The college process is one that begins as soon as a student enters the Cape Henry community. As a college preparatory school, everything we do is curriculum. Both inside and outside the classroom, students are being educated and prepared for the next steps that they will take in their educations. Although the college process becomes more individualized and focused during the junior year, each year of high school is important. The Office of College Counseling works with students and families at each stage of the process, and we invite you to contact us at any time.
Through general discussions and small groups, we encourage freshmen to take advantage of the new opportunities that high school affords and to begin to develop their interests and talents. Although college can seem a long ways away, students begin to prepare by taking the PSAT 8/9, developing an understanding of the importance of their academic transcript, and setting personal goals for their high school careers.
The sophomore year, like the freshman year, is a time for students to hone their interests and continue to be involved both in and out of the classroom. All sophomores take the PSAT in the fall, and we invite all sophomores and their parents to “College 101,” an evening program in April, where we provide a general overview of the college process. Further, the sophomore class visits two local universities to encourage exploration and discussion about how to research colleges. A comprehensive course planning program in the spring verifies that students are on the optimal track to meet their academic goals.
The individualized college process begins in the junior year. This exploration stage is an important one, as it forms the foundation for the application period that follows in the senior year. We strive to educate our junior students and families so that they are equipped with the information that they need to make the decisions that are best for them. In September, juniors and parents attend College 201, a mock admissions program, followed directly by a day of college workshops and activities with the juniors as a class. Each family and student receives his or her Naviance Family Connection access code at these programs. Juniors take the PSAT in October, and beginning in December and continuing through the spring, the college counselors meet with the junior class to work through a comprehensive curriculum that provides important information about the college admissions process. Finally, in addition to our January evening program and many meetings throughout the spring with each student, the college counselors meet with every student and his or her parent(s) for a personalized conference to create a college list that fits each individual student.
The start of the senior year brings the action phase of the college process. This is an exciting time, as the exploration stage begins to manifest itself in objective applications, and we support each and every student throughout this sometimes uncertain process. Even before school begins, students complete a summer college application workshop. Our September College 401 evening program for seniors and parents provides a forum for reflection and conversation about the emotions and feelings that can arise throughout the college process and the transition of leaving home. Throughout the fall the college counselors continue to meet with the class frequently to make sure that students are well informed. Individual student meetings are held often, and each student’s college list is carefully reviewed for balance and fit. The Office of College Counseling writes a detailed, personal letter of recommendation for each student, as well as processes all paperwork. As decisions are made, students are encouraged to consider the academic, social, and financial fit of their final college choices.