What makes our college admissions program exceptional?
Personalized College Counseling
Christine Varanelli and Sylvia Israel work with each student to help them find the best fit for college, and to help colleges understand our school and our students. We meet with students and parents beginning as early as 8th grade to help them understand and navigate the admissions process.
College Visits and Discussions
As a school, we tour colleges every year – from Harvard and Stanford to William & Mary and UVA. Beginning in sixth grade, students get a taste of what is available and, as they progress through middle and high school, narrow their focus to the schools that are the best fit for their interests and goals.
Working Relationships with Faculty
We treat our students as junior colleagues. We also work with each student over many years, so they form long-term intellectual bonds with our faculty. When our teachers write college recommendations, they have a deep knowledge of every student, which is critical to help colleges understand why our students are exceptional.
Over the last four years, over 90% of our students were accepted by their first college choice. These schools included:
Bryn Mawr College
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
Christopher Newport University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Penn State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Sarah Lawrence College
Sweet Briar College
Texas Christian University
The New School
University of California, Berkeley
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
University of Richmond
University of South Carolina
University of Virginia* **
Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Tech)
Virginia Commonwealth University***
Washington and Jefferson College
William & Mary****
* Echols Scholars Program
** College Science Scholars Program
*** Honors College
**** James Monroe Scholars Program
College advising at Loudoun School for Advanced Studies is student-driven, with the benefit of individualized guidance from our Director based on her ongoing research on the admissions process and regular conversations with college admissions officers. We introduce the college admissions process as early as eighth grade, and meet with students at various points through high school. Beginning in the junior year, we have regular, sustained conversations with students about their areas of academic focus, their college search criteria, and their professional goals. Personal meetings are scheduled with each student several times during the junior year, and these conversations continue until the college selection process is complete in the spring of senior year.
Our goal is to educate, support, and assist both students and parents in managing the college search and admissions process to help students find the schools that best fit their preferences and goals. Our commitment to encouraging a student-driven college search and application process is based on the belief that the process is about their future. The day each student leaves for college is the most important step in a journey that began much earlier. It is for this reason that we encourage and nurture independence and individualism to promote future success in college and in life.
At the same time, we have learned a great deal about the college admissions process through research and conversations with college admissions officers. Our Director attends information sessions for the most selective colleges and universities in the country. Touring college campuses and developing relationships with admissions officers provides up-to-date guidance designed to aid our students in the selective admissions process. We share this information with students and parents, and the Director communicates with each student’s preferred colleges to help the colleges better understand our students, our academic program, and our school.
The courses a student chooses to take in high school tell colleges a great deal about the student’s academic aptitude and disposition. Most courses at Loudoun School for Advanced Studies are delivered at an honors or advanced level designed to emulate discussion-based college and graduate school seminars. When college admissions officers look at a high school student’s transcript and course selections, they do so in the context of the high school’s specific course offerings. Therefore, a student from a high school with few or no Advanced Placement courses (“APs”), for example, will not be disadvantaged compared to a student from a high school that offers many APs. Every transcript sent to colleges is accompanied by our School Profile that describes the curriculum in detail so admission representatives understand the rigor and focus of our program.
Our students are encouraged to take the PSAT in ninth and tenth grade for preliminary exposure to, and practice with, testing content. The “official” PSAT is administered in October of their junior year, and it is the initial qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship awards. Students will be advised as to when they should take the SAT and/or ACT, as well as SAT Subject Tests based on each student’s individual learning sequence. As noted earlier, students own this process: they register for standardized testing on time and prepare for these exams in a committed, focused way.
Ultimately, students who are most satisfied with the college admissions and selection process are those who understand their goals and preferences, take the time to research the schools that best fit their interests, ask questions of admissions representatives, and take note of the specific requirements for each school. As a result, they find schools that meet their criteria, placing them in the best position for success in college and as professionals.
We do our best to help students make the most of this process.