For Eli Russell, who earned a perfect score on his SATs and founded the award-winning National History Day team at AFS, the list of possible colleges included many of the nation’s top-tier universities.Read The Story
College Guidance at AFS is a student-centered process based on the philosophy of finding the right fit: colleges that provide the right academic opportunities, social/cultural environment, is financially affordable, and where the student is admissible.
Our counselors, who have significant college admissions experience and counseling expertise, work closely with students to guide their learning about their educational and social needs, and to develop decision-making skills that will help shape their choices for college and beyond. Ideally, a student’s college process is the culmination of an AFS career that involves immersive classroom experiences, myriad opportunities to express their creativity, and full engagement with the world around them.
A hallmark of the college guidance process at AFS is the individual focus. From the time students arrive in the Upper School, the Director of Studies helps them think about what “their story” at AFS will be: what co-curricular interests will they pursue? How will they appropriately challenge themselves in the classroom? What relationships will they build?
At the midpoint of a student’s high school experience, the College Guidance Counselors build on that foundation, starting with an 11th grade college night, for juniors and their families, and a spring course for juniors about all aspects of the college admissions process. Through this course and one-on-one meetings that also begin in the spring, the College Guidance Counselors develop strong relationships with students that then allow for the counselors to articulate the unique qualities of each student to college admissions officers.
Relationship-building is at the heart of our college guidance program. Our college guidance counselors spend a great deal of time with admissions representatives, welcoming them to the AFS campus, introducing them to our curriculum, and learning more about what makes a student the right “fit”. Over time, our counselors have developed close relationships with admissions officers that allow them to speak on behalf of our students, reiterating the strengths of our applicants and how we envision their fit to the school’s mission, community and applicant pool.
This personal, thoughtful and labor-intensive approach is only possible in a small community such as ours. Partnering closely with our students and their families during this important time makes the process more manageable and leads to students who look forward to their next step after high school graduation. Our graduates report that they felt well-supported in creating a balanced college list, crafting personalized essays, completing applications, and matriculating at a college they feel challenged by and successful in.