It is important to understand who takes responsibility for which aspects of the college search. Our operating philosophy is that the most successful college match derives from a student-driven process. We will work with students to ensure they have every tool they need to be successful in their college search.
9th Grade ProgramThe ninth grade curriculum concentrates on providing students with college basics. Through the Leadership curriculum and sessions led by college counselors, freshmen learn relevant information like:
- what a transcript looks like and how a GPA is calculated
- how to maximize your Suffield experience and think to the future
- four-year course planning
The year culminates with a field trip to visit a college campus.
11th Grade ProgramThe eleventh grade curriculum—College 101—is taught in regular weekly Leadership classes during the winter and spring terms. Making use of the text, College Match, the College 101 course covers topics such as:
- self-reflection and discovery on what will be the right college “fit
- the importance of self-advocacy throughout the college search
- instruction on researching colleges and building a balanced college list
- tips on how to get the most out of a college fair and campus visit
Juniors begin individual work in January with their assigned college counselor and all will have a working college list by March break. Juniors are encouraged to visit colleges during the spring and summer vacations. Juniors typically take their first SAT in January and ACT in February or April, and all juniors are advised to take both tests at least once. At the end of College 101 juniors have the opportunity to visit as a class either a large or small college campus. They will also attend an annual college fair hosted by a Hartford area independent school. By the end of junior year, using cumulative GPA and test scores college counselors are able to help families get a sense of expected admission outcomes.
10th Grade Program
The tenth grade curriculum builds on work done the year before, while adding a significant amount of new information. A crucial component of the program is the introduction of standardized tests for college admission including taking both the PSAT and PLAN.
Through small sessions with college counselors, sophomores will also explore:
- the differences between the SAT and ACT
- basic college vocabulary
- summer opportunities and developing a student résumé
- how to use the online database, Naviance, for test prep and college research
personality types and possible career fields
12th Grade ProgramBefore classes begin, seniors participate in a special “Senior Day” program that focuses on college counseling and leadership for the upcoming year. In preparation for the day, seniors are encouraged to have two essays written and the Common Application completed. A portion of the program is scheduled for English department faculty and college counselors to review essays with seniors to help proof, edit and revise as they work toward a final draft.
Seniors work closely with their college counselors in the fall to narrow their college list and complete college applications. Seniors also have an opportunity to meet with college representatives that visit Suffield from September through December—Suffield welcomes over 100 colleges each year. Standardized testing continues in the fall and the majority of college applications will be submitted before December break. Admissions decisions follow depending on the type of application and the college’s response time. Counselors help seniors sort through their admission and financial aid offers to make a decision about their final college destination.
Our college counseling office offers several programs for parents to learn more about the college admission landscape and process. Programs are scheduled for Parents’ Weekend in the fall and spring and as part of the Parent Discussion Series. Additionally, a Junior Parent College Program is held every January for parents to learn the nuts and bolts of the college application process, gather information on financing a college education, and discover how to best support their child throughout this exciting and yet stressful time in their life. Guest speakers are a regular part of our parent programs.