College Counseling

College Counseling Timeline & Resources

Here's what to think about at each grade level:

List of 4 items.

  • 9th Grade

    In general, we encourage ninth-grade students and their parents not to focus on college in any specific way. It is more important to focus on getting the most out of their studies and enjoying the newness of being a high school student. Ninth-graders should participate in various activities—athletics, clubs, volunteer work, or other extracurriculars. This will help them discover their interests and give them a chance to develop their passions. This is also the time to adjust to high school-level work and begin building their learning and academic skills, which will help prepare them for higher study. Questions about academics or the ninth-grade experience should be directed to the grade heads; they are ready and willing to help you out in any way.

    Note: If your child has been formally diagnosed with a learning disability, The Field School must have the learning diagnosis on file to receive accommodations.

  • 10th Grade

    Parents of 10th-graders should continue to do their best to maintain a low profile about college. Students should continue to revel and succeed in their academic studies, and they should begin to talk about their own personal learning styles. It is important for 10th-graders to continue to pursue extracurricular activities and perhaps explore their interests further outside of school or during the summer. Long-term involvement in activities or exploring potential career interests appeals to colleges, and quality is more important than quantity—do something that is meaningful and engaging! Questions about academics or the tenth-grade experience should be directed to the grade heads.

  • 11th Grade

    Parents of 11th-graders should continue to maintain a low profile about college during the first semester. Many students will be anxious because junior year is a very important year; they face high expectations and a heavier workload, and they know they must begin thinking about colleges later in the year. The first semester is an ideal time to focus heavily on academic studies while also engaging in extracurricular activities. This is also the time when juniors should really own their education, be able to articulate their learning strengths and weaknesses, and know how to be their own best advocates.
    Juniors will have the opportunity to take a practice ACT in the fall and the PSAT (College Board’s official practice SAT) in October. Remember, the PSAT does not really "count." Colleges do not receive them. Though the official PSAT is also used for the National Merit Scholarship Competition, generally, students must score in the 99th percentile to qualify. Please remember, these are only practice tests and are never seen by colleges. We do not recommend doing any test prep for these tests.
    In January, we kick off the start of the college program with a Junior College Night. This will lay out the college process and year ahead, and it will highlight some of the important elements for students and families. Both student and parents will receive a questionnaire to complete. The college counselors meet and discuss the college process both with the student individually, and then again as a family. In these meetings, we will discuss standardized testing, choosing an appropriate senior year schedule, teacher recommendations, and the process of identifying schools that are a good fit. We work closely with students and families, and we get to know each student well.
    Throughout the spring, there will also be several college workshops for juniors. We will teach students how to utilize Naviance (the web-based organizational tool for the college process) and the Common Application. We will discuss the college search, the college tour, the college essay, interview and visiting techniques, teacher recommendations, and many other topics that will make the process fun and successful. We encourage families to tour colleges; spring break is a good time to do some visits! We also set the tone to encourage students to take ownership of their college process (parents, we hope you will also encourage and enable your child to take the lead as well, as they will be the ones to attend college on their own).
    In April, the Washington area independent schools sponsor a large college fair. More than 220 college and university representatives will be there to share information and talk with students. We also ask juniors to work on the Common Application and essay drafts over the summer, and we hold a boot camp in August for students to work on their applications and college essays and to practice interviewing with college representatives. 

  • 12th Grade

    During the fall, we host an informational college night for seniors and parents, and we work closely with the seniors as they finalize their essays, organize their “applying to” lists, meet deadlines, and get ready to hit the “submit” button when the time comes. We will also help families with financial aid and scholarship information as needed. In September and October, there are two scheduled “senior search” times where seniors will have no classes, so that they may visit colleges and work on their essays and applications.
    In addition, the College Office hosts over 200 college representatives to Field’s campus to meet with students and counselors in the fall. This is a valuable way for students to learn more about a college, express interest, and meet the representative who will likely be the one to review their applications. It is also a great way for the admissions representatives to learn about Field’s unique and engaging community and meet our student applicants.
    Counselors are always available to answer questions, meet with students, and talk through options. Seniors are responsible for visiting schools, meeting deadlines, sending test scores, and completing all parts of the applications, but we are here to help keep them on the right track. The process of applying also serves to prepare students for the greater independence they will have as college freshmen, but we are always here to assist and counsel them along the way.