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Senior Parent Night Information

The following information was presented to parents by our counselors on the Senior Parent Night in October.

Review of Courses/Credits Needed for Graduation

Required Core Courses

  • English- 4 credits
    • English 1, 2, 3, 4
  •  Math- 4 credits
    • Algebra 1, Geometry, Math 3, Math 4
    • Must have Algebra 2 to be "Distinguished"
  • Science- 4 credits
    • Biology
    • Lab Science (IPC, Chem, or Physics)
    • Science 3, 4 (Chemistry & Physics are strongly recommended if going to college)
  • Social Studies- 3 or 4 credits
    • W. Geography OR W. History (most will have both)
    • US History, Govt., Economics
  • Other Required Courses
    • Fine Art - one credit
      • Art, Theater, Dance, Choir, Band, Floral Design, Orchestra
    • PE - one credit
      • PE, ROTC, Marching Band, Varsity Dance, Colorguard, Athletics
    • Foreign Language - 2 credits of SAME language
      • Spanish 1 & 2 OR French 1 & 2
    • Coherent Sequence of Electives in Degree Plan- 4 credits

EOC’s Required for Graduation

English 1
English 2
Algebra 1
US History
Students who do not pass an EOC the first time will continue to retake it through the end of
their senior year.


What Should I Be Doing Now?

Help your student to consider post-high school plans:

  • University: 4 year college - Obtain Bachelor’s degree
  • Community College: 2 year college - Obtain Associate’s Degree and/or transfer to a university
  • Trade/Technical School: Culinary School, Police Academy, Welding, etc.
  • Military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard
  • Workforce


Interested in the Military?

Contact a local recruiter for steps needed to take ASVAB - Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery

  • Helps with job placement in the military
  • You can take it again if needed, but be careful. Last score counts, not highest!
  • The Class of 2023 took it as juniors, but seniors who signed up may have taken it again in October.

Texas Workforce

If students are planning to go straight into the workforce, the Texas Workforce Commission website can help find job openings, career trends, etc.

Texas Workforce Commission home page

Interested in College?

Research colleges together to determine what is best for your student at the Collegeboard website.

Investigate entrance requirements for colleges at Texas On Course.

Does your student want to play sports in college? Make sure they register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and speak with their PHS coach. 


College Visit Days

Seniors are eligible for two college visit days in their senior year.
For the absence to be excused, students MUST:

  • Obtain a College Visit Form from the Counseling Office
  • Have each teacher whose class you will miss the day of the visit sign the form
  • Have Dean of Instruction and House AP sign the form
  • While at the college, obtain paperwork proving that you were present at the college
    for a tour that day
  • Upon returning to PHS, attach the form obtained at college to the signed College Visit Form and turn in to the Attendance Office
  • Make up any work missed on the day missed - STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL MISSED WORK
    • They have ONE DAY to turn in any missed work


Steps for Applying to College

  1. Apply (Check deadlines)
  2. Send ACT/SAT scores if needed*
  3. Send OFFICIAL transcript
  4. Pay fees
    *Not all colleges require the SAT or ACT for admission; however, test
    scores may be required for some scholarship applications.

College Applications

Applications are open now!
Deadlines may begin as early as October.

  • Check college webpage for which application site to use
  • Will be tailored to the specific college
  • Deadlines vary - make sure to check for each school to which student is applying

College Deadlines

Pay attention to deadlines for:

  • Admission Applications
  • Housing Applications
  • Scholarship Applications
    *The entire file must be completed by the application deadline!

Materials to Gather

  • Biographical information
  • High school courses and grades
  • SAT/ACT test scores and dates taken
  • Extracurricular activities (hours per week, weeks per year)
  • Community or volunteer service (total hours and time span)
  • Talents, awards, and honors
  • Employment information
  • Parent/legal guardian information

College Admission Testing

Register through the websites below.
SAT/ACT Waivers - Students are eligible if they are eligible for free/reduced lunch. (Students may come to the Counseling Office to check their status and receive waiver.)
SAT and ACT scores are not on the PHS transcript. Students must request that the testing agency send the scores to colleges.

Some universities may not require college admissions tests, but it is important to check with each university.

If students do NOT submit SAT/ACT scores:

  • May have a better chance of being accepted if your score was low
  • No need to test/retest if GPA/rank is high enough for acceptance


  • You may not be eligible for College Application Waiver
  • You may not be eligible for university scholarships - varies by school
  • You may not be accepted into the college of your choice. Example: college
    of Engineering

Requesting Transcripts

The first 5 are FREE - $1/transcript after
- Allow 10 working days for the request to be processed - DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!
- Most can be sent electronically

Letters of Recommendation
Required by some, but not all colleges
- Should be written by someone who knows the student well
- Students should provide the author with a “resume” of high school
activities, awards, accomplishments, leadership, talents, community service, extra-curricular activities, etc.
- Allow the author 2 - 3 weeks' notice (not including breaks)


When should students apply?
A general rule of thumb is “the earlier, the better” since many universities have rolling admission. Be aware, however, that some early application plans require a student to commit early.

What are colleges looking for in an applicant?
In addition to GPA and test scores, colleges are looking at types of courses, activities, volunteer & work experience, essays, and character.

Are essays important?
Yes. Essays are a way to highlight items the application doesn’t ask. It’s how the admissions advisors can get to know students. Essays not only help with admission, but sometimes help with scholarships and majors. If a student is on the “bubble,” writing the optional essay could be beneficial.

Financial Aid

Applications opened October 1, 2022

  • 4-year universities, 2-year colleges, trades schools, etc.
  • Could qualify for grants - do NOT have to pay back
  • Could qualify for loans - will pay back after college graduation
  • Important to complete for both need-based and merit-based funds

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

US citizens or permanent residents with one of the following cards/visas (I-551, I-551C, I-94)

TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid)

Texas resident who does not meet one of the above criteria

Completion of the FAFSA, TASFA, or opt out form is required for graduation.


  • EMCID - $1,600 - EVERY PHS graduate is eligible - application available online at EMCID website
  • College Specific Scholarships- Apply by the scholarship deadline to be automatically considered for scholarships
  • PHS Local Scholarships- Counselors will communicate with seniors regarding scholarship opportunities
  • - micro-scholarships - can earn money for college by making A’s, taking AP classes, taking AP exams, etc. - The sooner students sign up, the more money they can earn.
  • or - make an account and search, search, search!

Students should NEVER have to pay to apply for a scholarship!

See Counselors' page for more information.