For most students, preparing for college involves thinking about their passions and interests, as well as forming ideas on which career paths they might like to take and what kind of college experience they want. It can be a stressful period for students and families — but being prepared and having access to professionals who know the process can make it a more productive experience.
Students who are readied for college from the get-go have a distinct advantage. They spend years pursuing different interests during their schooling years. Most importantly, they get to know themselves — what they like and dislike, their passions and purpose, and what they aim to do in their lives.
What naturally follows is a group of graduates who are confident in charting out a path for themselves at college and beyond. Here are two boarding schools that excel in helping students through this process, combining each student’s ambitions and goals with college counselling programmes designed to ensure they find the right fit university::
Garrison Forest School
Tucked into serene Baltimore County, Maryland is Garrison Forest School (GFS) — an innovative day and boarding school for high-achieving girls. Here, students from all over the world greet each other as they walk by and trade pleasantries with their teachers, a result of a close-knit and small community. Trust and support run deep here, making for meaningful and long-lasting bonds.
Since opening its doors in 1910, GFS has centred its approach around preparing young women for a rewarding college experience and a life of purpose. Leading this is a dedicated Office of College Counselling.
“At GFS, we are very fortunate to have the resources to provide highly personalised guidance throughout a student’s college application process,” says Janice Bogdan, Associate Director of College Counselling. “Our students take classes that focus on college major and career exploration, the college search, and preparing for life after graduation. College counsellors meet with students and families individually and on a regular basis to tailor our assistance to meet each student’s needs.”
From as early as eighth grade, students participate in workshops, seminars and one-on-one consultations with an expert team of academic advisors and counsellors. This is ramped up during Upper School when they are exposed to the entire college application process on the regular. Camp College, for example, was set up as a multiple-day immersive experience for juniors to work on their college applications, listen in on talks by college admission counsellors and begin writing their admission essays.
With every passing year, the College Counselling team gets to know every student — understanding their needs and preferences, interests and desires. And, with the guidance and expertise of the College Counselling team behind them, each year GFS students are admitted to some of the top colleges and universities in the US. In addition to landing at prestigious colleges, students find the programmes that are the best fit for them and their ambitions.
Boarding at GFS ensures students have round-the-clock support from the Residential Life Faculty and forge deeper bonds with their teachers and advisors. This leads to more personalised advice and assistance — which helps in matching them to the right colleges.
Most of all, though, is the opportunity to develop crucial skills like time management, responsibility, confidence and communication. Boarding at GFS helps girls implement structure such as managing their timetables and balancing schoolwork with other pursuits. At the same time, students are expected to take care of themselves — organise their spaces, do their own laundry, and more.
An all-girls environment only enhances this experience. In every corner, girls witness other girls taking up leadership positions, winning sports tournaments and showing off their talents. They learn that girls can truly do anything — and find great success along the way. The result? A highly-motivated group of graduates who leave GFS as confident, capable and responsible young women.
Learn more about Garrison Forest School here
The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland
The importance of learning in a nurturing environment during one’s developmental years cannot be understated. For boys, this is equally true. Luckily, at The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, every boy is known for who they are — their own unique talents, interests and motivations.
Of course, this is a great start in finding out about what they hope to achieve upon leaving Boys’ Latin. This is aided by a caring and supportive College Counselling team, who begin working with students from the ninth grade. From attending class meetings to setting up gatherings with parents, Boys’ Latin counsellors are there to encourage and aid students in discovering their interests.
“The Boys’ Latin College Counselling team is here for one reason: to help you confidently manage the sometimes complicated, high-stakes process of exploring your college options and choosing wisely,” says Cathy Badmington, director of college counselling. “We’ll get to know you so we can best guide you because we know that finding the right college or university is one of the most important decisions you can make.”
Once students reach their Junior Year, they begin a one-on-one journey to identify the right college for them. Counsellors work with students to develop their own individual list of universities. They are supported by seminars about college life, essay writing workshops, test prep sessions and visits from college admissions representatives.
Boys’ Latin arranges skill-building activities to further prepare students for college life. For example, the BL Building Learners programme uses brain science to help boys explore how they think and learn. These are divided into three main areas of focus: knowing your brain, memory and study skills, and executive function.
Director of Educational Support Services and Upper School learning specialist Sara Rosiak says this is integral to helping each boy in their future endeavours. “No matter what career they choose and where their post-high school journey takes them, what they have learned will help them be successful,” she says.
Naturally, this style of inquisitive learning is deeply embedded into the Boys’ Latin’s boarding programme, which welcomes boys from all over the world. The purposefully small community allows them to foster deep and meaningful relationships with the people around them, from fellow students to their teachers and advisors — and especially their dedicated boarding team.
It’s no wonder then that top colleges all over the US and the world are eager to welcome Boys’ Latin graduates to their halls. Students have been accepted to Johns Hopkins University, California Institute of Technology, New York University and the US Air Force Academy, among others. This is the result of a tried and tested strategy to educate boys who are self-aware and sure of themselves — leading them to greater pastures after school.
Learn more about the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland