College Advising in Private High Schools

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College Advising in Private High Schools
Private high schools offer strong college advising programs.
There are several advantages a private school can offer over most public schools. For example, small class sizes and individual attention. Sports programs and extracurricular activities also make the list. But how about college advising? In the first place getting a solid college preparation is probably one of the reasons you are thinking of sending your child to private school. You have read the course catalog and approve of the breadth and depth of the school's academic offerings. But what about the skilled guidance and expertise a high school guidance counselor can offer? That's part of the package too. Let's explore how private high schools approach college advising.

Dedicated Resources for College Advising
Take The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, for example. I quote their College Advising page so you can see how many resources are available to you and your child in an average sized private high school with grades 9 through 12. Five staffers have about 160 12th graders to handle. Contrast that with some public high schools where the ratio of guidance counselor to students is 1 professional to 700+ students. 

The George Berman Center for College Advising 

The George Berman Center for College Advising is located on the first floor of the Academic Center. It offers an inviting, spacious research room, an extensive college resource library, and a large conference room.

Hill's College Advising Office consists of Director of College Advising Craig Allen; Associate Director of College Advising Christina Cerenzia; Associate Director of College Advising David McMillin; College Adviser Beth Allain, and Secretary to the Director Sue Rooney.

As stated in the School's Strategic Plan, "All students will be taught the skills and core knowledge measured by SAT-I, SAT-II, and AP tests. Hill students will master the skills of learning, the knowledge on which future learning is based, and the ability to demonstrate those skills en route to college admissions."

Throughout the college admission process, Hill's college advisers help students develop self-assessment and decision-making techniques; these skills enable our young men and women to make particularly informed choices concerning their college careers. In consultation with the college advisers, each student develops a compatible list of colleges to research; attends college meetings and workshops; arranges interviews and college visits; and obtains and completes a reasonable number of applications. Indeed, the skills learned during their college search will remain with our students throughout their lives.

To reach the College Advising Office by phone, call 610-326-1000, ext. 7276.

How Many Schools Should I apply To?
"The typical advice, and I agree with it, is to apply to 6 or 7 schools"...Dr. Allen Grove, College Admissions Guide, 

The second point to note is that private schools hire qualified professionals to be their college advisers. These men and women know their colleges. They focus on getting results for you and your child. Realistic results. Yes, I know you think your child will have everything Harvard or Princeton are looking for. But when your child's college adviser tells you that the top five colleges are a reach, trust her. She will recommend that your child apply to a couple of colleges which are safe and match schools as well as trying for the highly competitive ones - those which are a reach. My eldest daughter went to Harvard. Of course, I am thrilled she did. But I can tell you honestly that she would have been just as happy and gotten just as good an education - perhaps better - at several other institutions I can think of.

College Advising Spans Your Child's High School Years
"According to the American School Counselor Association, the average ratio of American public high school students per guidance counselor is 476 to 1.

Additionally, according to the ASCA, guidance counselors spend an average of just 38 minutes discussing each individual student’s college search and application process each admissions cycle.".....The Daily Pennsylvanian

The third point is that college advising in most private schools is not going to be confined to a single brief meeting with your child. The process starts when she arrives at the school and intensifies as she gets closer to the various decision points in her junior and senior years. Selecting the right courses and preparing for college applications and senior year exams is not left to chance. The college advisers develop a plan for each student and keep tabs on their progress. Private school college advisers take a lot of little steps over the 3 or 4 years students are under their supervision to accomplish the mutually agreed upon goals.

The bottom line is that college advising is something which most private high schools do well. It is part of their commitment to you and your child. You will, of course, still have to do your own diligence and ensure that your requirements are being met.

Additional Resources [+]
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