College Guidance

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Leigh D. Barnett
Director of College Guidance
251-461-2143
Email
Jeannie Nix
College Counselor
251-461-2144
Email

Mission and Philosophy

The mission and philosophy of the College Guidance Office at St. Paul’s is to help students explore their strengths and passions and to help them find the college or university that is the best academic, extracurricular, social, and financial fit for them.   We seek to make this process as positive as possible for both students and parents by starting – and finishing – early so that the senior year is an enjoyable and low-stress time.   Our experienced and committed college counselors are available and eager to support students and parents throughout the college search and selection experience.  Since the college admissions world is complex and ever-changing, annual travel to college campuses and membership in professional organizations ensure that the College Guidance Team maintains both strong knowledge of, and excellent working relationships with, the colleges most sought after by our students. 

To serve parents of all grades, the College Guidance Team holds a variety of informational meetings throughout the year.  During these events, the college counselors provide timely information, answer questions, and offer suggestions on how families should proceed based on their individual stage of the college process:

  • In the spring of the 8th and 9th grade years, the College Guidance Team, in conjunction with the school counselors and Deans, speak to students and parents about how to plan an overall Upper School strategy, select appropriate Upper School courses, build a strong student profile, avoid common missteps, prepare for standardized tests, and participate in valuable high school activities.
  • Students in grades 10-12 also have the opportunity to meet with 50+ college representatives who visit the St. Paul’s campus and to present candid advice on the admissions process and to provide information on their particular college or university.
  • Each fall, St. Paul’s hosts a College Fair, which includes representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities.

While college preparation is emphasized throughout the Upper School years, the college counseling program moves into high gear during a student’s junior year.  This process begins with an informational meeting for all juniors and their parents.  Throughout the junior and senior years, students and parents meet with the counselors individually to generate target schools and develop action plans for college applications.  While the college research process is guided by the college counselors, it is primarily driven by the student’s growing awareness of his/her own interests and strengths and is conducted with the goal of finding colleges that are a good match for the student as an individual.  Through student interviews and individual meetings with parents, the counselors learn about each student’s hopes, dreams, and goals and help create a personalized and tailored game plan.  The logistics of the process are managed through Naviance, a web-based college counseling information system, which also provides students and parents with additional resources for college information. Specific instructions for how to apply for scholarships, financial aid, and the NCAA Clearinghouse are also accessible through the Naviance program.

By the time the college application season arrives in the fall of the senior year, St. Paul’s students are educated about the process and are ready to prepare their applications.  They can be confident that they are presenting themselves as personally and positively as possible to the colleges they seek to attend.  The College Counseling Team works closely with each student during this last stage of their college journey, helping to guide them through the sometimes complex process and serving as their advocate and cheerleader.  Finally, when the college acceptances arrive, we help students decide upon their best fit and then celebrate with them as they begin the next exciting chapter in their young lives!

What should you be doing to prepare?

 

Grades 5-8: In the middle school, we will continue the students’ path in fostering a strong foundation in our curriculum. Middle school is an exciting and curious time in the lives of our students as they are one-step closer to becoming a high school student. In middle school, we will concentrate on creating positive study habits, developing critical thinking skills, and ultimately teaching our students to be accountable for their own academic success. Middle school students are in the early stages of preparing themselves for high school and ultimately college. Students will also continue to enhance their writing skills to prepare themselves for the higher-level classes that upper school offers. We strive to make the transition into high school (where their transcript for college acceptance begins) as smooth as possible. As our students continue to take achievement tests, some may start to receive invitations to college readiness programs. We highly recommend reaching out to our college guidance office and let them assist you along the way. In the spring semester of 8th grade, all of our students will begin course selection for upper school at which time our college guidance office will help guide them in the right direction. We look forward to becoming a part of your St. Paul’s Saint’s college preparatory experience.

Grades PreK-4: We encourage our families to foster the excitement of exploration and the enjoyment of learning. Children at the lower and intermediate school levels will develop a strong foundation in our curriculum. We provide experiences for the academic and social skills necessary to develop confident lifelong learners. We are the first step to a vibrant college prep experience.

Resources


Naviance: Naviance Family Connection is an internet-based college advising website aimed at helping your child explore colleges and potential career options. Students log into their personal Naviance accounts during their freshman year and are expected to be active through graduation.

Other Resources

College Visits

College Representatives come to St. Paul’s campus to visit with prospective juniors and seniors and their parents in a small group setting. The visits are scheduled during the fall, primarily during lunch periods but some are scheduled throughout the school day. The meetings last approximately 30-45 minutes. A student must have approval from his or her teacher in order to attend and is responsible for making up any work missed.

Students - How to Attend a Visit

All Scheduled visits are available on Naviance.

Before the visit day:
Sign up to attend the visit through your Naviance portal
If the visit is during lunch, you do not need a pass.

If the visit is during a class time:
• Pick up a Pass in the College Counseling Office.
• Ask your teacher for permission to leave the class (You must ask at least one day before the meeting).

On the visit day:
• Have your teacher sign the pass to permit you out of class.
• Introduce yourself to the representative.
• We will sign the pass for you to return to class.

College Reps - How to Set Up a Visit

St. Paul’s welcomes college visitors and appreciates your willingness to share information about the schools you represent and the application process. Please contact Susan Bailey to arrange your visit during any school day. sbailey@stpaulsmobile.net or 251-461-2144.

  • We prefer to schedule visits at 11:45 during lunch. Our students will be instructed to bring their lunch to a private conference room to meet with you. (It is not held in the Cafeteria)
  • If 11:45 does not fit with your schedule, we will be glad to arrange a better time, between 8:00 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
  • When you arrive on campus, please check in at the front desk, immediately to your left as you walk in the double glass doors. They will give you a Visitor’s Pass and direct you to the Conference Room or the Counseling Office.
  • We will advertise your visit to our students and parents. However, if none are available to meet with you, the counselor will meet with you to share information.
  • In addition to your school visit, you may be interested I attending the Bay Area College Night, hosted by six area College Preparatory Schools each October. For more information, contact Mary Ann Willis at bayareafair@baysideacademy or 261-338-64274

Class of 2019 College Reports

Congratulations to our Class of 2019 who earned 7.9 MILLIONS dollars in Merit Scholarships and were accepted to 83 different colleges across the nation!

 

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