Spence offers a comprehensive individualized college counseling program that begins with test planning sophomore year, moves on to the college search in junior year and culminates in college applications senior year. We offer numerous individual and family meetings, a weekly College Seminar that begins in January of the junior year and numerous evening programs. With a combined 29 years of experience in high school college counseling and college admissions between them, our two directors of college counseling offer thorough advice tailored to each student’s particular needs and interests. Families are welcome to reach out with questions to our counselors.

College Counseling Philosophy

List of 4 items.

  • Freshman Year

    We believe that it is essential to give each student plenty of time during her freshman year to develop her interests, take intellectual risks and change her mind. Every course offered by Spence is appropriate for students planning to attend a rigorous and highly selective college. Indeed, we require all students to take a well-rounded curriculum that pursues subjects in depth.

    Although the formal college counseling process begins in junior year, students are welcome to drop in to speak with a college counselor if they have a question. Parents are equally welcome to call at any time with questions.
  • Sophomore Year

    The goal of the college counseling program sophomore year is to introduce the SAT and ACT so that each student can choose by the end of the year which test will be best suited to her. She will also learn about subject tests and AP exams, and identify which ones will be best for her to take and when. 
     
    Grade 10 College Counseling Events
     
    Interschool Financial Aid for College (fall). Annual evening presentation for parents/guardians in Grades 10-12. (Rotating host school.)
     
    College Testing Presentation (winter). In-school presentation for Grade 10 students followed by evening presentation for Grade 10 Parents/Guardians.
     
    Full Diagnostic ACT and SAT Tests (two Saturdays in April). In the case of schedule conflicts, a make-up test is available through the spring or summer at the headquarters of our test prep partner company, Academic Approach.
     
    Individual Student Meeting (May). Each sophomore meets with a college counselor to receive the results of her diagnostic SAT and ACT and to discuss which one is recommended for her by Academic Approach and why.
  • Junior Year

    The goal of the college counseling process junior year is for each student to identify her interests and strengths, develop a college list, plan college visits and draft a common application.  
     
    The formal college search process begins in January of the junior year with two individual student meetings with a college counselor followed by a parent/guardian plus student meeting with both counselors. Weekly Junior College Seminar classes also begin in January, in which students learn to identify their own strengths and what they are looking for in a college, while also learning what colleges seek in successful candidates for admission. Students research colleges, different kinds of curricula, application requirements and scholarships. They begin work on a common application in class and finish drafting it over the summer.
     
    Grade 11 College Counseling Events
    Interschool Financial Aid for College (fall). Annual evening presentation for parents/guardians in Grades 10-12. (Rotating host school.)
     
    SAT and ACT Prep Courses (October - February). These are 24-hour courses plus seven full diagnostic tests in preparation for the Feb ACT or March SAT. These small group tutoring classes (of typically two to four students) are taught by our partner test prep company, Academic Approach for an affordable tuition, to which Spence financial aid applies.
     
    Junior College Night (January). This evening presentation for juniors and their parents/guardians features a college admissions dean plus a panel of recent Spence alumnae.
     
    College Admissions Case Studies Program (April). This all-morning event brings eight senior college admissions officers to Spence. They lead groups of students or parents/guardians in evaluating the same three sample college applications. Afterwards, everyone gathers in the theater to debrief each group’s admission decisions and hear a panel discussion with all of the admission officers.
     
    DCST College Fair for students (April). Over 100 colleges and universities attend this college fair for students from Dalton, Collegiate, Spence and Trinity. Hosted by Dalton School.
     
    Interschool College Night for parents/guardians (April). Three college admission deans discuss “the current college admissions climate” and the ways it has changed over the past generation. Hosted by Trinity School for Interschool members.
  • Senior Year

    The goal of the college counseling program is to prepare seniors to submit an early application by the end of October and to have a well-balanced list of colleges ready to submit for the regular decision deadline.
     
    Every senior has a parent/guardian meeting in August through October to finalize her early application plan and her list of colleges for regular decision. The college counselors give extensive feedback on drafts of all college essays and meet individually with each senior as needed. Weekly Senior College Seminar is in workshop format and walks students through the process of completing and submitting their applications. Students who are applying for financial aid participate in a personalized workshop to learn about application steps. In the spring, the senior seminar focuses on the transition to college and is led by members of the health department.
     
    Grade 12 College Counseling Events
    Interschool Financial Aid for College (fall). Annual evening presentation for parents/guardians in Grades 10-12. (Rotating host school.)
     
    College Admissions Rep Visits (September and October). Seniors have the opportunity to meet with the over 80 college admissions officers who visit our campus.
     
    Senior College Visit Days (early October). Spence designates two days when there are no classes for seniors. Students can visit colleges or work on applications without having to miss school.

College Counseling Timeline

List of 3 items.

  • Sophomore Year

    May
    Diagnostic SAT I or ACT administered to all sophomores. Receive free login to online SAT, ACT and vocab drills.

    June 
    Some sophomores take SAT Subject Tests in Chemistry, Latin, French or Math 1.
  • Junior Year

    October
    PSAT administered to all juniors at Spence.

    December
    Optional SAT I and ACT prep courses begin at Spence.

    November, December, January
    Some juniors take SAT Subject Tests.

    January
    Junior College Night kicks off the college process.
    Individual student/parent conferences begin.
    Weekly Junior College Seminar begins.

    March/April
    College visits during spring vacation.
    Interschool College Night, a panel of three college deans.
    DCST College Fair (Dalton, Collegiate, Spence, Trinity)
    Many juniors take the SAT I or ACT.

    May
    Many juniors take the SAT I or ACT (or occasionally an SAT Subject Test).
    AP Exams

    June
    Most juniors take one or two SAT Subject Tests, or occasionally an SAT I or ACT.

    Summer
    Finish College Visits and On-Campus Interviews.
    Online Common Application is available starting July 1.
    Do something personally meaningful—work, volunteering, travel or enrichment classes.
  • Senior Year

    October
    Meet with the more than 50 college admissions representatives who visit Spence.
    Financial Aid Workshop
    Opportunity to retake an SAT I, SAT Subject Tests or ACT.
    Last chance to take SAT or ACT for an Early Decision application.

    November
    Early Decision applications due November 1 (or sometimes 15).
    Opportunity to retake an SAT I, SAT Subject Tests or ACT.
    College tours and on-campus interviews end by Thanksgiving.

    December
    Early Decision admissions decisions arrive by December 15.
    Opportunity to retake an SAT I, SAT Subject Tests or ACT.

    January
    Regular admission applications due.

    February
    Financial Aid applications due (FAFSA, CSS profile).

    April
    Regular admission decisions arrive.

    May
    Financial deposit is due May 1 to the college you will attend.

    June
    Wait-list decisions are made.

College Counseling Resources

For more information on Spence College Counseling, including: Which College Test When, SAT Subject Test Preparation Advice, The College Manual, Gap Year Opportunities and Letters from the College Counselors, please visit the College Counseling section of the Resource Board.

College Counseling Office

List of 3 members.