J. Penn Bowditch, Jr. - College and Guidance Counselor

  • Welcome to my webpage!

    Randolph High School                                 
    511 Millbrook Avenue
    Randolph, NJ  07869

    Email: jbowditch@rtnj.org
    Phone:  973-361-2400,  Ext. 6227

    Guidance and College Counseling
    Coordinate College Representatives Visits

    College Open Houses in our area?  Check out our College and Career Office in the Library or try this link: https://docs.google.co/document/d/1lDDAGo8KPBqH0dYJ1v9TMejWN7phWYM1QhixkzUnfUk/edit?usp=sharing

    For those of you applying a top-tier college, take heed.  This article is for you.


    My Visit to Amherst College - November 2013 - watch it in the files below.  (It will take a few minutes to download.)


    Catch this video from Vanderbilt University Admissions:


    NPR Program on College Acceptance:  Getting into a highly selective college takes hard work and a lot of luck.  These colleges get an extraordinarily large number of outstanding candidates for very few spots.  Listen to this NPR program as the Admissions Counselors at Amherst College tried to decide which students to accept.  Link:


    Naviance and college visits: Go to rtnj.org site - to - high school - guidance - left side look for Naviance and click - click on "Navance College Process Web Page" - you are now in Family Connection (part of Naviance) - click on "I'm a Guest" or go into your personal account. (Students are given instruction for starting an individual account during the fall of 9th grade.) - click on light color "College" tab (looks like the tab of a manila folder) - click on " View All Upcoming College Visits."  Or you can look at the "Scattergrams" for each college.  Have fun!

    This site was updated on January 24, 2013 .

    PAYING FOR COLLEGE - All students should have a group of "Financial Safe Colleges" from which to choose.  Students are graduating from college with more and more debt.  A new website by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been created which allows you to compare colleges based on cost.  Check it out!

    Site:  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/payingforcollege/ (a link is provide at the bottom of my page)

    A Reminder to Parents - from the Dean at Harvard University -




    Colleges Rolling

    American College Testing Program (ACT Test)

    Important Downloads and Articles:

    Check "Related Files" at the bottom of this page

    CAREER resources WEBSITES

    NJCAN - New Jerseu Career Assistance Navigator - A wealth of information about careers, college majors, search engines, and interest inventories.  This is an excellent site. Updated regularly.  I strongly encourage you to check this out.

    Username: RHS1              Password: CAREERS



    O*Net Online - The U.S. Department of Labor has produced two instruments to help you identify your interests and work needs - The Interest Profiler and Work Importance Profiler.  Both instruments can be downloaded from this website.

    O*Net Online Site

    The Occupational Outlook Handbook - The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an in depth analysis of careers with information including, but not limited to, the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and working conditions.  It is possible to search for careers either by entering the job title, or by browsing the A-Z index.

    Occupational Outlook Handbook

    Rutger’s Career Planning Site for High School Students - Under the “Getting Started” tab, it is possible to gather information about your interests and preferences using the “Assess Yourself” link.  Using the Summary of Interest Assessment Scores, you can then use your personalized Holland Code (taking your three highest type scores), to find occupations that fit with your interests.  Click on the “Generate Options” tab, to see a list of occupations that fit with each of your highest scored types.

    Rutger's Career Planning Site

    Career One Stop: Pathways to Career Success - Find information on careers, salaries, educational requirements, and labor market trends.  Job search assistance is available through this site.  (It is possible to personalize your career profile to get information, such as salary information, that is relevant to your local area).

    Career One Stop

    University of Waterloo Career Development Manual - This manual guides you through the six steps to help you manage your career development process.

    U of Waterloo Career Development Manual

    Ball State University Quest Career Center - Quest helps you to match up your interests and personality to academic majors and careers.

    Ball State University Quest Career Center

    Prentice-Hall Career Center - Career planning process with seven modules and printable worksheets.

    Prentice-Hall Career Center

    i Seek Skills Assessments

    – This skill assessment selects potential occupations for you based on how you rate your skills.





    1. How do I apply to a college, and what do I need to send?

    Once you have picked a college, everything you need to know about applying is on each college’s website.  Many schools provide a checklist of things that are needed, and remember, every college is different.  Colleges make changes in their admissions expectations periodically, so you must check with each college’s website.  Applications and the new school year’s admissions requirements are usually available online by August 1st.


    2. Should I apply online or in writing (hard copy)?
    Never send a paper application through the mail – always do online applications.  Many college have their own online application and many are members of Common Application.

    I recommend HIGHLY that you fill out the Common App application whenever it is offered instead of the college’s own application.  Depending upon the software that the colleges are using to download/upload applications such as Docufied, some colleges may not be able to retrieve the students information we send through Naviance. 


    3. When should I apply?

    The early bird does catch the worm!  Apply early in the fall.  Get you application to colleges with “rolling” admissions (which means that there are no deadlines, and applications can be sent any time during the year) out by the end of September.  Ideally, all other applications should be completed by Nov. 1.  You’re encouraged to get everything out by Dec. 1st.  ALWAYS MEET ALL DEADLINES.  Always meet “Preference Deadlines,” because most colleges take the vast majority of their Frosh class in this pool.


    4. How important is the application?

    EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!  Your application is the first thing that will be read in your "folder" by the college's admission staff, and as my grandmother used to say, "You rarely get a second chance at a first impression.It should be neat, and grammatically correct.  Answer all of the questions cogently and clearly.  Print out a hard copy first.  Write out the ENTIRE application long hand.  Have your app proofread by your parents.  Type your app into the computer with your proofread corrections.  Print out a copy of what you’ve typed and have it proofread again.  Make your corrections.  BEFORE YOU SEND, print out a final copy and save it in a folder for that college.


    5. When should I ask my teachers to write  my recommendation?  How many teacher recommendations do I need?  Does Mr. Bowditch always write my recommendation?

    a. Ask two teachers to write a recommendation for you before March - ideally, one from the Humanities (English, Social Studies or World Language) and one from Math or Science.

    b. Every college is different - some colleges don't require recommendations, some want one, and some like two.  Only in unusual circumstances, when a student is majoring in a specific area of study, do you consider sending three teacher applications.

    c. The guidance counselor's recommendation is always sent and is not considered one of the two teacher recommendations.


    6. How are my teacher recommendations sent?


    The college admission office will not know where to put materials sent before you application arrives – often the material is lost or thrown out because they don’t know who you are.

    After your application has been sent, ask your teachers who wrote recommendations for you to send their recommendation to the colleges whose applications you sent.  The teachers will electronically send your recommendation directly to the college.  BE SURE TO GIVE YOUR TEACHERS TWO WEEKS TO SEND THEIR RECOMMENDATION.


    7. How do I get Mr. Bowditch to send my transcript and recommendation?

    After your application has been sent, fill out the yellow “Request for Transcript” form and return it to Mr. B  – one form for every college to which you apply.  THIS SERVICE IS FREE!  When a yellow form is submitted, Mr. Bowditch will send your official transcript with “Work in Progress” which shows the Quarter Grades for your senior year.  The RHS school profile, your student profile with your GPA and your decile (in which tenth of the senior class your weighted GPA falls), and Mr. B’s recommendation are also sent via mail.


    8.  How long does it take for Mr. Bowditch to send my materials?

    It takes two weeks to process a transcript request, so be sure you get the yellow form in two weeks before any college deadlines.  That means two weeks before Nov. 1st for Early Decision, for example.  Every college’s deadlines are different so check your colleges’ websites.


    9. How do I send my SAT scores and/or ACT scores?

    After your application has been sent, you must contact these organizations directly to have your scores sent.  The web links for The College Board (SAT scores) and the American College Testing Program (ACT scores) are on this Webpage.


    10. After all of my materials have been sent, should I contact the college to be sure my application folder is complete?

    Yes!  First, give your recommendation teachers two weeks after you submitted your request to be sure the materials have been sent to the college.  Then, call or email the college to see if they have processed everything.  Because of the tremendous increase in applications, many, if not most, of the colleges take at least two to four additional weeks to process everything and get your materials ready to be read.  Remember, you, the student, should make all contacts with the college admissions office - never your parents/guardians.


    11. How do I know whether Mr. Bowditch has sent my transcript and recommendation?

    Mr. B. will send you a copy of your transcript release form (yellow) for each college to which he sends your materials.  Each form will show the date your materials were sent and what was included.  Keep this copy in a folder for each school; then if the college notifies you that something has not been sent, you know for a fact what was mailed. 


    12. What do I do if a college notifies me that they are missing something from Mr. Bowditch?

    Colleges might send you a form letter, postcard, email, text message or phone message announcing that they are missing something.  These announcements are computer generated at specific dates throughout the admissions calendar.  In fact, your materials may have arrived in the admissions office just before one of these warning dates, and your stuff simply hasn’t been processed by the college.  Call the college to make sure they don’t have the missing materials BEFORE you see Mr. B. or your teachers.

    If materials are missing, Mr. Bowditch can email in a PDF format or fax a hard copy to the college.  Be sure to have the email address or fax number and the person to whom the materials should be sent.


    13. Should I apply Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA)?

    Early Decision is binding – IF YOU ARE ACCEPTED, YOU MUST ATTEND THAT COLLEGE.  My recommendation: only go ED if you are willing to pack up your bags and move to that college right this minute!  Students change in so many ways as the application process unfolds, so be sure this is the absolute, positively perfect school for you.  Remember, you lose the ability to negotiate you financial aid package.

    Early Action is NOT binding, and by applying EA you will find out earlier about the college decision which can take some pressure off your. 


    14. If I apply EA or ED, what decisions can the college make?

    The college can accept you, deny you, or in some cases defer you.  At most colleges, a deferred decision puts your application back in the regular decision pool.  NOTE HOWEVER, some colleges only accept or deny if you apply ED or EA, so think carefully about whether it is worth the risk at those colleges.


    15. Can ED or EA help me get into a college?

    Yes and No.  At the most highly selective colleges, it may seem like going Early Decision can help, because the acceptance percentage for ED is larger than that of the regular pool.  In reality, the students taken by these schools are so outstanding that they would be taken in the regular pool anyway.  Also, all of the athletes, professors' kids, and legacies (the applicants parents graduated for the college) must apply ED.  If you take those students out of the ED accepted pool, going ED can actually hurt the regular applicant like you.  Thus, there is no advantage going ED at most top tier schools.  HOWEVER, some small, private colleges take a large percentage (sometimes almost 50%) of their Frosh class in the ED pool.  Ask Mr. B if ED is the way to go for you.  Early Action is rarely an advantage, but usually doesn’t hurt your chances either.  However, if you are defered, in essence you have been denied once.  Whether that hurts or helps is hard to say.

    Again, ask Mr. B this question.  Because the impact of ED or EA is so specific to the college in question, seeing Mr. B. is the way to go.


    For additional answers to questions, see the MS Word document, entitled “Juniors’ Summer College To Do List” in the Related Files section.


Related Files