College Application Process
"Which college is the right one for me? How do I know what my options are and how do I apply? And what is the process for selecting the school that best suits my strengths and needs?"
As Upper School students seek answers to these and related questions, Westmark families can expect the hands-on help of the College Center. From soliciting recommendations to writing personal narratives to managing multiple deadlines, each applicant is encouraged to apply their skills as self-directed learners to complete the process on their own—all while receiving the support and guidance of our Director of College Counseling and other Upper School faculty and staff.
Assessing College Readiness
To assess one’s post-secondary readiness, the first step is a close review of the student’s learning profile, including neuropsychological testing results. Additional testing may be recommended. Students also complete a thoughtful self-assessment in order to clarify their priorities, goals, and interests for college life and beyond.
Building the College List
Together with our College Counselor, students research higher-education institutions of all types and sizes to build a highly personalized college list. This step includes evaluating the level of academic support the student may need and matching it with what each institution is able to offer.
Completing the Applications
Once the college list is built, the applicants prepare and submit their applications. Options such as early decision, early action, and rolling admission are considered. Weekly essay-writing workshops guide students from brainstorming topics to fine-tuning their final submissions. Our Director of College Counseling goes over each application carefully before the student hits “Submit.”
Following Through on the Process
To ensure that college admission officers have everything they need, students are advised to follow through on the process. This includes securing transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters; rehearsing for interviews; staying in touch appropriately with admission offices; and determining next steps with regards to waitlists.
Specific procedures for artists, athletes, and students with special circumstances are also discussed. For each applicant, our Director of College Counseling writes a thorough, individualized letter of support that clearly articulates the student’s strengths and needs.
Exploring Options for Affording College
For those who require assistance to pay for tuition and related expenses, the College Center is ready with advice on applying for financial aid and/or scholarships.
Transitioning to College
To ease students’ transition from high school to college, the College Center places emphasis on the skills and strategies needed to navigate this major life change. Westmark seniors receive assistance in applying for accommodations, developing a self-advocacy plan, evaluating housing options, honing college-level executive functioning, and more.