The college counseling program at Waynflete is designed to help students navigate the college search and application processes. Its goal is to help students find the best possible "matches" from among the vast array of colleges—literally thousands—available to consider. This should be an exciting time for students; it is a time for reflection, self-discovery, and important decision making. The College Counseling Office works to take advantage of the learning opportunities presented by the processes, and one of the program's goals is to help students learn how to approach and ultimately make important decisions. Recognizing that this is often a time of great anxiety for students and their families, another one of the program's major goals is to reduce this anxiety.
It is an important tenet that is often emphasized to the students that they take control of the process as much as possible. The program strongly adheres to the principle that students need to be responsible for their own choices. They need to take the lead in identifying what is most important to them and ultimately, where to apply. It is also important that they take primary responsibility for the actual applications. Not only is this the most honest approach, but colleges regularly report that the best applications are those that provide genuine insight into an individual student. In the College Counseling Office, we work hard to guide students through all parts of the process, to answer any and all questions, and to give important feedback.
The college search process begins formally in the second semester of a student's junior year with a parent information evening in January (though the Office is happy to schedule meetings with students and families at any time). At that time Director of College Counseling John Thurston and Associate Director Emily Birchby present Waynflete's approach to the college search process and provide much of the information parents need to help their children. Also, they invite parents to work with them as they assist students through the entire process.
At the same time, juniors begin meeting with John and Emily on a weekly basis in small groups and schedule individual meetings to address specific questions and goals. These meetings continue through the first semester of senior year. With the help of their college counselor, junior students concentrate on how to research and make decisions about where to apply. The primary focus in senior year is on completing applications.
Of course, the college process actually begins well before the spring of junior year. For example, students are compiling their transcripts—the most important part of any application—throughout high school. Faculty advisors work closely with advisees each year on course selections. Students actively consider how their current course selections will impact future options—both in high school and with regard to college. Advisors and the college counselors regularly review course selections with the college process in mind.
John and Emily welcome students and families to schedule a meeting to discuss individual questions and situations.