College Counseling at The Woodward School
Syracuse Logo
Boston University Logo
Howard University Logo
Boston College Logo
College Counseling
College Counseling at Woodward
directional sign with advice help tips support assistance and guidance listedThe preparation of Woodward students culminates in the college search and application process. Woodward’s College Counseling Office guides students to develop intention and agency in their high school journey and ultimately, their college search and enrollment decisions. College Counseling at Woodward is personalized, focused on preparing and supporting each student as an individual. That we know our students so well serves us.
Seminars in the ninth and tenth grade years provide students with information about Woodward’s academic program and opportunities, graduation requirements, and college and university requirements. We review each student’s best academic path through high school. We discuss the calendar ahead for standardized testing, how to view these tests, and prepare. We discuss student interests and talents, service, and experiential learning opportunities, and encourage participation and personal development of their passions.
By the midpoint of Junior year, the college search and application process is fully underway. Juniors take the PSAT/NMSQT in October, their last “practice” test, and create their prep plans for the SAT and/or ACT sittings in the spring. At the same time, Juniors are engaged in a challenging academic year, when they are stretching themselves with classwork and the Founders’ Paper, a 10-15 page thesis paper on a topic in U.S History, a graduation requirement at Woodward. Over the winter we confirm the applications timeline and process. In the spring, students look at their personal statement topics, and begin drafting this all-important essay, along with one or two supplemental essays. Parent engagement is essential at this stage, and Woodward offers group and individual family meetings to inform, gain insight into each family’s outlook, and answer questions. 
What to Know About Standardized Tests and College Counseling
Standardized tests are an element of the college application that remains in place, even with many colleges taking a test optional position. A student’s academic achievements, GPA and activities are ultimately more important than test scores. However, at most institutions, testing still matters, and it is important for students and families to understand the purpose and requirements for standardized testing, and options for an individualized testing and preparation plan. Students at Woodward take the PSAT 8/9 and 10, the PSAT/NMSQT as Juniors, and they have the opportunity to take the School Day SAT twice in the spring of their Junior year at Woodward.  Woodward’s faculty are teaching many of the skills necessary to do well on standardized tests, and the college counseling office provides information and test prep planning support for students. In addition, students will be well served to prepare with professional test prep classes, or one-on-one tutoring. Woodward does not vouch for any one test preparation service or tutor, but we strongly recommend that students take advantage of professional prep outside of school. A substantial majority of students at Woodward and around the globe will be engaging in and advantaged by professional preparation, and we would be remiss if we did not communicate this recommendation. There is no singular plan; each student must prepare in the best way for you. It is generally advised that students practice steadily on their own (Khan Academy, practice questions, SAT Prep Question A Day, etc.) during the sophomore year and fall of junior year, and then turn to more focused, professional test prep after the PSAT/NMSQT, in the 6-8 weeks prior to an SAT sitting.
How do Woodward Students develop a college application list?
Juniors at Woodward begin the college search in seminar meetings. With the starting admonition to Know Thyself, students create their own search criteria, and both the student and college counselor develop lists to consider. Part of the exercise at this stage is learning how to navigate and ‘scour’ each college’s website to find out more about its mission, values, culture, and application expectations. Students are guided to understand which colleges may be a match, and how to think about the right fit.
How do Woodward Families Learn About the Cost of College and Financial Aid?
Paying for College graphic with graduation cap and money stacksThe cost of college and navigating the financial aid process can be daunting.  Woodward families are encouraged to seek information from a variety of sources, including the Boston Independent School College Counseling Association financial aid workshop, Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and MEFA workshops. With the high cost of attending a college or university, affording college and financial aid are critical to the decision-making process for students and families as they consider where to apply and ultimately enroll.