The college counseling process, in which students and their parents participate collaboratively, supports the continuation of each student’s individual educational journey.
Determining each student's next step begins long before senior year, when, through the Compass Program, students start to think of themselves as lifelong learners and understand their unique strengths and interests. A successful college search process, as well as a successful high school experience, requires self-exploration, extensive research, maturity, risk-taking, good decision-making, and ultimately self-confidence—tasks and characteristics that are developed and practiced every day at PCD. Formal college counseling begins in the junior year, though the process of self-reflection that helps inform the process is on-going.
When Upper Schoolers make their course selections, they are helping to chart their own course. We believe students are best served when they create a strong and appropriately challenging academic program—that both stretches and supports them. In this way they will get the most out of PCD and in turn, assure a solid foundation for their college search, when the work of identifying the best fit begins. Beginning in the ninth grade, together with advisors, students build academic and extracurricular programs that reflect the breadth of their interests and the depth of their commitments.
PCD students are guided through course selection, standardized testing, and long-range academic planning. As juniors, they meet with the director of college counseling in multiple settings:
- Individual and family meetings
- Class gatherings
- Special programs
During the spring of the junior year and the fall of the senior year, students work closely with the director of college counseling to fine-tune the list of colleges to which they will apply. They receive assistance in completing applications and developing essay ideas that reflect their talents and achievements. Throughout the last two years of high school, students and parents are invited to attend college fairs, participate in on-campus programs, and meet with the 85+ college representatives who visit PCD each fall.
In the end, the goal of our college counseling program is to help PCD students and parents find the right college matches. We understand that uncertainty and anxiety can attend this experience, but ultimately our collaborative process will give all our students every chance for success and make the process both satisfying and positive.