Timeline for Students and Parents
The College Counselors at ACS work with students and parents at all high school grade levels. Below is an outline of our program as it pertains to each year of study.
Ninth & Tenth Grade:
The Counseling Department feel that it is important for grade 9 and 10 students to become acquainted with us. We believe that the more awareness grade 9 and 10 students have of the College Counseling Department and the services we offer, the better we can aid them in the process of developing their post ACS higher education plans. Students who have an understanding of the process they will eventually be directly involved with, tend to have more well-defined plans, and are typically more confident and organized. To that end, we aim to engage all grade 9 & 10 students through group and individual meetings, and invite them to attend lunchtime workshops that cover a wide range of topics involved in the college search and application process.
Additionally, we encourage all students to take advantage of the many university visits we facilitate throughout the year.
PSAT For Tenth Grade:
Students are given the opportunity to take the PSAT at ACS in October, free of charge. As many ACS students apply to US institutions, the PSAT helps prepare them for the SAT, which is a required standardized exam for many US institutions. The SAT becomes especially important when students seek to obtain significant funding from Merit Based Scholarships. Some European Universities will also take SAT scores into consideration when assessing an application.
In December, the counselors receive PSAT results and will assist students in understanding their scores, and offer suggestions for further test preparation.
In first semester, the counselors present a program to eleventh graders called Junior Jumpstart which marks the formal beginning of the college process for the eleventh grade class. Throughout the event, students are thoroughly informed about educational opportunities and application processes in the UK, US, Europe, and beyond. Parents are later invited to attend an evening meeting covering the same topics along with financial aid and financing options.
Following these meetings, students may begin scheduling individual appointments with their college counselors. Prior to their meeting, students are required to complete a substantial self-reflection paper on our online platform, Naviance. This will serves as their Junior Year Profile. The counselors will discuss future plans, field questions, and advise students on the appropriate next steps and things to consider. They will offer an overview on standardized testing. This discussion includes, but is not limited to the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, the TOEFL, the IELTS, and the Advanced Placement (AP) program. Students are invited to sit for AP examinations in May which are administered at ACS. For other tests, students are given instructions on how to register online. Most ACS students complete the first round of all standardized testing during the eleventh grade, thus creating the opportunity to retest in the senior year, if needed. The counselors will begin a working list of potential universities with students.
In the second semester, and with the help of their counselors, students select and officially ask two teachers to serve as teacher recommenders. Students are required to complete a Teacher Recommendation Letter Data Sheet for both teachers they secure as recommenders. The college counselors also offer suggestions for summer involvement and/or study. Students interested in applying to summer programs work with their counselors on applications.
Throughout the year, students are invited to meet with visiting college and university representatives. They are also invited to virtual visits. Eleventh-grade students should attend as many of these visits as possible. Students in eleventh grade are also encouraged to attend as many lunchtime workshops as possible.
The fall semester is a busy time as seniors prepare applications to competitive universities around the world. The college counselors advise students on their college choices and financial aid/scholarship opportunities. The Counselors actively work with each individual senior through the entirety off the application process and guide and support them in the writing of personal statements, essays, and supplementary materials. Throughout the semester, weekly workshops are offered that cover a wide range of topics involved in the college search and application process, and where necessary students may attend mock interview sessions organized by the Counseling department. Parents are invited to attend a senior parent meeting that covers in detail the application process from a parent’s perspective. In addition, seniors and their parents are encouraged to meet with all visiting college and university representatives. They are also invited to virtual visits. Where possible, they may also have the opportunity to interview with visiting admission officers.
In December and January, the counselors organize panels where current ACS alumni return to speak with the seniors about their college and university experiences in the US, UK, and Europe. These panels provide seniors with crucial feedback on academic rigor, quality of life, and overall cultural experiences at various universities worldwide.
By the end of the first semester, most seniors have completed and submitted their applications. Once decisions begin arriving, seniors work with their counselor to select a college or university that best suits their academic, personal, and financial needs. The counseling department also advises in the process of applying for student loans and accommodation. Finally, the counselors offer advice on transitioning from high school into university.
Sometimes students find that their college or university choice ultimately does not meet their academic, personal, or professional expectations. In this case, ACS alumni are invited to contact Mr. McClinton to learn more about the transfer or re-application processes. The services of the Counseling Department are available to all graduates of the school.