Applying to College
On this page, you will discover instructions, resources, and guides to help you navigate the college-planning process based on your current grade level and college/career planning goals.
College and career advising services begin in 9th and 10th grade with exploration and academic preparation and peak in 11th-12th grades with research and applications. Individual Junior Family College Planning Meetings with our counselors are offered to our 11th graders beginning each April (current Juniors: keep an eye out for an email with more information about sign-ups coming soon).
Senior Meetings are also offered and required for each student during the fall of their 12th grade year as they finalize their college lists and applications.
We are here to guide you every step of the way!
By Steve Becker
As a counselor at one of the country’s most academically demanding high schools for 18 years, I often witnessed the damage that chronic college admissions stress can do to the mental and physical health of students and their families. With problems like this that seemingly affect everyone, it’s easy to assume they’re inevitable and that you just have to find ways to cope.
Chronic college admissions stress is not inevitable, and you can eradicate most of it. I’ve spent the past two years putting together a program that will hopefully convince you of this. Here are some of the highlights:
Part 1 offers a new way of defining stress and examines how admissions stress originates, how bad it is for you, and what the four options are for addressing stress.
Part 2 provides overwhelming evidence that anxiety regarding gaining admission to the most selective college possible is unnecessary. The range of college selectivity–from those that admit 5% of their applicants to those that have open admissions–is a continuum with significant overlap, not a pyramid with discrete steps. Thus, the distance between the most selective colleges and those that are a bit less selective is significantly smaller than most people believe.These pages contain multiple ways of looking at this, including an in-depth examination of how small the differences are between the most selective colleges and their ‘backups’ on some of the criteria used in popular rankings (page 5). There’s also a clear, simple explanation for why admission to the most selective colleges is so much more difficult today than it was 20 years ago.
And there are lots of fun lists, including which universities have the highest number of students in the top 5% on math test scores (pages 3-4); where CEOs of well-known US companies went to college ; where NASA rocket scientists and currently active astronauts studied; where Mayo Clinic neurologists did their undergraduate work; and where members of the class of 2017 working as law associates at Skadden Arps completed their undergraduate studies.
Part 3 shows the perhaps obvious solution.
For all: The Search Podcast Series
A conversation about college admissions... a discussion, blast of advice, and reflection drawn from the Dean's resources at Dartmouth as well as friends and colleagues from other schools and colleges who also love this work we do.
For current seniors: Dealing with Decisions
With decision day approaching, Hannah and Mark share advice for understanding and processing each type of decision: denied, admitted, and placed on the wait list. They discuss what each decision means (and doesn’t mean)..., the applicant pool, and what comes next.
Almost nothing depends on exactly which college admits you. Everything depends on what you decide to do once you get to college.
-Former Yale Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel