Frequently Asked questions
1. Can you clarify the role of the student and that of the college counselor?
Since independence and maturity are common traits among successful college students, we work closely with students and help them take a leading role in the conversations about college. We help them develop the independence and decision making skills necessary in researching colleges, creating a college list, writing authentic applications and making creative decisions about where to apply and which schools to attend. Our role with them is one of guidance, support, advice in the logistics of applications, and encouragement. We also offer a realistic sense of the college admission landscape, and strive to help all students put forth the most positive picture of themselves.
2. How are students assigned to each college counselor?
The two directors of college guidance work with all the girls. The girls are not split up. We feel that each girl and her family benefits from both our experiences and expertise.
3. How often will the students meet with the college counselors?
We will meet once a cycle in college guidance class in the Class 11 and Class 12 years. In addition to those classes, we meet regularly individually with all the girls. Students are also able to schedule meetings by coming to the college office and talking with our assistant Ms. Antolini, or with us directly.
4. We would like to meet with our daughters college counselors. When is that possible?
We begin family meetings in April of Class 11. Those meetings are more productive if they take place after we have spent some individual time with the students. We are available for these meetings during the school day. We also invite communication from any parent or student through emails and phone calls.
5. We hope to visit colleges during the school year, especially during spring break. When will we have their "list?"
March break of Class 11 provides an ideal time to visit colleges possibly when those schools are in session so that students can see the full picture of the school and its students. Since the development of a college list is more of an evolving process than a timed event, any plans to visit schools should include seeing different types of schools in potentially different locations. This allows students to observe the differences between a large, urban university and a small, more rural liberal arts college. Often colleges are not yet prepared to interview juniors, so we caution you about visiting too many schools. College counselors will work closely with the students to help identify specific colleges that might appeal to the student as we get to know the student better.
6. When should a student take the SAT or ACT?
Typically, most students take the SAT Test for the first time in January, March or May of Class 11 or the ACT in April or June. Colleges require either the SAT or ACT. Students should not feel they have to take both tests.
7. What are SAT Subject Tests? And how many does a student need? And which ones should she take?
SAT Subject Tests are one hour exams that correspond to academic coursework. Some colleges/universities require or strongly recommend SAT Subject Tests. We recommend every Chapin senior has at least two (2) of these tests in order to apply to any college. Click here for a list of schools that require and/or strongly recommend SAT Subject Tests.
8. How do they register for the tests?
Students set up an account on the College Board website www.collegeboard.com so that they can readily register for tests. The college office does have fee waivers for families receiving financial aid to help with the cost of these tests.
9. Does my student need to register for the PSAT?
No. There is no pre-registration for the PSAT. Chapin has ordered a test for your student.
10. My student may qualify for testing accommodations on standarized tests. To whom should I speak about whether she qualifies?
You should contact Karen Pupke, firstname.lastname@example.org, Chapin’s Learning Resources teacher.
11. Do you recommend taking a test preparation class?
This is a personal decision. The Chapin School does not endorse any particular program. The College Guidance Department can provide families information about some of of the options available locally, so if your family is interested, we encourage you to ask.
12. Are there special procedures that we should follow if our student might be a recruited athlete?
The most important factor in the recruiting process is for the student to make her academic achievement the highest priority. Stronger grades will present greater opportunities. While the athletic recruiting process varies depending on whether a student is a Division I or Division III recruit, the student’s first step should be to have a discussion with her coach about the level of collegiate play that would be suitable for that student. The student should also ask her coach about the proper steps to take to increase the chances of recruiting (e.g. camps, tournaments, showcases, etc.). Many students prepare a letter and resume to send to the coaches at schools of interest as a way to make initial contact with coaches. Once the student has a better sense of her appropriate level of college play, she should meet with the college counselors to begin discussions about schools and programs that fit the student’s academic and athletic abilities.
13. What types of things do college admissions like to see a student do over the summer? Camps, volunteer work, study program, vacations abroad, part time work, etc. Which one (or more) of these would you suggest that a student focus on?
We recommend girls do something over the summer that they enjoy. Summer breaks do offer girls the chance to try something new, deepen an interest or have an opportunity to have an experience that may support their academic interests. For example, if they are considering studying education, they might volunteer to work with children. If they enjoy creative writing, they might attend a summer writing program. They may also want to get a job to see what real world experience is like. It's important to do something, but also important to have some down time.
There's not a particular type of summer program that colleges refer above all; they just want to see that students did some sort of enrichment activity during their time off from school. Finally, students should not try to impress admissions committees with an excessive quantity of summer activities. They prefer meaningful participation in one or two activities, and will be able to see right through any attempts at filling a resume.
14. Are summer pre-college programs helpful in admissions?
Summer pre-college courses are ofter offered for credit and may benefit students in three ways: they may prepare students for the required subjects they will encounter in college as a freshmen, they may open a student's mind to new ideas or life paths and they may give student's a taste of campus life. However, Pre-college courses do not give students an advantage for college admissions.