College Counseling


Recommendations for preparation steps throughout Upper School.

List of 4 items.

  • 9th Grade

    1. Create a four-year high school plan.
    2. Explore extracurricular opportunities at Williams and/or in your community.
    3. Meet with your advisor to discuss course selection. Challenge yourself with advanced level study where available and appropriate.
    4. Keep up your grades. Take advantage of ninth period and our incredibly accessible and helpful faculty.
    5. Make the most of summer vacation.
  • 10th Grade

    1. Continue to meet with your advisor about course selection. Update him/her about your goals. Challenge yourself with advanced level study where available and appropriate.
    2. Keep up your grades. Take advantage of our ninth period and our faculty.
    3. Stay dedicated to your extracurricular activities. You should be involved in a couple of things for which you have a real passion.
    4. Students take the PSATs in October for exam exposure and practice and will receive their scores in December. Students will be able to see the questions they answered both correctly and incorrectly. Students can improve their future performance by reviewing their personalized score report and original test booklet.
    5. Once students have their PSAT scores they have free access to My College through College Board. Check it out!
    6. Students may choose to take appropriate SAT Subject Tests at the end of Sophomore Year.
    7. Consider spending your summer pursuing something of great interest to you, whether a job, an internship, a college class or a travel opportunity.
    8. Students can begin visiting colleges. We recommend students begin with their state's public flagship institution (typically UConn or URI), a small private college (Connecticut College is right here!), a large private research university, and schools in different environments (urban, suburban, rural) to get a sense for a variety of different campuses. 
    9. Explore college fairs in the area. NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) and NEACAC (New England Association for College Admission Counseling) both sponsor college fairs throughout the state at different times of year. Performing Arts Fairs and Gap Year Organization Fairs are also within a one hour drive. Some large area public schools (East Lyme and Fitch) also host college fairs to which our students are invited.
    10. Register online with the NCAA Student Eligibility Center if you are considering participating in college athletics.
  • 11th Grade

    Fall of 11th Grade

    1. Juniors will take the PSAT in October, with scores available in December. Eleventh grade PSAT scores can count toward National Merit and National Achievement Scholarship Competitions. Students should review their answers with their personalized score report and original test booklet provided in December to prepare for the SAT.
    2. Students should attend Junior Seminar, during which an introduction to Naviance and college admissions standardized testing will be discussed. 
    3. Attend college fairs and meet with various college representatives who will be visiting The Williams School.
    4. Continue to meet with your advisor to discuss course selection.  Update him/her about your goals. Challenge yourself with advanced level study where available and appropriate.
    5. Keep your grades up. Take advantage of ninth period and our accessible faculty!
    6. Stay dedicated to your extra curricular activities and seek out leadership opportunities within them. 
    7. If you are enrolled in Precalculus or a higher math, consider taking a December or January SAT or ACT. 

     Spring of 11th Grade

    1. Attend Junior College Day. Hear from college representatives and the college counseling staff. Learn who your college counselor is!
    2. Take our free SAT Prep Course in January and February, offered one ninth period each week for eight weeks.
    3. Schedule a conference with your college counselor to review your transcript prior to Spring Break. At this meeting, discuss and decide who should write your teacher recommendations. Ask your teachers if they are willing to write for you prior to Spring Break.
    4. Begin self-assessment. Determine tentative college criteria. Discuss the process and your impressions with parents.
    5. Conference with your college counselor regularly to discuss future plans. Parents are always welcome at these meetings!
    6. Register for March SAT, June SAT Subject Tests, and/or April/June ACT.
    7. Attend college fairs and meet with various college representatives who will be visiting The Williams School.
    8. Make a tentative list of college choices, (+/-20). This list should include "likely", "target" and, if desired, "reach" schools.
    9. Research colleges online and using books recommended by the College Counseling Department.
    10. Continue to attend Junior Seminar. Topics will include making the most of your campus visits and how to prepare for an interview.
    11. Consider spending your summer pursuing something of great interest to you, whether a job, an internship, a college class or a travel opportunity.
    12. Make appointments to visit colleges over Spring Break; schedule interviews for summer visit dates. Talk to your college counselor about interview preparation prior to your first interview.
    13. Keep a few graded English or History papers of which you are particularly proud. If you apply to any colleges as “test-optional”, they may require something like this as part of your application.
    14. Parents and students should turn in the Parent Questionnaire and Brag Sheet they received at Junior College Day prior to summer vacation, ideally by May 

    Summer after 11th grade

    1. Continue to research schools. You may borrow any of the literature available in our offices. Talk to friends, parents, and alumni of colleges that interest you. Learn as much as you can about college life. Talk to students returning from college about what life is like on campus. You will find a vast amount of information online, some good, some bad. Ask your college counselor where to find the best information and what sites to avoid.
    2. Visit college campuses.
    3. If available, set up college interviews for the fall. Remember to speak with your college counselor about how to prepare for an interview.
    4. Begin narrowing your list of colleges, (+/- 15). Make sure the list includes "likely", "target", and, if desired, "reach" schools.
    5. Use your time to better prepare for the SAT and/or ACT.
    6. Explore Naviance and websites like FastWeb to learn about different scholarship opportunities and those application processes and deadlines.
    7. Attend an essay writing workshop at Williams with a member of our English faculty. Take the time the summer affords and the tips provided at the workshop to get started on your essay.
  • 12th Grade


    1. Seniors, you turned in your Brag Sheet, right? Of course you did! Time to make copies in case your teacher recommenders want to reference them. 
    2. Attend college fairs and visit with representatives when they are at Williams. Ask meaningful questions and make a positive impression!
    3. Sign up for final SAT and/or ACT examinations.
    4. Schedule any final college visits, but do keep in mind your class attendance and course load. Senior grades are critical.
    5. Keep your grades up! Your performance in your senior year can be make or break!
    6. Manage your time wisely. Applying to college is incredibly time consuming. Don't procrastinate.
    7. Make a chart of deadline dates for applications; include financial aid and scholarship deadlines.
    8. Check admission requirements at chosen colleges to determine which standardized tests, if any, are required.
    9. If you are interested in applying Early Decision or Early Action, get started on the application(s). Check the deadline. It is usually in early November or December, but some are due in October.
    10. Determine final list of colleges with your college counselor.
    11. Continue to refine your essay and supplements.
    12. Connect with teachers who have agreed to write recommendations on your behalf; let them know of any updates. 


    1. Submit any Early Action or Early Decision applications.
    2. Finalize your college essays and supplements.
    3. Ensure you understand the financial aid requirements for each of your schools. Do they require only the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Assistance) or do they also require the CSS Profile and/or an institutional financial aid form? All forms are available online. Be ready to submit copies of your tax forms as well.
    4. The college application process is almost entirely online now, but some schools still stick to a paper process. Make sure you know if any of your schools meet this criteria. If so, distribute college-provided recommendation forms, along with self-addressed, stamped envelopes to your teacher recommenders and college counselor.
    5. Your goal should be to complete all of your regular decision applications by Thanksgiving Break. Your winter break and preparation for Learning and Assessment Blocks will thank you!


    1. If you didn't listen to us about completing your applications by Thanksgiving, complete them BEFORE you return from winter break.
    2. Study for your midyear assessments. Remember that mid-year grades are sent to all of your college choices.
    3. Students who have applied Early Action or Early Decision need to update their college counselor when they receive admission decisions and/or scholarship notifications.


    1. Welcome back! We are happy to see you but your senioritis is not allowed. Keep your grades and work ethic up. Colleges will revoke offers of admission if your academic performance significantly dips.
    2. Watch for scholarship announcements and applications.
    3. Finish remaining applications if you didn't listen to any of our earlier advice. 
    4. The FAFSA is now available for you to complete. Submit all remaining financial aid paperwork, typically due in February or March.


    1. Report all communications you have with colleges to the college counselors. Colleges will notify you by mail or email of their decisions.
    2. Attend local college receptions for applicants and/or accepted students, if invited. Alumni contacts or interviews usually take place at a local hotel, homes of alumni or sometimes at The Williams School.
    3. Discuss choices and alternatives with your family and the college counselors.
    4. Attend open house events.
    5. Decide on college plans; reply to the college of your choice by May 1 with the required tuition deposit. 
    6. Inform the colleges you will not attend of your decision as well. Your decision may open up a spot for a student who has been wait listed
    7. If you have been offered a spot on a wait list, accept or decline that spot. If you accept a spot, you must still commit to another college by the May 1 deadline with an enrollment deposit. Do not let May 1 go by without securing a spot at the college you will attend if you are not offered a spot off of another school's wait list.


    1. Again, May 1 is the Universal Candidate's Reply Date. Your enrollment deposit must be received by your school of choice by this date.
    2. Participate in the Advanced Placement Examinations, if applicable, and Senior Projects.


    Graduation! You made it! Your hard work and organization have paid off. Make sure your final transcript is sent to the college you will attend.

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