Ensure Your College Guidance Program Is Structured Effectively

Vol. 16 No. 9

head eletter vol16 no9 collegeprogram

For schools that have an upper level, helping students find and apply to the college of their dreams is a critical concern for many counselors and staff members throughout the year.

As this school year comes to a close and students complete the college application and acceptance process, it’s time to review your program for next year. Your position as School Head helps you look at the big picture and determine what’s working and what needs to be rethought.

Work with your school's guidance counselors and program moderators to ensure your college guidance program is supporting your students to help them find the right college fit.

Evaluate how your program serves students’ best interests.

Your college guidance program should serve students’ needs first before teachers’ convenience or parents’ goals. This program should be just as student-oriented as your school’s athletics and cocurriculars. Consider conducting a survey to have students, parents, and graduates rate the various aspects of your college guidance program to understand its strengths and challenges.

Validate success by collecting anonymous data on each class of graduates during their freshman year.

Have your team send a form to each member of the graduating class in late summer, stating that you wish to compile data regarding performance in their first year of college. Share with them that you’d like a copy of their first semester grades, guaranteeing that this information will remain confidential and will only be used to create a data bank. With this type of data in hand, your school can show evidence that your graduates do well at the next level.

Consider your process for working with students.

College guidance programs should begin working with students in the ninth grade, and have guidelines for what activities to conduct each year. Students need to know early on that their four-year academic, personal, and cocurricular records will influence their future college options, and that parents and counselors are there for support in this process. Advisors may also be a valuable resource, guiding students as they think about how their interests and experiences will impact their college choices.

Make sure teachers are involved.

Communicate your school’s philosophy on college counseling to your teachers during an all-hands meeting or through email. Ensure they are given details on the various application and notification deadlines, the schedule for administering standardized tests and SAT preparation courses, and their role and responsibilities in the application process. Many colleges and universities request letters of recommendation from their applicants. Have your Division Heads support teachers by sharing strategies that will make their lives easier when it comes to preparing these letters.

Academic achievement and college success often rank as top reasons parents and students choose private schools. Ensure your college guidance program is supporting students in finding and being accepted to the college of their dreams.

Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Trustees Vol. 14 No. 1 Student College and Career Readiness

Additional Resources for ISM Members:
I&P Vol. 42 No. 5 The Real World Starts Now: College Prep Is No Longer Enough!

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