In this year, you begin thinking in more specific ways about the college application and search process. You are given guidance about standardized testing (discussed in a later section) and start your search and application process.
These are recommended throughout the process. Visiting different types of schools and different school of interest, is invaluable in beginning to get a feel for likes and dislikes connected to campuses and programs.
Even before you know exactly which colleges you plan to visit, it is wise to schedule time in your family’s calendar to make these visits. Our breaks offer potential times for lengthier college trips. In addition, we have a number of Program Development Days when EPS faculty are in meetings, but students are free. These days provide a good chance to visit one or more of the many colleges within a few hours of Seattle, or even a longer trip further afield. See section below about visiting colleges during the summer.
Many students also elect to visit some campus after they apply and are accepted. While this is helpful in making a final choice, we caution that the window of time between acceptances and the date to notify the college you have decided to attend is fairly narrow.
Class Meetings (September – May)
During these meetings you receive important information and guidance on beginning your college search and decision process, including context on visits by college reps to the EPS campus, testing, and online resources.
College Counseling Night for Grade 11 Students and Families (October)
This event includes both students and parents and is focused getting students and parents on the same page by on laying out a roadmap for the next for the next year and half of program. Approximately half of the program is information presented directly by the college counseling team, with the other half dedicated to parent and student questions
Work Party #1: SAIS College Fair Prep (October)
During this work party students use the Naviance platform to research the schools that will be in attendance a the college fair. As part of this research students make a plan connected to which colleges and college reps they would like to connect with at the event.
The SAIS College Fair (October)
Each fall, EPS along with 7 other member schools (Bush, Lakeside, Northwest, Overlake, Seattle Academy, University Prep, Forest Ridge) sponsor a college fair for their junior and senior students. About 150 colleges and universities from across the United States (along with a number of international schools) send admission officers to this event. It provides an excellent opportunity for juniors to gain introductory information on a wide variety of schools, and seniors to make some final contacts.
College Rep Visits to EPS (September – early November)
Each fall, over 60 college admission officers take the time to visit EPS to learn more about the school, its program, and meet interested students. There is no better way to help yourself in this process than to spend 30-45 minutes speaking with an admission representative. Juniors are encouraged to attend a couple of these visits (not missing more than two classes to do so). Make sure that you have permission from your teachers if you want to attend these sessions during class times.
Standardized Testing Plan (December – January)
This should be done with the help of your counselor, with each student is responsible for all registration deadlines. Do not wait until the deadlines to register. Some test sites are known to fill up before the deadline. As a general rule, all students should take at least one administration each of the SAT or ACT, and if necessary, SAT Subject Tests by the end of the junior year.
Work Party # 2: The Junior Questionnaire (January)
In January, this event is designed to help your complete your Junior Questionnaire. This lengthy (and thorough) questionnaire is designed to spark your thought process and is a critical tool for us to use in both approaching your college search and eventually writing your school letter of recommendation. It is important for you to complete it honestly, carefully, and thoroughly.
Family Meeting #1: The Roadmap (January – February)
This first meeting will be a time the process coach, college counseling, director, student and parents to set the stage for the search and admission process. Because the best college “matches” reflect more than just admission numbers and desired fields of study, these meetings last 45 minutes. They are not intended to answer all questions and are only the starting point for a longer process. Being ready and willing to share your honest thoughts with your counselor helps make this meeting most productive.
Individual Meetings with the Process Coach (March – April)
During this time you meet at least twice with your process coach. Meetings are focused on you building a picture of the kind of school that appeals to you. You also discuss your standardized testing plan, and any campus visits you might be planning. The important thing to know is that you don’t need to “know” specific things about college or colleges you’re interested in yet. These meetings are simply the beginning of a conversation that will help guide you in your college search and choices.
Work Party #4 (April)
This Work Party will focus on list-building and writing. You will head into the summer with a start on your personal statement, and with a dynamic, lengthy list of school that you are researching.
Family Meeting #2: Student-led (April – May)
At some point between March 1 and the end of May, you and your family will meet with your process and writing coaches. While each student is in charge of his or her path, keeping everyone informed and giving a forum for all thoughts to be heard is important. Central to this meeting is an explanation of your College Criteria and a Summer Plan.
- Summer Plan
- Summer Activities. Think about how you want to spend your summer. It is important for you, that you have an idea of what you want out of your summer break. While we don’t recommend specific activities for students, we do recommend that students are engaged in activities that they value highly.
- Build your Colleges I’m Thinking About List. Coming into this meet, through their individual work and work with their process coach, students should have a minimum of 15 to 20 perspective colleges on their Naviance list.
- Begin to plan/schedule summer visits to colleges. Most students and/or families find they do not have sufficient time during the school year to see all of the schools under consideration. Summer visits do not provide an ideal evaluation of student life on campus, but they do help immensely in understanding the area, the programs, and the campus. Also, admission offices are best set up to host students and their families at this time. They will provide a great deal of insight to the college through group information sessions, tours, and sometimes individual interviews. For students trying to narrow their choices, this information is often sufficient. Indeed, colleges receive more visits by prospective students over the summer than during the whole rest of the year. (Most students will make return visits to their top choices eventually before making a final decision on where to attend.)
It is a good idea to be engaged in the writing process over the summer—writing notes, brainstorming, and drafting your personal statement. In August, you will have the opportunity to attend an intensive writing workshop, to kick start your fall writing process.
- Continue to research schools. Continue to explore schools – search on Naviance, begin to read school websites and other materials more deeply (course descriptions, student life, etc.). Contact your counselor if you’d like to meet, following visits to schools or for any other reason. We are always happy to meet with you.
- Campus Visits. Don’t find one college you like and quit there. With further research, other colleges may prove preferable. Also, the one in which you are most interested may not work out. The more colleges you see the more educated your choices regarding applications will be in the fall. Do everything possible to make each visit productive. If an individual interview is available, sign up. If you have a particular interest in theater, try to speak with a member of the faculty in that department. If competing in athletics is a focus, see the coach while on campus. Go on campus tours and listen carefully to any group presentations. The more information you gather the better. Also, remember that what seems clear in July may be tough to recall by November. Take good notes, recording your impressions, the name and title of anyone with whom you speak, etc. At the time of visits information seems clear that you will be able to remember it. Over time, without notes details from college visits will fade. Notes are essential.
Teacher Recommendation: Invite #1 (May – June)
Ask a minimum of one faculty member to write for you before the close of school. Ultimately, you will need to ask a total of two faculty members for recommendations. Initial requests should be made in person, and followed up with an invitation through your Naviance account.
It is important to look at the requirements of each prospective college or program. Some may specify from whom they require a letter of recommendation. Generally speaking, you should ask teachers for letters if they have taught you during junior and / or senior years, and know you well as a student. First, you need to ask teachers in person. Next you’ll email them a request via Naviance, which will contain a link for them to upload their letters to your file. Requests should be made of teachers by October.
Summer Writing & Application Workshop (August)
In this intensive day-long workshop, you will work with your Writing Coach on your personal statement (whether you are in the brainstorming stage or on your second draft), as well as other aspects of your applications, as appropriate (supplemental essays, for example).