The college process can seem overwhelming, and students and parents alike have myriad questions. Here we answer some of the most common questions about college preparation, application, and selection.
When students aren’t able to visit campuses in person, they are researching colleges online, connecting with college admissions officers through virtual information sessions and online interviews. All colleges have increased their online program offerings, and other resources like college student publications, social media, YouTube, and other outlets can be very helpful.
Many colleges chose to go test optional in 2020 and remain so. In your junior year, your college counselor will help you make a testing plan. In senior year, your counselor will help you decide whether to apply with test scores. In some cases, students apply with test scores for some colleges and not for others. (See more on applying test-optional below.)
Most Westtown students, including recruited athletes, apply to college in the fall of their senior year. A few will do one or two applications over the summer, but most of the time students work on their applications during the fall, with the support of our Senior Seminar college counseling class.
Students and parents are welcome to consult us at any time. Note that the months of September and October are especially busy for our seniors, and we give them priority at that time. We have programming for all grades in high school and make announcements and presentations to freshmen and sophomores as well as juniors and seniors. We really kick into gear in the junior year with our Junior Seminar class, which starts in January. In December or January we will begin to meet with juniors in groups and let them express a preference for a college counselor, if they have one.
Junior Seminar is the first college counseling class at Westtown, taken in the spring semester of junior year. In this class, students explore the many college options available and assess what they are seeking. Through self-reflection exercises, research questions, readings, trips to college fairs, Common Application work, essay brainstorming, and our college interview workshop with admissions officers, students begin to develop their college list for additional research, visits, and – eventually – application, while developing the skills they’ll need along the way.
Senior Seminar is a year-long course during the senior year with two parts. The first semester focuses on the college application process, including completing the Common Application and other applications, writing essays, sending test scores, interviewing, meeting with college representatives who visit Westtown, applying for financial aid, finding scholarships, and more. The second semester is taught by our Health and Life Skills department and focuses on transitioning to college, including social and community responsibility, health and wellness, independent living, and stress management.
We offer programs during Parents’ Day for families and for families of juniors. For parents/guardians of seniors, we have a program when students return to campus in the fall. We also usually offer open houses during move-in day for athletes. Parents or other family members are always welcome to email us, call us, or set up a meeting with one of us.
They certainly do! Over 120 college representatives visit every fall and meet with interested juniors and seniors. (It’s okay to miss class occasionally for these meetings if you have your teacher’s permission ahead of time.) The college counselors also visit colleges every year to both learn about their programs and to help them get to know Westtown. Whenever a student applies to a college, we also send along our school profile, which gives a snapshot of our academic programs and unique offerings. We also attend conferences and workshops that give us more opportunities to help college admissions people learn about Westtown. Finally, you can thank the Westonians who went before you! Colleges keep track of how many applications they get from a high school, the outcome, and how well admitted students do at the college. Once a college admissions officer gets to know Westtown, they are eager to attract more of our students. .