What is the right college for my child? How will we find it? How will our family navigate the college application process? These questions, along with those about paying for college, developing independence, and making the most of the high school years, are important elements of the college counseling program at Garden School. From families with a tradition of college attendance to those for whom the college process is new, college matriculation is a goal shared by every Garden School family.
Garden is proud of our alumni who have matriculated to colleges such as Brown University, Columbia University, Princeton University and Wesleyan University.
Historically, 99+% of Garden graduates have matriculated directly into college. As a school, our goal from the earliest grades through high school is to develop lifelong learners who excel in academics as well as individuals who enhance Garden School and the college they later attend. You know that your child is defined by more than his or her grades, and so do we. As a result, the Garden School experience develops not only your child’s academic skills but also his or her interests beyond the classroom. Athletics, clubs, academic societies, and community service opportunities are all designed to encourage students to develop as individuals.
In the college process, we realize that finding the right place for your child is based on more than just grades and standardized test scores. All students have their own strengths, weaknesses, talents, and dreams. The college search seeks to find the best match for our graduates—places where they can thrive and learn.
The College Process
College counseling at Garden School is a four-year process, featuring easy access to the Director of College Counseling throughout the four years. It begins with guidance about course selection and extra-curricular involvement for the ninth grade. Each year the Director of College Counseling and Upper Division Head meet with 8th-grade students and their parents and guardians to help students to build their high school transcripts and prepare for the senior year’s application process. Similar meetings, in the 9th and 10th grades, help keep students focused on preparation for college as they take advantage of the opportunities within the curriculum and throughout the extra-curricular program…
All sophomores sit for the PSAT, which is administered in October during the school day; it is a practice test for the SAT. Students will take an additional PSAT, also for practice, in October of their junior year. PSAT results are never reported to colleges, but the results are sent to Garden School for use in the counseling process. Each student has private meeting with the Director of College Counseling or the Upper Division Head to discuss the results of the PSAT.
In the fall of the junior year, students and their parents and guardians are invited to a College Night program where the specifics of the college process are explained in detail for the first time. In February of the junior year, we meet again as a group to begin the formal college application process for the junior class. College admissions directors participate in the February program, giving Garden students and their families the view from “the other side of the desk.” The 2016 panel included representatives and directors of admission or from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The City University of New York, Fordham and Iona College. Following the meeting, students answer an individual counseling questionnaire (found below) that is designed to help them explore their own strengths and goals, as well as to focus the college search. Students also prepare a draft of a college essay.
Once the student has submitted the completed questionnaire and essay, a family conference with the Director of College Counseling is arranged for the student and the adult (or adults) who will help the student navigate the college process. The conference is a time to discuss a personal plan for the student and his or her college search. At the end of the conference, each student is presented with an initial list of colleges and universities that are appropriate based on not only the student’s grades and test scores but also the information provided in the counseling questionnaire.
Juniors use the lists, as well as their own research, when they attend The College Fair at UNIS at the end of April. This private fair, sponsored by a five-school consortium (Garden School, Hunter College HS, Regis HS, Friends Seminary, and the United Nations International School), will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2016. Representatives from more than 140 colleges and universities meet the approximately 450 juniors who attend each year with their parents and guardians.
Students also interact with colleges throughout the fall of their senior year when representatives from more than 25 colleges and universities visit Garden School to meet with groups of interested seniors. Each senior’s schedule includes a weekly group “senior meeting” with the Director of College Counseling to discuss the demands of making application to college. Finally, students and families have the opportunity to meet privately with the Director of College Counseling, both formally and informally, throughout the senior year. Students, parents, and guardians have easy access to the Director of College Counseling. Ultimately, each Garden School senior will apply to an average of 6-12 colleges. Their applications will include three personal letters of recommendation, written by the Director of College Counseling and two teachers selected by the student. The letters, the scope of which go far beyond the checklists that are provided by colleges, present a portrait of the student in the classroom and as a member of the larger school community, as written by people who know the student well.
Director of College Counseling
Mr. Brad Battaglia
Finding the right place for your child is based on more than just grades and standardized test scores. All students have their own strengths, weaknesses, talents, and dreams. The college search seeks to find the best match for our graduates—places where they can thrive and learn.
Garden School is proud of our alumni for having matriculated to colleges such as:
- Barnard College
- Brown University
- Columbia University
- Drexel University
- Fordham University
- Princeton University
- University of California Berkeley
- Wesleyan University
Bryn Mawr College
C.W. Post/Long Island University
College of Notre Dame
College of St. Rose
CUNY—Sophie Davis School
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Franklin and Marshall University
George Mason University
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University
Johnson and Wales University
Laboratory Institute of Merchandising
Loyala of Maryland
Macaulay Honors College – City
Marymount College of Fordham
Marymount Manhattanville College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Morgan State College
Mt. Holyoke College
New York University
New York Institute of Technology
NYU—Stern College of Business
Pennsylvania State University
Renssalaer Polytechnic University
Rhode Island School of Design
Sarah Lawrence College
St. Francis College
St. John’s University
St. Joseph’s College
St. Peter’s College
SUNY College of Buffalo
SUNY Old Westbury
SUNY Stony Brook
SUNY Sullivan CC
SUNY Ulster CC
University of Hartford
University of Maine
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of Massachusetts at Boston
University of New Haven
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rhode Island
University of Rochester
University of the Sciences
University of Vermont
University of Washington
Washington University—St. Louis
Western Connecticut State University
Garden College Counseling in the News
- Applications by the Dozen as Anxious Students Hedge College Bets (New York Times 11/14)
- O.C.’s Top Grads Provide Guide to College Acceptance (Orange County Register)
- The Dirty College Admissions Trick
- Value of College Admissions Test-Prep Classes Unclear
- Can Senioritis Jeopardize Your Child’s Future? (education.com)
- SAT Takers Grow More Diverse (diverseeducation.com)