We believe that the management of the college process belongs to the student, and that she should be in charge of her search, her applications, and, to a great extent, the decision about where she will enroll. The college counselors and student discuss such topics as: determining what type of college may be the best fit; conducting an effective college search; managing the reality of the college admissions landscape; having an effective campus visit; writing strong application essays; affording college and applying for scholarships; and choosing among her college options. We remind students of important dates and deadlines, as well as provide information about processes and procedures, but they must be the ones ultimately in charge of completing the process.
In the sophomore year, each student is randomly assigned a primary counselor who will be her main point of contact. The Director and the Associate Director effectively share the class and know all of the girls well, and families may reach out to either counselor at any time with questions or concerns.
In Ninth and Tenth Grades, the college counselors will attend 1-2 class meetings to introduce themselves and provide an overview of the college process. Students have an opportunity to ask as many questions as they wish, and are invited to meet individually with a college counselor at any time, should they want to.
Juniors meet as a class multiple times with the college counselors in the first semester, and frequently in small groups in the second semester for a College Workshop class. Also, each junior meets individually with her primary counselor in January or February, prior to the family college meeting that happens in February, March or April.
Seniors meet with the counselors in the Senior College Workshop class during the first semester. They also meet individually - as often as daily -- to review applications, ask questions and seek advice. The counselors also will meet periodically with seniors in the second semester to address topics relevant to that period in the application and admission process.
Parents may request a meeting with a college counselor at any point. If the student has not yet been assigned a primary counselor, either one of the counselors will schedule the meeting. Parent College Night Programs for each grade level are also held annually.
The student’s college list is generated in the family’s winter meeting in her Junior year. If parents are planning college visits prior to that time, one of the counselors would be happy to make a very preliminary list to help guide visits. For earlier visits, we recommend visiting a range of types of schools (small private, large flagship, regional, midsized, etc.) in potentially different locations.
Scoir is the tool by which Laurel School manages students' college lists and applications. Students, Counselors, Parents and Teachers all have access to different levels of functionality within Scoir. Students receive access to Scoir in the 9th grade. Parents are invited to Scoir when their student is in the 10th grade.
As counselors, in addition to having access to a student's college list, we manage the submission of transcripts, school reports, school profiles, and recommendation letters via Scoir. Teachers use Scoir to submit their letters of recommendation after the student requests the letter via Scoir.
We recommend that students plan to take the SAT for the first time in October, November or December of their Junior year; those opting for the ACT should take it for the first time in September, October or December. Students should register through the College Board for SAT or through ACT.
We also administer both the SAT and the ACT at Laurel during a school day in March of the Junior spring. Registration information is coordinated by Trish Harpring during the Junior year.
Laurel incorporates test preparation into our curriculum in the upper school. PSAT test prep is offered virtually during the summer for rising 10th and 11th graders. Additionally, we offer a test prep course during the school day for Juniors who plan to take the school day SAT or ACT in March of Junior year. Lastly, we partner with Revolution Prep to offer virtual practice ACT and SAT exams. There are also excellent free SAT prep resources online through Khan Academy, which students can access via their College Board account.
Beyond what we offer, families may choose to enroll in test prep courses or hire individual tutors. This can be costly, though we do know that students who engage in test prep often score higher on the exams. The test preparation offered through Laurel is either free of charge, or offered at a reduced rate.
The most important factor in the recruiting process is for your daughter to make academic achievement her highest priority, as stronger grades will provide a wider range of opportunities. While the athletic recruiting process varies according to whether a student is NCAA Division I, II or III, her first step should be to talk with her coach and our Athletic Director - preferably early in her sophomore year - about the level of play that would be suitable for her. At the same time, she should also talk with her coach and Athletic Director about the proper steps to take to increase her chances of being recruited (e.g. camps, tournaments, showcases). Many students prepare a letter and resume to send to the coaches at schools of interest as a way to make initial contact. Once your daughter 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 her academic and athletic abilities. Prospective athletes should take at least one standardized test (ACT or SAT) no later than September of the junior year.
Many colleges and universities would like to enroll more students from first-generation, lower-income, or minoritized racial and ethnic backgrounds, so they will host events focused on culture and diversity to increase representation from underrepresented student groups. These overnight or multi-day events, often known as ‘fly-in programs,’ let you experience campus up close, so you can get to know the students and faculty who bring the college to life. For prospective students, fly-ins and diversity visit programs typically occur in the spring of junior year or fall of senior year before you submit your college applications. There are also fly-in and visit programs created to help admitted students decide where to enroll in the spring of senior year.
Traveling to campuses for multiple visit programs can be extremely expensive, especially for students looking at colleges far from home. This sortable list of fly-in and diversity programs for prospective students shows you which colleges offer travel assistance for students (and families).
View the full list in this window or click ‘view larger version’ in the bottom right corner of the table for an expanded view. The list can be filtered, sorted, or grouped based on the following characteristics:
Travel funding opportunity
Month when program occurs
Length of program
Month when the application opens
Month when the application closes
Be sure to visit the website of each program you're interested in to complete the next steps or prepare your fly-in application.