College Counseling

Students and parents have many questions about the college admission process.

That is why Canterbury's college counseling office has two full-time college counselors who provide personalized help in selecting those colleges and/or universities that best meet each student's personal, social, academic and financial needs. Preparation begins as soon as a student enters Canterbury.

The basis of the college search is formed by individual meetings with both the student and parents; use of computer software; College Night presentations; an extensive library of college view books, catalogs and applications; May Term classes; and presentations by visiting college admission counselors. Additionally, students can turn to their college counselors to monitor and coordinate PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT Subject and AP testing. Canterbury provides the optimum environment for successful completion of the college search, an important aspect of school life. Assistance with financial aid, financial planning, scholarships and summer opportunities for travel and education also are handled through the college counseling office.

College Bound

During their junior year, students are divided into small groups that meet in a special class once a week called College Bound. Students complete 18 assignments that prepare them for their actual application the fall of their senior year. These assignments include everything from learning the difference between a college and a university to crafting a college essay. In addition to these once a-week- class meetings, students will take a week-long college trip in November and complete assignments, and students and parents will schedule individual appointments with the college counselors in the spring of the junior year to establish criteria and customize their college lists.

Junior College Trip

Each year as part of the College Bound process, juniors visit a number of colleges in the South, Midwest or East as part of their initial college selection process. The purpose of this required trip is to allow the students to see first-hand how going to college dramatically differs from one institution to another. As the group travels from school to school, they reflect on and evaluate the college they just left and then read about the university they are about to visit. By learning first-hand what they like and don't like about the various types of colleges they are visiting, the students are able to generate a list of criteria as their starting point for a successful college search.

Trip History

  • Class of 2016 -- Ohio, New York
  • Class of 2015 -- Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia
  • Class of 2014 --
  • Class of 2013 -- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island (NYC)
  • Class of 2012 -- Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), New Jersey (NYC)
  • Class of 2011 -- North Carolina, Virginia, (Washington, DC)
  • Class of 2010 -- New York, (Boston)
  • Class of 2009 -- New York, (New York City)
  • Class of 2008 -- Tennessee, Georgia (Atlanta)
  • Class of 2007 -- North/South Carolina, Tennessee (Nashville)
  • Class of 2006 -- Virginia, (Washington, DC)
  • Class of 2005 -- Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Philadelphia)
  • Class of 2004 -- New York, Ohio (Cleveland)
  • Class of 2003 -- Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia (Atlanta)
  • Class of 2002 -- Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina
  • Class of 2001 -- Maryland, Virginia (Baltimore)
  • Class of 2000 -- Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Philadelphia)
  • Class of 1999 -- Up-State New York (Rochester)
  • Class of 1998 -- Virginia, North Carolina
  • Class of 1997 -- Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana (St. Louis)
  • Class of 1996 -- Virginia, (Washington, DC)
  • Class of 1995 -- Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana (Nashville)
  • Class of 1994 -- North Carolina, Georgia (Atlanta)
  • Class of 1993 -- New York, Vermont, New Hampshire (Montreal)
  • Class of 1992 -- Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana (Chicago)
  • Class of 1991 -- Virginia
  • Class of 1990 -- Maryland, Virginia, (Washington, DC)
  • Class of 1989 -- Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Philadelphia)
  • Class of 1988 -- Eastern Pennsylvania, (Washington, DC)
  • Class of 1987 -- Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York

    To show students just what their college options are by exposing them to a variety of colleges and universities. The trip will include visits to the following kinds of difference colleges:

    • Large, public university
    • Medium private university
    • Technical institution
    • Single-sex college
    • Urban university or college
    • Sub-urban university or college
    • Rural university or college
    • Art school (if possible)
    • HBC (if possible)

    The purpose of the trip is to allow the students to see first hand how "going to college" dramatically differs from one institution to another. Right now "going to college" is a very abstract concept for these teenagers. Walking the campus grounds, meeting with admission counselors, talking with current students, sitting in on classes, eating in the cafeterias, and listening to professors will all give our students much clearer ideas of what college life is really like and, more importantly, what type of college or university best suits their academic, social, religious, political, and financial needs. In years past our students have attended mock admission sessions, financial aid sessions, mock interview sessions, and mock college classes based on what they were currently studying in English or AP Biology.

    As we travel from town to town, the students reflect on the college they just left, study the university they're about to visit, and work through a number of group exercises and individual assignments which will combine to make them better informed college consumers in the year to come. By learning first-hand what they like and don't like about various types of colleges and universities, the students will be able to generate a list of criteria as their starting point for a successful college search. Students return from the trip infused with renewed dedication to their academic endeavors and excited about the many opportunities available to them.


    Freshman Year

    The goal of every freshman at Canterbury School should be to become fully engaged in the life of the school.

    The freshman year should be one of discovery and development. As such, freshmen are encouraged to take an active role in the life of the school and to take advantage of the opportunities Canterbury offers for development in mind, body and spirit.

    The following are keys to freshman success. The mastery of these simple habits for success will ultimately allow students to move through the college search and admission process with as many options as possible:

    • Enroll in challenging academic courses and do well in those courses.
    • READ, READ, READ and take advantage of the writing opportunities you have in various courses. The SAT emphasizes critical reading and now also has a writing section.
    • Develop and refine study habits and academic discipline that will be critical for future success.
    • Practice good study skills, time management and organization.

    - Use an assignment book.
    - Review nightly material covered in class (even when no homework has been assigned).
    - Schedule work and study time.
    - Organize your study materials (notes, handouts, etc.).

    • Stretch physically through the extensive athletic and physical conditioning programs available to Canterbury students.
    • Actively explore the wide array of visual and performing arts offered as electives and as extra-curricular options.
    • Discover new interests and develop hidden talents by sampling clubs, taking part in student government, and supporting service projects by volunteering.
    • Take the PLAN (a pre-ACT) test to get an idea about one of the two standardized tests that many colleges require.
    • Get to know your teachers. Let them get to know you.

    Sophomore Year

    By the time students become sophomores at Canterbury School, they should have successfully maneuvered the transition into High School.

    Sophomores should be ready to focus on enhancing their academic opportunities, accepting responsibility for personal academic success, and seeking opportunities for involvement in the larger life of the school through extra-curricular activities.

    Ideally, a sophomore should be completely engaged in the life of Canterbury High School. As a part of that engagement, a sophomore should continue to pursue the habits for success honed during the freshman experience through the following:

    • Take challenging courses and do well in those courses. As colleges consider applicants, nothing takes the place of strong academic achievement in a rigorous curriculum.
    • If your freshman year was less than stellar, make up your mind to improve. Colleges are willing to overlook a poor start IF a student shows sustained improvement over the next three years.
    • If your freshman year was a strong one, keep up the good work. Colleges expect you to maintain effort and focus. A downward spiral will hurt your chance of admission.
    • READ, READ, READ and take advantage of the writing opportunities you have in various courses. The SAT emphasizes critical reading and has a writing section.
    • Practice good study skills, time management and organization.

    - Use an assignment book.
    - Review nightly material covered in class (even when no homework has been assigned).
    - Schedule work and study time.
    - Organize your study materials (notes, handouts, etc.).
    - Keep your options open.

    • Get to know your teachers. Let them get to know you.
    • Get involved outside the classroom (performing/visual arts, athletics, special interest clubs, student government, service projects). Sophomores should begin to focus more on the activities that have become most meaningful to them. Explore leadership roles in areas of involvement.
    • Take the PSAT test in the fall.
    • Take SAT Subject Tests (where appropriate) in the spring.
    • Participate in the Sophomore Class College Trip Day.
    • Complete your sophomore-year community service requirement (20 hours).
    • Investigate interesting summer options for study, travel or work.

    Junior Year

    This is a VERY IMPORTANT year.

    By now two-thirds of the grades that most colleges use for admission purposes are on the books. Most students apply in the fall of their senior year, which means that their senior grades are often not used to determine admission.

    Therefore, this is your most important year in the classroom. In addition to overall grade point averages, most colleges also are concerned about the direction of your GPA. They understand fully about “late bloomers” and look approvingly on students who are just arriving at what we like to call “academic maturity.”

    This is not to say that a good junior year in the classroom can offset two years of half-hearted effort, but it is to say that it will certainly help. Students who make their best grades (or who continue to make good grades) junior year, end up with more college choices come spring of their senior year.

    Our expectations for juniors include the following:

    • Take the PSAT Prep class (where appropriate) in September and October.
    • Re-take the PSAT test in the fall (everyone).
    • Register with Family Connection (aka Naviance). This is Canterbury’s web-based information and communication program for all of our college counseling efforts.
    • Make as good if not better grades than you have since starting High School.
    • Take the most challenging and most appropriate classes.
    • Work unmonitored and be internally motivated in class and with home work.
    • Seek leadership positions in your extra-curricular activities.
    • Being good role models for our underclassmen.
    • Complete assignments on the week-long Junior Class College Trip and gain a basic understanding of the types of colleges and universities that are available to you.
    • Take the SAT Prep Class in January and February.
    • Volunteer to assist struggling underclassmen based on your own academic strengths.
    • Complete junior-year community service requirement (40 hours).
    • Take the College Bound class during spring semester and complete the 18 assignments which are aimed to prepare you for college applications next fall. Specific topics include the following:

    1. Learn the differences between a college and a university.
    2. Learn how admission decisions are made.
    3. Complete the Common Application.
    4. Write a college essay.
    5. Prepare for a college interview.
    6. Craft a long list of colleges.
    7. Search for financial aid and scholarships.
    8. Procure teacher letters of recommendation.
    9. Register for the SAT, the ACT, and SAT Subject Tests.
    10. Write a community service paper.
    11. Conduct individual conferences with the college counselor.
    12. And more!

    • Take the SAT in late winter or spring.
    • Take SAT Subject Tests (where appropriate) in the spring.
    • Take AP Exams (where appropriate) in the spring.
    • Take or retake the ACT in the spring.
    • Plan meaningful summer activities.

    We also encourage junior parents to do the following:

    • Attend the Back-to-School Night in September. This is a vital meeting for all junior parents as we cover school, student, and parent expectations for the year in detail. Do NOT miss this program!
    • Register for the school’s web-based college counseling information and communication program, Family Connection (aka Naviance).
    • Talk with your junior about which tests and which test preparation classes are appropriate for him/her.
    • Volunteer to go on the Junior Class College Trip. We need A LOT of chaperones and you will learn as much, if not more, than your junior.
    • Reserve at least one week of spring break of this year for visiting colleges. This is VERY important. There is no other good time to do this, so plan ahead now. We will discuss where to visit in February and March, but do NOT plan a two-week spring break trip this year!
    • Learn how to make the most of college visits and much, much more by attending the College Night Program for junior parents in the spring.
    • Ensure that your junior completes his/her community service requirement (40 hours) and documents the hours to Mrs. Walda.
    • Schedule an appointment with the college counseling office with your child present to discuss his/her college options.
    • Complete your Parent Information Form which specifically asks your input on parameters for the college search process before we begin compiling lists.
    • Purchase copies of two books: "Looking Beyond the Ivy League" by Loren Pope, and "The Fisk Guide to Colleges" by Edward B. Fisk. Both are must-reads and well worth purchasing. Also recommended is "Pope’s Colleges that Change Lives," for hardworking students with modest grade point averages.

    Senior Year

    This is a very busy year.

    Contrary to what you might expect, the first semester of your senior year is not carefree. On top of attempting the most challenging courses to date, you will be seriously dealing with the whole issue of college.

    Every time someone learns that you are a senior, they will ask you “Where are you going to college?” and for the most part, you really don’t know. Some of you know where you’d like to go to college, but you don’t know if you will be admitted. Most of you know where you are applying, but are very undecided about where you are going to attend. And a few of you truly will have no idea.

    It’s as if everything we did last spring to prepare you for this moment vanished over the summer; so we start over. The whole applying-to-college thing is almost like having another class. It has assignments; it has deadlines; it has a checklist that must be done. Just as we have for the past three years of High School, Canterbury continues to have very high expectations for our seniors.

    Our expectations for our seniors include the following:

    • Re-take the SAT and/or the ACT test in the fall (where applicable).
    • Take or re-take SAT Subject Tests as needed.
    • Regularly update college lists on Family Connection so that parents, teachers, and the college counseling office all know where you stand with your applications.
    • Adhere to the Senior Year College Counseling Calendar.
    • Complete National Merit and National Achievement Scholarship applications (where applicable).
    • Meet all school-established guidelines and deadlines for applications.
    • Meet with the teacher (or teachers) who are writing your letters of recommendation.
    • Visit colleges on your application lists, preferably on days when Canterbury has no school.
    • Continue to explore financial aid and scholarship options.
    • Meet with the college counselor once a week or as needed until the college applications are completed.
    • Assume leadership roles in all areas of school and the extra-curricular life of the school.
    • Be outstanding role models for all underclassmen.
    • Help parents file the PROFILE and the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible in order to meet the deadlines for all financial aid available to you for college.
    • Make arrangements for your senior internship in a timely manner.
    • Assist with all senior class and House activities such as prom, Bingo Night, and the blood drive.
    • Assist with making a decision on the senior class gift.
    • Cooperate with faculty members and parent representatives in regard to all pictures needed and meeting all picture deadlines.

    We also encourage senior parents to continue everything you have been doing the last three years PLUS:

    • Attend the Senior Parents’ Night Program in September. This is a vital meeting for all senior parents as we cover school, student and parent expectations for the year in detail. Do NOT miss this program!
    • Schedule a meeting with the college counseling office early in the fall to finalize your child’s college application plans.
    • At least once a month, check the Senior College Counseling Calendar to make sure that your senior is meeting all deadlines.
    • Make your senior has his/her senior picture taken NOW.
    • Sign the Early Decision Binding Agreement if your senior is applying Early Decision.
    • Let the college counseling office know what your needs are at this time in the college search process.
    • In the fall, do not stress over where your senior is going to college, just where he/she is applying.
    • Attend the Senior Parents’ Night Program in January. This is a vital meeting for all senior parents as we cover graduation and end-of-year activities in detail. Do NOT miss this program!
    • File your PROFILE and FAFSA financial aid forms as soon after January 1 as possible. Do NOT be an April 15 income tax filer this year or any other year that you have a child in college!
    • Order graduation announcements no later than February.
    • In the spring meet with the senior college counselor if you need assistance with making the final college decision.
    • Help your senior arrange his/her senior internship; most internships are arranged by the parents with the school helping when and where necessary.
    • Consider chaperoning the Senior Class Trip. This trip is entirely sponsored and chaperoned by parents, so we really need you to consider helping out with this trip.
    • Make sure you check the school calendar BEFORE scheduling your graduation party. You would not be the first senior parent to have to send “Change of Date” announcements because you didn’t.
    • Finally, enjoy these last few months with your senior at home as much as possible. Your relationship with your adult child will grow and evolve over the next four years just as it has for the last four.
    • You’ve made it!
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