College Day

Students and teachers participated recently in our annual day of reflection and preparation for the future when they returned from Fall Family Weekend.

Ninth grade students spent the morning of October 15 in a workshop called, “Your Journey At WMS,” that centered around planning for their high school experience. How do you help a ninth grader look ahead to their senior year? It isn’t always easy; Director of College Counseling Ryan Aldrich planned a program to help them gain perspective on the months and years to come. “What will be your mark on our school?” “Who do you want to be known as?” Ninth grade students and teachers wrestled with these and more questions in engaging discussions. They also spent a significant portion of time talking about “beautiful work.” The class of 2018 is piloting a new program at WMS that seeks to help students build portfolios of their best work. It asks students to reflect upon what they’ve learned, present their work in professional ways, and seek feedback from people in the community during a review of their work later on.

Maria Cartagena ’18 said, “the day gave me a clear plan for the future so I could organize my time here. We looked at the curriculum and graduation requirements, we played games, and we even made “future resumes” for ourselves that included the things we hope to accomplish in high school.”

While the tenth and eleventh grade program (taking the PSAT) might seem a bit less glamorous, it provided students with an opportunity to sample standardized testing and participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Seniors spent time working in small groups with teachers on their college applications and essays. Director of Admission, Brad D’Arco, also shared information on the interview process. What can students expect from a college interview? We held a simulated interview and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. Then Brad, along with the Head of School (Tim Breen Ph.D.), the Director of Development and Alumnae/i (Julie Yates), and the Director of Financial Aid (Sarah Catlin) held mock-interviews for seniors. About one third of the seniors have now participated in a mock interview on campus, and the remaining students are scheduling interviews with WMS admission officers, just as they do for visits to colleges and universities. “It is a great exercise for us, too,” said Linda D’Arco, Director of Communications and Associate Director of Admission. “The mock-interviews give us a chance to learn more of our students’ stories later in their experience at WMS. They provide us with a greater understanding of the growth and opportunities that exist here for students.”

Ryan Aldrich extended his thanks to all faculty, staff, and students for their support of the 2014 College Day. He added, “the fact that the whole school supports this program, and values it enough to pause and spend concentrated time working and thinking about the future and the college process, is tremendous. It really says something about this school.”

Ryan spent some time this fall collecting his notes and expertise and sharing them in a series of podcasts intended for use by any student or family pursing the college process, whether or not they are here with us as WMS. To listen to the podcast interviews, please select the following links:

College Counseling in Boarding Schools
How to Find the Right College Match for You
How to Craft a Great College Essay

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