While the formal college counseling program begins in earnest in the winter of a student’s junior year, Berkeley Carroll’s mission to “prepare students for a life of of cultural, ethical, and global thinking” means that the process begins the moment a student walks through the doors of our school, ready to explore the vast offerings of our rigorous college preparatory program.
9th and 10th Grade
In ninth and tenth grade, the focus of the college counseling program is providing developmentally appropriate advice for both students and parents to ensure they are best prepared for the decisions that lay ahead. We use a variety of methods to provide information and resources every step of the way, including curriculum nights, parent coffees, class meetings, and periodic communications (emails, informational brochures, social media blasts, and blog posts).
Our students are engaged in aspects of the process as early as 9th grade as they adjust to the expectations of a rigorous academic program. Relationships with advisors, faculty and deans help cultivate our students’ self-knowledge and skills as independent learners. And the curriculum ensures that they have a solid foundation with ample rigor and choices that enable them to go as far as they would like in disciplines about which they are passionate.
As part of their preparation for standardized testing, sophomores take both the PSAT 10 and the Pre-ACT to ensure they have ample experience with both the ACT and SAT, two tests used interchangeably by U.S. colleges that require testing. In the spring, sophomores sit for a diagnostic test which assesses their strengths and weaknesses on each section of the SAT and ACT. The results are intended to help families make informed decisions about testing options and test prep at the beginning of junior year.
11th and 12th Grade
We believe that the second semester of the junior year is the best time to begin the most serious engagement with the college process. At that point, students have the maturity needed to begin making distinctions that will shape their application list – always with an eye to an honest self-assessment and thoughtful, research-based understanding of potential college “matches.” Our counselors meet individually with juniors starting in the spring semester, followed by family meetings, continuing a dialogue with the student and the family until the end of senior year. The process is framed as a set of opportunities for growth and discovery.
There is tremendous collaboration within the college counseling team. Every student is assigned a personal college counselor with whom they can develop a strong, trusting relationship and who will help them develop a college list (including an initial list to begin their research); write a comprehensive secondary school report; and offer advice on testing, teacher recommendations, interviews, personal statements and other aspects of the process, including matriculation decisions.