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Guidance & College Counseling: Curriculum Overview

Our department offers a four-year guidance and college counseling curriculum. Here is an overview of what to expect each year:

Freshmen Sophomores | Juniors | Seniors

Freshman Year

One of the major goals of freshman year guidance is to help ensure that each student has a healthy, productive and enjoyable transition to high school. For the student, it is a time of searching inward to find who one is and searching outward to find one’s place as a member of a new community. Many students will be challenged for the first time academically and will need to develop the skills early on to ensure a successful high school career.  An introduction to standardized testing via the ACT EXPLORE test occurs early in the year.

In the second semester, the selection of courses for sophomore year is a key topic.  Other topics that have been discussed in freshman guidance have included character education, relationships, internet safety, bullying, stress management, depression, and substance abuse.

Sophomore Year

Sophomore year is a time of immersion in our Prep community and increased involvement by the students.  Standardized testing issues are addressed including preparation for the PSAT taken in October and and an explanation of the students’ scores.  In addition, other topics discussed have included stress management, and time management.

Junior Year

Much of the junior year guidance curriculum is focused on the college search process. Finding a college that is the right fit for each individual is emphasized and students are encouraged to explore schools based on their academic and extracurricular interests. Students are also strongly encouraged to attend college fairs and to begin visiting colleges. Counselors conduct a thorough review of standardized testing.  Significant time is spent on exploration of personal narrative, as an introduction to the college application essay.  To see the course syllabus, click here.

Senior Year

The first semester of the senior guidance program is dedicated to the "nuts and bolts" of the college application process. Counselors review important details about application procedures, deadlines, standardized testing and the financial aid process.  Periodically, guidance sections will meet in the computer lab for application work sessions.  Once the application process is completed, Seniors will read “The Gatekeepers” by Jacques Steinberg, in order to provide context to the application review by admission committees. 

During the second semester of senior year, classes help students consider some of the issues involved in transitioning from high school to college. Topics may include binge drinking, time and money management, and the challenges of independence.  Additionally, counselors provide helpful information to guide students through their final decision making process.