King’s Academy, June 7, 2016 — The college application process is no longer a daunting experience for rising seniors at King’s Academy thanks to the new University Counseling Office (UCO) Summer Institute launched at the school this summer.
Divided into two separate sessions in June and August, the intensive college prep program provides juniors with what Headmaster John Austin calls a “structured jump start” on the university admissions process in order to allow the seniors to fully engage in school life during their final year at King’s.
“Over the last decades the college process has become more competitive, more consuming and more stressful for students,” Austin said. “The result is that just as our students should be feeling a sense of future possibility and empowerment, and focusing on the work of the senior year, their energies are directed elsewhere.”
Fifty-one students applied for Session I of the institute, which took place from May 30 to June 3, and worked closely with the school’s UCO staff on a comprehensive range of topics including how to search for the right college (and ultimately create a preliminary list), how to write a compelling essay (pertaining to institutions in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom) and how to use the software program Naviance.
Students also reviewed admissions timelines, learned to write resumes, and worked on case studies, surveys and supplements, among other exercises, before each day wrapped with an SAT Prep session.
According to Director of University Counseling and Testing Hala Salah, a program like this would typically costs thousands of dollars, but King’s provides it for free, along with housing on campus (in June) for anyone who requires it.
“By the time these kids start their senior year, about 70 percent of the [college prep] work is done,” Salah said. “While this summer institute is completely optional, the main idea behind it is to relieve rising seniors of the pressures of senior year. It’s no wonder we’ve gotten so many sign-ups!”
Around 45 students have signed on for Session II this August so far, and the UCO has plans to add more staff members to the program to accommodate a larger cohort of students in the future.
The summer institute emerged as a “spinoff” to the UCO co-curricular at King’s, which Salah explained was insufficient due to the lack of time — about six hours total — the spring activity allowed for. And as a testament to the hard work of the UCO, this year’s college and university matriculations list for the Class of 2016 includes some of the world’s top institutions, including Stanford University, Georgetown University, King’s College London, Duke University, University of St. Andrew’s, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Columbia University, among others.