Program Spotlight: College Counseling
With an enrollment of nearly 60 high school students, Chartwell continues to grow as a college preparatory school and cultivates a noncompetitive college-going culture beginning in the freshman year. Under the guidance of college and transition counselor Alyse LeValley, students set their aspirations beyond high school graduation and are actively supported to prepare for college, a gap year, military careers, vocational school, or whatever path they choose to pursue.
There is no perfect or “right” college for a student, it’s really important to remove the pressure of perfection. With more than 4,000 college options, many colleges can suit a student.
Students are introduced to the idea of college in their freshman year, when they participate in college visits and guest speakers from colleges, universities, and gap programs. Their notes from these visits are added to their college portfolio, which they will continue to build through senior year. In 11th grade, students begin one-one-one meetings with the college counselor to complete assessments and begin creating college lists. In their senior year, they take a year-round course on College Readiness where they research college options, finalize a list of colleges, write personal statements and supplemental essays, and complete their college applications.
Because Chartwell’s student population is cognitively diverse, LeValley does a lot of research around the level of support various colleges offer around learning differences.
“Cognitive diversity is increasingly valued in both higher education and the workplace,” adds LeValley. “Our students are the problem solvers of the future.”
LeValley says that although there are a lot of colleges with strong LD support programs it still requires a lot of time, care, and research to find them and make sure they are a fit for a specific student’s profile.
“One college might be really good at assistive technology support while another focuses on dyslexia and another on social-emotional,” continues LeValley. “I always recommend when you visit a school, be sure to visit the student support center, look around -- Does it look inviting, would you want to study there? How were you greeted? What is the process for accessing support? Where is the center located on campus? These questions will help you understand how the school prioritizes the program.”
One hundred percent of Chartwell students are accepted to a four-year college or university. Last year, seven students received 50 acceptances and over $225 million in scholarship offers.
LeValley recently led a 90-minute workshop on finding colleges for students with learning differences (link to workshop is located at the top of the adjacent column). She closed the meeting with some advice for families:
Your juniors and seniors need extra love during this time. Let them challenge themselves, let them lead the process. And, be kind to yourself and your child - tell your child you are proud of them no matter what, even when they choose a college you’ve never heard of.
At Chartwell, college counseling includes:
- a college preparatory curriculum
- multiple college campus visits
- a college portfolio starting in ninth grade
- a full-time, on-site college counselor
- access to an Independent Education Consultant
- ACT accommodation requests written by Chartwell
- interactive college planning software (CollegePlannerPro)
- planning assessments
- one-on-one meetings with college counselor and education consultant
- College Readiness class for all 12th grade students that includes daily support with college research, applications and selections
- additional resources and workshops available to families