Corie McDermott-Fazzino

The fall term in the Office of College Counseling moves at a breakneck pace because over 95% of the Sixth Form class sends out at least one and often many college applications in the early round.

During the first week of school, we conducted our No Time to Waste application bootcamp focused on the nuts-and-bolts of the application process. Then, in the first three weeks of school, we hosted evening Essay Reviews where counselors read college essays from the admissions officer’s perspective and provided feedback to the students.

Over the next two months, students had at least two (and often, many more) individual meetings with their respective counselor to review essays and applications, refine the college list, discuss application strategy, develop a test sending strategy, and discuss anything and everything that has to do with college.

Simultaneous to those meetings, the Office of College Counseling hosted nearly 100 college admissions officers with whom students could meet during the academic day. We co-hosted an event with Smarttrack, an organization that helps middle- and upper-middle income families maximize their resources to afford the cost of college. We presented on the college process and financial aid during Parents’ Weekend. We sent Sixth Formers a weekly newsletter, the Scholarship Feature, highlighting outside scholarship opportunities.

Simultaneous to those programs, the students attended classes, wrote papers, took tests, completed homework, participated in (and often led) campus-wide activities, played on and travelled for athletic teams, rehearsed for the fall play, and practiced with music ensembles. They also completed applications, wrote résumés, wrote many college essays, and possibly, took one more round of standardized tests.

The counselors finalized their comprehensive recommendation letters that put the student in context. They read over 170 academic teacher recommendations. They reviewed, rigor rated, and uploaded transcripts. They completed SSRs and counselor forms. Oh, and they taught their respective English classes.

This year, for the early round deadlines, the college counselors processed supporting materials for over 410 applications, which practically speaking, meant processing and sending about 3,700 electronic documents.

Like I said, it has been a breakneck pace.