Episcopal Collegiate's college counseling program is fundamentally about helping students find a proper match for their undergraduate experience.
With the wealth of college options available to students, it's vitally important that students be able to identify that set of colleges and universities that would best meet their educational needs, would best facilitate full expression of their interests outside the classroom, and would best provide a stimulating but comfortable social environment in which to live, thus ensuring that they fully flower into the well spoken, well reasoned, and confident graduates who will soon contribute positively to society. To facilitate this outcome, the college guidance program is based upon a proactive college planning sequence and close communication between the college counselor and the student and family.
As Episcopal Collegiate School offers a college-preparatory program, college counseling begins, practically speaking, the moment a student enrolls.
Effective college advising must begin with sound curricular advising which encourages a student to challenge him/herself with the most rigorous slate of courses that can be handled reasonably well. Upper School students work with their faculty advisors and the college counselor to design or maintain a four-year academic plan that should enable them as seniors to pursue quality institutions of higher learning during the college application process.
In addition to focusing on the proper academic course of study, freshman and sophomores are encouraged to pursue their interests and develop their talents outside the classroom by participating in school, church, or community activities. Students, even at this early stage of their Upper School experience, are also encouraged to begin officially visiting college campuses with their parents, and guidance is offered on just how to set up those visits and to capitalize best on the campus visit experience.
A more formal college counseling program begins in the junior year. Students meet individually with the college counselor to establish their priorities for a college search and to create a list of prospective colleges. Through a series of college counseling classes, all juniors are exposed to a myriad of topics and issues relating to the college search and selection process. Topics range from helping students understand a liberal arts education versus a specialized education, to how to research a prospective list of colleges, to how to apply for scholarship and financial assistance. Class time is also dedicated toward tangible outcomes such as registering for the Spring SAT and ACT, producing a first-class activities résumé, and practicing with the online Common Application.
During the senior year, the college counselor works very closely with each student to ensure that the application list reflects sound planning that both allows a student to reach for highly selective placements while also guaranteeing the student admission to an attractive option or set of options as well. Seniors are well instructed in the manner and timeliness of submitting their applications, and the efforts of the college counselor are focused on how Episcopal Collegiate can best support each student's candidacy.
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