To the Editor:

This letter was sent recently to parents of Harwood Union High School students:

During the past few months, there have been a variety of reports in the press about proficiency-based transcripts. Here is a Harwood Union update.

In developing our proficiency-based transcript and school profile, Harwood Union took a series of steps to ensure college admission representatives would clearly understand our proficiency-based teaching and learning system. The following highlights are specific to Harwood Union and the college admission process:

• Harwood Union consulted with admissions representatives both near and far and shared our draft transcript and school profile with several directors of admissions. Their feedback was critical and contributed to the design of our transcript and our school profile. 

• For the past few years we invited college admission reps to attend a college admissions panel at Harwood (University of Vermont, Middlebury, Dartmouth, Northeastern, St. Lawrence, St. Michael’s and University of New Hampshire, representing competitive private and public institutions). The panel informed both students and parents about the holistic process of reviewing a student’s application. Parents submitted specific questions related to proficiency-based transcripts. Admission reps responded to these questions, then met with students and parents who had more questions following the presentation.

• We host two college fairs each year at Harwood Union, another opportunity for students, teachers and school counselors to network with admissions reps. 

• This summer a Harwood Union High School proficiency-based learning packet was sent to over 400 colleges where our students typically apply. The packet included a personalized letter from me, a sample transcript, our school profile and an information sheet on our assessment system.

• This fall, we personally called, and continue to call, each college admissions office where our students have applied. We inquire if they have questions about the student’s application and/or transcript. Admissions representatives have appreciated these calls. The personal contact is time well spent both for them and for us.

I am proud to report that Harwood Union’s proficiency-based transcript has been very well received by colleges. A New York college reported using it to do a proficiency-based training for its admission reps. 

Our college acceptances (early decision and early action) thus far are strong and comparable to previous classes. Harwood students have been accepted to Skidmore, Colorado College, University of Denver, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Wheaton College, Simmons University, Fordham University, Temple University, University of Alabama, Eckerd College, Roger Williams University, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health, Union College, Goucher College, Franklin Pierce, Hofstra University, Monmouth University, Johnson & Wales, Roanoke College, High Point University, University of North Carolina, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, University of Vermont, Champlain College, St. Michael’s College, and Castleton University.

Our students will continue to hear from colleges between now and April. I look forward to congratulating them and providing further updates to our school community. 

Sally McCarthy

Director of school counseling

Harwood Union High School

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