College Office: Philosophy

Saint Ann’s students are creative, independent, and known for their intellectual confidence and adventurousness. They spend their years at Saint Ann’s becoming themselves and discovering what they care about, and they carry this knowledge with them when they leave. For every Saint Ann’s student, the process of applying to college should be an extension of this exploration — a path as unique and thoughtfully chosen as the one he or she has travelled through Saint Ann’s.

Applying to college — like a Saint Ann’s education — represents much more than a means to an end. The college counselors celebrate the personal nature of this process, and are committed to the individual guidance and support of each student who embarks upon it, as well as to providing a source of practical information for parents and students. We have found that open, ongoing dialogue between counselors, students, and parents is often the key to a successful college application process.

At the same time, it is the students who will take the lead in navigating this important journey as it unfolds over the last year and a half of their career at Saint Ann’s. Our role — in addition to counseling, querying, and suggesting — is to provide helpful facts and strategic advice based upon our years of college counseling experience, our relationship with dozens of college admissions officers, and our knowledge of the strengths, weaknesses, and predilections of many schools that attract the interest of our students.

Possibly the most important part of our job is to be straightforward and honest in assessing every student’s situation with regard to the application process, because in the increasingly competitive climate of college admissions, anything less than total frankness on our part would be a disservice to the student. Of equal importance, however, are both our pledge to support each student in the decisions that are ultimately his or hers to make, and our unbounded enthusiasm for the qualities that make each Saint Ann’s student sui generis.

For our students, applying to college can be a process of discovery, of pondering who and what they are, of beginning to assess themselves in terms of the world in which they live, and of deciding how they want to represent themselves to that world. It can be a process of learning that one’s inner promptings — not the rankings of U.S. News & World Report or the pronouncements of convention — are the best guides to finding a college or university at which living and learning will continue to be a daily adventure. It is vital that we respect this process as a learning experience directly contributing to a student’s self-confidence and readiness for college and adulthood.

To every student we say: it’s as easy — and as challenging — as being yourself.