Here at The Hill, the college search and application process is a vital piece of the educational experience offered to each Hill student.
Embracing the School's mission of preparing our students for "college, careers, and life," we structure an exploration of each student's sense of self, interests and talents, ambitions, and long-term aspirations. All of this is undertaken with the intention of directing every student toward making sound choices that are individually focused. We help our students base these decisions upon self-knowledge, careful research, and critical assessment of the personal values inherent in each student's unique situation. Through this approach, the college search process points toward a fascinating journey of discovery and opportunity; the College Counseling staff looks forward to providing our professional experience and advice as our students embark upon that journey and make the transition to a world beyond Hill.
Within this framework, the college counselors are committed to helping each student find the college or university best suited to the student’s aspirations, needs, and abilities. While the college search process begins with the academic and social exploration during third and fourth form years, the most carefully supported preparations occur during fifth and sixth form years.
As college counselors, we will:
- Strive to provide comprehensive and professionally sound advising that addresses the student’s individual needs – academic, social, emotional, and financial. We recognize that this college search journey will be unique for each student; therefore, we will focus upon the personal strengths of each student and use those strengths to guide every student’s path.
- Focus on the idea of “match” or “fit” in providing advice to students about process and about specific educational opportunities. While part of that decision-making journey will incorporate specific information regarding schools’ selectivity issues, we want to help students focus on the idea of finding a set of schools that provide confidence, wonder, and enthusiasm regarding their future, schools that are best-positioned to provide opportunities of future success.
- Push hard to make each student take responsibility for the considerations and decisions this process demands. By pushing each student to lead his or her own search process, we hope that students will learn and embrace the idea of applying the wide variety of skills that The Hill School curriculum fosters in a real-world application, all in a situation fully supported by committed professionals.
- Seek to work in partnership with students and parents to make this search process as smooth and as meaningful as possible.
Role of the Student
- Students must take ownership of every aspect of this process.
- Students need to be open-minded. Listen to all that one may hear, but do so critically, all the while staying true to one’s aspirations and goals. In doing so, always evaluate the reliability of your sources. Resist the notion that there is one perfect school: a superb education can be gained at many an institution.
- Ask tough questions of yourself. After thinking hard about interests, learning styles, and desired social settings, commit to thorough research. Visit with admission officers and ask thoughtful, informed questions. Visit prospective campuses in person (if possible) or at least do so virtually. Only through such thoughtful work will one be able to design an informed and appropriate college list.
Role of the Parent
- Be sure to make this your child’s college search process. Listen, keep an open mind, and be sure to make your child owns this process; after all, it is he or she going off to school, not you… and you certainly want to help prepare your child for success in that independent life that he or she is about to embrace.
- If necessary for your situation, have an open and candid conversation – as early as is practical - about finances and any limitations that need to be considered.
- Always show support. Be involved in the process, but resist the temptation to direct or to steer it.
- Recognize the complexities of this process that your child is internalizing and be careful to consider what this process is really all about. While the first step is certainly gaining admission to schools and choosing one to attend, this piece is merely the small, initial step in the more important journey of intellectual and social maturation that the undergraduate years provide. And in that process, a student’s sense of happiness and “fit” can make a world of difference, regardless of admit rates.
Role of the College Counselor
- Familiarize ourselves with new information about colleges’ admission policies and practices, new programmatic developments at the broad array of schools our students consider, and new admission offices’ staff developments.
- Educate college admission officers about The Hill community, the opportunities Hill students pursue here, and about the students themselves as a precursor to the collegiate life our students seek to lead.
- Provide the information and support necessary to students and parents to facilitate as smooth a transition to life after Hill as possible.
- Structure a process that requires and enables students to develop a sense of responsibility and personal empowerment in this important decision-making endeavor, all while offering support and care to the needs of the individuals involved.