In the eighth grade, advisors begin mapping a student’s course progression toward graduation and help each student set and achieve academic goals. Specific college-related lessons begin in eighth grade and continue – through classes and advisory – through the twelfth grade. In the fall, a senior-led College Fair provides students with a full overview of the college application process. In the spring, eighth grade students go on a college admission tour to get firsthand information, guidance, and exposure to the admission process.
We maximize the College Counseling experience in Upper School to ensure each student gains admission to the college or university of his or her choice. We do this by offering several College Information Sessions with representatives from top schools. This approach allows students an opportunity to build rapport with their preferred school, fully understand the application process, gain useful tips to enhance their competitive edge, and learn about the variety of academic options that are available to them.
We provide information and encouragement for students to start their own application on Coalition (a resume building and college application website), provide practice tests including the PSAT and the ACT Aspire, and offer an on-campus SAT prep class for tenth and eleventh graders. Our College Financial Aid Information Session is held annually for students and guardians. Our seniors are enrolled in a semester-long College Seminar class providing direct staff support and supervision for the completion of applications. College Seminar provides a collaborative space where we discuss essay writing tips, resume building ideas, scholarship information, the application process in depth, and life transition support (such as how to budget money in college, reduce anxiety, and improve study habits).
Because CCS has a family environment, our seniors are able to receive strong letters of recommendation that highlight their personal strengths in a meaningful way, and our Director of Upper School Counseling work as a liaison between the students and the school to which they are applying. Our competitive and creative curriculum is promoted to ensure the school of choice is aware of CCS’ Jobs Program, the personal websites created by students, and our Majors Program. These unique programs provide an incredible advantage for CCS students, as these are often program components that colleges and universities are marketing.
Additionally, parents receive educational emails related to the FAFSA, available scholarships, deadlines, and reminders as needed. The College Seminar course culminates with a College Fair invitation for all Middle and Upper School students. At the College Fair, seniors share all that they have learned during their semester-long College Seminar course, and also provide information on a variety of colleges and universities for the underclassmen.