A Message from the Director of College Counseling
At Besant Hill School, the College Counseling Office works closely with all students and their families from the moment they arrive on campus. As a College Preparatory school, BHS provides students with guidance about the journey toward higher education including aspects such as course selection and strength, co-curricular activities, community service, leadership, test preparation, college search, college application and financial aid. Students and parents are informed of their many college options and are supported as they develop the tools necessary to research, apply and effectively transition to college. As more and more colleges move toward test optional policies and a holistic admissions review process, we encourage well roundedness and personal development in our students, in addition to academic excellence and successful standardized testing.
BHS does not view college admission as "a prize to be won." It is the result of thoughtful research, preparation and planning. Hence, the college counseling process is an individualized one, the goal of which is the best possible match between each of our unique students and the college or university that best meets that student's needs. Our students matriculate to a wide range of institutions, from public universities to small art colleges. Approximately 90% of seniors choose to enroll at four-year institutions, while the remaining 10% may opt to defer admission while taking a gap year, or to enroll in a two-year school with the plan to transfer to a four-year institution.
Beginning in their freshman year, BHS students are immersed in a college going culture. They are offered counsel on curricular and co-curricular choices that will strengthen their overall portfolio and keep the maximum number of options available to them. They are encouraged to develop and explore their passions and interests, while keeping in mind their responsibility toward their overall health, success and personal fulfillment. In their first semester, freshmen are introduced to Family Connection from Naviance, a Web-based service designed especially for students and families. Family Connection is a comprehensive website used to help in making decisions about courses, colleges and careers. Family Connection is linked with College Planner, a service that we use in our office to track and analyze data about college and career plans, so it provides up-to-date information that's specific to our school.
In sophomore year, students begin standardized testing practice with PSAT/NMSQT testing in mid October. By second semester, sophomores are given several surveys through Family Connection from Naviance, which help them to recognize emerging patterns, interests and skills. They are offered counsel about productive and enriching ways to spend their vacations, and are encouraged to begin exploring their many college choices.
Juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT once more in October and are eligible to be entered in scholarship searches. Formal advising begins second semester of junior year, as students begin their college searches in earnest. In a semester long College Counseling Seminar, as well as one-on-one meetings with the counselor, students and families are guided as they investigate and identify potential higher education options. Typically, juniors will take the SAT or ACT, or sometimes both, beginning in May of junior year.
By senior year, students are meeting regularly with the counselor. They receive direct assistance with all steps of the college admission process from the timely completion and submission of applications and forms, to interviews, to ensuring the fulfillment of required testing. It is a time of great self-discovery and anticipation. It is our hope that students and families find that the individualized support BHS provides helps to alleviate much of the stress that seniors can experience.
Individual meetings with the Director of College Counseling are available upon request at any time, regardless of the student's grade level. Additionally, several opportunities are available to all students and families such as BHS College Counseling Seminars, Naviance Tutorials, Family Weekend Workshops and Financial Aid Seminars.
Director of College Counseling
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