College Guidance Our advising program is exceptional


Working Relationships with Faculty

Our college counselors become part of your family’s team well before your child begins the college application process. They will guide you every step of the way, aiming to find the best options for your student’s academic, social and career goals. 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 truly exceptional people who will make meaningful contributions on campus and in the world.

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

Before COVID, our school-wide fall trip would include a tour of a few colleges, among many other interesting sites and activities. We visit UVA, William & Mary, and Virginia Tech, the Ivies, and many small liberal arts colleges. Our middle and high school students get a taste of what is available and they learn a little more about themselves during our follow up conversations. A casual introduction to the college admissions experience helps our students narrow their focus to the schools that are the best fit for their interests and goals. During this time of social distancing, we are sharing virtual tours and information sessions distributed by many colleges and universities with our students and families.

Where our students go

Over the last four years, over 90% of our students were accepted by their first college choice.

Allegheny College
American University
Bard College
Baylor University
Bryn Mawr College
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
Christopher Newport University
Cornell University
Dickinson College
Drexel University
Elon University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Gettysburg College
Goucher College
Grinnell College
Hollins University
James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Kalamazoo College
Kenyon College
Knox College
McDaniel College
Middlebury College

Oberlin College
Occidental College
Penn State University
Pepperdine University
Purdue University
Reed College
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Sarah Lawrence College
Stetson University
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* **
Vassar College
Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Tech)
Virginia Commonwealth University***
Washington and Jefferson College
William & Mary****
Williams College

* Echols Scholars Program - ** College Science Scholars Program - *** Honors College - **** James Monroe Scholars Program

Learn about our advising program

College advising at Loudoun School for Advanced Studies is student-driven, with the benefit of individualized guidance from Ms. Varanelli and Ms. Israel based on their ongoing research of the admissions process and regular conversations with college admissions officers. Beginning in 11th grade, 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. We attend 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 communicate with each student’s preferred college’s regional representative to help them 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 simulate 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 and in life.

We do our best to help students make the most of this process.

View our program grade-by-grade

College Program