“Because students are individual and unique, the college or university choice for them should meet the needs of their gifts, program interests, and personalities. ” – Celia Tucker, Academic Counselor
Brook Hill has a plan in place and is committed to providing students the tools they need to succeed in high school and graduate ready for the next level. Because students are individual and unique, the college or university choice for them should meet the needs of their gifts, program interests, and personalities.
When talking to parents and students about choosing a college, one of the first things we stress is how important it is to take the time to make college visits. We also take students in grades 6-11 on actual college tours. In this day and age virtual tours of college campuses are realistic and informative, but having your feet on the ground, eating cafeteria food, mingling with actual college students, and talking in person to college professionals is the absolute best way to get the true feel of a campus and whether or a college would be a good fit. By senior year Brook Hill students will have visited fourteen colleges and universities, public and private, large and small. Being exposed to a variety of schools helps students to have an idea as to the setting they might prefer when they are researching additional schools. In addition, the trips provide early insight into the world of the college application process as well as providing priceless memories for both students and adults.
In the spring of each year we sit down with juniors individually and discuss graduation, transcripts, course requests, standardized test scores, planning for teacher and counselor recommendations, resumes; exploring college websites, previewing applications, the importance of visiting with college representatives and getting specific questions answered, Naviance, and NCAA if they are planning to play sports in college. Knowing what will be expected in the college application process and planning ahead for it can help make the senior year even more delightful. It is so important that students pray, take ownership, present the best college application possible, and then listen intently for God’s guidance.
In these conversations I have shared that my mother (bless her little 4’10”soul) was a collector of memories. When going through her house after she died I found my course selection sheet for my senior year and a post card from Louisiana Tech University. Let’s just say that both documents were from “several” years ago but when reading them they were both very similar to what we see today. If it were not for “typing class” as a course choice, the selections would almost be exactly the same. My Louisiana Tech post card said, “We are so happy that you are interested in attending Louisiana Tech. To complete the process send us a completed application, ACT scores, a high school transcript, and the application fee.” I just loved it. What do colleges require from students today? Nearly the exact same things! Yes, students today usually apply to more than one college, but the process for applying is so similar. With this in mind, I can reassure the upcoming seniors that, Yes, things change, but yet they remain the same. They will be fine in the process of selecting a college or university and we will help them.
Senior Seminar/Senior Transitions
To assist students as they transition from high school to college, Brook Hill requires seniors to enroll in Senior Seminar/Senior Transitions. Reality hits when students realize that their college applications are due and their questions are heartfelt:
“Oh, no, I have to write an essay for my college application?”
“I have to remember activities from 9th -12th grade and write them down in detail?”
“My GPA really does matter and I have to tell the colleges what it is?”
“The word ‘optional’ really means ‘do it’?”
“College textbooks cost what?! I have to buy how many?!”
“Deadline really means deadline? I can’t turn anything in late?”
“You mean how I acted in class does matter when asking for letters of recommendation?”
The answer is yes, yes, yes, yes.
In Senior Seminar we take an in-depth look at the “College Application To-Do List,” paying very close attention to the fact that the “To-Do List” is a series of tasks that, when completed, can be checked off of the list with the mighty stroke of a pen or pencil providing an ever so brief moment of celebration before moving on to the next item on the list.
In Senior Transitions we identify common struggles for college freshmen and provide resources that prepare seniors to overcome those obstacles. Topics include spiritual disciplines, nutrition, exercise, personal finance, and college social life.
College Emphasis Week
College emphasis week is the culmination of the Brook Hill College Guidance Program and centers around local college fairs in November. During the week, students have the opportunity to interact with college representatives while parents are invited to “College and Coffee” educational seminars.
The End of the Matter
In sum, in Brook Hill’s College Guidance Curriculum, we start early, we provide rigorous academic coursework, we provide annual standardized tests, we provide on-site visits to college campuses, we provide individual and group parent and student planning sessions, we encourage relationship building with peers and adults, we stress the importance of taking ownership of grades and the college application process, and we promote and encourage a stellar work ethic.
After the years seem to fly by and the tears are welling up in our eyes as we watch our students walk across the stage, we hope and pray that when asked How would you describe your experience at Brook Hill?, What was the response from the perfect place for you to go to college?, and most importantly, What did you learn about the Kingdom of God?, that their answer is:
“I am accepted.”