Navigating the Road to College … with a Little Help from Harvard, Yale & Princeton

Having a good road map elevates one’s chances of arriving at his or her desired destination. The same can be said of the high school academic experience and the path it paves for college acceptances.  For this reason, SVC’s College & Career Guidance Office provides focused and individualized counseling to help our students reach their educational goals.

The college admission process is complicated and ever-changing. Staying on top of trends and developments is no small feat. Thankfully, SVC has a team of dedicated professionals who are fully invested in serving the needs of our high school students and their parents.

Recently, two members of the College & Career Guidance team — Trish Bergen, Dean of Academics and Jamie MacIntosh, Director of College & Career Guidance — attended a counselor breakfast with admission representatives from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Virginia, and Wellesley College. The workshop, which was held in San Diego, included a short presentation from each university’s counselor, followed by a Q & A time.

“This was a great opportunity for us to connect with other high school counselors and to hear directly from the best universities out there,” said Mrs. Bergen.  “It was very encouraging to find out that these universities are student-centered too. They care about their students. They want them to succeed. And most importantly, they are trying to build a community which is exactly what we are committed to doing at SVC.”

While a wealth of information was shared during the conference, one of the biggest takeaways was that colleges, including these premier institutions, are looking for “compelling” applicants — those who would enrich the schools by their very presence. “Admission counselors want to know about an applicant’s ‘story’ – what makes that person uniquely him or herself,” said Mrs. Bergen.

“There will always be an emphasis on rigorous academic achievement,” said Mrs. MacIntosh. “But it is refreshing to see that these top-tier schools are also looking for students who demonstrate a healthy balance. No one benefits — neither the student nor the university — when a student is already burned out by the time he or she gets to the college. On the other hand, everyone benefits when incoming students are energized because they are pursuing things they are passionate about.”

Gaining insights such as these from college admission personnel, the very people who review applications, has had a powerful impact on the guidance we can provide our students. Our College & Career Guidance team takes advantage of a variety of workshops, webinars, and personal research opportunities throughout the course of the year.

At the end of the process, they hope to help students find the colleges which are the best fit for them. As Mrs. Bergen says, “It’s not about making a square peg fit in a round hole; it’s about finding the right fit and watching students grow and thrive. That takes the pressure off; a student just needs to be who God created him or her to be.”



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