In many ways, preparation for "the college process" begins as soon as a student enters Rye Country Day School.
They take challenging courses in the full range of academic subjects (including a lot of writing along the way); try their hand at a variety of extracurricular activities; and form close relationships with faculty. All of these will bear fruit in the form of academic preparation and personal growth and maturity. Each year contributes to the students' eventual goal to enroll in a college that is well suited to their interests, their learning styles, and their plans for the future.
During the early years, there should not be a specific focus on college admissions. The emphasis should be placed on the following:
- taking solid academic courses at the appropriate level of challenge; developing current interests and exploring interests in new subject areas where possible.
- engaging fully in extracurricular activities, sports, and/or community service - trying out new interests and taking on leadership roles if available.
- becoming comfortable interacting with teachers and forming positive friendships with peers.
- reading - whether novels, poetry, non-fiction, newspapers, or special-interest articles, students should be reading outside of school. This is probably the single best possible preparation for the demands of school, college, and even standardized tests.
Direct preparation for the college process (which begins in junior year) is not necessary in ninth or tenth grades, but there are items to keep in mind:
- Sophomores take the PSAT (a practice SAT) in October. These scores have no bearing on the college process; it is simply practice for the PSAT in junior year and the SAT, taken later in junior and senior years. Parents should plan to attend the December evening meeting about the PSAT.
- We encourage tenth and/or eleventh graders to take the PLAN, the pre-ACT exam. More students are using ACT scores alongside, or in place of, SAT and SAT Subject Tests. The PLAN allows students to see which test - SAT or ACT - is best for them. At the December meeting on the PSAT, we also discuss the PLAN.
- Some (though not most) freshmen and sophomores may be ready to take an SAT Subject Test, especially if they are enrolled in advanced courses in math, science, or language. An evening parent meeting on the topic of Standardized Test will be held.
- Freshmen and Sophomores should not take the SAT or the ACT. These tests are designed to be taken for the first time in the junior year.
- Students involved in sports or the arts may want to consider summer experiences to enhance skills and explore the depth of their interest, and to consider what role these activities might play in their choice of college later on.
- Other students should use summers to work (an old-fashioned job is terrific experience and viewed positively by colleges), to explore an interest, or to get involved in some kind of service work - and to take time to relax and reflect before returning to school!
- Parents of ninth and tenth graders are invited to attend many of our evening meetings on specific topics, and we hold a special "meet and greet" session to answer initial questions. Reminders are sent to parents prior to all relevant events.
- Tenth graders take a practice ACT exam in the spring to help determine whether or not the ACT will be a good option for students.
During the junior year, expectations rise! Teachers ask for more depth and breadth in the work they assign, and the "formal" college process begins in January. Below are highlights of what will happen.
- Juniors take the PSAT (a practice SAT) in October. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will use junior scores to determine which students become Commended Scholars, Semi-Finalists, and Finalists in the National Merit Competition. Parents should attend the December RCDS evening meeting about the PSAT/PLAN.
- Parents of juniors who expect to apply for financial aid for college should attend our spring Understanding Financial Aid meeting.
- In January, we will hold the first Parent Orientation Program for parents of eleventh graders.
- In January, we begin individual meetings for juniors; individual parent meetings take place after we have had one individual meeting with your child. We also begin once-per-cycle Junior Seminar meetings: group sessions required for all juniors.
- In Spring, parents are invited to our Mock Admissions Session.
- By the end of junior year, every student will have identified and researched colleges of interest to them; they will have taken standardized tests; and they will have worked with their counselor to begin to develop a balanced list of schools.
- In June, students and parents are sent a summer college email, including an unofficial copy of their transcript and a list of what to do during the summer, including writing two draft college essays.
- In the fall of senior year, students and parents meet with the counselors to finalize the list and develop an action plan.
- Early in September, we hold the Grade 12 Parent Orientation Meeting.
- Parents of seniors who expect to apply for financial aid for college should attend our workshops on the Profile (in October) and the FAFSA (in January).
- We work exclusively with the senior class during the fall, so that the students can complete all elements of their applications well and on time. Teachers and college counselors complete all recommendations by mid-October for early applications, and by December for regular round applications. Students must complete early applications in October, and regular round applications before mid-December.
- In January, parents and students are sent a list confirming where the student has applied.
- Throughout February and March, we continue to counsel and support seniors as their deans. We also reach out to colleges to check on applications and to advocate on behalf of students.
- In April, students receive their final admissions decisions, and will choose where to enroll by the May 1 deposit deadline.
- In June, we will honor our seniors at Graduation!
Meet the Team
As counselors, it is our privilege to work with a dynamic group of independent and talented students.
We proudly offer ongoing support and encouragement while ensuring that our students and parents become well versed in the nuances and practical aspects of the college application process.
We are both idealistic and pragmatic, and it is this balance that allows our students to follow their dreams without losing sight of the details and demands of the college process. To this end, we work closely with students and families, with college admissions deans, and with our own faculty and coaches. Our goal is to help Rye Country Day School students have college options that offer both great “fit” and the best possible opportunities for future growth. Because the college counselors also serve as twelfth grade deans, we are intimately involved in all aspects of our seniors’ daily lives, and get to know them as students, as athletes and artists, as leaders, and as friends.
Classes of 2012-2016
(Number of Students Matriculated)
Cornell University (30)
Harvard University (26)
University of Pennsylvania (24)
New York University (16)
Brown University (15)
Colgate University (14)
Georgetown University (14)
Duke University (12)
Vanderbilt University (12)
University of Michigan (11)
Yale University (11)
University of Southern California (10)
Washington University in St. Louis (10)
Bucknell University (9)
Dartmouth College (9)
Williams College (9)
Northwestern University (8)
Columbia University (7)
Middlebury College (7)
Tufts University (7)
Stanford University (7)
Wesleyan University (7)
Amherst College (6)
University of Notre Dame (6)
University of Wisconsin, Madison (6)
Wake Forest University (6)
Boston University (5)
Lafayette College (5)
Princeton University (5)
Tulane University (5)
University of St. Andrews (5)
Boston College (4)
Bowdoin College (4)
George Washington University (4)
Skidmore College (4)
Trinity College (4)
Southern Methodist University (4)
University of Chicago (4)
Villanova University (4)
Barnard College (3)
Colorado College (3)
Fordham University (3)
Franklin & Marshall College (3)
Hamilton College (3)
Hobart & William Smith Colleges (3)
Rochester Institute of Technology (3)
Swarthmore College (3)
Syracuse University (3)
University of Miami (3)
University of Richmond (3)
University of Rochester (3)
University of Vermont (3)
University of Virginia (3)
Wellesley College (3)
Carleton College (2)
Carnegie Mellon University (2)
College of William and Mary (2)
Dickinson College (2)
Emory University (2)
Indiana University at Bloomington (2)
Johns Hopkins University (2)
Lehigh University (2)
Muhlenberg College (2)
Reed College (2)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2)
University of Colorado at Boulder (2)
University of Maryland, College Park (2)
University of Texas at Austin (2)
Washington and Lee University (2)
Agnes Scott College
American University of Paris
Art Institute of New York City
Cedar Crest College
Coastal Carolina University
Franklin W. Olin College
Georgia Institute of Technology
Loyola University Maryland
Miami University, Oxford
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Purchase College SUNY
Santa Clara University
SUNY University at Albany
Trinity College Dublin
University of California Los Angeles
University of California Santa Barbara
University of Denver
University of Edinburgh
University of Florida
University of Illinois at Urbana
University of N. Carolina at Charlotte
University of Rhode Island
University of Virginia
Wake Forest University
Warren Wilson College
Westchester Community College