Gonzaga Preparatory School

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College Counseling office engages at every level

Information, exploration, preparation, and results. Those words describe the work of college counselors Morgan Hatcher and Cathy McMeekan with students at every level and parents/guardians.

By recognizing the post-secondary goals and critical touch points at each grade level, the Office of College Counseling is supporting each student’s progress toward an ultimate goal of a post-secondary plan for all seniors.

Thanks to the doubled bandwidth, college counselors met with 95 percent of seniors by the end of October and two-thirds had submitted at least one application. That number rose to 95 percent by the end of February. Seniors will have an opportunity to meet with counselors again in the spring to talk about outcomes. “Students are feeling more supported in their application process and are able to submit applications earlier,” Hatcher said.

Junior year is all about preparation. The OCC will hold four required class meetings to help students break down the tasks needed to reach end-of-semester goals. In February counselors began meeting individually with students to learn more about their post-secondary plans. By the end of the school year, the hope is for each student to have narrowed their college list and to have completed the main section of the Common App. In the spring, English teachers will work with juniors on college essays, with enhanced support available in the summer through a workshop taught by senior English teacher Trish McArdle. “We want juniors to come back next fall ready to apply and reduce the stress of the senior year,” McMeekan says.

Laying the groundwork for post-secondary plans is critical during the first two years at Gonzaga Prep. Hatcher and McMeekan will meet with freshmen in their Academic B.A.S.E. class to introduce college language and set the foundation for the work that will happen over the next four years. In a class meeting with sophomores in the spring, they will introduce the Scoir program and begin career/college exploration. In addition, evening webinars will be offered for sophomore families to prepare for the junior year PSAT.

Through parent meetings and monthly emails, the college counselors are able to keep them informed about what their students should be working on each month to stay on track. A key shift for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors is the move to the SCOIR program, the gold standard for the college application process which simplifies the process of submitting school documents, teacher recommendations, and provides parents easy access to their child’s information. “We are excited to see students at all grade levels engaging in college and career exploration. It is rewarding when we see how enthusiastic the students are!” Cathy McMeekan