College Guidance

Middle School: Where College Guidance Begins

During the 7th and 8th grade years, students explore and begin to own the habits of the lifelong learner in academics, the arts and athletics. These students are just awakening to academic and personal strengths and passions. Students participate in a challenging academic program, developing critical thinking and writing skills. Teachers in every subject guide organization and study skills. Students are placed in the appropriate math course and qualified students will be prepared to progress through Calculus in the Upper School. The study of Latin prepares students to learn a modern foreign language and improves understanding of the English language.

Students Begin to Develop Confidence and Creativity

Music, art, drama and physical education provide exploration of new ideas and expressions of truth and beauty. Students learn to “take the risk” of participating in sports and drama programs, developing confidence and creativity. Academic advisors meet individually with students and assist eighth grade students in planning the appropriate course work for Upper School. Eighth grade students attend a seminar with the Director of College Placement and the Registrar regarding academic expectations for Upper School and college; students are encouraged to visit colleges with their parents.

College Preparation: 9th and 10th Grades

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During these years students increase responsibility and ownership of academics and activities in the arts, athletics or student government. Students identify academic and personal strengths and begin to focus coursework and activities accordingly.

The academic program refines critical thinking and writing skills and integrates all subjects. Teachers in every subject identify the substantive knowledge and skills necessary for academic success in college. Each student’s course selection, in consultation with the academic advisor and the college advisor, is designed to prepare the student for the college best suited to meet the student’s academic abilities and career interests.

PSAT and SAT Preparation

Ninth and Tenth Graders are urged to attend college presentations and the annual fall College Fair at WCA. The most important emphasis for Ninth Grade students is the accomplishment of a strong transition to the Upper School. Tenth Grade students are required to take the PSAT in October. PSAT/SAT preparation is integrated in the core disciplines throughout the academic year. Ninth and Tenth Grade students are advised of summer academic opportunities offered by colleges for Upper School students. Tenth Grade students and parents are expected to attend the February College Application Process Seminar.

College Preparation: 11th Grade

During this year, students demonstrate responsibility and ownership of academics and activities in the arts, athletics, or student government. Many students have assumed leadership positions or otherwise demonstrated initiative and creativity. These students have concentrated their coursework with their particular academic interests and personal strengths.

The academic program becomes more rigorous with the introduction of Advanced Placement courses. Qualified students may enroll in AP Biology or AP Government (additional AP courses are available in Twelfth Grade).

Continued PSAT and SAT Preparation

College admission officers visit WCA and make presentations to eleventh and twelfth grade students. Students take the PSAT in October and are entered in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Intensive PSAT preparation classes are offered. Students and parents are expected to attend the February College Application Process Seminar, which covers all phases of the college and financial aid application process. Students and parents are urged to visit college campuses during Spring Break and the summer. Students take SAT II subject tests in May and June. Students and parents are expected to meet with the Director of College Placement in May to prepare an individualized plan for college admission and SAT preparation.

College Preparation: 12th Grade

During this year students are challenged by increased independence, responsibility and accountability while maintaining a rigorous course load. College applications, leadership in the arts, athletics, and part-time jobs or internships require keen organizational and time management skills. Qualified students take additional AP courses in English Literature, European History, Biology, or Government.

College admission officers visit WCA and make presentations to eleventh and twelfth grade students.

College Admission Process

Throughout the college application season:

The Director of College Placement meets with the senior class to review college application and financial aid steps.

  • The college advisor meets individually with each senior to review the status of each college application
  • The college advisor talks with parents, college admission officers or testing services to resolve any problems and support college applications
  • The college advisor meets with students and parents to discuss college acceptances, financial aid offers and the transition from Upper School to college
  • Scholarship and financial aid information is available to seniors and parents who are also urged to attend a January financial aid workshop
  • NCAA eligibility is completed for athletes enrolling at Division 1 or 2 colleges.

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