Every high school student deserves to get into the college of their dreams.
No one understands this better than Worcester Academy.
Located in the historical town of Worcester, Massachusetts, this international school has been around since 1834. Its mission is to produce lifelong, passionate, and honourable learners. With a thoughtfully designed curriculum and a diverse range of extra-curricular activities, the Academy is able to achieve this mission and more.
A key part of this process entails providing an individualised support system to guide its high school students through the college admission process. An intricate process as many would attest, this is a period where students need all the help they can get every step of the way.
After all, talent needs the right environment to blossom. To realise their maximum potential, Worcester Academy graduates will need to transition to a higher education institution that fit their skills, aptitude, and aspirations.
Making all these possible at Worcester Academy is its dedicated college counselling team.
From as early as junior year, counsellors organise programmes and workshops with students and families to get everyone up to speed with the many stages of admission involved as well as the various pathways available. They invite admission reps from over 150 colleges and universities in the fall of senior year so interested students can meet and chat with them.
Most importantly, college counsellors make it a point to interact with students daily on their application process without fail, according to Associate Director of College Counselling Brenna Kelly.
“Every school day we are meeting one-on-one with students to support, guide and construct their application process,” she said.
Brenna brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience from years of working in the college admissions world. Armed with this, she is able to truly connect with students, genuinely understand colleges around the nation and offer a constructive approach to how students can find success in any particular college. NAVIANCE, the Academy’s online college management system, supplements this hands-on, personal approach by giving students the tools they need to make the right choice.
“As one of the college counsellors here at Worcester Academy I bring excitement, admission knowledge and constructive optimism to each student that I interact with. And we do just that, a personalised interaction with each student,” she explained.
Such strategy is necessary in the high-stakes, high-stress admissions process.
According to The Princeton Review’s 2018 College Hopes & Worries survey, the large majority of students and parents want to attend colleges with “the best programme for their career interests” (42 percent) and “the best overall fit” (41 percent).
While their aims are clear, the journey to their dream school isn’t. The survey found close to three-fourths (73 percent) of the nearly 11,000 respondents – 9,282 students and 2,618 parents – reported high levels of stress around the college admission process. This is an increase of seven percent from last year and 17 percent more than in the survey’s first year in 2003.
One-third said the toughest part was completing applications for admission and financial aid, second in difficulty only to taking the SAT, ACT or AP exams. Another 20 and 10 percent said the hardest part was waiting for the decision letters and researching colleges, respectively.
Support, like the type offered by Worcester Academy, is incredibly crucial during this point in students’ lives.
Over the past five years, Worcester Academy graduates have matriculated to an impressive and diverse group of colleges such as Bard College, Barnard College, Columbia University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University and so forth.
This success hinges on a team of counsellors who are heavily invested in ensuring every student at the Academy gets into the colleges that will serve them best.
Aaron Going, Associate Director of College Counselling, is fully invested in supporting students during their college search—he offers a wealth of knowledge he has gained from helping hundreds of former students get into their chosen colleges.
Going sets up one-on-one meetings to build a solid relationship with each student, so that he can personalise the college application process genuinely and with authority. He works with students on college list building, applications, personal statements, and supplements.
“I strive to make college opportunities accessible to all students and work to ensure that students have post-secondary options,” he said.
“I am 100 percent all in on supporting each student through the application process. If a student is up late working on applications or essays before a college application deadline, well so am I because I often become the student’s biggest fan!”