College Counseling Program A Four-Year Journey (By Shannon Hudson, Director of College Counseling)

Shannon Hudson
What does a top-notch College Counseling program look like?
Let's look at that question from a results perspective here at St. Michael's:
  • Over 94% of students finalized at least one college application by the end of October 2016.
  • 100% and 99% (one gap year) of our students matriculated in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
  • Students received $8.6 million in merit aid from colleges last year.
  • More than 35 students will participate in an internship during Winter Term 2017.
  • 100+ college representatives visit our campus each year.
  • 150+ colleges and universities attend the "Hills of Austin" College Fair here on campus each year.
The college preparation process is a four-year journey at St. Michael’s involving advisors, faculty, counselors, coaches, and families.
Students embark on adventures of self-discovery, allowing them to follow their passions and find their strengths. By offering these opportunities, we support and guide students toward selecting colleges that are an appropriate "fit," creating self-directed, happy, and self-sufficient students along the way. 

Staying in close communication with colleges is a priority.
Our counselors speak with college admission representatives throughout the fall to educate them about the St. Michael's academic profile, learn more about special programs that might appeal to our students and make sure we connect students to the representatives.  Mr. Spencer, Ms. Peck and I will each be visiting a college in November, so look to hear more about what we learn about Catholic University of America, Butler University and Furman in the near future! 
Keeping students motivated and on track is vital.
Freshmen:  We discuss the importance of GPA beginning in 9th grade, as well as how to best prepare for finals. All freshmen participate in a college campus visit program in the spring as part of the school day.
Sophomores: The PSAT is a focus and classes are offered in support of students. Students begin to build resumes, and we explore the wealth of information available on Naviance.
Juniors: The school year starts with Mock SAT/ACT tests, followed by individual counseling with students and families. St. Michael's arranges for a test preparation company specializing in the SAT and ACT exams to teach on-campus courses during the winter months. "You Science," an aptitude and interest inventory, is explored in the spring.
Seniors: College "Boot Camp" and essay writing sessions start in the summer, officially launching the final stages of the college application process. College advisors continue to work with seniors in groups and individually in the fall semester.
Giving real world examples of possible career choices offers students valuable insight.
Our monthly Career Series is a way for students to explore diverse fields right here on campus in a close, personal setting.  Students heard from a psychologist this week and will learn about a career in marketing next month. All grade levels are encouraged to attend. 
As always, we encourage you to email your college counselor with any questions!