Four-Year Program Overview

Freshman Year (9th grade):
The goal of the first year program is to help students adjust to the opportunities and challenges of high school, to learn more about themselves, and to become familiar with their College Counselor, College Counseling Group, Adviser, and the Upper School College Guidance Program.
  • Choose courses and activities with college in mind
  • Attend college guidance events (Roundtables for parents)
  • Individual meeting with counselor
  • Use summer to expand horizons

Sophomore Year (10th grade):
In the sophomore year students learn about national standardized testing and how to evaluate the results. Students take the PSAT for practice in the fall of the sophomore year. Sophomores also have the option of taking a practice ACT called PLAN. They meet individually with their college counselor to interpret the results and decide on a plan for future testing. Students are encouraged to choose their courses and to participate in extra-curricular activities wisely. Strong Western Civilization students are also encouraged to consider taking the SAT II: Subject Test in World History in June.
  • Prepare for and take PSAT
  • Consider strengths and weaknesses, career interests
  • Continue to take challenging courses and to pursue extracurricular interests
  • Begin serious self-assessment
  • Begin reading in guidebooks
  • Attend USM College Fair (April)
  • Individual meeting with counselor
  • Strong European history students consider taking World History SAT II (June)

Junior Year (11th grade):
The college search process accelerates junior year. Students learn about the resources available and how to research a college. Students are encouraged to attend meetings with college representatives who visit USM in the fall. Students can learn more about different types of schools by participating in a college tour in November. Individual and family meetings with counselors are held throughout the year to evaluate the students' profile and to develop a more formal list of colleges to consider. Planned campus visits are strongly encouraged. Junior year is also a key year for national testing. All juniors again take the PSAT in October and should take the SAT I and ACT and, in some instances the SAT II: Subject Tests by the end of this year.
  • Take PSAT for 2nd time (October)
  • Junior Parents College Night
  • Meet with at least 5 college reps who visit USM
  • Attend college tour (November)
Winter/ Spring:
  • Individual meeting with counselor and student, followed by family meeting to build college list
  • Research college list suggested by counselor
  • Attend College Fair (April)
  • Visit schools if possible
  • Prepare for and take standardized tests- ACT (April or June) SAT (March or May) SAT II (June)
  • Visit a few more colleges
  • Narrow list to 5-7 schools
  • Consider Early Decision or Early Action with help of counselor
  • Draft one college essay and the common application
  • Request Applications from colleges and begin working on them

Senior Year (12th grade):
The fall of the senior year is spent finalizing the list of schools and completing the applications. Senior English teachers help students complete their essays. Counselors are available for information about specific schools as well as the completion of the applications. Many seniors will take the SAT I, SAT II, and/or ACT for a second time in the fall. When students learn the results of their applications, counselors are ready to help with the decision making process.
  • Meet with counselor to finalize list
  • Write college essays
  • Ask junior or senior year teachers to write recommendations
  • Complete and file applications by appropriate deadlines
  • Attend Senior College Day (September)
  • Senior Parents College Night (September)
  • Meet with visiting college representatives
  • Take SAT I (Oct./Nov.), ACT (Oct.), and/ or SAT II (Nov.)
  • Make sure scores have been sent to colleges
  • Make sure transcripts from any other high schools attended are sent
  • Obtain financial aid information
  • Keep us informed of all admissions decisions
  • Choose one institution and send in deposit by May 1
  • Notify institutions that you will not attend
  • Pursue wait list opportunities, if desired, with help from counselor
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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