“I knew that I wanted a mid-sized university or college with a faith-based environment, strong school spirit, and many service and extracurricular activities.”~Kathleen Shea, National Merit Finalist, Class of 2016.
Accepted to University of Notre Dame, Boston College, College of William and Mary, Villanova University, and Saint Mary’s College.
College Counseling at St. Michael's
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.
Each year, we host the Hills of Austin College Fair, attended by approximately 150 institutions of higher learning, and Jesuit colleges on the Jesuit Excellence Tour. Representatives of more than 100 colleges typically visit our campus to hold informational sessions for students during the school day.
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. Throughout this four-year journey, our three college counselors meet individually with students of all grade levels.
As freshmen, students are busy acclimating to high school through study skill development, extracurricular exploration, and social interaction. We offer targeted programming to freshmen as a way to provide them a glimpse of important choices they can make to better prepare themselves for college, but much of the first year is focused on freshmen becoming engaged learners. However, all freshmen participate in a college campus visitation program in the spring as part of the school day.
As sophomores, students take the PSAT and begin to build resumes that by senior year will fully reflect any awards, recognition, talents, or excellence achieved in high school. Sophomores continue to develop academic and extracurricular interests they would like to pursue during the remainder of their high school careers.
By the junior year, the college counseling program begins in earnest. The year starts with Mock SAT/ACT tests, followed by individual counseling with students and families (enabling us to create a personalized college list for each student), mandatory college visits in the spring, and an essay-writing series in late May. With respect to the critical SAT and ACT tests normally taken in the junior year, 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. During the Christmas break, we ask students to complete the "You Science" aptitude and interest inventory, which has proven a catalyst for additional career research for many of our students.
For seniors, our annual summer College “Boot Camp” officially launches the final stages of the college application process. College advisors continue to work with seniors in groups and individually in the fall semester and encourage students to attend “College Essay Mondays” in the Writing Center.
After graduating from Westlake High School and subsequently from Emory University, I pursued a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Arizona State University. Attending both a medium-sized private university and afterward a large public university was advantageous to my career in the college counseling field.
My professional experience includes serving as an admissions counselor at St. Edward’s University, Director of College Counseling at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy (two times!), and Scholarship and Fellowship Administrator at St. Edward’s University, as well as a college counselor at Bowie High School.
I have a passion for education, college counseling, and helping students. Through my professional experiences, I have attended numerous conferences, interacted with admissions counselors from across the country, assisted hundreds of students in the application process, and personally visited dozens of universities. In my spare time, I am secretly making sure that my three children are ready for the college application process during the many years to come! I also enjoy running and any outdoors activity and just finished my first Half Ironman!