Getting Started for High School Counselors

    College Kickstart is a web application designed to help college counselors ensure their students have a personalized and realistic college plan that includes a well-balanced list and early admission strategy.

    From an initial list to a final list, College Kickstart empowers your students to research and fine-tune their plan with data and analysis based on their academic profile. You maintain oversight every step of the way. And, it's designed to complement the tools you already use, like Naviance.

    If you need any help using College Kickstart:

    • email
    • look for the Help search on every page

    In this Getting Started, there are instructions related to:



    What are Sample Students ?

    Two sample students are created for each counselor: one in student-powered mode and one in counselor-powered mode. The intention for these sample student accounts is to allow you to do a test run of College Kickstart and familiarize yourself with the application from both the counselor's view and the students' view.   


    The log in information for the student-powered sample student is included in your welcome email. 



    How to use the counselor-powered mode Sample Student? 

    The first sample student (Student, Sample) is in counselor-powered mode, meaning that the college plans are under your control and not yet visible to the student. 

    On the counselor dashboard, the ownership is indicated by the icon in the owner column (1). For the counselor-powered student, you can update the school list, the academic profile, and run College Kickstart for the student (2). 


    Clicking the rocket icon launches College Kickstart. Here, you can learn how to add schools to the student's list and update the student's academic profile. After adding at least 6 schools to the list and updating at least one academic measure, click the blue 'Run Kickstart' button to run a plan.




    How to use the student-powered mode Sample Student? 

    The second sample student (StudentPowered, Sample) is in student-powered mode, meaning that the school list, academic profile, and running Kickstart are under the student's control. With this sample student account, you can see what College Kickstart will look like for you student once the account is switched to student-powered mode.

    On the counselor dashboard, the student ownership is indicated by the icon in the owner column (1).  If you need to reset your password for the sample student, you may click on the mail icon (2), which will resend a welcome email for the sample student.  For students you add to College Kickstart, you may use this feature to resend welcome emails to students that may have lost or forgotten their passwords. You will be copied in the welcome emails as well. mceclip3.png

    To use the student-powered sample student account, log out of you counselor account and log into the sample student account using the password provided in your welcome email.

    When you log in for the first time, you will see the school list and academic profile panels. Pick at least 6 schools and update at least one academic measure of your choice and click the blue 'Run Kickstart' button. mceclip4.png

    After running the plan, you will end up on the "Plan Highlights" page. The next time you log into this sample student account, you will always land on the "Plan highlights" page. If you want to update or run a plan again, click on the green 'Update Plan' button.





    How do I add a student?

    There are two methods to add a student available. 

    1. From the Counselor Dashboard page, click Add Student


    2. Enter the profile details for your student.

    • The First Name, Last Name, Email, High School and HS Graduation Year are required.
    • Clicking the blue plus reveals the Optional Fields: Address and Notes.


    3. Select the Account Ownership.

    Use the blue toggle to make your selection between the two options described below: 

    • Counselor (default): The counselor owns the student's plan and has 100% control over how to share it with their student.
    • Student: The student owns the plan and will be the only one able to create and refie it. The counselor will continue to have complete visibility of the student's progress and plan.
    • NOTE: Counselors also have the option to start in Counselor ownership and switch the Account Ownership to Student later in the process. Once you have switched to Student ownership, the ownership cannot be changed back to counselor-only.
      > For additional guidance on this setting, refer to this article: Put your students in the driver’s seat with your hand on the wheel

    4. Click Save to finish adding the student. By default, the Add Student panel will stay open after you save, so you can continue to add students up to the limit that you have licensed. Click the X in the top right once you are done.

    • If you chose Student Ownership, an email will be automatically sent to the student on the counselor's behalf, which includes the student's account details and instructions on how to get started

    5. When you are ready to run a plan for a student, click on the rocket icon in the Actions column.





    For extra information on this setting, you can refer to this article: Put your students in the driver’s seat with your hand on the wheel

    How do I change a student’s account from Counselor Ownership to Student Ownership?

    1. From the Owner column in Student Summaries, click the Counselor icon.

    2. Use the blue toggle. Click Student and the account owner will change from Counselor to Student.

    3. Click Save.

    What happens when I give students ownership of their plan?

    The following actions occur both when you initially add a student account in student-powered mode, and when you switch an existing student from counselor to student-powered mode. 


    1. College Kickstart automatically sends an email, which includes the student's account details and instructions on getting started, to your student on your behalf. 

    2. Your student is encouraged to get started on College Kickstart and is given a link to log in to their student account in the welcome email. 


    3.  Once your student logs in, they will start on their Profile, where they should enter 1.) the list of colleges that they have in mind and 2.) their academic profile.  

    After your student's college list and profile are complete, they can click Run Kickstart to create their first college plan.  Each time that your student updates their plan, you can track it in the Counselor Dashboard.




    How do I review the activity history for one of my students?

    By default, the Counselor Dashboard shows the latest plans created by each of your active students.

    To review an individual student's activity history, click All Students to see your entire list of students and select the student from that list.


    How can I compare different runs?

    By clicking on the PROGRESS REPORT icon under the ACTIONS, you will be able to select two different runs and compare how they were graded and how the schools were categorized.
    > For additional guidance the PROGRESS REPORT, check this article: Counselor - What is the Progress Report for?



    Can I track both my current juniors and current seniors?

    Yes. By default, when you sign into College Kickstart, the dashboard will show you activity for your current juniors.  To see your seniors' plans, click on the dropdown at the top of the Student Summaries panel and select the option for the current senior class.  mceclip4.png

    NOTE: plans for seniors can be viewed but cannot be updated.



    How can I see a quick summary of my student’s latest plan?

    1. From the Actions column in Student Summaries, click Magnifying Glass.

    2. Click X in the upper right corner to close the Summary.
    > For details on this view refer to this article: What is the Summary View?

    mceclip5.pngHow can I see the application requirements for my student’s latest plan?

    1. From the Actions column in Student Summaries, click the List icon.

    2. Click X in the upper right corner to close the Requirements Summary.

    NOTE: The Requirements data is updated by September 1 for the coming application cycle. For additional details, read this article: When are application requirements updated?

    > For details on this view refer to this article: What can you get from the Requirements View?


    How can I see the need-based aid and the merit-based aid for my student’s latest plan?

    For Need-based Aid:

    1. From the Actions column in Student Summaries, click the Money icon.

    2. Click X in the upper right corner to close the Need-based Aid Summary. 

    > How do I interpret the Need-based Aid Summary?


    For Merit-based Aid:

    1. From the Actions column in Student Summaries, click the Award icon.

    2. Click X in the upper right corner to close
    > How do I interpret the Merit-based Aid Summary?



    How can I quickly switch between summary views?

    Once you enter any of the summary views described above, you can use the dropdown menu to change to a different view before closing the window. 




    Can I print custom reports for my clients?

    Yes, you can use the generate PDF option to print professional-quality reports for your clients that can be branded with your logo and customized with tailored commentary for each student.  The report closely follows the organization of the College Kickstart application and includes a plan summary, application requirements, need and merit-based financial aid tables as appendices.

    1. From the Actions column in Student Summaries, click the PDF document icon.


    2. A dialog box will appear that lets you add personalized commentary, select the optional Action Plan, and generate the custom PDF report with your logo. 


    • Depending on your browser, the PDF will be automatically displayed (e.g. Chrome) or downloaded (double click to open).  A sample report cover is displayed below. 

    Can I print an individual report view?

    You can also create a report from an individual view from the student's plan summary by using the PRINT ICON on the top right of the window.  For example, only the Merit-based Aid Summary View will be printed here. 




    How do I run my own college list scenarios for students?

    When you want to run your own test cases, independent of your students, click Run Kickstart above the Student Summaries.


    This will launch your personal version of College Kickstart, and the results will not appear in the activity history of any of your students. You can review the results of your test scenario by clicking View Highlights. 

    How do I enter colleges for a student's list?


    1. Select schools using the search box.

    • Begin typing the name of the institution to see your options. To select a school, check the box next to the school name to add it to the list. 
    • The text box is search-based and includes aliases for institutions. This means you can type UCLA instead of typing the University of California at Los Angeles.
    • The tag icon in the top right corner is an extra feature that filters the displayed list to schools with common characteristics. Refer to this article for details: Are there shortcuts for adding schools to my list?

    2. List schools in order of preference.

    • To rearrange the rank order of the list, hover your cursor over the Rank column and drag the school to the desired position in the list.

    3. Specify commitment.

    • You can specify a commitment level for your student's top two schools. Click the Heart icon next to the school to indicate your student is strongly committed to attending if accepted.
      >Additional details are available here: What's the heart for?

    What happens if my student does not have a standardized score?

    As many students were not able to take any standardized tests due to COVID-19, you are able to use College Kickstart to run college plans without test scores, as long as your student has at least a GPA grade or RANK entered.  

    > For more detailed guidance, refer to this article: Running College Kickstart Without a Standardized Test Score


    A warning window will display indicating that the college plan run will use the GPA to make its best suggestion.


    What happens with the schools that have converted to TEST-OPTIONAL?

    If your student is missing standardized test scores or if their GPA is better than the standardized score, College Kickstart will use their GPA to make its suggestion. 
    > For more detailed guidance, refer to this article: Running College Kickstart Without a Standardized Test Score

    After running Kickstart, you will be able to view information in the DETAILS tab as follows:


    In the SUMMARY VIEW, you will also be able to view if applying TEST-OPTIONAL should be considered.




    What is the difference between CAMPUS VISIT and ON CAMPUS?



    With the start of COVID-19, many schools moved to online visits. Counselors will find a direct link for all schools who offer virtual tours of the campus under the CAMPUS VISIT field.

    Some schools are now offering on-site campus visits. Under "ON-CAMPUS," counselors may provide links to their students who wish to make appointments for on-site visits.



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