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The Carrollwood Day School college counseling department believes that planning for a collegiate career should start before the upper school journey begins, which is why we have a very unique timeline for college planning. When a student is finishing up their 8th grade year, our goal is to prepare not only the student for what's to come, but to guide the entire family. Preparing for college is a journey, not a sprint, and CDS college counseling provides guidance ranging from what the colleges are looking for, goal mapping, multiple PSAT, ACT, and SAT testing opportunities, to preparing your college application. We are here to make your college dreams a reality. 

CDS’s college counseling philosophy centers on a five-year developmental program that is designed to deconstruct and demystify what has become a complex process involving many moving pieces. We holistically invest in “slow dripping” information to parents and students as they begin their tenure in the upper school. Our institutional position on the college admissions process centers on discovering the most competitive match/fit for each CDS student. As college students spend 90% of their time outside the classroom, it is imperative to not only seek a challenging and scholarly environment, but one that feels comfortable and manageable both inside and outside the classroom.  It is also incumbent upon the college counseling office to edify parents and students on college outcomes (four-year college graduation rates, quality and reputation of colleges, graduate school admission, and job placement/salary).

The college counseling program initiates (with parents and students) in the second semester of 8th grade where information about the college admissions is articulated and examined. It is paramount to discuss curriculum, grade achievement, what is valued by college admissions offices in the review process, and to “see where we are going” before we get there.”

The first two developmental years (grades 9 and 10) focus on college counseling related issues and information. From curriculum choice/development to strategic extra-curricular engagement, to visiting colleges, to understanding the nomenclature of a wide variety of university settings, CDS’s college counseling staff will prepare students to understand each individual’s “in and out of school” achievement portfolio versus what is required to gain admission at a wide variety of colleges throughout the United States and abroad. 

The second two developmental years (grades 11 and 12) focus on college admissions related issues and the application process. These two years will focus on college choice, college counseling classes, and evening seminars addressing the many aspects of what constitutes an excellent application to college, including but not limited to: college interview preparation, college essay development, standardized testing timeline, and practice, developing a resume of activities, letter of recommendation guidance, visiting colleges, dissecting college scholarship (merit) potential, discussing strategic application programs (early decision/early action/ restricted early action), filling out applications, and making a final decision with thoughtful and reflective care.

Review below to learn a little more about the Five-Year Developmental College Preparation Plan at CDS.