Applying to college is an important rite of passage for Deerfield students. The most important aspects of the process are those that ask you to know yourself and to find a voice through which you can express your opinions and your preferences and, ultimately, represent yourself to others in a clear and confident way. Each student approaches the process in a slightly different way. Some of you will move through the steps quickly; others more slowly. It is crucial to take each of the steps yourself. Do not try to rush them or allow someone else to take them for you. Appreciate the time it takes to become more self-aware and to evaluate yourself honestly as a college candidate.
It’s important for you to learn more about the College Advising Office and the services we provide and to keep on top of the paperwork (electronic or otherwise) that applying to college requires. Both college admissions offices and the College Advising Office at Deerfield assume that you are at the center of your own application process; here is a list of items for which we will hold you responsible.
- Develop an efficient organizational system for managing your college process.
- Schedule regular meetings with your college advisor. During the summer correspond with your advisor at least once a month.
- Develop a realistic list of colleges that interest you.
- Visit colleges if you can, with particular attention to those in your 50-50 and 70% categories. Where possible, schedule an interview.
- Read all of the information you receive from the College Advising Office; it will remind you of deadlines and inform you of college representatives coming to campus and opportunities for interviews. Return all forms we ask you to complete.
- Make sure that your Naviance college list is accurate and reflects your most current plans.
- Research the admission requirements of the colleges you are considering. Are there required high school courses? Required tests? Required recommendations? What are the deadlines?
- Over the summer complete a draft of your Common Application. Solicit feedback from your college advisor about essay topics. Send your advisor your first draft. Your advisor will provide you with feedback. Revise and return to school with an essay you’ve worked hard on but one about which you are still willing to think further.
- Review the supplemental essay questions for the colleges you are considering seriously. Keep a spreadsheet with essay topics and deadlines.
- Discuss with your parents the plan for financing your college education and how that might affect your college list.
- Request recommendations from two academic teachers, usually from the junior year. You may want to discuss your choices with your college advisor. While it is ideal to ask in person for a recommendation, our teachers are understanding about an email request as long as your message is thoughtful.
- When asked, as on the Common Application, about disciplinary infractions and their consequences, answer honestly. Work with your college advisor on developing your statement.
- Your standardized test scores do not appear on your transcript, so it’s up to you to direct the College Board to send them to the colleges to which you’ve applied.
- Complete all of your applications honestly and accurately. Your signature on the application is your pledge that the work you’re submitting is truthful and that it is your own. Submit your application yourself. In every aspect of the process, from your interactions with your peers to your conduct with college representatives, uphold the Academy’s standards of respect and integrity.
- Keep your college advisor completely up to date with your plans and with the outcomes of your applications.
The College Admissions process is often a challenging one for parents because it may represent the first time that the student is expected, by college admissions offices and by the College Advising Office at Deerfield, to be the driving force behind his/her next step. Parents must take a supportive, not central, role. Sometimes it’s difficult, but know that navigating the process is a crucial step on your child’s path to adulthood. Here are some guidelines that may help:
- Be open to new directions in your child’s life.
- Encourage growth, independence, and authenticity.
- Listen carefully.
- Understand that the student’s application must be entirely his/her own and that students are responsible for submitting their own applications. Expect your child to uphold the Academy’s standards of honesty in all of his/her interactions with both college representatives, including coaches, and the College Advising Office.
- Be honest with your child about your financial concerns. Develop a strategy together.
- In the face of disappointment, model resilience and adaptability.
- There are several specific ways in which you can be helpful:
- Plan college visits and be a willing chauffeur. Make sure your visits include schools in all selectivity ranges. Use the list provided by your child’s college advisor.
- Provide the College Advising Office with insights about your child by filling out the Parent Questionnaire.
- Fill out all financial aid forms in a timely manner.
- Communicate with your child’s college advisor to be sure we are all on the same page.
- Help your child reflect on his strengths and weaknesses as he/she develops a balanced college list and considers his/her presentation
- Support your child’s decisions.
College Advisor Responsibilities
The Deerfield College Advising staff has a depth and range of experience unmatched by many schools. We are here to guide and support you as you navigate the college admissions process. We believe that each student has his/her own journey through this process so almost all of our work with you will be individual. We expect students to initiate contact and to seek us out for advice and counsel. Our promise is to be responsive to both students and parents, as well as professional, realistic and well-informed.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Developing a balanced list of prospective colleges based on a student’s performance and stated preferences
- Estimating chances for admission based on past experience
- Writing an honest summary school report for each student with an emphasis on strengths and growth
- Providing appropriate support to students as they write essays and prepare their applications
- Sending transcripts and recommendations to colleges in a timely fashion based on the list students provide in Naviance
- Maintaining strong, authentic relationships with college admissions officers
- Advocating for all Deerfield students in the college process
- Serving as a resource for parents and students throughout the process