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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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College Counseling: Starting Early and Planning Ahead With a Tailored Approach

Finding the right college can be overwhelming, and the admissions process is complex and often time-consuming. King School has worked for decades to create a unique college counseling program that aims to alleviate this pressure by offering ongoing, personalized support to students and their families starting in ninth grade.

While most schools begin exploring colleges in grades 10 or 11, King School’s college counseling program begins earlier with a four-year developmental approach that helps students discover and target the colleges most suitable to their interests and strengths.  

“Our approach to college counseling is one that brings together an appreciation for the qualitative factors that students use in determining the best competitive fit for them, alongside quantitative data that informs the advice that we provide and the strategies that we recommend,” explained Jessica Landis, King School’s Director of College Counseling at King. 

Jessica Landis College Counseling Photo

“We equip students with the information that they need about how to make the most out of their high school years,” added Landis, who joined King after working in the admissions office at New York University.

The program includes a team of four counselors who develop relationships with students as soon as they enter high school. By getting to know the students and their families early on, counselors rely on their expansive knowledge of colleges and universities both domestically and internationally to match students with the best fit. 

Landis emphasizes that starting in ninth grade reduces the level of stress typically associated with the college process. “This allows us to hit the ground running when students embark on a college search in their junior year that is reflective of their individual desires and goals,” she added.

“Teachers set high expectations for their students and create a plan to help you meet those expectations,” said Jenna MaCrae, who attended Princeton University after graduating from King. 

Two King Students with College Sweatshirts

As they enter high school, students are paired with experienced counselors who will guide them through the four-year process. In the early stages of the process, counselors help students reflect upon who they are and how best to explore their interests. As students grow, they are ready to connect what they have learned about themselves to colleges that best support their goals. 

Working with college counselors at the outset of high school is advantageous because it allows students to plan high school courses with an objective in mind. Counselors help students identify their academic strengths and guide their curricular choices, finding opportunities for engagement and developing standardized testing strategies.

The college counseling support extends to student-athletes, who have access to a college athletics counselor, benefit from the Athletics program’s strong connections to college coaches, and train in the school’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities. The school hosts an annual College Athletics Night, facilitating direct interactions between students and college coaches. Students work with their counselors and coaches to create personalized recruiting plans. 

This commitment is reflected in the school's impressive track record, as numerous King graduates successfully join college and university athletic teams. 

College Athletes on Signing day

Another strength of the program is its emphasis on building relationships with students’ families. 

“We take the time to get to know each student so we can best understand their needs and goals,” Landis said. “We also work closely with parents so they can be supportive partners in the college counseling process.”

King’s approach to the college admission process is working. In recent years, a range of outstanding colleges have accepted King students. 

“I am just amazed at how King finds such perfect fits for everyone,” said Max Helman, who attended Columbia University after completing his journey at King. 

“Our goal is to help students identify their unique talents and interests and then to match them with colleges that will help them flourish,” Landis said. “We believe every student has something special to offer, and we want to help them find the place where they can best thrive.” 

Taking the pressure off students early in the process sets them up to thrive and succeed in high school and leaves them poised to make a college choice with thoughtful and reflective care.

College Sweatshirt Photo