The college advising program is designed to help students understand the college selection process so that they learn how to make sound decisions for their educational future. Stevenson aims to help all students enter college upon graduation. Seniors are all assigned to the same Advising Group, where they can receive support from their peers and guidance from their Advisor who also serves as the College Counselor. Throughout the senior year, the College Counselor is the central coordinator of the entire college application process. She also meets with parents and keeps in close contact with them throughout the senior year.
The steps in the College Counseling process are:
• In the spring of the junior year, “A College Planning Guide,” which outlines the entire Stevenson college counseling process, is mailed to all families. Each junior along with his or her parents completes a questionnaire to assess interests, goals, and criteria for choosing a college and return the questionnaire to the College Counselor.
• Juniors are encouraged to take the May SAT exam. Special arrangements are made, when appropriate, for students to take the extended time SAT. These scores serve as a guide to the Counselor, student and parent in their planning though test anxiety may interfere with a true measure of aptitude.
• Commercial SAT preparation courses are seldom useful for our students. It is our experience that if the student is unwilling to commit significant after-school time to preparation and practice, the tutoring will be ineffective. Stevenson provides a few sessions of general SAT preparation. We have experimented with offering it as a requirement or an option, but this effort has not proven to be very effective.
• In September of the senior year, a college orientation night is scheduled for seniors and their parents. The College Counselor researches and compiles a suggested list of colleges based on information from the students, the parents, teachers, and perhaps, the student’s therapist. She schedules a meeting to share this information with the student and parents. The list is seen as a basis for further exploration of options. The Advisor subsequently assists the student in all phases of the college application process: acquiring and completing college application forms; writing the personal essay with the important help of English teachers; requesting teacher recommendations; gathering information on financial aid; and providing the on-going emotional support necessary to bring the process to completion.