Spence offers a personalized and comprehensive college counseling program that focuses on helping each student find a group of colleges that fit her interests and special talents.

College Counseling Philosophy

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  • Freshman and Sophomore Years

    We believe that it is essential to give each student plenty of time during her freshman and sophomore years 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.
  • Junior Year

    Our formal college counseling program begins with Junior College Night in January of the junior year. At this time, each junior meets individually with each college counselor several times in addition to one or two meetings together with her parent(s) and both counselors in preparation for visiting colleges over March break. Juniors make regular appointments as well as drop in to talk with a college counselor at any time, especially when they return from visiting colleges in the spring.

    January also marks the beginning of the weekly Junior College Seminar, in which each junior starts to identify her own interests and talents as well as begin her search for colleges that are a good fit. Topics covered in Junior Seminar include: self-assessment, types of colleges and curricula, majors and schools of study, interviews and campus tours, financial aid and scholarships, and writing a resume.
  • Senior Year

    While the goal of the junior year college counseling program is to gather information and expand a student’s awareness of her college options, the goal of the senior year program is to narrow her choices to a list of approximately eight colleges and to write effective applications.

    The weekly Senior Seminar walks seniors through every aspect of the college application process. Topics include: writing essays, filling out applications, interviewing, scholarships and financial aid, and meeting with college representatives visiting Spence’s campus. The college counselors work closely with every senior on the essay, often reading many drafts. Each senior continues to have unlimited individual meetings with either college counselor all year long, as well as at least one meeting together with her parent(s) early in the fall. In the winter and spring, Senior Seminar focuses on making the transition to college. Discussions include: health issues, changing relationships with friends and family, managing money and philanthropy.

College Counseling Timeline

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  • 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

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