Our College Counseling Handbook
Welcome to the College Counseling office at the Harley School! We have put together this guide to start-up guide to introduce you, juniors and their families, to our approach. We are excited to start working with you. Please read these materials carefully, as they contain a wealth of information about our process and advice on how to get started.
Director of College Counseling
(585) 442-1770 X-1263
What do we do in the College Counseling Office?
We work with students to find the right matches
This is a College Counseling Office, not a College Placement Office. To that end, we will meet with students to help them learn to identify, research, and choose the colleges that meet their needs, but we will not “give them” a list.
We communicate with colleges about the Harley academic program
In the fall, representatives from colleges come to Harley to meet with juniors and seniors and with the Director of College Counseling to better understand what kind of students this school produces. The Harley School Profile (available online) also helps to communicate what our education provides. In addition, the counselors are responsible for writing the School Report, sometimes called the Counselor Recommendation.
We provide information
Using tools such as scattergrams (charts that plot Harley application history using grades and test scores) we help students and families understand the competitive nature of college admissions and help to manage expectations. Students use our web-based programs with our assistance, to help craft a balanced list of colleges.
We help students create a testing plan
While there are some general recommendations for standardized testing, testing plans are unique to each student. We will work with students to tailor a plan for the spring of the junior year and the fall of the senior year
Do all colleges require standardized testing?
Some of the score optional colleges and universities to which Harley students sometimes apply are:
Bryn Mawr College
College of the Atlantic
College of the Holy Cross
Franklin and Marshall
George Mason University
Hobart & William Smith
Loyola University, MD
Mt. Holyoke College
New York University
Sarah Lawrence College
St. Lawrence University
Wake Forest University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
When should I take the SATs or ACTs?
When can I make my first meeting with a college counselor?
The formal college counseling process begins in January of the junior year, though the college counselors are available to answer questions at any point. Once the college counselor has an initial meeting with a student, their parent(s) can request a meeting.
When do colleges visit Harley?
Every year approximately 65 college admission representatives visit the Harley campus during the fall in order to meet seniors and present information about their colleges. There are occasionally similar visits in the spring. These meetings provide excellent opportunities for students to meet and interact with members of a college’s admissions staff. In most cases the representative who visits is the person responsible for presenting students’ applications to their colleagues in committee meetings.
I have heard about applying “Early.” What does that mean?
Most college applications are due in January or February of the student’s senior year. These are known as regular decision applications and a student can apply to as many schools as she likes (though the college counselors recommend a thoughtful, targeted list of approximately six to nine schools). Students typically receive admission decisions at the end of March or in early April.
Many colleges also offer some version of an early application round, with application deadlines typically in November and with decisions arriving in December. “Early Decision” asks a student to make a binding commitment to a college. If accepted, the student cancels any other applications and accepts the offer of admission. “Early Action” does not require a student to commit to the college; therefore, they can submit regular decision applications as well.
What are the differences between the SAT and ACT?
The SAT and ACT generally test the same type of content. The SAT contains two sections: Math and Evidence Based Reading . The ACT contains four sections: Reading, Math, English, and Science. Both tests have an optional essay portion. The SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600 while the ACT uses a scale of 1-36. Colleges do not prefer one test over the other and as many Harley students now submit ACT scores as submit SAT scores. Students should explore both tests to decide which one is right for them.
What are the components of a typical application?
In evaluating candidates for admission, college admission officers consider many factors. Among the most important are:
- High school academic record (including courses taken and grades)
- Standardized test scores
- The quality of the student’s application (usually including an essay)
- School and faculty recommendations
- Extracurricular activities, internship experience, employment
- Special talents and interests
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