Mrs. Jessica Sartore
College Counselor

College and Career Counseling, College Information Sessions for students and parents, College visit Coordinator, Advise students with 4 year plans

Mr. Daniel Claxton
Testing Coordinator

Coordination of SAT ad ACT exams for college entrance, Coordination of AP exams, Support with information about colleges in Japan.

College Terms

Admit — You’re in! You are being offered admission to a college to which you applied. Make sure you pay attention to the date by which you need to respond with your acceptance. Typically, merit/financial aid offers arrive after you are admitted.

Deferred – The admissions decision is being moved to a later date.

Deferred acceptance — You applied during the early admission time frame but you were placed on hold to be considered again during the regular admissions time frame and accepted at that point.

Deny — You are not accepted to the university. 

Waitlist — You are not in but have been placed on a waiting list in case an opening becomes available. If you are waitlisted, you should still follow up with the college to let them know if you are still interested. Talk with your high school counselor if this happens to you.

Waitlist/Accepted – You were placed on the waiting list. An opening became available and you accepted it.

Other Terms:

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses — High school courses which may be counted as college credit or allow advanced placement in college courses. For more information, please check the College Board AP link and the the AP college credit page of the university. 

American College Testing (ACT) — A national college admissions exam testing English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. Most colleges require either ACT or SAT test scores with your college application. For more information, visit the ACT website.

Award package — Another term for the financial aid package which may include grants, loans and work study options.

Candidates Reply Date Agreement — If admitted to a college, a student usually does not have to reply until May 1. This allows time to hear from all the colleges to which the student applied before having to make a commitment. This is especially important because financial aid packages vary from one school to another. Not applicable for early decision applicants.

College prep subjects — Courses taken in high school that are viewed by colleges and universities as a strong preparation for college work. The specific courses are usually in the core subject areas of English, history, world languages, mathematics, and science. The courses may be regular, honors‐level, AP or IB offerings. Honors, AP, and IP courses usually receive a higher weight when calculated in the GPA. Click here for OCSI course requirements.

College Scholarship Service (CSS Profile) — When the federal government changed the FAFSA form several years ago, the College Board created this program to assist postsecondary institutions, state scholarship programs, and other organizations in measuring a family’s financial strength and analyzing its ability to contribute to college costs. CSS processes the PROFILE financial form that students may use to apply for non-federal aid. This form is submitted to approx. 300 private colleges and universities along with the FAFSA when seeking financial aid from these institutions. Participating colleges and universities indicate whether they require this form. CSS Profile website. There is a fee for the CSS profile. 

Cost of Education — This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. A student’s financial aid eligibility is the difference between the cost of education and the Expected Family Contribution as computed by the federal government using the FAFSA.

Course Load — The number of course credit hours a student takes in each semester. Twelve credit hours is the minimum to be considered a full‐time student. The average course load per semester is 15 credit hours.

Credit Hours — The number of hours per week that courses meet are counted as equivalent credits for financial aid and used to determine your status as a full- or part-time student.

Early Action (EA) — This is similar to early decision except the applicants are not obligated to accept an offer of admission, but must reply by May 1st (non binding).

Early Decision (ED) — Students apply early and are notified of acceptance or rejection well in advance of the usual notification date.  If admitted, students must agree to accept an offer of admission and must attend the university (binding contract). Extremely selective colleges may offer this option. The application deadline is usually November 1st.    

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) — The amount of financial support a family is expected to contribute toward a child’s college education. This amount is part of the formula used by the federal government to determine financial aid eligibility using the FAFSA form.

Federal Pell Grant Program — This is a federally sponsored and administered program that provides grants based on need to undergraduate students. Congress annually sets the appropriation; award amounts vary based on need. This is “free” money because it does not need to be repaid.

Federal Perkins Loan Program — This is a federally run program based on need and administered by a college’s financial aid office. This program offers low‐interest loans for undergraduate study. Repayment does not begin until 9 months after the borrower drops to less than half time enrollment status.

Federal Stafford Loan — This federal program provides low‐interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students. The maximum annual loan amount depends on the student’s grade level. Repayment does not begin until 6 months after the borrower drops to less than half time enrollment status. Several repayment options are available.

Federal Work‐Study Program (FSW) — A federally financed program that arranges for students to combine employment and college study; the employment may be an integral part of the academic program (as in cooperative education or internships) or simply a means of paying for college.

FERPA Waiver The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all high schools and colleges that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. All colleges will require you to sign a FERPA Waiver as part of the application process.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — This is the federal government’s instrument for calculating need-based aid. It is available at The form should be completed and mailed as soon after October 1st as possible.

Gap — The difference between the amount of a financial aid package and the cost of attending a college or university. The student and his/her family are expected to fill the gap.

Gap Year – Typically this refers to taking a year off after graduating from high school and before beginning college. Students who want to take a gap year should apply to college and be accepted, then request a deferred enrollment. 

Grants/Scholarships — These are financial awards that are usually dispensed by the financial aid offices of colleges and universities. The awards may be need‐ or merit‐based. Most are need‐based. Merit‐based awards may be awarded on the basis of excellence in academics, leadership, volunteerism, athletic ability, or special talent.

Honors Program — Honors programs offer an enriched educational experience that often includes small class sizes, custom‐designed courses, mentoring, enriched individualized learning, hands‐on research, and publishing opportunities. Faculty guide students through the program. Honors programs are a great way to attend a large school that offers enhanced academic, social and recreational opportunities with a small school feel.

Merit Awards, Merit‐Based Scholarships —”Free” money! These awards are based on excellence in academics, leadership, volunteerism, athletic ability, and other areas determined by the granting organization, which can be a college or university, an organization, or an individual. They are not based on financial need.

Need Blind — Admissions decisions made without reference to a student’s financial aid request, that is, an applicant’s financial need is not known to the committee at the time of decision.

Regular Decision (RD) – Students apply according to the application deadline date set by the university. 

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) — Each branch of the military sponsors an ROTC program. In exchange for a certain number of years on active duty, students can have their college education paid for up to a certain amount by the armed forces.

Residency requirement — The term has more than one meaning. It can refer to the fact that a college may require a specific number of courses to be taken on campus to receive a degree from the school, or it can mean the time, by law, that is required for a person to reside in the state to be considered eligible for in‐state tuition at one of its public colleges or universities. All North Carolina public universities require students to complete the NC Residency Determination form in order to receive in state tuition. 

Rolling Admission (RA) – The university will give an admission decision to applicants once they have received all of the required documents, instead of waiting for a specific deadline. 

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), also called the SAT I — A national college admissions exam testing mathematics, critical reading and writing. Most colleges require either SAT 1 or ACT test scores with your college application. For more information, visit:

SAT Subject Tests (formerly known as SAT II Tests) — These subject-specific exams are given on the same test dates and in the same centers as the SAT I. More emphasis has been placed on these tests in recent years, not only because they are used for admission purposes, but also for placement and exemption decisions. Check with the college that you are applying to to see if the SAT Subject test is required. 

Student Aid Report (SAR) — Report of the government’s review of a student’s FAFSA. The SAR is sent to the student and released electronically to the schools that the student listed. The SAR does not supply a real money figure for aid but indicates whether the student is eligible.

Subsidized Loan – The U.S. Department of Education pays for any interest accrued while you are in school. To receive this benefit, you must be enrolled at least halftime. You will also get a six-month grace period after graduation, meaning that any interest that accrues during your college career and six months afterward, is paid for. When the grace period ends you are required to make monthly payments of principal and interest. For more information click here

Universal College Application – Like the Common Application, the Universal College Application provides a common online application accepted by member institutions. Over 40 colleges accept the Universal College App. To find out more about this application, click here.

Unsubsidized LoanThe loan starts accruing interest from the date of your first loan disbursement, though you’re not required to pay that interest until you finish school. If you do not pay the interest while you are in school, when you graduate, the amount of money that accrued during your education is simply added to the principal loan amount and you begin paying off that new amount. With an unsubsidized loan, you are not required to demonstrate financial need so the amount you can borrow is higher than a subsidized student loan. For more information click here


9th graders

  • Review graduation requirements.
  • Begin thinking about college and career possibilities.
  • Participate in cocurricular activities. 
  • Talk with the college/career specialist.
  • Create your OCSI 4 year course plan. 

10th graders

  • Review graduation requirements.
  • Talk with the college/career specialist about your college/career plans and about taking an AP course.
  • Take the PSAT.
  • Update your OCSI 4 year course plan if needed. 

11th graders

  • Review graduation requirements.
  • Explore career options.
  • Visit colleges in person if possible and research colleges online.
  • Prepare for and take the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. It is recommended that you take the SAT and ACT at least once during your junior year. 
  • Select courses for your senior year (remember college admissions standards).
  • Attend on campus college rep presentations.
  • Create your high school resume.
  • If you are a US citizen, begin discussing with your parents requirements for state residency for financial aid and tuition purposes. 


  • Narrow down your list of colleges and decide where you will apply. 
  • Begin thinking about college essay prompts
  • If you are considering the US military begin speaking with military recruiters. 

12th graders

Summer Before 12th Grade:

  • Review graduation requirements.
  • Update your high school resume.
  • Register for the SAT and ACT test during the summer.
  • Register to take the TOEFL if needed. 
  • Talk about college finances with your parents and learn about financial aid.
  • Determine how much your parents can contribute.
  • Being writing college essays if available.

Fall of 12th Grade:

  • Talk with the college/career counselor/Secondary Principal about your college/career plans.
  • Attend college rep presentations.
  • Prepare for and take the SAT and/or ACT. 
  • Send SAT, ACT, TOEFL scores to colleges.
  • Know your college application deadlines. Be aware of the following admissions options:
    • Early Decision:  Students apply early and are notified of acceptance or rejection well in advance of the usual notification date.  If admitted, students must agree to accept an offer of admission and must attend the university (binding contract). Extremely selective colleges may offer this option. The application deadline is usually November 1st.                                       
    • Early Action: This is the same as early decision except the applicants are not obligated to accept an offer of admission, but must reply by May 1st (non binding).
    • Regular Decision:  Students apply according to the application deadline date set by the university. This is the most common application option. 
  • Begin requesting teacher and counselor recommendations in person at least 2 weeks in advance. Remember your resume should be attached when requesting recommendation letters. 
  • Complete college applications.
  • Request for mid year transcripts to be sent. If you have a January college application deadline, then your transcript and recommendation requests should be submitted by the first week in December. 
  • U.S. citizens applying to U.S. colleges: Beginning October, complete and submit FAFSA and if required the CSS Profile.
  • Male, U.S. citizens, 18 & older register for selective service. 

Spring of 12th Grade:

  • Begin investigating scholarship opportunities.
  • Take AP test if applicable. 
  • Turn in a copy of decision letters and scholarship and grant notifications to Principal/Counselor as soon as you receive them.

Before Graduation:

  • Submit your deposit to the college you plan to attend.
  • Notify Principal/Counselor of your final college decision.
  • Complete the senior checkout form.
  • Turn in the final transcript request form.
  • Write thank you letters to individuals who wrote recommendation letters on your behalf.

Career resources and search engines

Selective Service system

All 18-year-old male citizens of the U.S. should register with Selective Service. Registration is required if you want to be eligible to receive federal financial aid.

Teacher Recommendation Request:

Juniors can begin requesting college recommendation letters from OCSI teachers beginning April of their junior year. Students should select two teachers to write recommendations on their behalf. The student should ask the teacher in person if they would be willing to write a letter for them. If the teacher confirms that they are able to write a recommendation for the student, the student should then request through email with their resume.

Transcript & Records Request
(Current Students Only) :

If a student needs transcripts to apply to other universities (not covered by Common App), they need to fill out a request form at the office. There is a 500 yen charge for these transcripts. These transcripts can be sent digitally (directly to the university), or can be printed and put in a sealed envelope and given to the student to mail. Your request will be available for pick up, Email or mail  seven (7) business days after payment. Multiple requests may take up to two (2) weeks. For Seniors, we provide the first transcript for free.

>> Learn more

Common App

You can also request transcripts/Recommendation letters through Common App. In this case students should ask the teacher in person if they would be willing to write a letter for them first. If the teacher confirms that they are able to write a recommendation for the student, the student should then request through both Common App and email with their resume.


Please contact the College board/ACT for any questions and concerns regarding the test. OCSI is only registered as a testing center venue so we will not be able to answer any inquiries regarding the test.

To see international SAT test dates, visit International Registration.
To see International Test Dates, Locations, and Fees for ACT test,  visit International Registration

AP Testing

Due to limited space, we are only able to accommodate current students for AP testing at OCSI.
The signup for the 2022-2023 academic year is now CLOSED.

Test Prep