In Cate's highly successful college counseling program, two full-time college counselors work individually with students starting in their junior year to find the college that best matches their interests and strengths. The counseling process is individualized, deliberate and comprehensive, and includes information on both American and international colleges, as well as on gap year programs.
Students and parents begin the college process in December of their junior year by filling out questionnaires that help the counselors learn more about each student's ambitions, strengths, weaknesses, and possible areas of academic interest. Juniors then meet individually with the counselors twice in the spring. In June, just after the completion of the student's junior year, college counselors send a personal letter to each family outlining what students are looking for in their college—big/small, urban/rural, East Coast/West Coast—and suggesting which schools to visit or research more fully. Parents stay in regular contact with the college counselors and often meet with them during Parents' Weekends, as well as at any other convenient time. Monthly email newsletters keep students and parents updated on important tips and deadlines throughout the process.
Over the course of the year, 60-70 college admission representatives visit Cate to describe their colleges and meet prospective students. The college counseling office also has an extensive library of college catalogs and access to a database of nearly 3,000 colleges. Students can complete all of the necessary PSAT, AP, SAT I and SAT II exams on campus.
In addition, Cate juniors take part in the annual Case Studies Program, where admission directors from colleges all over the country give students an insider's view of how college admission decisions are made. Students become part of a mock admission team, and review hypothetical applications and decide which candidates to accept. Students see how their own applications will be judged and have the chance to meet admission officers from a variety of colleges.
Counselors meet individually with students, guiding them in the process from their initial exploration to the final application. There are required appointments for all students, but many students also take the initiative to meet with the counselors frequently as their interests become more focused. Every student's needs are different, and we adjust our approach accordingly based on the desires and goals of each individual and their family.
Preparing the application is the student's responsibility, but there are many ways for them to receive support for the process. Seniors spend three weeks in their English classes working on their autobiographical essays and can seek help from their college counselors and other faculty.
The faculty is also intimately involved in each student's college application process through the writing of the school's letter of recommendation. A committee of faculty works collaboratively with a student's advisor to prepare a letter for each student that gives the fullest picture of who he or she is. By having four or five faculty members review each letter, the office ensures that the recommendations convey a thorough, well-balanced and personalized sense of the strengths of each student.
For currently enrolled students and their parents, timelines and further details may be found in our online College Handbook.
University of Southern California 17
New York University 14
Stanford University 11
University of Chicago 10
Colorado College 9
University of Colorado 8
Brown University 7
Columbia University 7
Cornell University 7
Davidson College 7
University of California - Berkeley 7
Barnard College 6
Colby College 6
Sarah Lawrence College 6
University of Pennsylvania 6
Middlebury College 5
University of St. Andrews 5