Genesis Preparatory School students continue to college as a natural continuation of their studies. To meet this goal, the school provides a college counseling program beginning in the ninth grade. Aside from appropriate tests that are geared to identify student interests and strengths, students and parents are advised about curriculum plans that will affect future college and career options. Juniors and seniors meet with the college counselor/Principal to discuss and plan the various aspects of the college application and admission process, as well as learn about financial aid opportunities, scholarships, and grants. Parents and students attend informative and planning sessions organized by the counselor/Principal to facilitate the smooth transition from high school to college.
The Genesis Prep curriculum and course offerings adequately meet, and in many areas exceed, the admission requirements for many private colleges and universities. Genesis Preparatory School has had 100% of our graduating seniors accepted to their first choice universities or colleges.
In general, admission to a four-year program is based on:
- High school academic record (GPA)
- Scores of standardized tests (SAT, ACT)
- Personal qualifications and recommendations
- Thorough completion of application forms
FAQ ABOUT COLLEGE COUNSELING
Typically, an academic core course belongs to one of the five major academic disciplines: English, mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, and foreign language.
The vast majority of colleges and universities require scores from one or more of the following tests: the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I); the SAT II (formerly Achievement Tests), a set of subject tests designed to evaluate student abilities in specific disciplines; or the American College Test (ACT).
In order to meet all of these college deadlines, Genesis Prep students follow a structured schedule of standardized test taking. Sophomores take the PSAT. Juniors take the PSAT (for National Merit Scholarship competition), then the SAT I, SAT II (if needed), and the ACT. Seniors take the SAT I, SAT II, and ACT to improve scores, if necessary.
Standardized tests are rarely the deciding factor in an admissions decision, but the scores offer one of the few ways that colleges can evaluate students across the country. Standardized test scores form part of the total story of an applicant, and every school uses these test scores differently. Many schools will deny some students with very good scores and admit others with average or weaker test scores.
Work diligently through a challenging course load. Never miss an opportunity to build your vocabulary. Make sure you have mastered algebraic and geometric formulae and equations. Practice your writing regularly, making sure that you can clearly form and defend an argument.
And, above all, read, read, read. When you are done with reading, read some more.
Quality, not quantity, is key. Colleges look for talent, dedication, motivation, and accomplishment. A student who spends a great deal of time and energy on one activity is usually more appealing than a student who joins dozens of clubs just to build up an application. Colleges want interesting, devoted, dynamic people who know what they love and pursue it.
Extracurricular activities need not be confined to school. In fact, colleges are often quite impressed with students who take the initiative to do something not readily offered to them, such as meaningful community service, employment, or creative writing. Identify your talents and interests and pursue them thoughtfully.
A selective college is one that does not accept all applicants. To choose students, a selective college may use a mathematical formula consisting of grades, course selection, and standardized test scores or it may consider all of those factors plus more subjective portions of the application like essays, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities. The decision-making process is difficult for all institutions; many face the task of selecting their next class from piles and piles of very similar applications. In the end, the admission committees end up admitting students who will be good for their schools because they are the best “match” for the campus and the existing student body.
For this reason, Genesis Prep also has a difficult challenge of effectively counseling our students about their college choices. We want to help students understand their realistic choices to help them approach the process with eyes wide open. We divide colleges into three rough categories of selectivity: the reaches, the middles, and the likelies. The most selective institutions, or the reaches, include schools like Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Williams, and Northwestern, schools that admit as few as 15% of their applicants. During the second semester of junior year, we help students assemble college lists that include institutions on each of the lists, to encourage a diversity of application options. It’s important to realize that a school’s reputation for selectivity is not necessarily an indication that they are better than one where more applicants are accepted. Selectivity is too often a product of popularity rather than better quality.
The traditional times for visiting colleges are spring and summer of junior year and fall of senior year. At those times, armed with college lists and with a growing sense of who you are and what you want, you can conduct a focused, thoughtful visit of college campuses.
However, a number of students have found it valuable to visit college campuses on a more informal basis during their eighth, ninth, and tenth grade years. Those visits can sometimes happen on vacation or while visiting with an older sibling. Keep an open mind as you visit any campus. Take note of what you like and what you do not like about a campus. Use these informal visits as an opportunity to begin piecing together your picture of the ideal college.
The official college search process starts at the beginning of second semester in junior year. After that, you will have individual college counseling sessions. However, as with the college visits, take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about colleges and to test and explore your assumptions about your future. Don’t wait until junior year to start paying attention to your options and your goals.
If you find yourself with some free time, try looking at college web sites as a fun, user-friendly way to begin your college search.
Many colleges offer academic summer programs for high school students. These programs usually a glimpse into the college experience, with college level classes, dorm living, etc. They can be an excellent way of seeing what college life can be like, so we recommend these programs for their enrichment and insight into a student’s academic motivation. However, the advantage gained by a college summer program is not necessarily any better than a great summer service project, job, or interest-driven project.
Two additional words of caution about college summer programs:
1: Each program will have a different philosophy about monitoring its students, some strict and some lax. Make sure to ask about supervision on campus when you research college summer programs.
2: Acceptance to a college’s summer program does not in any way guarantee you admission to the college’s undergraduate program nor does it even give you an edge except in the more general way discussed above. You should participate in a summer program because you find it interesting, not because you hope it will put you on the fast track to admission to that school.
The cost of college should not discourage any student from applying. Most selective private college assure applicants that, if the student is admitted, the school will provide financial assistance that meets a family’s need. Granted, families and schools do not always agree on the definition of “need,” but parents are often surprised when they qualify for significant assistance.
The numbers add up differently for each applicant, and no one makes any promises than an expensive school will offer an affordable package. However, we can help students seek private and federal financial aid as well as merit scholarships.
For those of you interested in beginning your research about financial aid, we highly recommend two sources: Don’t Miss Out, an accessible guide to the financial aid process, and The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid, the website considered THE resource for all financial aid information.
A myth still exists that the key to future success is admission to a prestigious, perhaps Ivy League, school. After that, so goes the myth, life will be successful and flow naturally to fame, fortune, and happiness. Most myths are untrue, as this one is.
At Genesis, we believe that most students thrive best in academic environments where the demands are consistent with the students’ ability. We strongly believe that “fit,” finding the most appropriate match between a student’s goals and personality and an institution, is paramount. We want Genesis Prep graduates to do well in college, to be happy there, and to succeed when they complete their education. We think the best road to that goal is paved with careful selection and a good dose of reality.