In keeping with the mission of Saint James School, the Office of College Counseling strives to educate and prepare students for the college search, application, and selection processes in a highly individualized way.
College counseling at Saint James begins during the Fourth Form (sophomore) year. In the fall, students are encouraged to get involved on campus academically, co-curricularly, and socially. Students also take the PSAT, which gives them an opportunity to experience a standardized test, in many cases, for the first time. The results are discussed with the students during the second trimester, and a game plan is created in order to help keep students on track in and out of the classroom.
During the Fifth Form year, students are expected to meet with several of the approximately 50 college representatives who visit our campus each fall. They are required to take the PSAT in the fall (for National Merit Scholarship consideration), the SAT I in the winter, and SAT I or II in the spring. During the second trimester, the Fifth Form meets with the Director of College Counseling in small groups for a five-week college counseling class. At the conclusion of the class, each junior will meet one-on-one with the college counselor to discuss their academic and co-curricular progress, and to create a preliminary college list. Periodically throughout the remainder of the year, they also meet individually and as a class with the college counselor to gauge their progress and to continue the development of their college list. During the winter trimester, Fifth Form students and their parents are invited to the "College Forum," a panel discussion about the college process, where they are able to learn more from representatives from selected national colleges and universities. This introduction will help students and parents continue to understand the college process and to help them in making decisions about what they are looking for in a college based on their own interests.
In the Sixth Form, students focus on finalizing their college lists and writing their applications. In the fall, they have individual meetings scheduled with the counselors, and they meet periodically as a class to discuss the application process. There is also a "lock-in" weekend where the students are required to work on their applications and college essays under the guidance of the college counselor and the English Department faculty. Sixth Formers are closely advised on developing their final lists, completing their applications on time, and choosing the colleges they plan to attend.
We have a number of resources available to help the students at every stage. There is a college library with books on the college selection process, applying, college rankings, test prep, and financial aid, but most importantly, the college counseling office uses a web-based college counseling tool, Family Connection, in order to communicate with students and parents. It is also a wonderful instrument to find out admission and application information about Saint James students.
If you should ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the College Counseling office at 301.733.9330; we will be more than happy to answer any questions.