The Four-Year Overview
At WT, college counseling is student-centered and begins in ninth grade—when the college counselors meet with students and parents to discuss a four-year overview of the student’s Upper School experience as it relates to the college process. College counseling culminates in an intensive college application process in the senior year, when WT’s knowledgeable and experienced college guidance staff supports each student as he or she navigates the ever-changing college admissions landscape. At WT, students are encouraged to discover their passions, both academically and through their participation in extracurricular activities in the arts, athletics, leadership organizations, publications, or civic service. Preparing students to find their place in the 21st century global community, WT’s counselors encourage students to take full advantage of the rich array of opportunities that WT offers.
Students and their parents meet the counselors and discuss the four-year overview. They learn about graduation requirements, course selection, electives and extracurricular activities. Students are guided in their course, extracurricular, and summer choices both with an eye toward growth, challenge, and exploration and toward aspirations for the future. Parents and students are introduced to a wealth of opportunities at WT: summer programs, travel opportunities, athletic teams and programs in the arts, leadership and civic opportunities, and the City as Our Campus program.
Students have their first opportunity to take an AP course in the sophomore year and are advised intensively on making this choice; in addition, all sophomores take the PSAT test in the fall. At Sophomore College Night, students and their parents gain a realistic perspective on the college admissions process. Standardized testing is discussed so that students can map out and prepare themselves for these required assessments. WT’s experienced counselors guide students to think ahead about the implications of their math choices, foreign language requirements, visual and performance arts options, and the City as our Campus requirement.
All juniors take the PSAT in the fall, and the College Board uses this score in its National Merit Scholars program; results are announced in the fall of the senior year. Students are challenged by a variety of Advanced Placement classes and WT’s innovative post-AP curriculum. They enlarge their community service skills in Model UN, Mock Trial, City as our Campus programs, student leadership opportunities, school publications, and more. The college process ramps up during junior year. Students are informed and advised about which standardized tests to take, and when, as their college aspirations begin to emerge. The required Junior Seminar in the second and third trimesters prepares students for the intricacies of the college process: interview and presentation skills, college essays, the “how-to” of visiting college campuses, introduction to the online Naviance college planning system, approaches to list-building, letters of recommendation, and more. Students may also take an SAT preparation course during the second trimester. A Summer College Essay Seminar is offered by college counselor and English teacher, Ms. Jill Kazmierczak, which enables students to draft and polish college application essays before the start of their senior year.
For seniors, the college process is in full swing, and students receive ongoing, frequent, one-on-one guidance as they write an average of seven or eight college applications. They utilize the rich resources available in Dorrance Library and hone their college essays while receiving expert feedback from both counselors and faculty members. In addition, students carry a rigorous course load during their senior year and continue their extracurricular activities, often moving into leadership roles, such as team captain, editor, director, and president of various sports teams, publications, drama productions, clubs, and student leadership organizations. WT’s College counselors are available to guide students as they finalize their application lists; discuss various application options and their implications—early decision, early action, and regular decision; offer technical support to students completing online applications; answer students’ questions as they arise during the college application process; advise parents throughout the college application process; write recommendation letters; and counsel students about their choices once the university and college responses begin to arrive in the mail.