A Busy Season for College Planning

Friends Select’s college planning office has been (extra) busy this fall. The school year started on a challenging note with the unexpected departure of Naté Hall, the former associate director of college planning. But with seniors set to apply to colleges, essays and applications to read and review, college representatives to host, and programs to lead, the college planning office continued running full speed. We quickly identified a college counseling professional who could help support the office on a part-time basis while we started a job search to fill this position full-time. Kristen Wong Miller, a former associate director of college guidance and math teacher at Abington Friends School, and a former math teacher at Germantown Friends School, is fulfilling both of these roles. 

Kristen started working in the college planning office in September on a part-time basis and immediately started meeting with a group of seniors, advising them on their college application process. After submitting her resume and interviewing for the full-time associate director of admissions position, Kristen was selected for this position amongst a group of competitive and highly-qualified candidates. Kristen will continue in this role on a part-time basis until she starts as a full-time employee on September 1, 2020.  

In addition to a job search, the college planning office was engaged in assisting, advising, and supporting seniors with the college application process. We held an intensive college application workshop in September. This workshop covered the critical aspects of the Common Application and Naviance (a college search and application management system); a college essay workshop, led by members of our English department; and a mock application workshop. We hosted admissions representatives from over 90 colleges in the United States and abroad. We planned a college panel program for parents of seniors, as well as a panel program with the athletics department that addressed athletic recruitment and the college process. And for the second year, we hosted a college financial aid completion night program to help parents of seniors navigate the college financial aid process and forms. At the same time, we were reading seniors’ college essays and supplements, reviewing their college applications, writing their school recommendations for college, and answering their many questions about the application process. A majority of the seniors (94%) applied by November 15 to colleges with early decision, early action, or priority deadlines.  

As seniors wait patiently (and anxiously) for their early application decisions, we are now turning our attention to the juniors and the start of their college process. Some juniors sat for a practice ACT exam in November after taking the PSAT in October. The juniors’ official entré into the college process begins December 3 with the Junior College Night program. Other college-related programs this academic year include:

  • Young Alumni Day Panel (January 7)
  • College Night for Sophomores (April 7)
  • College Coffee for Parents of Ninth Graders (April 17)
  • Junior Class College Tour (April 28)
  • College Decision Day Celebration (May 1)
  • Philadelphia-Area Independent Schools College Fair (May 20)
  • Mock College Interview Workshop (May 21)