College Counseling

The College Counseling Office consists of three full-time college counselors and one full-time Coordinator dedicated to assisting students and parents with the college selection and admissions process.  Each counselor has a caseload of juniors and seniors whom they advise for college selection and admission.  
Each student is issued a MaiaLearning account during their sophomore year, in order to access their personal college page.  MaiaLearning is our electronic college admissions program which organizes potential colleges and tracks student application materials.  Students also use MaiaLearning to sign up for college information sessions during the school day.  Typically, over 150 college representatives visit Archbishop Spalding High School each fall.
The College Counseling Office offers workshops over the summer and during the school year covering a range of topics, including writing the college essay and helping with application completion.  Students are encouraged to attend the College Fair held every fall, as it is a great opportunity to meet and connect with admissions representatives from a large number of schools.  The College Counseling Office also hosts separate College Nights for sophomore, junior and senior students and parents/guardians.  Families are asked to attend, as a wealth of information about the process of searching, selecting and applying to college is covered.  

College Counselor Assignments 2023-2024

Grade Watkins  Calderone Valette
12 A-Go Gr-Ob Oc-Z
11 A-Go Gr-Pa Pe-Z
10 A-GI Go-N O-Z

List of 31 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: How do I make an appointment with my College Counselor? 

    Contact Mrs. Janine Bailey, College Counseling Coordinator at or 410-969-9105 x1244 or stop by the College Counseling office before school, after school or during your lunch period, to make an appointment (not during class).  We offer application workshops that students can sign up for, as well as drop-in opportunities after school that are open to all students without an appointment necessary.  College Counselors are also available at any time via email or phone call to support students and their families.  
  • Q: How often can I meet my college counselor? What things can they help me with?

    Students can meet with their college counselor as little or as much as they would like.  The college process is not one size fits all, and we are here to support students wherever they are in the process.  We offer scheduled junior meetings the spring of students' junior year when they are forming their college lists as well as senior meetings to go over the application process with all students.  There are several outreach events scheduled each year including a Sophomore College Night, Junior College Night, College Fair, and Financial Aid Night in the fall, as well as Coffee with the College Counselors in the spring. Dates for these events will be posted on the main school calendar and weekly email. College counselors can assist students with all aspects of the college process from registering for standardized tests to forming your initial college list to submitting applications to the schools which you decide to apply.  We also are happy to review college essay drafts and help students prepare for interviews.
  • Q: I am a freshman or sophomore, what can I do to prepare for the college process?

    Early in your high school career at Spalding, you are laying the groundwork for college admission.  Doing well academically is important, because your classroom performance is one of the best indicators of future college success.  Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with appropriate academic rigor, ask your current teacher in each subject what level is right for you.  Your curriculum should be all about balance- enough rigor that you are being challenged, but not overwhelmed. Additionally, get involved in extracurricular activities and community service opportunities that interest you.  An active, passionate, and engaged student makes an interesting college applicant (and person!)
  • Q: How many Honors, AP or IB classes should I take to be competitive?

    Curriculums are not one size fits all.  Spalding offers College Prep, Honors, AP and IB courses, as well as specialized classes such as PLTW and Aquinas. The amount of rigorous classes that a student takes depends on many factors. Course schedules should be carefully considered with student’s school counselor each year.  Students should be challenging themselves while still remaining successful in their courses. We recommend gradually adding rigor in student’s strongest subjects. It’s always a good idea to consult your current teacher in each subject, as they will need to sign off on your course level for the next year.  Colleges like to see students challenging themselves throughout high school.  For some students, four years of college prep courses is the right amount of rigor, for others it may mean taking a few honors courses or trying an AP course, still others looking at the most competitive colleges in the country it means taking every AP course available to them. The important thing to remember is that all of these students end up being well prepared for college and end up matriculating to the college that is right for them.
  • Q: When should I begin visiting college campuses? How do I make the most of these visits?

    We recommend beginning college visits as early as sophomore year. If students are not sure of the type of environment they are looking for, the college visit can help narrow down the list and guide students toward the atmosphere that is most suited to their success. When attending visits, students should take the lead.  Do not be intimidated by admissions staff- they are there to help you and answer your questions! We recommend doing a formal tour and information session whenever possible, and a thank you email after the fact never hurts.
  • Q: How do I form my college list?

    Students start to form their college list by completing a college search on MaiaLearning. This is best done with your College Counselor.  You will answer questions on how far away you are willing to look, what major you may want to study, what enrollment size best fits your learning style and campus surroundings.  Other factors may include athletics, Greek life or study abroad opportunities. The best college lists represent a collaboration between the student, parents and College Counselor.
  • Q: I’m waitlisted, now what?

    More and more colleges are issuing waitlists to students.  The waitlist is an enrollment tool that college admissions offices use to ensure they reach their enrollment goals.  Some colleges rarely go to their waitlist or only end up accepting a few students off of it. Other colleges end up accepting half the students off their waitlist.  Some colleges rank their waitlists, some do not. It can be confusing, and much of this changes from year to year and leaves the student in limbo. If you find yourself waitlisted at a college you would like to attend, please set up a meeting with your College Counselor right away.  We will help you draft a letter to admissions stating your continued interest in that college and your intent to enroll if taken off the waitlist.
  • Q: What about interviews?  How should I prepare?

    There are two types of admission interviews that are offered by institutions, the evaluative interview and the informational interview.  The evaluative interview is designed to assess a student for admission, the interviewer takes notes and presents them to the admissions committee to be considered along with the rest of the application.  The informational interview gives students an opportunity to gather information about the institution and application process through speaking with an admissions officer. Very few colleges require an interview, some colleges offer optional interviews, and others do not offer interviews at all.  The optional interview can benefit students because it is a way to express interest and share their personality. College Counselors are happy to help students prepare for interviews by mock interviewing, sharing strategies and tips.
  • Q: Should I submit the FAFSA or CSS Profile? When?

    Any student wishing to be evaluated for federal or state funded financial aid, should fill out the FAFSA.  The FAFSA could provide grants or loans, either subsidized or unsubsidized, determined by the information entered on the form.  The FAFSA utilizes the IRS data retrieval tool which minimizes time families spend entering financial information. The FAFSA uses a formula to calculate an estimated financial contribution (EFC), and uses that number to determine aid eligibility.  If families fill out the FAFSA and are offered any grants or loans, the student would need to accept the aid in order to receive it.
    The CSS profile is accepted at some institutions in addition to or instead of the FAFSA.  It is administered through the College Board and provides non-federal aid consideration.

    Both the FAFSA and CSS Profile can be submitted in early fall, (available October 1st) using prior year financial information.  If your family’s finances changed significantly, contact the Financial Aid Office at the institutions you are applying for additional guidance.  Spalding will host a Financial Aid Night this fall for more detailed information.
  • Q: How do scholarships work?

    Scholarships come in many forms.  Merit based scholarships are awarded by the college and are based on a student’s GPA and test scores. Typically, the higher you are above the SAT/ACT and GPA averages for that particular school the more your merit based scholarship will be.  Many small private colleges that are not super selective offer scholarships to almost everyone as an incentive to enroll. Most of the time there is not a separate application, but students must have their main application to the college submitted by the priority deadline, typically Nov. 1 or Dec. 1.  Division I and II colleges offer athletic scholarships. Outside scholarships are awarded to students by organizations and companies. These outside scholarships are applied for and often have an essay component, specific criteria like community service, heritage or hobby. These outside scholarships can be found on MaiaLearning, Fast-Web and Chegg.  We have found that students are more likely to be awarded local scholarships and scholarships through their parents' place of work where there are less overall applicants.
  • Q: ED, EA, R-EA, RD, Rolling - what does this all mean? 

    Early Decision- This is a binding agreement between the student and the university that if the student is offered admission, they will attend.  ED deadlines tend to be early in November. Students can only apply to one school Early Decision. A few universities offer ED 2 where students can apply to a school ED and get a binding admission decision later, typically in January or February.  This could be a good option for students who were not ready to commit ED earlier in the year, or if their first ED school did not work out. If a student is offered admission through an ED application, they must withdraw all other applications.
    Early Action- Applying to a school early (typically by October or November) and receiving admission decisions early.  Typically, this qualifies students for best scholarship consideration or special programs a college may offer.  Early Action may be the best admission consideration, but this varies by university and what other application deadlines they offer. Students can apply to as many schools as they would like EA, as it is non-binding and they have until May 1 to make their college decision.

    Restricted Early Action- This is a non-binding Early Action application, students may not apply Early Action to other specific private schools.  Few schools offer this application type.

    Regular Decision- Typically these deadlines are in January through March, and students tend to be notified by April 1st. Regular Decision is the last deadline that schools will review applications for admission.  Some schools do not offer merit aid to Regular Decision applicants or special program consideration at this late date.

    Rolling Admissions- Universities with Rolling Admissions do not have a set application deadline.  Admissions offices review applications as they are submitted and release decisions throughout the fall and early spring.  Applications are accepted until space is full, so it is advantageous to apply early. As space gets tight, admission criteria may get more competitive.  Students can apply to as many rolling schools as they would like.
  • Q: What is the Common Application and Coalition Application?

    The Common Application is a website where students create an account and can apply to over 1000 colleges using that one application. The Coalition Application is another universal application that has around 150 members. It’s not necessary, but the Coalition Application can be started as an underclassman in high school and students can input their current grades, courses and activities as they complete them for ease during senior year. It’s important to note that although both applications will ask students to input test scores, colleges want them sent directly from the SAT and ACT websites. 
  • Q: Do all colleges require standardized tests?

    No, not all colleges require standardized tests, in fact there are quite a few test optional schools.  A complete list can be found at These colleges will look more closely at a student's high school transcript, courses and grades, when reviewing for admission.  If a student’s test scores are below the averages for a college that has a test optional policy, they should be sure to select that option on their application.
  • Q: How do I know my chances of admission to a school?

    The best way to gauge whether you will be accepted or not to a particular college is to review the admissions graphs on MaiaLearning.  These Spalding specific graphs show the weighted GPA and ACT/SAT of students who applied to a particular college the past few years and how they fared.  These graphs are not meant to be a deterrent, but rather a guideline. You generally want to be very close to the icons that indicate those students were admitted.  Keep in mind some students on the graph, or yourself, may bring an additional aspect to their application, like diversity, legacy or an athletic recruit.
  • Q: How do I register for the NCAA Eligibility Center? What are the requirements?

    If there is a possibility that a student will play a Division I or II sport in college, then they should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.  This can be done in 10th, 11th or 12th grade and is usually dictated by the specific sport and talent level of the student-athlete. The NCAA currently charges a $100 registration fee. Students should only pay the $100 fee when they know they are definitely going to be recruited by a Division 1 or 2 Institution.  Sometimes mistaken as a recruiting tool, the purpose of the NCAA Eligibility Center is to set a minimum academic standard for college-bound athletes. Students must have a minimum core course grade point average of 2.3 with a corresponding SAT or ACT.  There is a sliding scale on the website where you can see how the higher a students core course GPA, the lower their test scores can be. It’s worth noting that the NCAA calculates a 79 and 70 the same way, a C and C+ are both just 2 points. Art, music, PE, business and all religion classes, except world religions are not considered core classes.  You must send the NCAA an official SAT or ACT through those respective sites. Your College Counselor will send the NCAA a transcript after 11th grade and then again after 12th grade automatically. If you have a few C’s, or lower, as final grades on your transcript, please see your College Counselor to complete an NCAA worksheet. We will calculate your core course GPA and add more approved courses to your 11th and 12th grade schedule.
  • Q: Is AACC right for me?

    Each year around 10% of the senior class matriculates to Anne Arundel Community College. Some students attend because it is a great way to save money during the first two years of college and then they transfer to a four year college for their last two years.  Other students feel they are not quite ready to move out of the house and move away to college for various reasons and AACC is a great place to start your college career. Some students have their mind set on a particular college, typically the University of Maryland but do not have the grades and test scores to get in right out of high school.  One year at AACC with a 3.0 GPA, or two years with a 2.0 GPA, and students TYPICALLY  transfer right into the U. of Maryland. Some students attend AACC because they are unsure of their future college major, we don’t think this is the best idea. 75% of students change their major between junior year of high school and sophomore year of college. Most students' schedules during the first year or two of college focus on core classes, public speaking, composition and other college courses that students have not been introduced to before. There is also a very high chance that what you major in will be different from what your career will be. AACC will visit Spalding each spring for an information session, placement testing and registration. Go to MaiaLearning/Events to sign up.
  • Q: I need help with my college essay, what should I do?

    The college essay is an opportunity for students to share their personalities behind  admission documents. Throughout the application, teachers speak on students behalf, their counselors speak on their behalf, and their resumes show admission representatives their interests.  The essay is the only portion of the application where students can share their voice! A good essay can be the little boost an ‘on the fence’ application needs to gain admission. Students should use the essay to share what makes them tick, or a personal story that has impacted their lives. Memorable essays are creative essays- don’t be afraid to go outside the box!  Juniors and seniors invite their College Counselor to review a Google doc of their essay in order to get feedback.  Students can also make an appointment with Mrs. Bailey to see their College Counselor to discuss the college essay and brainstorm topics.
  • Q: How do you link Maia with Common App? How does it work with other applications?

    To link MaiaLearning with Common App, first log into MaiaLearning. Click on the silhouette in the top right corner and select ‘My Account.’ Once on that page, scroll to ‘Application Systems’ and click on the link ‘Click to link your account.’ A pop up box will appear explaining that you will be sharing information between the platforms. Click on ‘continue’ then you will be prompted to log in to the Common Application.  Once you log in, your account will be verified and you will be redirected to MaiaLearning. If your accounts linked successfully, you will see that written in green in the Application Systems section.
    Maia does not need to be linked with other application platforms, whether it is a college’s individual application or the Coalition Application platform.  Documents will still be sent out through MaiaLearning.
  • Q: What if I do not get admitted to a specific school?

    If you are not offered admission to a college, that is okay.  It is not a reflection of you and it does not negate the hard work and effort you put forth in high school.  Colleges have specific enrollment goals and you might not fit into them, and it has nothing to do with how smart or talented you are.  Hopefully you took your College Counselor's advice and applied to a few colleges that match up with your GPA and ACT/SAT - you will likely get into those schools.  If you find yourself opening a few denial and waitlist letters and are starting to panic, please come see your College Counselor. We will help you add a few more colleges with later deadlines.
  • Q: When do college reps visit spalding?  How do I register? What if it is a college I am interested in but can’t attend the visit?

     College representatives visit Spalding between Mid-September and Mid-December. These visits are open to juniors and seniors. Students register through MaiaLearning, by clicking on ‘Events’ then clicking on 'Actions' and then 'Attend'. This must be done on a student account, NOT a parent account.  Students will receive an invitation to the visit via their google calendar which will act as their pass.
    If you cannot attend a visit for a school you are interested in, please let us know and we would be happy to get materials for you and let the representative know.  Feel free to send an email to the representative with any questions that you have about the campus or application process. Remember, they are there to help you! Typically, the information they share can be found on the website or learned during the campus visit as well. 
  • Q: How many schools should I apply to?

    This answer will differ from student to student. Student’s should aim to have 5 first choice colleges.  These colleges should be the right fit for the student academically, financially, admission wise, geographically and most of all the student should be excited to attend.  Too often students come to us with 5 reach or far reach schools and 3 target schools that they are not too excited about. This method is not a good approach and has a good chance of leaving a student with not many options come spring.  The average number of colleges a Spalding student applies to is 7. Most students who apply to more than 10 colleges will find themselves overwhelmed with supplemental essays, college visits and interviews.
  • Q: What is demonstrated interest?

     Demonstrated interest is the amount of interest students show in a particular school. If this is considered, admission offices will track whether a student visits, attends their college representative visit to Spalding, corresponds with the admissions office via phone or email, and they can even track if a student opens their emails and clicks on any links!  The thought process is that if students are engaged with the university throughout the application process, that they will be more likely to enroll if granted a positive admission decision. The university will choose to admit a student they know is likely to attend than a student who submitted the application and they did not hear from again (chances are, that student is contacting schools they are more excited about!) Check the school’s website to see if this is something that they consider, or give the university a call to ask if the information isn’t readily available on the website.  If the university tracks demonstrated interest, send the assigned Spalding representative an email to introduce yourself!
  • Q: What are the components of a typical application?  What do I send and what does spalding send?

    Look at the application as three parts, that can actually be sent to the college in any order.  One part is the online application that the student submits, hopefully well before the deadline. This can be either the Common Application, the Coalition Application or the college's own application on their website. There is typically an application fee that must be paid at the time of submission, although some colleges do not charge an application fee.  Part two is all of your supporting school documents, which include your high school transcript, teacher recommendations, college counselor recommendation, and a school profile that has specific information about the courses Spalding offers. Your College Counselor sends out all these documents on your behalf, upon request, through MaiaLearning. Students turn in a transcript release form in a meeting with their College Counselor one month before the college deadline.  The form can be found on MaiaLearning and in the College Counseling office on the wall in a folder. The third part is the test scores, SAT and ACT. Students are responsible for sending out their test scores through those respective sites. Spalding does not send test scores to colleges. Students should send their test scores weeks before the college deadline. Keep in mind some colleges may not require test scores or recommendations.
  • Q: What resources does Maia offer?

    MaiaLearning is a platform that engages high school students in planning for college and careers.  Students develop profiles using built-in assessments. They explore recommended careers; and build academic and career plans to reach those that interest them. They track assignments, deadlines, and commitments. They set goals, write journals, catalog experiences, and build portfolios to present their unique abilities. High school students research colleges, build college plans, request recommendations, and submit application requests.  College Counselors will use MaiaLearning to electronically send out a student's recommendations and transcripts to all the colleges they are applying to senior year.

    The MaiaLearning 'Portfolio' section is a great resource to begin building a resume.  Students add extracurricular activities, community service experiences, any internships, etc. into the 'experiences' tab, then head over to the 'resume' tab and continue filling it out.  When in the resume tab, experiences section will be at the top, and students can check whether or not they would like them added to the resume. There are two sections for awards/honors, the first is for academic awards (like Honor Roll, Excellence in Geometry, etc.) and the section below it is for general awards (where you would include awards for service hours, Eagle Scout, etc.)  
    After filling it all out, click to download the resume and that is what you can send to institutions if that is an application requirement.  Students can also use it as a reference as they fill out the activities section of their applications as a guide to make sure they remember to include everything. 
    The best way for students to put their best foot forward in the admissions process would be to be as detailed as possible while filling out the resume builder.  It asks for descriptions, student's specific involvement, etc. Students should fill everything out and include all activities, community service, internships, part time jobs, religious organization involvement, pretty much anything that is relevant for how students spend their time while enrolled at Spalding. It is always best to err on including too much information instead of not enough.  
    MaiaLearning also has a portfolio section called 'galleries' where students can upload files (pictures, presentations, papers) that they would like to showcase.  It can be shared with universities via a link. Check the websites of the colleges being considered to see if they accept any supplemental materials prior to spending time in that section (unless students wants to keep track of their own accomplishments.)

    MaiaLearning offers a ‘MaiaDrive’ where students can upload materials and share materials with others.  This functions as storage space for students to access their college essay, or resume from anywhere using the MaiaLearning system. 
    It isn't required to use these tools in order to submit your actual application and colleges cannot see the documents stored in MaiaLearning unless they are actually attached to the application itself that is submitted.
  • Q: What is the process for asking for teacher recommendation letters?  Who should I ask?

    Students should identify two teachers to write their recommendation letters in the May of Junior year.  Preferably, these should be from two academic subjects as colleges want to know how you are in the classroom setting.  It is quite alright if one of these letters is from a teacher who taught you an academic elective. Letters from fine arts teachers are best reserved for students planning to major in those disciplines in college.  After asking and if the teacher agrees, students should add them as recommenders on Maia and complete the "Brag Sheet".  To do this, students should select Universities → Request Recs. Once there, select the recommenders by clicking on the box to the left of their name, add a note for them, and click save. Later, students can check the status of the letter in the same place. 
    A common misconception is that students must ask teachers who they had junior year.  That is not necessarily the case, students should ask teachers who know them well, can describe their presence in a classroom, how they collaborate with others, and how they developed academically in the time they were enrolled in the class.  A good place to start is to consider favorite classes or classes that were a challenge.
  • Q: How do I send my transcripts?

    To begin this process, log into your MaiaLearning account and move schools from ‘Considering’ to ‘Applying to.’ Then, make an appointment with your College Counselor at least one month in advance of the earliest deadline.
  • Q: How do I register for the SAT or ACT? What is our school code?

    Register for the ACT at and the SAT at  Our school code at Archbishop Spalding is 210 583.
  • Q: When should I take the SAT or ACT?  How many times should I take it?

     Students should begin registering for the ACT and/or SAT early in their junior year.  We recommend trying practice tests for both and determining which format the student is most comfortable with and performed best on.  Students should take the test at least twice to superscore.
  • Q: How do I know which test is right for me?

    Most students take the ACT and SAT during the spring semester of their junior year and continue taking the test they did better on throughout the fall of senior year. Here is a link to 13 quick questions that will help you decide which test is better for you.  Colleges do not have a preference over one or the other, every college accepts either test.
  • Q: How do I send my SAT or ACT scores?

    Scores can be sent through student’s ACT account and SAT account.  Log in and select send score reports, and then select the colleges that you would like to receive the scores.  Recruited athletes also need to send an official score report to the NCAA Eligibility Center. Students can choose to send all scores, or select specific test dates.  Typically, we recommend sending all scores for superscoring since most universities only consider student’s most competitive scores.
  • Q: Should I take the SAT subject tests?

    Check out the requirements of each college on your list to see if subject tests are required.  Typically, if subject tests are not a requirement, they will not be considered when colleges are making admission decisions.

College Counseling Staff

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Michael Calderone

    Mr. Michael Calderone 

    Director of College Counseling
    (410) 969-9105 Ext. 1240
  • Photo of Janine Bailey

    Mrs. Janine Bailey 

    College Counseling Coordinator
    (410) 969-9105 Ext. 1244
  • Photo of Courtney Watkins

    Mrs. Courtney Watkins 

    Associate Director of College Counseling
    (410) 969-9105 Ext. 1255
  • Photo of Kelly Valette

    Ms. Kelly Valette 

    College Counselor
    (410) 969-9105 Ext. 1263

One in Christ

Archbishop Spalding High School

8080 New Cut Road
Severn, MD 21144