Decision Making II, our college counseling class for juniors, is designed to better prepare our students for the important decisions they will be facing in the coming year and beyond, particularly decisions about college. The college search process is just that: a process that should be logical and timely. The first step is for the students to take a critical look at themselves and learn about their options. The mantra of the college counselors is that all students should seek colleges that are good fits for them, rather than seek to “fit into” a college. We hold two college counseling evening programs for juniors and parents. The first program is in December and lays out the college search and application process for students and parents. The second college night program is in the spring and includes a panel of college admissions representatives who discuss “fit factors” in college admission and work to demystify and humanize the college admissions process for our students.
In Decision Making II classes the college counselors speak to our students about topics such as campus visits, interviews, essays and letters of recommendation. In January of junior year, students begin individual meetings with the college counselors to create a preliminary list of colleges to investigate good fit schools more deeply.
In late May, the college counselors run a three-session "Camp College" program for juniors. During Camp College, juniors create their Common Application account and work on the actual application. On the third day of Camp College, we invite college admissions representatives to GFS to read and provide feedback on college essay drafts that the students crafted in their junior year English classes. We launch our students into the summer with completed applications, a college essay draft, and a more focused college list.
College Counselors teach the Decision Making II course and get to know the students as the students are getting to know themselves; thus, the counselors are better able to guide them through the college admissions journey toward right fit schools.