advanced registration is required and completed by your school’s PSAT testing coordinator. There is a $16.00 administration fee for 11th grade students, paid at the bookkeeper‘s office at time of registration (waived for students on free/reduced lunch). The Lake Washington School District pays for all 10th grade students to test. If your student receives testing accommodations and you would like information about how to utilize these accommodations for the PSAT, please contact their IEP/504 case manager prior to registering for testing.

SAT and ACT: The SAT and ACT are college entrance exams which test mathematical, verbal, reasoning, and writing abilities. The ACT also includes a Science section. Either the SAT or ACT must usually be presented as part of an application for admission to a four-year college or university. You should consult the college or university in which you have an interest to find out what admissions test scores they require. Students take the SAT or the ACT during 11th grade and/or the Fall of 12th grade. In order for results of the test to be available for the college admission process, students should plan to take one or both of these tests no later than November of the 12th grade year (dependent on college deadlines). Advanced registration is required and there is a test fee (see information below). If your student receives testing accommodations and you would like information about how to utilize these accommodations for the SAT/ACT, please contact their IEP/504 case manager prior to registering for testing. 

SAT Subject Tests: These are tests designed by the College Board, and each is dedicated to a single subject. Some colleges and universities require applicants to submit scores from SAT Subject Tests. Consult the college or university in which you have an interest to find out if it requires SAT Subject Tests. If so, students should plan to take SAT Subject Tests during 11th grade and/or the Fall of 12th grade (depending on college deadlines).  Most students complete subject the spring of the school year in which you are taking the course content for the test. The tests are given at many area sites on specified Saturdays. Advanced registration is required, and there is a test fee. If your student receives testing accommodations and you would like information about how to utilize these accommodations for Subject Tests, please contact their IEP/504 case manager prior to registering for testing.

Testing Advanced Placement (AP): AP Examinations are administered through the College Board as final exams for Advanced Placement high school courses. They are offered in May each year. Students enrolled in the courses have the option to take the examinations. Depending on the score earned on an AP examination, a student may earn college credit once enrolled in a college or university, or he/she may receive exemption from a required college course. Advanced registration is required through the students high school in late-Winter/early Spring, and there is a test fee for each examination taken. Students may also self-study and can take an AP Exam without having to complete a full course. For more information, please see our AP Testing section under the Counseling tab on the ICS website. If your student receives testing accommodations and you would like information about how to utilize these accommodations, please contact their IEP/504 case manager and/or school AP coordinator prior to registering for testing.

For PSAT and SAT info and registration, please visit 
For ACT info and registration, please visit
For SAT Subject Tests info and registration, please visit
For AP Exam info, please visit,

Testing Resources

ICS Prep Programs

Xello/Career Cruising: All 9th-12th grade students at ICS have access to Method Test Prep, an SAT/ACT preparation program, on their Xello profiles through Powerschool Learning. This program provides self-paced, comprehensive lessons in subjects covered by the SAT and ACT to help give your student practice in areas they need to feel ready for testing. Students can use practice tests to identify the test that fits them best and prepare accordingly. The program also includes guided practice, vocabulary building, and additional resources for comprehensive learning. Please contact our High School and Beyond Plan Counselor, Ms. Kelsey Cummings, if you have any questions. 

Prep Classes: The ICS PTSA organizes annual ACT and SAT prep courses for ICS students. In 2018-2019, courses were held during the Winter and Spring. Please contact the PTSA for updates on upcoming opportunities.


Students can purchase books from many different testing prep organizations, including the resources above and more to prepare for any type of testing. The International Community School Library and Students Services Office also carry some books for students to check out to prepare for testing. See Ms. Cummings and/or Ms. Peterson for resources. 

Local Test Prep Programs

C2 Education
Academic LINK
Sylvan Learning Center
Lake Washington Tutoring List – See your counselor

Additional testing resources include Kaplan Test Prep, Peterson’s Test Prep, Princeton Review, Barron’s Test Prep, and more! Check out their websites for more information. 

Military & Service

Gap Year

10 Reasons to take a Gap Year -