EPS College Counseling Program

  • Students are paired with their Process Coach in the winter of their sophomore year.
  • Students are paired with their Writing Coach in January of their junior year.
  • The advisor provides support for students as they take classes, navigate the EPS program, and work their way through the high school years.
  • The Process and Writing Coaches help the student frame and reflect on their experience and achievement in the Upper School program, then apply that thought to the college search and application process.
  • The student and their parents will have the opportunity to meet with their Process Coach and Bart Gummere three times, beginning in January of their junior year.
  • In the first meeting the goals of both students and parents will be explored and an initial frame for the college search and application process will be set.
  • The second meeting, in May of the junior year, will be student-led and will focus on the college list and search, the resume, testing updates, as well as summer plans.
  • In the final meeting, early in the Senior fall, families and counselors will work together to finalize the college list and discuss the application plan. The counselors will also be available outside of the family meetings to both students and parents throughout the process.
  • Families are welcome to talk with counselors as often as desired about financial planning and financial aid.
  • In short, no. The EPS College Counselors provide the support and advice any outside counselor would, with the very real benefit of knowing your student and the EPS academic program.
  • In addition, with our expanded college counseling program, your student will have a Process Coach was well as a Writing Coach. Bart Gummere is also available to assist each student in the construction of their college list.
  • In the case when families do hire outside assistance, EPS asks that families share this information and connect the outside resource to the counseling team here.

 Standardized Testing

  • This should be a family decision. Students who decide to do test prep often wait to get diagnostic results back on a first test, using those results to focus their test prep near the time of their second test. It is most effective to do test prep immediately prior to a test-taking date.
  • EPS hosts test prep classes for both the ACT and the SAT through University Tutoring. The intention of offering their classes is not to recommend one service over others, but to provide a convenience to EPS families. These classes are targeted to a specific test date and are for EPS students only. Please see the “Test Prep @ EPS” page for more information.
  • We recommend that students take a standardized test (ACT and/or SAT) at least two times: once or twice between January and June in their junior year and once in the senior fall.
  • Some students may be served well by a third testing, but this is the exception.
  • Research shows that only 15% of students perform markedly better on one exam (the SAT or ACT) than the other. Students generally decide on a preferred exam based on previous results and their comfort with each test’s format/content.
Both tests measure the same kinds of content, and both are used for college admissions and merit scholarships. The SAT underwent a big revamp in 2016 and the two tests are now more similar than they used to be. A few key differences remain:

  • The ACT includes a Science section; the SAT does not.
  • The SAT includes one Math section for which the use of a calculator is prohibited; a calculator is allowed on all Math sections of the ACT.
  • The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36, while the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600.

The Princeton Review does a nice job of comparing the two tests across multiple criteria: http://www.princetonreview.com/college/sat-act

  • Not usually. Almost all schools will accept either the SAT or the ACT and some schools will require the ‘Writing’ section that accompanies both tests.
  • Click the HERE to see the Standardized Testing requirements from 50 highly selective colleges and universities.
  • A small number of schools require students to submit scores for one or two of these tests in their application. Different than the more general nature of the SAT and ACT, these tests focus on content and thinking skills from specific academic subjects (i.e. Math and Biology). Information on these exams can be found at https://sat.collegeboard.org/about-tests/sat-subject-tests.
  • Each student’s Process Coach can help with the decision of which tests to take based on what courses a student has completed. Students in 9thand 10th grades will be provided information on these tests; testing in those grades can be advantageous for timing.
  • A student’s application is considered in the context of the EPS academic program. EPS does not offer AP courses (a common trait among independent schools across the country), so the lack of AP designation generally does not negatively impact the strength of a student’s program. Thanks to the EPS School Profile we supply with every application and the relationships we build with colleges, admissions representatives know our curriculum and understand the high level of academic work required from our students.
  • Although we do not teach AP courses, we do facilitate many AP Exams each May on campus. EPS students often elect to take at least one exam. EPS teachers can advise students about the degree to which our classes cover content for specific AP exams, and how much a student may need to study independently to prepare for an exam.

The College Search

  • Students will receive their registration codes in a class meeting in the spring of their sophomore year.
  • Parents will receive their registration codes at the Information Night in September of their student’s junior year.
  • Students can begin adding to their “Colleges I’m Thinking About” list on Naviance as soon as they wish after receiving access to Naviance. In the fall of junior year, all EPS students will have the opportunity to attend a college fair open only to eight area independent schools.
  • The Process Coaches will work with each junior to identify colleges and universities of interest. Students will often place these institutions on their Naviance list.
  • In January, students will complete a detailed questionnaire, designed in part to help them and their counselor think further about possible schools of interest.
  • By the close of the junior year the expectation is that students have 15-20 schools on the “Colleges I’m Thinking About” list.
  • There is no correct number. On average, EPS students apply to between 6-8 schools.
  • For a variety of reasons, some students are well-served by a slightly longer list. In almost all cases we recommend against lists exceeding 10-12.
  • We recommend that students visit enough college campuses by the start of their senior year that they develop a strong general picture of what they desire and what works best for them.
  • Some students visit several campuses before submitting applications; others visit only a few and then wait for admission decisions from colleges.
  • Each student’s Process Coach will help guide the process of visits according to family preferences, schedule, etc.

Applications

  • About 80% of the schools to which our students apply accept the Common Application. The number of schools using the Common Application grows every year.
  • Schools that do not accept the Common App or Coalition App (see below) have their own online application systems or, in a few cases, demand paper submissions. Generally, these are larger state colleges and universities.
  • The Coalition Application is a relatively new alternative to the Common App. It was created and is used by over 80 colleges and universities who felt that the Common App did not provide enough/ideal information about the applicants.
  • Through the Coalition App, applicants will have the opportunity to create a profile and portfolio as early as ninth grade. They are able to update and add to their portfolio throughout their high school career. More information is available at the Coalition App website: http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/
  • The Common Application allows a maximum of 650 words. Each year the Common App includes 5-6 general essay prompts; the student chooses which one to respond to. The same essay can be submitted to ever school that accepts the Common App.
  • The Coalition Application recommends students keep the essay within 300-400 words. They have released four prompts with a fifth option to submit an essay on a topic of individual choice. Again, students can submit that same essay for every Coalition App school.
  • Beyond the personal statement, many schools require supplemental responses to questions that are more specific to that institution.
  • Early Decision (ED) applications are binding, with the student committing to attend if accepted.
  • Early Action (EA) applications are non-binding, giving the student opportunity to express strong interest and the school to fill its freshman class earlier. In most cases, students may apply to multiple schools using Early Action.
  • Restrictive Early Action (REA) applications are also non-binding, giving the student opportunity to express strong interest and the school to fill its freshman class earlier. Colleges offering this option ask students to agree to restrict the number of applications they can submit to other private and/or public colleges.
  • It is always the student’s responsibility to read and know the policies of any school to which they are applying.
  • This varies between institutions. Most schools require a counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations.
  • In other cases, schools allow or require more or less than two teacher recommendations. Some schools specifically ask students not to submit any recommendations.
  • EPS students will ask two teachers to write recommendations, while the college counseling team will prepare a personalized counselor recommendation for each senior.
  • Students are asked to request one teacher recommendation in June of the junior year and to request a second by October 1 of the senior year.
  • These will be submitted by the counselors in accordance with requirements at each college or university.
  • Teacher recommendations and a counselor recommendation are sent electronically by the Process Coach to each school a student applies to.
  • Colleges do not accept test score reports from EPS. Students need to arrange with ACT or The College Board (SAT and SAT Subject Tests) to have their scores sent to each college to which they are applying.