Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School
A Pre-K-12 Progressive Education
We take time to build a relationship with each student in a purposeful and appropriate manner. We believe that building trust and a deep understanding of each student’s future goals enables us to accurately advise them on a variety of options.
LREI’s College Guidance program prides itself on its individualized process, team counseling approach, and college seminar program. Research and experience demonstrates that students are happiest with their college choice when they have spent time discovering their interests, exploring a variety of possibilities and taking responsibility for the direction of their application process. This is a process of self-reflection and self-discovery through which students assess their strengths and preferences in order to make informed, well-deliberated choices.
The College Guidance staff utilizes a Co-Counseling and Co-Director approach. Unlike traditional counseling offices, students are not “assigned” to a particular counselor – both Directors are present for individual meetings, family meetings, and any other follow-up appointments with students. In conjunction with co-teaching the College Seminar, this structure allows both members of the College Guidance staff to work closely with each student – so that at any time, there is always someone in the office that knows a student’s story and where they are in the college process. LREI helps students develop an individualized testing plan for College Board and ACT-administered standardized tests.
Carey joined us in the fall of 2010 after completing 10 years as a guidance counselor and college advisor at Hunter College High School. She did her initial training at Stuyvesant High School and the former MS 44 on the Upper West Side. Prior to her work in college guidance, Carey had a career in the music industry, where she spent five years working in marketing and promotion. Over the years, Carey has been involved in a breadth of professional development activities including the Cornell College Selection Institute and the Harvard Summer Institute for College Admissions. She is also a member of several key college counseling associations including CANNY, NACAC and ACCIS. Outside of LREI, Carey spends time with her two children, and trains regularly for marathons. To date, she has completed 30 marathons with the goal of running a marathon in all 50 states in support of Every Mother Counts.
Small, informal discussions will parents that includes, but is not limited to, the philosophy of the LREI College Office, what colleges look for in an application, creating a game plan for standardized testing, and what to expect in junior & senior year.
An evening event for students and families that includes an outline of the overall college process, a timeline of events, an introduction to Naviance, the online college guidance database, and a short presentation from a University admissions representative.
The College Guidance staff meets as a team with each individual junior student, solidifying their student-centered approach. This is an opportunity to learn more about his/her/their background, family circumstances, financial concerns, interests and initial college criteria/considerations. Students leave with a very broad list of schools to begin researching in preparation for their family meeting.
Once the College Guidance staff has met with every member of the junior class, each student returns with his/her/their family for a meeting. This meeting covers initial research, college questions, potential spring visits, testing updates, and other general concerns.
This weekly seminar meets once a week during second trimester of junior year and continues through first trimester of senior year. The junior class is divided into sections so that counselors can better understand students' individual needs and concerns.
As juniors, students read current literature and relevant articles related to today's college landscape, discuss the issues that frequently arise during the early stages of the college process, and explore their own strengths and interests as they relate to the college search. Through interactive discussions, online scavenger hunts and mock admissions case studies, students learn to better understand the admissions process and conduct meaningful college research. Other topics include how to craft a college list, how to research colleges, how to schedule visits and interview preparation.
As seniors, students work individually with the College Office staff during class time to complete portions of the Common Application, edit admissions essays and finalize college applications. As a class, students are also guided through the "nitty gritty" aspects of the application process: reporting test scores to colleges, preparing for admissions interviews, understanding important dates and deadlines and the importance of articulating interest.
Together with the eleventh grade dean and advisors, the College Guidance Office brings students to 1-3 college campuses, ranging in size from large, urban, public research universities to small, suburban liberal arts schools. Recent trips in the last three have included visits to University of Pennsylvania, Ursinus College, Drexel University, SUNY Purchase, Wesleyan University, Yale University, Muhlenberg College and Swarthmore College.
Beginning in September and continuing until Thanksgiving break, over eighty college and university representatives from campuses across the country (and internationally) visit LREI and meet with prospective students. These visits are open to juniors and seniors. Juniors use this opportunity to begin their college search process, widen their perspectives and initiate conversations about schools they may otherwise not have considered. Seniors use these visits to focus their lists, ask any remaining questions, and connect with the representative who will eventually read their college application.
LREI partners with an outside test prep organization to offer both ACT & SAT Diagnostic exams (which help students identify their best testing platform) and after-school test prep courses and mock exams, all held at LREI.
Each year, recent LREI graduates share what they consider to be the most critical “tools for success” in college, highlight how LREI prepares students for post-secondary studies, and offer advice about how to best engage with the College Office.
Financial concerns are becoming an increasingly important part of a family’s college process. The College Office maintains an up-to-date online financial aid website as a resource for families, and provides relevant brochures and FAFSA How-To Guides during family meetings. A financial aid experts speak during both the Senior College Night in September and during the “Demystifying the Financial Aid Award Letter” evening in April. Additionally, in collaboration with the Business Office and the Director of Financial Aid, the College Office provides financial support for families to help send standardized test scores, visit colleges both before and after admissions decisions, and cover costly application fees.
Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School