College & Career Counseling
Personalized Guidance. Student Empowerment.
Through school-wide programming and individualized counseling, Seattle Waldorf School helps students identify the colleges, gap year programs, and professions that best suit their interests, abilities, and goals.
I am so appreciative of the time, love, and care the college counseling office has devoted to our class. The experience of looking for the right fit for my son has appeared interesting, insightful, and fully supported as a parent watching the process from the outer edges. You have instilled in him the ability to grow and learn and find his own strengths— yet giving him edges of accountability and deadlines. Your work has not gone unnoticed. You are a deep gift to my son’s life, our family, and the school.
We guide students through all aspects of the college admission process, from developing appropriate college lists to completing applications, writing essays, and applying for financial aid. Parents are kept informed and involved in the college counseling process through written communication, class meetings, parent information sessions, and individual meetings. Additional forms of communication include a College and Career Counseling blog with timely articles and resources and access to the college search and management platform SCOIR.
Grade 11 Timeline
A summer mailing provides an overview of the College and Career Counseling program, including information about standardized testing and upcoming student and parent events.
- Grade 11 class college counseling retreat. Students spend a day together on a college campus. They discuss the college search process, applications, standardized testing, visiting colleges, and more.
- College admission representative visits. More than 40 college admission representatives visit Seattle Waldorf School each year. Representatives meet with interested grade 11 and grade 12 students.
- Scoir access. This college search management and document delivery website gives grade 11 students and their parents initial access to college search features and information about college admission representative visits.
- PSAT information meeting and exam. All grade 11 students take the PSAT on a school day in October for practice taking a standardized test in real testing conditions. The test also serves as entrance to the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying competition.
- Junior college night. In January, Catlin Gabel hosts a panel of college admission deans and directors to set the tone for the next stage of the college search process. All juniors and their parents are expected to attend.
- Student and parent questionnaires. Grade 11 students and their parents fill out separate questionnaires. These are a valuable step in the college and career counseling process as they help both students and parents understand their interests, hopes, fears, anxieties, and expectations.
- Standardized testing. All grade 11 students are advised to take at least one ACT and/or SAT exam before the end of the school year. The college and career counselor will advise individuals on their testing plans.
- Individual and family meetings. Each junior meets with the counselor during winter to build a list of recommended colleges for research, a plan for standardized testing, and get to know each other. The student meeting is followed by a meeting with each student and their parents/guardians. Grade 11 students then meet regularly with college counselors as needed.
- Small group meetings. Juniors meet with the counselor in small groups to move through the college search process. Topics include self-reflection, communication skills, resume writing, finding the right college match, and introduction to the Common Application and Coalition Application.
- Case studies program. In late April or early May, we bring admission representatives together with juniors and their parents for mock admission committees and discussion about how applications and applicants are evaluated.
Grade 12 Timeline
The grade 12 summer to-do list includes a checklist of summer assignments from college counselors and an overview of milestones ahead.
- Individual meetings. Seniors meet regularly with the College and Career Counselor as they refine college lists, make test plans, complete the application process, write essays, and explore gap-year options.
- College admission representative visits. More than 40 college admission representatives visit Seattle Waldorf each fall. Each representative meets with interested grade 11 and grade 12 students.
- Small-group meetings. Seniors meet with the college counselor as a group to move through the application process. Topics include interviews, details of applications, resumes, transcripts, finances, choosing a college, and more.
- Senior parent college night. Grade 12 parents gather with the college and career counselor to review the grade 12 timeline, college visits, and parents’ role in the process.
- Financial aid night. A financial aid director from a local college presents a workshop for senior families about filling out the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms, followed by an information night about the college financial aid process.
- Early application deadlines. Seniors who are applying via an early application, early decision, or rolling admission plan work toward deadlines in October and November. Teachers and the college counselor compile recommendations, school reports, and high school transcripts for submission to colleges.
- Standardized testing. Seniors have the opportunity to take ACT or SAT exams during the fall of the senior year, prior to application deadlines.
Regular application deadlines. Seniors who are applying via regular application plans work toward deadlines in December, January, and February. Teachers and the college counselor compile recommendations, school reports, and high school transcripts for submission to colleges.
- Seniors receive all decisions from colleges by April 1. The College and Career Counselor helps students consider their offers, compare financial aid offers, and follow up on wait list offers. Enrollment deposits are due to colleges by May 1.
- The Transition to College Workshop for parents of grade 12 students focuses on the summer before college and the leave-taking in the fall. It features a dean of students from a local college and the Seattle Waldorf School Counselor.
- Grade 12 graduation! Families celebrate the end of the high school journey and the beginning of what’s next.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the College and Career Counseling program work?
The heart of SWS’s program is student empowerment through individual counseling and guidance. Most individual meetings begin in the junior year, though the college and career counselor is available to meet with students and parents at any point. Students are encouraged to reflect on their values, strengths and goals throughout the process. In addition to individual meetings, the college and career counseling curriculum and support system include group programming in coordination with the school counselor, academic advising and course selection guidance, small group college counseling classes, parent meetings, and opportunities for writing and reflection.
Where do Seattle Waldorf School students attend college?
Students enroll in colleges that will challenge them, meet their interests, and sustain the life-long learning process that has been nurtured through our curriculum and community. Destinations for each class vary and individual considerations including unique academic programs, strength of community, focus on social justice, family priorities, and finances influence students’ choices.
In addition to college and university, a number of graduates each year take a gap year, enter the workforce, attend a vocational school, attend a conservatory, or take an apprenticeship. At Seattle Waldorf School, we do not believe that 100% of our graduates must attend a four-year college or university. Instead, we encourage our students to pursue a post-Seattle Waldorf experience that will best match their interests and unique skills and talents.
How do colleges make sense of the unique curriculum and transcript at Seattle Waldorf School?
Our college counselor works closely with colleagues in college admission offices to give background and context to SWS students experiences. In addition to meeting and speaking regularly with college admission representatives, a school profile is included with each applicant’s transcript. The school profile gives context for each student’s record. College application readers evaluate applicants from hundreds of different schools from across the globe and understand the unique education that schools like Seattle Waldorf offer students. Admission offices evaluate applicants based on the opportunities available to them, so they do not expect our students to be part of a curriculum that is not offered.
While SWS does not report weighted or unweighted grade point average (GPA) to colleges, college application readers are familiar with this practice and it encourages them to read our transcripts deeply; in fact, the majority of colleges recalculate grade point average even if it is reported. SWS believes, and our students’ college admission results support, that our grade reporting practice is given full consideration in the application process.
Do students receive help finding funding to attend college?
Every student is encouraged to consider value and cost as part of their search; often these are deciding factors for a significant number of SWS families. Our college counselor is well informed about the process of applying for need-based aid and stays up-to-date on colleges’ and independent organizations’ merit scholarship awarding policies. SWS partners with local and regional college admission and financial aid officers to present annual financial aid information nights for all grade 12 families.