Garrison Forest empowers students to realize their full potential and live lives of purpose.

Garrison Forest School

College Counseling

At Garrison Forest School we view college counseling holistically—it is the next step in a series of opportunities for students to understand themselves and begin to realize their potential as students, leaders, and citizens of the 21st century.

From the time they enter Garrison Forest, students are challenged intellectually and nurtured emotionally through personal contact with academic advisors, teachers, coaches, and administrators. College counseling at GFS applies that same ethic of growth to the college search process, helping to guide students toward making the best choices for themselves. Although the "formal" college search begins junior year, the process truly begins when a student enters the School.

Beyond the challenges of being admitted, the college process can be an exercise in humility, patience, compromise, and an exciting time of self-discovery. Students explore connections between academic work and interests that may lead to unexpected college choices. Most importantly, they learn to recognize the qualities and skills they need to navigate what can be a fluid, complex--and ultimately rewarding--process.

The emphasis of our college counseling program is on finding the best "match" for a student, so it is important that students have time to reflect upon who they are or may become. Our goal is not only for every senior to have a choice of suitable college admission offers from which to choose, but for each girl to feel ownership of the process and responsibility for her success.

Our Program

9th Grade

While the college preparation process formally begins in 10th Grade, 9th Grade students are encouraged to become involved and to get to know their teachers. They work closely with advisors to make sure they are on track to take the best classes for themselves.

10th Grade

Career Explorations takes place in the second half of the sophomore year and marks the start of the college preparation process. Students meet the college counseling staff and during six sessions, they complete an online career interest inventory, develop an activities résumé and learn basic interviewing skills, including a mock interview. They also participate in a six session test prep mini-course taught by Capitol Educators and designed to provide a foundation for success on the PSAT/SAT/ACT by giving them a critical head start before they begin the standardized testing process in junior year.

11th Grade

Decision Making II is designed to help juniors better prepare 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.

Speakers from colleges are invited to speak to the class. By January of junior year when students have results of their PSAT scores and first semester grades, students will be working with the college counselors to create a preliminary list of colleges to investigate more deeply. By the end of the year they will have completed a draft application and will have a more focused list.

College Counselors teach the course and get to know the students as they are getting to know themselves; thus, they are better able to guide them through the maze of the college admission process.

12th Grade

The Senior Year college counseling course is titled, Transitions. The course begins with the "nuts and bolts" of completing an application, stressing the importance of deadlines, well-written essays, and appropriate recommendations. In addition the course helps seniors make the adjustment to being the leaders and role models of the student body by focusing on time management, stress reduction skills, understanding risk taking, and coping with the uncertainty that surrounds the college application process. The second semester focuses more on the move away from Garrison Forest and making the transition to college. Topics include such issues as roommate mediation, financial responsibility, and making use of the resources on a college campus. Current GFS alumnae, faculty and university Deans of Students are guest speakers.


Ann Marie Strauss, Director of College Counseling and Stephanie Metruk, Associate Director of College Counseling



Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Phone: (410) 559-3129
Fax: (410) 559-3108

Ann Marie Strauss
Director of College Counseling

Stephanie Metruk
Associate Director of College Counseling

Lynn Lyon-Vaiden
College Counseling Coordinator, Registrar