Counseling » College Counseling

College Counseling

The MD Counseling Team provides resources, support, and information to students and their families throughout their four years of high school as they navigate the road to college and beyond. 

Important Information for Applying to College
  • Mater Dei's CEEB code is 053-240
  • Mater Dei uses a 4.0 grading scale and DOES NOT rank students. Where applicable, use NA an applications regarding ranking. 
  • Mater Dei students do not have a CA SSID. This is a number given to public school students only. Leave blank on applications when asked.  
  • Official transcripts for all Mater Dei students via Parchment, the leader in eTranscript exchange. Transcripts can be delivered electronically or by mail, and search for institutions to send to.

Each student at Mater Dei High School has access to Naviance, a comprehensive college and career planning program. Naviance can help students understand their unique strengths, connect their interests to career fields, explore college admissions stats specific to Mater Dei, match to best-fit colleges, learn from career leaders, and plan for life after high school.
To access your Naviance Family Connections account, please visit

The SAT and ACT are college admission exams that test what you learn in high school and what you need succeed in college. Please check the college admissions requirements of the schools you are interested in to see their specific requirements for SAT, ACT, the Essay section, and SAT Subject Tests. There are also some schools for which SAT/ACT testing is optional or flexible.

SAT or ACT Required: Approximately 1,300 colleges and universities across the United States, including the majority of well-known and highly-selective colleges, require either the SAT or ACT.

Approximately 1,000 colleges and universities are “test-optional,” meaning they do not require the SAT or ACT, but they will consider it as part of your application if you submit it.  Most of these schools have “gone test-optional” to encourage underrepresented student populations to apply.  Approximately 70% of admits still submit SAT or ACT scores.  Some of these schools may have other requirements if you choose not to submit an SAT or ACT.  A complete list of these schools can be found at

Fee Waivers
Qualify for a fee waiver? If you think you qualify for testing and college application fee waivers, please bring the first two pages of your parents' taxes from the previous year to your guidance counselor. Go to for more information on SAT fee waivers. Using the number of members in the household and total annual income, you can check the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Income Eligibility Guidelines included in the SAT Fee Waiver Brochure here or the ACT Fee Waiver Eligibility Requirements here. You can also use the SAT Fee Waiver Checklist as a resource.

MD Test Center Dates and Information for 21-22 
October 2, 2021
November 6, 2021
December 4, 2021
March 12, 2022
May 7, 2022
June 4, 2022
Register for the SAT at

October 23, 2021
December 11, 2021
February 12, 2022
April 2, 2022
June 11, 2022
July 16, 2022
Register for the ACT at

For the most up-to-date test center availability, please visit the links below or contact Ms. Arica Rodriguez, SAT/ACT Coordinator at [email protected] for more information regarding MDHS as a Testing Center. 

College Rep Visits to MD Campus

Mater Dei High School is accepting in-person and/or virtual college admission visits for the 2021 - 2022 school year. College reps may see our availability and schedule a visit through RepVisits.


For any scheduling questions or general inquiries, please email Marybeth Nguyen at [email protected]Thank you for your flexibility and travel time! Please include us in your general emails to stay track of updates and upcoming virtual events. 

CLICK HERE for Mater Dei's 2021-2022 School Profile. 

Life After High School, College & Career Information Night
Held annually in the Meruelo Athletic Center, Mater Dei High School attracts hundreds of representatives from colleges and universities across the country. This year's event took place in October 2021. We will announce the date for our 2022-23 event this summer. 
Collegeboard Big Future
College Vine
  • Free online guidance platform provides high school students with step-by-step recommendations and tools to help you succeed in high school and apply to college
ACT College Planning
California Career Zone
College Data
  • Sign up for a free account and get access to unique college planning tools to help you make the right decisions about college
E Campus Tours
  • Ask your teacher, coach, counselor, or other recommender kindly and respectfully for a recommendation. Share with them about the program if it is for a summer program or other activity. 
  • Request your recommendation early, at least 3 weeks before your first deadline. If a deadline is coming up soon, please share the due date with your recommender.
  • Provide any information that your recommender needs (i.e., resume, questionnaire responses).
  • Waive your right to view letters of recommendation in your application.
  • Follow up with your recommender after requesting to make sure he/she received your invitation.
  • Once you’ve decided to attend a college or program, write thank-you notes. Tell your recommenders where you’re going and let them know how much you appreciate their support.
Counselor Letters of Recommendation 
  1. Download and complete the Counselor Letter of Recommendation Questionnaire (see below)
  2. E-mail it to your counselor
Note: There is a student section and a parent/guardian section to the questionnaire. Anything you answer will be much appreciated to help us write the best letter for your student!
Common App: Counselors will submit your letters of recommendation and secondary school report only after you have: 
  1. Added your counselor to Common App
  2. Ordered your official transcript to the Common App through Parchment
Teacher Letters of Recommendation
  1. Download the Teacher Letter of Recommendation Questionnaire
  2. Give your completed questionnaire to your teacher and ask whether anything else is needed
  • Note: You will need to complete a separate questionnaire for each teacher.
  • Common App: Teachers will submit your letters of recommendation and secondary school report only after you have assigned your teacher to each of your necessary schools on Common App.
Many seniors heave a huge sigh of relief when they finally get their last college application in the mail, however, the application process is not always over just yet!Many schools require students to submit a Mid-Year Report at the close of the first semester before they will make a final admission decision.

Purpose of Mid-Year Reports
Mid-Year Reports are a way for college admissions officers to check in on their applicants during their senior year. Since many applications are mailed in October or November, colleges have no information on how students are performing in the critical last year of high school.

Completing Mid-Year Reports
Many colleges and universities require Mid-Year Report forms and transcripts.  You should check with the colleges that you applied to and find out whether they require a Mid-Year transcript and/or form completed by your counselor.

For Common App colleges, you need to request that your transcript be sent through via Parchment. Once your Common Application transcript is uploaded by Common App, your counselor will submit the Mid-Year Report.

For Non-Common App colleges, check with the schools individually to see what they require, then talk to your counselor.


Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. Making college education possible for every dedicated mind by providing more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 13 million students paying for college.


Q: What do I need to do to get financial aid?

A: You can fill out a free application through The US Department of Education. The application is for federal and state student financial aid. After filing the FAFSA, students should establish a WebGrants for Students (WGS) account. Using WGS, students can see their Cal Grant application status, confirm and update their postal and email addresses, provide the required high school graduation confirmation once they graduate and can change their college of attendance. 

Q: How can I get help filling out the FAFSA application?

A: Each year we have a financial aid officer from one of the local colleges come do a presentation on how to fill out the FAFSA form. The presenter will go through the FAFSA line-by-line and will answer any questions you may have.

Q: How do you apply for the Cal Grant?

A: Mater Dei does it for you! Your FASFA application is also the application for Cal Grants. 

Q: The UCs might pay for your fees if your family income falls below a certain level. What does your income have to be and what else does it cover?

A: The UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will cover educational and student services fees if you are a California resident whose family earns less than $80,000 per year and you qualify for financial aid. Blue and Gold students with sufficient financial need can qualify for even more grant aid to help reduce the cost of attending college.


Q: I didn't get a lot of financial aid from my college. How else can I get money?

A: Scholarships and grants! Check the "College" section Naviance. 

Scholarship Information will be posted throughout the year as scholarship opportunities become available.
Stay tuned! -- Link to Outside Scholarships Available Here

Scholarship Experts
One of the best, most comprehensive free online scholarship searches available to students, parents, and educators.

Latino College Dollars
Scholarships for Latino students regardless of immigration status.

College Answer
Sponsored by Sallie Mae, they use the Scholarship Experts data base.

College Board Scholarship Search
Utilizes a database of more than 2,300 sources of college funding totaling almost $3 billion in scholarships and aid.

College Data
This free scholarship search allows students to save results in a data locker.

Helps you hunt down the most ideal student loan, scholarships and other financial aid resources available

College Connection Scholarships
This service provides free scholarship searches and personalized scholarship application letters.

College Tool Kit
Search for scholarships by geography, heritage, religion, extra curricular, family affiliation, high school or scholarship name.

eCampus Tours
Uses a database of more than 10,000 scholarship programs that distribute awards worth more than $36 million.

Financial Aid Officer
This free scholarship search engine lists scholarships worth $1.45 billion.

The World's largest and oldest private sector scholarship database

Fast Web
Large database of free scholarships

Go College
This search encompasses 800,000 individual awards worth over $2.8 billion in scholarships

The Scholarship Page
Started by a student in 1997

Scholarship database of 3,0000 sources worth up to $3 billion

Scholarships Canada
Canada's most comprehensive scholarship portal

Can Learn
Another Canadian free scholarship search site

School Soup
Scholarship data base lists $32 billion in scholarships

Study Abroad Funding
Our comprehensive database of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, and grants can help make your dream of studying abroad a financial possibility and a profound reality. Scholarship searches can be conducted by country or subject.

International Education Financial Aid
College scholarship and grant information for US and international students wishing to study abroad

Gates Millennium Scholars Program
Billion dollar grant from the pockets of Bill and Melinda Gates supports the higher educational needs of high-achieving minorities 

Educational Excellence for Hispanics
To help Hispanic students and their families navigate the college process.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans Scholarships
Scholarships for Asian American Pacific Islands Students. 

Q: When should I start applying to colleges?
A: You should fill out as many of your college applications as you can in the summer before senior year. Some schools have their applications available as early as July 1st. There are over 400 colleges and universities that now accept the Common Application which comes out August 1st. The goal is to complete the majority of your applications by the time school starts in the fall!


Q: Tips on writing an effective college essay?

A: There are many sites that will give you great ideas on how to write essays.

College Board

Quint Careers

Common Application essay


Q: What is a secondary school report and how do I get one?

A: A "Secondary School Report" (SSR) is the same thing as a counselor/teacher recommendation. You must ask your counselor and teachers to write your recommendation at least 3 weeks prior to the due date. When asking counselors for recommendations, you will need to make sure they have a copy of your Counselor Letter of Recommendation Questionnaire. You should also update the list of colleges you are applying to in your Naviance account.


Q: I'm thinking about attending a Community College when I graduate. Where can I get information?

A: The California Community Colleges website lets you fill out applications for most Community Colleges in California. In addition, you will need to take the community college Placement Test. 


Q: I got denied from some colleges, but I want to appeal. What can I do?

A: If you would like to appeal your admissions decisions, be sure to find out what the process is at the specific college. In order to appeal their decision, you should have new information that wasn't included in your original application. This article will help you when appealing college admission decisions.