St. Mary’s Academy offers a full college counseling program; our goal is that each student feels confident of her post-St. Mary’s plans and finds a college that suits her academically and socially and respects her college budget.
First things first, we want first year students and sophomores to embrace their St. Mary’s Academy experience both, in and out of the classroom. We want students to become skilled and motivated learners who gain a variety of experiences and learn about themselves through extracurricular activities and grow socially and emotionally. By doing this, they become ready for their eventual college search and decisions.
Who is my daughter’s college counselor?
College counselors are available to all St. Mary’s students and families. We are assigned by Teacher Advisor (TA) group. Just as with the personal counselors, each student has an assigned college counselor who is available to advise her and answer questions that arise. We are available to parents and students and welcome email, phone calls and visits. If you prefer, we can come to your neighborhood and meet with you closer to home. Parents can also check in with college counselors in the Counseling Center during parent teacher conferences.
In late January of junior year, we kick off the college planning and application season with focused, individualized college counseling. Each student meets with her counselor to discuss goals, interests, concerns, and potential courses of study. Together, student and counselor explore the idea of “best fit” schools and develop a list of colleges for the student to research and draw from to choose the handful of colleges to which they will apply. Individual college counseling continues until the student chooses the college she will attend. Athletes who hope to play in college at the D1 or D2 level should check in with their college counselor during their sophomore year.
College Counseling Events
We host evening programs at St. Mary’s to inform parents and students about the college process. These events are a great chance to get to know the college counselors and have your questions answered.
In April of sophomore year, we invite parents and students to Sophomore College Night where we review the college counseling calendar for the subsequent two years.
Members of the junior and senior classes and their parents also gather for evening events hosted by college counselors as well as other programs including a mock application review, information session on standardized testing, and a community wide presentation on historically black colleges and universities. We host an all-school Financial Aid Night in October, with special breakout sessions for families with freshman and sophomores and families with juniors and seniors.
We are your source for up-to-date information on the ever-changing landscape around college admissions and we will share information with you via email, monthly St. Mary’s Parent Newsletter articles, and envelopes mailed to your home. We want to provide the information you need, so let us know your questions and concerns. The school website contains an archive of parent newsletter articles with our best advice about visiting colleges, comparing colleges, and other topics pertinent to parents.
The PreACT and PSAT
Being prepared for standardized testing helps build confidence, and at St. Mary’s, sophomores and juniors take practice tests (the PreACT and PSAT). This year testing takes place on Wednesday morning, Oct. 16. These practice tests allow students to assess areas of strength and weakness, so they have complete information when they plan and prepare to take the SAT or ACT as part of their college admissions process. Many colleges also offer a test-optional path for admission so students who do not feel that standardized test results are a reflection of their academic capacity should not feel limited in their opportunities.
At St. Mary’s we use technology tools to support students and their families. Both the Hive College Counseling web resources and our college counseling information system, Naviance, help students and parents research colleges and share information with their St. Mary’s college counselor. Following Sophomore College Night, students and parents receive their login credentials for Naviance. We use Naviance to communicate the majority of information about researching and applying to college.
Many Colleges visit St. Mary’s Academy to share information about their schools and meet our students. Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to meet with the over 140 college admission representatives who visit St. Mary’s each year. Sophomores can attend college visits during lunch and activity block. By junior year we hope students will attend college visits for colleges that might interest them. We are visiting each junior TA this month to provide information about how to do this. We also offer tips for navigating the city-wide college fair, which will be held in Portland at the Convention Center on Oct. 27.