The best curriculum any student could have in order to succeed in the college search process is the strong academic one offered in classrooms at Holland Hall. Admissions directors repeatedly advise students to take the most challenging courses in which they can succeed. At the core of this curriculum are teachers who, in addition to classroom activities, invite students to take advantage of office hours for personal help with the work they are assigned. Learning to take responsibility in asking for the help they need is central to success in college. In addition to this strong foundation College Counseling adds these components:
During the freshman year College Counseling visits wellness classes to talk about goal setting. Because going to college is a most common goal it lends itself to visiting with students about the importance of a strong transcript. We try to impress upon our students that their freshman year counts. All freshmen the PLAN test each October. Results are returned and explained in Freshman Wellness in December. The PLAN, a shorter version of the ACT, affords practice for the ACT test and includes and interest inventory. During the spring semester, College Counseling works with students in Freshman Wellness to create a four-year curriculum plan.
Sophomore year is college admission testing practice year. We give all sophomores the PSAT as a practice for the junior year test. Because scores attained the sophomore year do not count in the National Merit Scholarship process, it is an opportunity to take this test with little or no stress involved. During the spring semester, College Counseling meets with the sophomore class to discuss the importance of leadership, maintaining a strong curriculum, a solid grade point average and encouraging them to begin visiting college campuses.
During second semester juniors are enrolled in Junior Seminar. This semester long course offers classes in all aspects of the college search process. The syllabus may change from year to year but the basics are the same. The course outline is included in the hopes that parents will ask about subjects discussed each cycle.
In August of the summer following the junior year College Counseling offers College Boot Camp. Boot Camp is offered shortly after the Common Application becomes available on line. Rising seniors fill out the Common Application, update their resumes and write their college essays. In other words, seniors get the “jump” on the busy application season that usually starts with the start of school and the introduction to new classes. This head start has proven of great benefit in eliminating the stress of senior year.
Once school starts seniors are required to meet with their assigned college counselor once per cycle until the application season is complete. This process involves minimal homework. This meeting time affords both student and counselor the opportunity to monitor the process and to get all questions answered. We welcome additional questions at any point in this process.