College advising at Habersham is designed to be personal and individualized. We are serious about what we do and thoughtful in how we do it. The development of the student is a vital component of the program. We desire to enable students to gain self-insight, equip them with relevant and current information, and help them to develop initiative in taking ownership of the process. The goal is to assist students to find the best school for them. Our approach is flexible but always driven to obtain successful results for every student. At its best, the process goes beyond helping Habersham students find a college that is a “good match”; it helps them grow and learn more about themselves. We start to work with students in their junior year. From beginning to end, the students are at the center of this process. They are expected to take responsibility for registering for appropriate tests, completing applications, and meeting deadlines. The teachers and staff are here to assist, encourage, challenge, and support students as they set goals and make decisions.
There is no doubt that the college process can be stressful at times and can have emotional highs and lows. We find that it works best when everyone – students, parents and counselors – communicates honestly, has an open mind, exercises patience, and maintains a good sense of humor. At Habersham, teachers and staff encourage students to be inquisitive and curious about the world. We support our students as they consider their futures beyond Habersham, and that is reflected in the diversity of colleges our students attend.
The Year-by-Year Planning page on our website offers suggestions for productive steps students can take to prepare for applying to college. Although students need to focus more on high school than college in the ninth grade, there are still recommendations for building a strong foundation.
When students enter high school, questions about the college admissions process undoubtedly arise. In recent years, the media have placed greater emphasis on the uncertainty and stresses of the college admissions process. It is only natural that parents and students are thinking about college early in high school and have questions.
Yet, students are best prepared for the college process by concentrating on learning and their high school education first. Students are encouraged to appreciate the present. This is a key part of being a successful high school student and therefore a well-prepared college applicant. Further, it has been our experience that most students are not ready to think about colleges in an in-depth way any earlier than their junior year, and that to doing so sometimes only adds stress and discomfort. However, we do have some helpful advice relevant to younger students and their parents to assist you in creating a positive and productive high school experience while making good choices and plans about college.
It’s true, colleges do look at ninth and tenth grade curricula and grades. They may not matter as much as grades later in high school, but they do count. During the first two years of high school at Habersham, the courses for most students are fairly well prescribed. Teachers and advisors make placement recommendations based on a student’s past performance and seek to place a student at a level that is appropriate. It makes no sense for a student to attempt courses for which he/she does not have the requisite background, nor does it make sense for a student to take “easy” courses with the intention of getting high grades. The best strategy is to cultivate the study habits that will help ensure success. This means seeking help from advisors and teachers when needed.
One of Habersham’s strengths is its faculty, so students who get to know their teachers will benefit greatly. Teachers can help a student figure out how they learn best and how to make the most of their academic potential. Teachers are our students’ greatest allies and mentors.
Investing in Habersham
Ninth and tenth graders should look for ways to form a solid foundation for a great Habersham experience. One good way to do this is to make the most of the opportunities available here. Colleges want to know about a student’s interests and involvement. Our best advice is for students to become involved as soon as they enter the high school. They should explore the things they love to do and stick with it (commitment to an activity over four years is good). They should lead when there is an opportunity (leadership is a positive both for the experience and for the resume). And they should create activities too (making possibilities for yourself if they don’t already exist is good). Some students think it is better to have accomplished many different activities. Colleges are interested in the commitment kids show to their activities and would rather see deep, full involvement in a few areas than sporadic attendance at many.
Investment and involvement leads to school satisfaction and greater success in academics and extracurricular life.