Oak Hill School offers college counseling to all of our high school students. Since we opened, all of our graduates have been eligible, and nearly 100% have been accepted and gone on to attend four year colleges and universities. Many have been awarded substantial scholarships. Colleges that our students have chosen to attend include Harvey Mudd, Purdue, Pitzer, University of Puget Sound, Reed, Carleton, Colorado College, University of Washington, The Pratt Institute, Middlebury, Case Western, Willamette, University of Oregon, University of Colorado, University of California, University of Seattle, University of San Diego, and the list goes on.
The Process at a Glance
Beginning this year, all high school students, even the freshmen, will meet with me, the college counselor, so I can begin to discover their strengths and interests, and encourage them to begin to think about where they might like to apply. We will be offering trips to visit colleges, and encourage all high school students to join these journeys. While most other schools focus their college counseling on juniors and seniors, I have found that by including the younger students in the process many become super motivated academically because they have set their sights on a particular college. In the past I have taken Oak Hill students to schools in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California. On these trips we try to visit a variety of schools; schools that are very large, very small, and somewhere in between. We will go to urban schools, and suburban schools, liberal arts colleges and engineering schools. My goal is to help students learn to assess what is important to them about their future college experience, as well as to expose them to colleges, and parts of the country, with which they may not be familiar.
Everyone knows that part of college applications are SAT exams. We start preparing Oak Hill students for these exams by having the freshmen and sophomores, as well as the juniors, take the yearly PSAT exam. We feel that this allows our students to enter the PSAT exam in their junior year confident and comfortable with the exam. The scores for the junior year PSAT are used to determine National Merit Scholars, a program that not only offers students money for college, but also gives these scholars an advantage in their college applications. We would like to give our students the best chance possible of achieving National Merit status. The first round of the SAT exams takes place during the spring months of a student’s junior year, and may continue through the autumn of their senior year, depending on the scores they achieve.
College Guidance Curriculum Overview
Grades 9 & 10
- Develop awareness of colleges. Normalize college in discussion.
- Plan high school courses.
- Learn to manage high school workload and expectations.
- Explore areas of interest for majors and careers.
- Prepare resumes and activity lists.
- Look for volunteer and summer opportunities.
- Take the PSAT.
- College research to find the college fit. Consider criteria such as: selectivity, academic programs, campus community & learning environment, location, size, extracurricular activities, diversity, financial concerns.
- College application planning: SAT/ACT, AP courses, recommendation letters, personal statements, and essays.
- Organization and communication: Create spreadsheet of colleges with requirements shared with parents, students, and advisors.
Grade 12, first semester
- Support managing deadlines and requirements.
- Regular individual meetings and many informal check-ins with college counselor and other advisors.
- Feedback on essays and personal statements.
- Strong, personalized recommendation letters from teachers.
- Centralized system for sending all school documents supporting the applications.
Grade 12, second semester
- Reflection on college process
- Share tips with juniors.
- Senior Symposium – evening community event
- Making the transition to college
- Decision Day – choosing a college
- How to budget in college
- How to find resources at college
- Young Oak Hill alumni return and share their experiences.
- Graduation Day preparation