Mastering the college selection process is the springboard for charting a student’s course in higher education today. The Office of College Counseling at Gilmour Academy is all about helping students find the right fit for the next threshold of their education.
schools have a counselor whose primary responsibility is college counseling vs. 73 percent of private schools that have at least one counselor doing this. The college selection process begins at Gilmour in the fall of junior year. Gilmour juniors receive a questionnaire and college search inventory at a kickoff meeting. The questionnaire allows the counselor to gain a better understanding of a student’s strengths and weaknesses and academic and extracurricular accomplishments while the inventory requires students to begin thinking about the size, location and type of school they are interested in plus possible majors. When students and counselors meet they review the two documents and their academic profile, which includes grades, test scores and coursework. Based on those factors and a conversation with their parents, they put together a tentative list of schools the students should research. During spring semester the counselors typically meet with each student at least twice – once individually and once with their parents. Senior year the meetings between college counselors and the students are ongoing and parents are encouraged to set up a meeting with the counselors in the fall. The counseling staff recommends that students apply to at least five to seven colleges. The expectation is that each student will go through the college process and be admitted to at least one four-year college. The teachers’ letters of recommendation and college essays help to differentiate students beyond grades and test scores. The spring of junior year, counselors hold a workshop for those who want to get a jump on writing college essays. English department teachers do a unit on college essay writing during senior year. Also held senior year is a workshop sponsored by the Women’s Club called “College 101” which helps to prepare the students for college life. The seniors learn valuable information from area professionals on topics such as finances, health, safety, and legal rights and
responsibilities in four separate speaker sessions. Students heard from a member of the University of Akron Police Department’s Community Policing and Training Division about campus safety. They heard from an attorney about the legal rights and responsibilities associated with turning 18, a financial advisor about financial fitness and, finally, from members of Ursuline College’s nursing faculty about staying healthy while away at college. In addition to guiding the juniors and seniors through the college selection process, the College Counseling Office provides information to sophomores and their parents to prepare them for what lies ahead. They held a sophomore college night this spring. “We have found that there is a craving for information about the college selection process sooner rather than later,” Stockard says adding that sophomores want to know what is going to happen in their junior and senior years. The College Counseling Office also held a coffee event to discuss selective college admissions for parents of freshmen and sophomores. By starting the process so early, the College Counseling Office works to make sure both students and parents are prepared for the very important process of selecting a college. Then, through the questionnaire, the college search inventory and by having the students drive the college selection process from the onset, the College Counseling Office is able to deliver very personalized attention to each student with the end goal being that each student select a school that is the best fit for him or her.
Matthew Rains, a financial advisor at Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., speaking to the students about financial responsibility while away at college