Welcome to College Guidance! While the formal college search process begins in the winter of junior year, Collegiate’s program is, in itself, the best preparation for your sons’ future success in college. As Collegiate boys make their way through the upper school, they are exposed to academic subject matter that increases in depth with each passing year. They engage with new material, build on concepts to which they might already have been introduced, and begin to develop deeper interests in one or two or several different areas that sometimes metamorphose and change over their four years. This engagement is what we all (parents, teachers, colleges) hope for—be it in English, physics, and/or African history. Our students’ academic engagement occurs at a time when they are also growing in other areas—artistically, athletically, musically, and certainly as young people with a vision of themselves in the context of their families, their school, and in society at large. As late adolescents, our upper schoolers grapple with notions of faith, justice, and equality while simultaneously encouraging one another as they solve large equations and write complex research papers.
Formally, juniors through their second semester will embark on a period of conscious self-reflection as they learn about their college options. Boys who most fully understand the nuances and vision of the college application process are those who have been allowed to learn, to live, to grow, to experience success and failure, and to interact with others with humility and respect. The greater their vision of what matters and what matters to them, the more easily they will be able to engage the application questions that they will encounter in their senior year.
During December and January, Juniors will complete a questionnaire which will encourage reflection about the areas in which they have been engaged during their high school years. They will then meet with one of our two counselors to discuss their responses and to begin the work of exploring college options. Parents are invited to schedule a family meeting after spring break. Juniors continue to shape their college lists during the summer and will prepare to apply to college during the fall of senior year.
Most boys take standardized tests with greatest success in the second half of junior year. Your sons’ growth in high school and their experiences here at Collegiate should be your anchor as you consider their future plans. The application process should be theirs to drive; the rest of us, optimally, play supportive roles in our various capacities. Certainly, there are practicalities to the college process, but these should follow and cap rather than drive your sons’ high school experience.
Ali Bhanji, Director of College Guidance
and Joseph Coish, Associate Director of College Guidance