I’ve noticed that a number of recent threads have debated the private vs. public route to death. My personal view is that there really are too many factors to make any one generalization, but I thought I’d offer some insight anyway. This is how college counseling works at my school- one of the prep schools mentioned in this forum often. Perhaps this can help you make your own decision about elite matriculations from prep schools.
Throughout high school:
-Students paired up with academic advisor (about 1:12 ratio) w/regular meetings discussing grades, what classes are appropriate, what requirements are needed, etc.
-Meetings with advisors and house counselors after midterms and report cards come out
-Peer tutoring “red flag” recommended by teacher if student is struggling
Winter 11th grade:
-First information session with college counseling office. Basically they tell you not to worry, but you should be starting to look at colleges over spring break (if you haven’t started already), make sure you have a couple teachers you like and feel comfortable asking recommendations from, and start signing up for mailing lists
-College counseling starts posting information about SAT’s, (which would be good to take, when to take them, etc.)
-You fill out a questionaire that pairs you up with your individual college counselor. This counselor is the one who guides you through the process and writes your recommendation. Ratio? About 1:60.
Spring 11th grade:
-Ah, the dreaded scattergrams. College counseling makes a chart of every college every senior from last year applied to. Charts show acceptances and rejections based on GPA and SAT scores. Based on this, you make a very very rough college list with reaches, matches, and safeties to get a ballpark idea.
-Regular small information sessions on athletic recruiting, art and music portfolios, British universities, EA vs. ED, and technical/specialized colleges. COllege reps come and talk about what’s helpful, what’s not, and give advice.
-College Counseling “advises” you to apply for leadership positions in the clubs and sports you’re in
-AP tests and SAT scores sent to college counseling
Summer after 11th:
-College counseling sends out statistics from last year, the “College Counseling Handbook,” a school-printed resource on college admissions for parents, and asks you to fill out a mock Common App.
September 12th grade:
-College Counseling sends out a newsletter every Friday detailing deadlines, scholarship information, and more.
-On-campus interviews and visits from admissions reps. from different colleges in small group sessions
-Meet with your college counselor to narrow your list (RD), or talk about which teachers to ask for recommendations, any supplementary materials you might send, any concerns you might have.
-College Counseling “requests” that you ask for your teacher recs, do any make-up testing, and start writing essays
-Few days off for senior college visiting
October 12th grade:
-My school doesn’t use the traditional school recommendation, we’ve devised our own. You fill it out according to what schools you’re applying to, and hand it in, and that’s how they know where you’re applying. This is when they’re due.
-Essay writing and Interview workshop
-How to fill out a UC application workshop
-College fair… office often gives advice before you go, like visit your safety schools, contact professors of academic subjects you’re interested in
-Submit application to college counseling office so they can review and offer advice/suggestions
November 12th grade:
-Check in with college counselor. EA/ED stuff due, otherwise they tell you how to deal with “panic notes” (missing info from schools) and other troubleshooting.
December 12th grade:
-Winter break, let college counselors know the status of your application if EA/ED, if not, all applications due in College Counseling in early December.
April 12th grade:
-College decisions come in, college counseling holds meetings on handling waitlists, how to write a waitlist letter, what workload to maintain