Counseling Services

School counselors are vital members of the education leadership team. They help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development, ensuring today’s students are prepared to be Enrolled, Enlisted or Employed — thus becoming the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.

To learn more, read:

ASCA (American School Counseling Association) Counseling Model

The ASCA Counseling Model focuses on comprehensive school counseling based on student outcomes and is tied to school counseling standards and competencies.

School counselors deliver services both directly to students and families and indirectly through referrals, consultation and collaboration.

Direct services include school counseling curriculum, individual student planning and responsive services. Examples of each type of direct service are included below:

School Counseling Curriculum: Classroom presentations and lessons provided to students on school counseling standards including graduation requirements; college and career readiness; social/emotional development and skill building; and Naviance scope and sequence assessments and surveys.

Individual Student Planning: Individual meetings with students including four-year course planning; postsecondary planning; financial aid and scholarship assistance; test preparation and interpretation.

Responsive Services: Crisis intervention; small-group or individual services and planning; counseling or outside agency referrals.

2018-19 Course Catalog

Counseling Resources

Many colleges and universities require college entrance examinations (SAT and ACT) in the admissions process.  Students should take practice tests, including the PSAT, and sign up to take the tests early in their junior year in order to allow ample time to retest.

PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test)

The Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) (more often simply called the PSAT) is nationally administered by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB), and assesses students in three areas: Verbal, Mathematics, and Writing.

The PSAT is used to help students practice for the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and to qualify for scholarships and recognition from such programs as: National Merit Scholarships, National Achievement Scholarships for Outstanding African American Students, National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Program, Student Search Service, and some statewide and national industry scholarship competitions. Registration information will be available in the school counselor’s office at each high school.

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)

The SAT is an optional test nationally administered by the College Board. It assesses students in the following areas: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math and an optional Essay.

The redesigned SAT focuses on knowledge, skills, and understandings that research has identified as most important for college and career readiness and success. There is a greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact. The SAT is one of the admissions tests used by post-secondary institutions to assist in selecting students.

The SAT is administered at selected sites nationally. Students must pay and register online or by mail several weeks prior to the test date. Registration information is available in the school counselors’ office at each high school and at


The ACT assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The ACT has five sub scores: four multiple-choice tests covering skill areas of English, Mathematics, reading, and science; the Writing Test measuring skill in planning and writing a short essay.

The ACT is also administered at selected sites nationally. For these administrations, students must pay and register online or by mail several weeks prior to the test date. Registration information is available in the school counselor’s office at each high school. More information is available at

College Entrance Exam Tips

Sign up to take the SAT ( and ACT ( for the first time as a sophomore or junior.  Taking these tests early will allow you plenty of time to learn from your first testing experience, practice, and retest if needed before college applications are due your senior year.

Study a little each evening instead of cramming the night before testing. Learning works best when done over time so that you can retain the information long term instead of just memorizing overnight.

Get a good night’s rest the night before testing.  Your brain will work best after 8-10 hours of sleep so be sure to go to bed early so that you can do your best on test day.

Eat a nutritious breakfast on test day.  Remember that food is your body’s fuel and just like you would fill up your gas tank before a long road trip; your body needs fuel to do its best.

Use your resources to practice each day!  Studying for college entrance tests like the ACT and SAT has never been more convenient.  Use your smartphone, tablet, or computer to practice daily with SAT and ACT question of the day.

When studying for the SAT and ACT, take at least one full-length practice test.  Taking a full test will help you better manage your time and will give you the best idea of what it will be like on test day.  If you can, gather some friends and have a teacher or parent proctor your full practice test for the best practice!

Take the PSAT and then use personalized test prep!   In the fall, all IPS sophomores and juniors take the PSAT and can use their results to set-up a test prep plan by linking their College Board account to Khan Academy IPS students can also access free, personalized SAT test prep in their Naviance Family Connection account!

Students in Indianapolis Public Schools must complete the state mandated graduation requirements in order to be awarded a high school diploma. In 8th grade, all IPS students will complete a four-year plan where they will work with a school counselor to determine the diploma path that is best for their individual strengths and postsecondary plans. Details on each state approved diploma type as well as the certificate of completion are included below.

Core 40 and Honors Diploma Requirements

The Core 40 diploma is the required diploma track for all students in Indiana. Legislation also made Core 40 a minimum college admission requirement for the state’s public four-year universities beginning in the fall of 2011.

Students can earn the Core 40 with Academic and/or Technical Honors by completing additional requirements, including maintaining a “B” GPA and taking advanced coursework.

General Diploma Requirements

Students must have a formal opt-out conference with their parents/guardians and school staff in order to graduate with a general diploma. At the conference, parents must determine whether or not their students could receive a greater benefit from the General Diploma.

Certificate of Completion Information

Students who are taken off the diploma path by a Case Conference Committee will pursue a Certificate of Completion. Students who enter high school in 2018-19 (Class of 2022) and beyond will have revised requirements for their Certificate of Completion.

Early Graduation Requirements

Indiana has a provision for a student to earn a high school diploma in seven semesters instead of eight, assuming the following steps have been taken:

  • The student has met all graduation requirements;
  • The student has been accepted and enrolled into a post secondary educational institution; or
  • The student has an enlistment contract with a branch of the U.S. armed forces that contains an educational component.

Requests will be initiated by students at the beginning of their 7th semester, approved in writing by the parent/guardian, and presented to the school counselor and to the principal. Students meeting the seven-semester graduation requirement may participate in commencement exercises at the discretion of the principal.

Graduation Requirements Reference

The High School Future Centers are designed to help our students take the steps needed to successfully transition to Enrollment, Enlistment or Employment upon graduation. Students can avail themselves to valuable support services in the areas of college- and career-readiness skill building, mentoring, technical assistance, and more.

Featuring the latest technology, strong support from our collegiate and corporate partners, and knowledgeable and friendly staff, our Future Center and its resources are available to our scholars throughout their high school experience and during their journey through college or early years in the workforce.

Services include:

  • Mentoring – Individualized or group mentoring sessions offer students support during their high school years to help them overcome any social and emotional hurdles they encounter.
  • Interview Training – Mock interviews, through one-on-one or group training, help students prepare for upcoming job or college/military interviews by perfecting skills and providing valuable feedback.
  • College Application Support – Staff provides students with assistance in understanding and completing financial-aid forms and scholarship applications, and researching additional ways to make college affordable and attainable.
  • Tutoring – Whether students are preparing for college essays, the ACT or SAT, or just need additional support, tutoring in math and writing are provided to foster greater understanding and mastery of core curriculum.

Through the links below, students and parents can access information and resources that will help them in planning for the 3Es (Enrollment, Enlistment and Employment). Students can use these links to learn about the wide variety of options available to them in selecting a college and/or career pathway. Additionally, resources are provided to assist students for planning, applying and paying for their postsecondary education in order to simplify the college admissions process.

College and Career Information

  • College Board Big Future has helpful information for students and families on planning for college and careers, applying and paying for college, and making a plan for after high school.
  • Naviance Family Connection is the college and career readiness software that IPS uses for all students in Grades 6-12. Students complete a series of activities each year and can access information and tools to learn about colleges and careers year-round.
  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook is updated by the U.S. Department of Labor and has detailed information about careers, including typical activities, salary and work environment.
  • Learn More Indiana is a great source of information about career planning, educational options and financing your education. An arm of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Learn More also provides an information hotline at 1.800.992.2076.
  • Indiana Career Explorer is a free career-interest inventory that is open to all Indiana residents.
  • Invested Indiana collaborates with schools to provide free financial literacy information, events and FAFSA filing assistance for students.
  • TransferIN Indiana is an online resource for students who plan to transfer college credits, including dual credits from high school.
  • Center for Leadership Development offers low-cost programs for Grades 4-12 students and their parents on a variety of college, career and personal development topics.

College Planning Grade Level Guides

College Entrance Tests

  • Learn more and sign up for the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test), which is offered seven times throughout the year.
  • Before taking the SAT, spend time practicing for the test using official SAT practice including the SAT question of the day.
  • The Khan Academy offers free, personalized SAT preparation. Students can link their College Board account to share PSAT and SAT scores with Khan Academy for individualized prep based on their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Learn more and sign up for the ACT, which is offered seven times throughout the year.
  • Before taking the ACT, spend time practicing for the test using official ACT practice,including the ACT Question of the Day.

Paying for College

  • College Board’s Big Future has articles and resources to help students and families learn about and make a plan for paying for a college education.
  • College Board Scholarship Search is an online scholarship database that includes more than $6 billion in scholarships, internships and other financial aid.
  • Fastweb Scholarships connects students to more than $1.5 million scholarships. Students can create a profile and have scholarship matches emailed directly to them.
  • Students sign up in 7th or 8th grade for the 21st Century Scholars program, which pays up to full tuition at a public Indiana college. While in high school, students must complete the Scholar Success Program of college and career readiness activities to keep their scholarship.
  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is completed for the first time in a student’s senior year of high school and every year afterwards that a student plans to enroll in college. The FAFSA determines eligibility for federal and state financial aid including Pell Grants 21st Century Scholars and federal student loans.
  • Students and families can complete FAFSA4caster prior to the student’s senior year to predict what type of financial aid the student will be eligible for in college.
  • Career OneStop Scholarships is another online scholarship database that students can use to search for scholarships.
  • The Indiana College Costs Estimator can help students and families estimate their college costs at particular colleges and universities within Indiana.

Students and families can and should begin planning and preparing for college well before high school! Use this year-by-year guide as a resource to ensure that you (or your student) are ready for the 3Es (Enrollment, Enlistment or Employment) upon graduation.

7th-8th Grade

Submit an application for Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars Program by June 30 of your 8th-grade year. The 21st Century Scholars Program can pay up to full tuition at an Indiana college or university for eligible students!

Come to school and do your best daily! Subjects you take in middle school prepare you for your high school classes, so take school seriously and learn all that you can in order to be successful in high school.

9th-10th Grade

Start early! Begin researching scholarships your freshman year of high school using online scholarship search tools such as:

Apply for scholarships for 9th- and 10th-grader students and keep a file for 11th- and 12th-grade scholarships. By the time you are a senior, you will know exactly which scholarships to apply for, saving you a lot of time!

Work hard in your classes. Many scholarships have GPA requirements and 9th grade is when you start to build your GPA. Start with good habits and As your freshman year so it will be easier for you to meet GPA requirements later in high school.

Take the PSAT as a 10th grader and use your scores to practice for the SAT. After receiving your score report, link your account to the Khan Academy for individualized SAT practice based on your strengths and weaknesses.

Find your passion and get involved. Whether it is athletics, drama, community service or another extracurricular, be sure to become active in your school and community. These experiences will not only help make your resume look great, but they can also help you meet friends and have fun! 

11th Grade

Show your leadership skills. Consider running for a leadership position in your extracurricular or even starting your own club/student group. As an upperclassman, you can share what you have learned with younger students and start to make your mark on your school.

Take challenging classes. College and scholarship programs review seniors’ transcripts and look for students who do well in rigorous classes. Think about your academic strengths and talk with your counselor about taking an honors, AP or dual-credit course.

Do your research. There are thousands of colleges with as many degree and certification options. Use the SuperMatch College Search in your Naviance Family Connection account to help narrow down your choices.

Take the SAT and ACT tests for the first time. Taking your college entrance exams as a junior allows you plenty of time to study, become comfortable with the test format, and improve your scores.

Explore both public and private colleges. Don’t be scared off by the sticker price of a private college because many have very generous scholarship and financial-aid packages. Use tools like the Indiana College Cost Estimator and FAFSA4Caster to compare costs before you apply.

12th Grade

Use your summer wisely. Spend your summer building your resume, getting a head start on college essays, and thinking about who is the best person to write you a recommendation letter. If you plan ahead and get organized, application season will go smoothly so you won’t miss deadlines.

Ask teachers, counselors, coaches or other school staff to write letters of recommendation and give them at least two weeks to complete. School staff typically write letters for multiple students and any less time will mean that your letter may not be as detailed and personal as it could be with proper planning. These letters make a big difference to scholarship and college professionals so plan ahead of deadlines and make sure to ask someone who knows you well!

Share your scholarship and college essay drafts with teachers, counselors, parents and friends to receive feedback. Make revisions based on their notes so that you are turning in your very best work.

Apply early! Many colleges have early deadlines for admissions that can increase your chances for getting in and qualifying for their scholarships. Pay attention to these deadlines and be ready to submit your application at least a few days ahead in case you run into any last-minute problems.

File your FAFSA! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens October 1 and Indiana’s filing deadline is April 15. The FAFSA is completed online at and is required to be eligible for many scholarships and grants including the 21st Century Scholarship, Federal Pell Grants and federal student loans. Talk with your school counselor about Indiana College Goal Sunday or other financial-aid/FAFSA help nights at your school to get free assistance.