The mission of Hillcrest's Guidance Office and Student Support Services is to provide a comprehensive approach to counseling in the the areas of academic, career, post secondary planning, and personal, social and emotional growth and support.  We equip students for a life of eternal significance, guiding them in their gifts, talents and interests to be a positive influence throughout their lives.  

Hillcrest provides Student Support Services with a Licensed School Counselor, Angela Paulson and a Registrar, Amy Twedt.  Additionally, Marcos Holzner supports students in the Online Learning Lab with credit recovery, college online course work and other academic opportunities.

See the common areas of interest below. For further assistance, please contact our student services team: 

Angela Paulson
Licensed School Counselor
504/HAP Coordinator

SAT/PSAT Coordinator
NHS Advisor


Leanne Wiertzema

Marcos Holzner
Online Learning Lab

Graduation Requirements

During the high school years (grades 9-12), students are required to earn credits in required courses to be awarded a diploma. Currently, those courses include the following:

* Bible: 1 credit for each year in attendance at Hillcrest

* Computer Applications: .25 credit

* English: 4 credits

* Foreign Language: 1 credit (Many colleges require 2 credits.)

* Health: .5 credit

* History: 3.5 credits

* Math: 3 credits

* Physical Education: 1 credit

* Science: 3 credits

* World View II/UTT: 1 credit

Note: Specific courses in these broad fields may be required by the state of Minnesota.


The Hillcrest Lutheran Academy School Code is required for registering for the SAT and ACT test.

* The SAT test is offered once in the fall and once in the spring in the Junior High building. Students must register several weeks in advance at:

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* The ACT test is offered several times each year. Register at: [][2]

The ACT test is offered in various locations, including M-State in Fergus Falls. Plan ahead for a convenient test location.

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The ACT and SAT are both college entrance exams. It is recommended students plan to take one of the tests prior to November 1st of the senior year. Often juniors take the test in the spring to become acquainted with the testing layout and decide if further study would be helpful. It is not usually necessary for students to take both tests.

Standardized College Admission Testing:  
Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Do I need to take a standardized test to get into college?  Colleges are beginning to move away from this requirement.  If your GPA is strong, you may not need to take a standardized test.  However, colleges may get a more complete understanding of your abilities when you submit the test scores to your college.  Check with colleges you plan to attend to see if they recommend or need SAT or ACT test scores for admission.

2.  Are there any advantages to taking a standardized admission test?  Scholarships and predictors for college success are both possibilities when students submit their standardized test scores to colleges.

3.  Which test should I take, the SAT or the ACT?  Typically colleges will accept either one, but in the midwest the ACT is typically the test students take.  The SAT test provides just over 20% more time to answer the questions than the ACT.

4. Will preparing for the test help me score better?  Research indicates that scores improve when students prepare.  In fact, SAT recently announced a 115 point improvement for those students who prepared for 20 hours.

5.  What is the best way to prepare?  Open an account with or (for the SAT).  Both sites will direct you to free study opportunities. Practice tests are very helpful.  SAT partners with Khan Academy to help you merge your account to develop a personal online study plan and provides practice results very quickly.  

6.  Where else can I find study tips and learn test taking strategies?  There are actually many YouTube videos that provide direct tutoring and instruction tips for the SAT or ACT.  Your local library may also have the latest practice manuals with tips and strategies.

7.  When should I take a college admissions test?  The late spring of your junior year or early fall of your senior year provide the best measure of your ability.  College applications should be completed for most colleges by December 15, so plan to have your scores sent directly to colleges you’re applying to.  

8.  Do I need to register in advance?  Yes, plan ahead!  Registering early takes the pressure off of last minute registration challenges.  Please, do not wait until the last day to register.

The Common Application

The Common App is an online application that can be submitted to many colleges. Common App is linked to Naviance or you can go to: Be sure to “waive your rights” so that we can release your transcript and letters of recommendation.

The College Application Process

Where and When to Start Looking and Applying to Colleges?

* Freshman and Sophomore Year:

Begin paying attention to your interests and strengths. Start building a resume’ of work and volunteer experiences.

** TIP: Keep a designated notebook to list your community service, activities, employment experiences, etc.

Academic achievement is an important area of focus, but also remember that who you are as a person--your character is ultimately more important.

Practice using strong social skills in your interactions with everyone.

When opportunities present themselves to practice interviewing, participate and enjoy the new experience.

* Junior Year:

Start narrowing down ideas for your career path.

Take and review the inventories in Naviance to identify your strengths and find possible career matches.

Tour colleges of interest.

Attend College Night, a college fair or career expo.

Take the ACT or SAT in the late spring or summer following your junior year.

* Senior Year:

Take the ACT or SAT if you haven’t or retake it right away in the fall.

Begin identifying colleges of interest and adding them to your list in Naviance.

Tour colleges of interest.

Pay attention to college application deadlines.

Apply to colleges.

Ask individuals (face-to-face) who know you well to write letters of recommendation.

Write thank you notes to individuals who write letters of recommendation.

Apply for scholarships while you’re waiting to hear from colleges.

After submitting applications to colleges of your choice, review these steps:

** Have you paid the application fee or submitted a fee waiver form when you submitted your college applications?

**Have you requested your transcript to be sent to each school that you applied to?

**If required, have you submitted letters of recommendation?

**If required, have you submitted your college entrance essays?

**Have you sent dual-credit college transcripts to each school you applied to?

**Have you submitted your AP scores to each school you applied to?

** If you have not submitted all of the required material to your colleges of choice, you may not be considered for admission.

*Contacting your colleges of choice to confirm that they have all of your materials is a nice way to stay connected to your colleges of interest. If you are waitlisted by a college, stay in contact with them to reassure them of your interest. If you are denied by a college, and would still like to attend, research the college’s appeal process.*


While you wait to hear from colleges, fill out the FAFSA for financial aid. You can find the FAFSA at

Financial Aid

A post-secondary education can be expensive. Tuition, fees, housing, meal plans, books, supplies, equipment and transportation can add up. Thankfully, there are many options available to students to help make college affordable. Assistance for most college-bound students comes from financial aid.

Financial aid is monetary support from colleges, institutions and/or the government provided for students attending a post-secondary educational institution. Financial aid can be awarded in the forms of grants, scholarships, work study, and educational loans. In order to be eligible for financial aid, a college student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually. The FAFSA analyzes the family’s ability to pay for college with the cost of college to determine the need for financial support.

* Grants: Free grants do not need to be paid back.

* Subsidized Loans: Interest is paid by the government until the student completes college.

* Unsubsidized Loans: Interest accumulates while a student is in college and the student pays this interest.

Scholarship Resources

* CollegeBoard Scholarship Search:

* Fastweb:

* Fergus Falls Dollars for Scholars: For local students

* Scholarships by State:

**links to every individual state are provided at this site.

Scholarship America:**

NHS Members:

Current Scholarships:


Watch the bulletin board across from the Counselor’s office for new scholarship postings.


Naviance will be replaced by MCIS beginning in the fall of 2019.  The MCIS platform provides many helpful assessments to begin planning a career path.  Part of this journey includes identifying the gifts and strengths God has given you. Watch for upcoming information or begin exploring this site by searching the following website:


Our school’s login information is available on the bulletin board across from the counselor’s office and will be sent out in the Principal Update.  Remember to login under portfolio to save your assessments and inventories. Reminder: Always keep you login information for future reference.

Another helpful resource is from Thrivent at:

This site may help navigate the “Paying for College Questions” with some good articles, scholarship links and some personal inventories to help you discern where God is directing you in your future plans.


Junior High:

Study Skills workshop - Aug. 18-22


Personal Learning Plan: College/Career/Post-secondary plan


PLAN ACT prep test, PSAT (SAT prep test) - both tests are provided during the school day. No fees.

Career Expo - Thurs. Oct. 8 - 11:15am-1:30pm - Kennedy H.S.
PSAT - Wednesday, October 11th.  Sophomores will test in the morning. This test is at Bethel LBC. 


PSAT - Wednesday, October 11th.
ACT, SAT - Register on your own (see info. below)

NDSCS College Fair - Thursday, September 14th juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to go to NDSCS for a college fair.  The bus leaves at 12:15 and will return at 3:15.
PSAT - Wed. Oct. 28 - 8:30-11:45am - Bethel LBC
NDSU College Tour - TBD
International College Tour - Oct. 14 - University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.




ACT Test 
Register online

  • Make payment online and print off admission ticket

  • Writing test is optional but often recommended by colleges

  • Recommended to take the test at least 2 times.

  • See info. below regarding ACT prep. course

Test Date:
Oct. 27 | Registration Deadline: Sept. 21 / Late Reg.: Oct. 5 | Score Release: Nov. 6; Nov, 20
Dec. 8 | Registration Deadline: Nov. 2 / Late Reg.: Nov. 16 | Score Release: Dec. 18; Jan 1, 2019
Feb. 9, 2019 | Registration Deadline: Jan. 4 / Late Reg.: Jan. 18 | Score Release: Feb. 19; Mar. 5, 2019
Apr. 13, 2019 | Registration Deadline: Mar. 8 / Late Reg.: Mar. 22 | Score Release: Apr. 23; May 7, 2019
June 8, 2019 | Registration Deadline: May 3 / Late Reg.: May 17 | Score Release: June 18; July 2, 2019
July 13, 2019 | Registration Deadline: June 14 / Late Reg.: June 21 | Score Release: July 23; Aug. 6, 2019

SAT Test 
Register online

Test Date:
Oct. 6 | Registration Deadline: Sept. 7 / Late Reg. (Paper): Sept. 21 | Score Release: Oct. 25
Nov. 3 /at HLA | Registration Deadline: Oct. 5 / Late Reg. (Paper): Oct. 19 | Score Release: Nov. 22
Dec. 1 | Registration Deadline: Nov. 2 / Late Reg. (Paper): Nov. 16 | Score Release: Dec. 20
Mar. 9, 2019 / at HLA | Registration Deadline: Feb. 8 / Late Reg. (Paper): Feb. 22 | Score Release: Mar. 22
May 4, 2019 | Registration Deadline: Apr. 5 / Late Reg. (Paper): Apr. 19 | Score Release: May 23
June 1, 2019 | Registration Deadline: May 3 / Late Reg. (Paper): May 17 | Score Release June 20

AP Test

May AP Tests: Test fees are due into the Finance office by Tuesday, March 25th - $89/test

  • AP Calculus 8 am Thurs. May 5

  • AP Euro 12pm Fri. May 6

  • AP English 8am Wed. May 11


Standardized Test

What:  This standardized tests provides students an opportunity to practice the SAT and qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.  Hillcrest also uses the results to follow individual student achievement.

When:  The first Wednesday in October.

Who:  10th and 11th graders

Students can study online at through Khan Academy and SAT.  Students who spend 20 hours practicing and studying increase their SAT scores by 115 points.

Naviance/Family Connection A college/career readinessplatform.
We will be using this site to submit transcripts and recommendation letters to your student’s schools of choice.
Your student has been given access to this site.
We will be sending more information to you as well as your own access code.

Another very helpful and comprehensive college/career site is GPSLifePlan,

No log-in or registration is needed for this site.




Recurring Monthly

Monthly chance to win $1,000 scholarship!

NHS SCHOLARSHIPS and create an account (program key NHS).

Fergus Falls Seniors Scholarships

Dollars for Scholars

Go to this website and create an account.

Contact Mrs. Paulson with any questions.


Questbridge National College Match. For high achieving low-income studnts to full four-year scholarships at the nation's best colleges, including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Amherst, and Duke.


1.  St. Louis, MO scholarship for Washington University for a student with strong integrity, academics and a heart for service.

Wendy’s High School Heisman:  deadline Oct. 10; in one or more sports; online application

AES: Oct. 6 , $500;  essay,

Horatio Alger Scholarship for a student with a financial need in order to attend college.  This is a state and national scholarship you can use at the college of your choice.  If you're not sure you can afford to go to college this one might be for you.  GPA requirement of a 2.0.  Deadline October 25th.

Coca-Cola: deadline Oct. 31;



Prudential Spirit of Community Award: Nov. 4

*Heart Research Scholarship: deadline Nov. 19; interest in health science; Minnesota High School senior, college fresh. soph., jr.;

PCI/Salon Professional Academy (Fargo): deadline Nov. 30; $2500 cosmetology scholarship available for EACH MN high school!; application and guidelines available

Burger King: deadline Oct. 15 Dec. 15;


AXA Achievement Scholarship: deadline Dec. 1;; $10,000 - $25,000; community involvement, overcome personal challenges AXA Achievement Scholarship: ;$2,000; community involvement, overcome personal challenges

NFIB - YEF/Young Entrepreneur Foundation: deadline Dec. 15;; plan to attend a 2 or 4 year school; have an officially established business

Great Clips/Alice Madden Barton Cosmetology School Scholarship Program: deadline Dec. 31; for seniors planning a career in cosmetology, or barbering;

ESA: Feb. 1; EARLY BIRD AWARD Any completed application / accompanying documents submitted by December 15, and approved for judging; will be eligible for a drawing to be awarded a $1000 Early Bird Scholarship as funds permit.


National Wild Turkey Federation Ottertail Lakes Chapter: $500; seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA; holder of hunting license; member of NWTF; involved in school and community activities;

*US Bank: (applications accepted Jan. – May); plans to attend a 4 yr. school; Random drawing!; senior or high school graduate 

Ronald Reagan Essay Contest: Deadline Jan. 5  

Burger King: Jan. 10;

Fergus Falls Elks Lodge/Elks Most Valuable Student: deadline January 13; ; up to 6 students selected from our area

YFU/Intercultural Exchange Program: scholarships available for a summer, semester, or year abroad.


*ESA: Feb. 1; EARLY BIRD AWARD Any completed application / accompanying documents submitted by December 15, and approved for judging; will be eligible for a drawing to be awarded a $1000 Early Bird Scholarship as funds permit.

UEF/United Educators Scholarship: Feb. 1; 3/$1,000; member or family member of Credit Union member; “What’s New”

FRS (Foundation for Rural Services): deadline Feb. 15; up to $2500; Must have one of Arvig’s core services: video, Internet, phone; C average. Josie Winkels, Arvig, 150 2nd St. SW, Perham, MN 56573

*Northwest Minnesota Youth Leadership Award: $500; ages 17-21 as of Jan.1, 2014


*Buick Achievers: deadline Feb. 28; up to $100,000; full-time/4 yr. school; engineering, technology, design or business;


Farm Credit Services Scholarship: Deadline Mar. 1; 24/$1,000; come from an actively farming family or planning to pursue an agricultural career; applications available or online

MN School Counselor Association Scholarship: deadline Mar. 1;

*US Bank: deadline March; plans to attend a 4 yr. school; Random drawing! senior or graduate;

Fergus Falls Concert Association: $1,000;  qualified music students band student;.

Lowell Dreyer Memorial: Deadline Mar. 3; $500; applications available (leave score blank)

Ottertail Lions Club: deadline Mar. 15; senior involved in volunteering and leadership; applications available, also on website

Missouri River Energy Services: deadline Mar. 15; 10 / $1,000; seniors receiving power and services from a Missouri River Energy Services’ member utility; electrical line worker or engineer;

Kohl’s: Mar. 15; volunteer and contributions to community;

LR builders Foundation: Mar. 15, pursuing a trade, $500; applications available, also on website 

*Catch-A-Break! : deadline Mar. 15; up to $10,000; high potential 18-21yr.olds who have faced significant challenges;

*AAUW-Amer. Assoc. of Univ. Women: Mar. 21; $1,500; no age limit; women who have demonstrated an interest in the Arts (music, drama, writing, art); applications available, also on website

Mike Rohde Spirit Scholarship Award: Mar. 29; $1,500; energetic, fun-loving, community service; applications available 

*MBA: Mar. 30; up to $1,000; child of public school or school district employee; high school seniors or graduates

Janice M. Scott: deadline Mar. 31; $2500; 3.0 GPA; 4 yr. college

MWGA/Minnesota Women’s Golf Association Scholarship: Deadline Mar. 31; a female high school student who has  an interest in golf, plan to attend a 4 year school, GPA of 3.2 or above; $3,000/year for 4 years; see Mrs. Paulson

American Legion Trust Scholarship:  deadline Mar. 27; 3/$500; direct descendant of a Veteran; return to Mrs. Paulson, also on website

SFM: Mar. 31, up to $5,000, parent injured or killed on the job, (MN, WI)



*American Legion Memorial Scholarship: deadline April; 6/$500; must be a veteran, child, or grandchild of a veteran; for high school graduates; return to Mrs. Paulson ;applications available , also on website

MSTATE Fergus Falls Freshman Scholarship- Applications due April 1 You may download a copy of this application at

Tri-County Hospital: deadline April 1; 6 / $1,000; seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA; planning to enter health care field; applications available David H. Beighley: deadline April1; $1000; West Ottertail MDAA 815 S. Union Ave., Fergus Falls, MN 56537

*Marcella Arnold Nursing Scholarship: deadline Apr. 1; for high school graduates currently in an LPN or RN Nursing program. Forms available in counselor’s office and in the district office.

Tom Bovitz Memorial: deadline April ; $2,000 1st place, $1,500 second place, $1,000 third place, $500 fourth place; customer of MN Municipal Utilities Association/MMUA

Lake Region Healthcare Auxiliary Health Career: deadline Apr. 4; $500 - $750 , 2.5 GPA or above and interested in health related career; application  available, also online Education/Events (bottom of page)

MN Clean Air: April 5; essay ; forms available, or online

American Legion Legacy Scholarship: deadline Apr.;

Pioneer Care: April 16; planning to pursue nursing career and are accepted in an LPN/RN program; applications available.

Otter Tail/Grant County Corn & Soybean Growers Ass’n: Due April, $500, plan to pursue education in the field of agriculture. Applications available

2010 Student-View Scholarship: deadline Apr. 22;


Technology: Each semester our company challenges students to dig into the field of technology by writing different essays on how innovative technologies are transforming our lives. For the Spring semester the topic is: “The future of technology in education”. 

The best submission will be awarded $2,000 while the two runners-up will receive $500 each. All information and eligibility requirements can be found here:

JUNIORS! Minnesota Association of Townships: deadline May 1; 4/$1,000;

MN Athletes in Sports Medicine:  May 1, $2,500 1 male 1 female pursue career in sports medicine, MN 4 yr. school, 4 yrs. Involvement in sports

Society of Women Engineers, Minnesota Section: Deadline May 15;; female planning to study engineering or computer



MNESTA:  Deadline June 1;; student who is a son or daughter of active duty police, fire, or EMS personnel

Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarship: Deadline June 15;; student enrolling in non-profit postsecondary institution. Student must have a strong commitment to a career or technical program and demonstrate financial need.

Helpful Scholarship Websites  World’s Largest Scholarship Database enter to win free tuition.

Achieve Scholarship: plan to attend a MN college/university;

Scholarship for People with Disability ( sensory impairment or physical disability);

Wells Fargo College STEPS Scholarship Sweepstakes: 

MINNESOTAJOBS.COM Scholarship Program:; planning to attend, or are currently attending a Minnesota 2 or 4 yr. school.

Minnesota State Archery Association Program