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.

College Process Road Map

The college application process offers students a chance to make choices about the types of learning and living environments that will both nurture and challenge them when they go on to further study. While recognizing that each student follows an individual path, we hope this overview will give you a preview of the important milestones on the road toward college admissions.

Grades 9 and 10

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.

Grade 11

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.

Grade 12

  • 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.

Director of College Counseling
Grade 12 Dean

Associate Director of College Counseling

Associate Director of College Counseling

Administrative Assistant

Recent Matriculation

Classes of 2014-2018
Matriculation by College

One attendee unless otherwise indicated

Cornell University (31)
University of Pennsylvania (28)
Harvard University (19)
New York University (18)
Colgate University (16)
Georgetown University (15)
Washington University in St. Louis (15)
Brown University (15)
Vanderbilt University (14)
Duke University (13)
University of Michigan (13)
University of Southern California (12)
Yale University (11)
Bucknell University (9)
Northwestern University (9)
Stanford University (9)
University of Chicago (8)
Dartmouth College (8)
Princeton University (8)
Tufts University (7)
Tulane University (7)
Wake Forest University (7)
Wesleyan University (7)
University of Wisconsin, Madison (7)
Lafayette College (6)
University of St. Andrews, UK (6)
Williams College (6)
Amherst College (5)
Boston University (5)
Columbia University (5)
Middlebury College (6)
University of Notre Dame (5)
Skidmore College (5)
Franklin & Marshall College (4)
University of Miami (4)
Rochester Institute of Technology (4)
Southern Methodist University (4)

Colby College (3)
Colorado College (3)
Hamilton College (3)
Johns Hopkins University (3)
Lehigh University (3)
University of Richmond (3)
Trinity College (3)
University of Vermont (3)
University of Virginia (3)
American University (2)
Bard College (2)
Barnard College (2)
Bowdoin College (2)
University of California, Berkeley (2)
University of California, Los Angeles (2)
Carleton College (2)
Carnegie Mellon University (2)
Dickinson College (2)
Emory University (2)
Fordham University (2)
The George Washington University (2)
Haverford College (2)
Hobart and William Smith Colleges (2)
University of Illinois (2)
Iona College (2)
Muhlenberg College (2)
Occidental College (2)
Pomona College (2)
Reed College (2)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2)
University of Rochester (2)
Syracuse University (2)
Washington & Lee University (2)
Wellesley College (2)
The American University of Paris
College of the Atlantic
Binghamton University
Boston College

University of California, Santa Barbara
California Institute of the Arts
Claremont McKenna College
Coastal Carolina University
University of Connecticut at Stamford
Davidson College
University of Edinburgh (UK)
Elon University
Emerson College
Gordon College
Hofstra University
Indiana University at Bloomington
Lasell College
Loyola University Maryland
Manhattanville College
McGill University (CDN)
University of Maryland, College Park
Mount Holyoke College}
Ohio Wesleyan University
Pennsylvania State University
Pitzer College
Purchase College, SUNY
Quinnipiac University
Rice University
Roger Williams University
Santa Clara University
SUNY at Albany
SUNY College at Cortland
Swarthmore College
University of Texas, Austin
Trinity College Dublin, IRE
Warren Wilson College
The University of Warwick, UK
Westchester Community College
College of William & Mary
University of California, Santa Barbara
Claremont McKenna College
Coastal Carolina

College Counseling