College Counseling

Looking beyond Wheeler, our expert College Counseling team works with students and their parents or guardians to evaluate, explore, select and apply to colleges that are good matches for you. Meeting every week beginning in the junior year, our counselors know each student and family and work with you to craft and support your choices.

In the College Counseling Office, our goal is to help students select and apply to colleges that are good “matches” much like the decision-making process you and your family made to come to Wheeler. For some, this match might be a large, urban institution on the West Coast, while for others it might mean a small, rural college in northern New England. Some students may even decide to take a gap year and explore a new part of the world before enrolling in college. What is key is that we work together with you, your parents/guardians and faculty to guide (rather than direct) the process of finding a college which will further develop your academic and personal growth. Moreover, we should all remember that it is not so much where you go to college that makes the difference; it is what you do once you get there that is most important.

The college admission process at Wheeler includes the following steps:

  • Evaluation: Helping students and parents to understand the criteria that colleges use to decide admission, and then evaluating the potential range of college options based on the entirety of the student’s record;
  • Exploration: Helping students explore the range of options available using a wide variety of resources;
  • Application: Helping students with their applications, providing technological and personal advice and support to make their application as strong as possible;
  • Financial Aid: Helping families access the resources available to apply for financial aid;
  • Matriculation: Helping students to decide where they want to be after graduating from Wheeler.

Ultimately, the goal of the College Counseling Office is to help students make good choices. If students are responsible and thorough in the college admission process — and parents provide appropriate support — each student will find a college, or post-graduate experience, for which they are well-matched academically, intellectually, socially and personally.

Resources for enrolled students and their parents are available on the Grade Groups when you log into the website through your parent portal.

College Counseling Timeline

Beginning in ninth grade, the College Counseling Office supports students, parents, advisors, teachers and coaches to help our graduates explore a wide range of opportunities at Wheeler and beyond. Three full-time college counselors, whose combined tenure at Wheeler is over 35 years, and a full-time administrative coordinator support each graduating class. We are the only high school in Rhode Island whose counselors meet individually with every senior every week of the senior fall and winter. However, we also start working with students, parents and academic advisors well before that time.

The College Counseling Team

Amy Baumgartel Singer ’89
Director of College Counseling
amybaumgartelsinger@wheelerschool.org

Sharonda Dailey
Associate Director College Counseling & Student Support Coordinator
sharondadailey@wheelerschool.org

David Michel
Co-Director College Counseling; Upper School History Teacher
davidmichel@wheelerschool.org

Dana Watkins
College Counseling Administrative Assistant
(401) 421-8100 x128
danawatkins@wheelerschool.org

College Counseling Information for Parents & Students

Students should work as hard as they can in academic courses that are challenging but not overwhelming.  The transcript is one of the most important factors in the college application process (only year-end grades are reported on the transcript that is sent to colleges, unless the course is only a semester in length, for which the semester grade is reported).

Students should develop interests and activities each year.  It is better to pursue a few in greater depth and demonstrate leadership than to participate in many activities on a superficial level.

Take advantage of summers – attend programs, volunteer, work – it doesn’t matter so much what students do as long as they are not lounging by the beach all summer.

Parents can begin to estimate college costs using the net price calculators available on every college’s website

Make the transition to the Upper School in a positive way

Parent evening in January of each year as part of a year-long series of parent programs
Administer the PSAT to all sophomores in October each year

Meet in small groups with all ninth and tenth graders in Spring

Administer a practice ACT/SAT exam to all sophomores in May of each year

Advise students and teachers when it is appropriate to take SAT Subject Tests or AP exams during these years

Serve as a resource to all academic advisors about course planning for each student

Administer the PSAT in October

Junior/Junior Parent College Night Kickoff in January

Meet individually with juniors to begin college list formation, start working on essays and applications and meet with families to discuss long-range plans and goals

Students take the SAT in either December or March

Students take the ACT in either December or February

Plan for additional standardized testing beyond the initial round described above

Co-host annual Independent School College Fair in April where close to 100 representatives gather to meet Providence-area independent school students

Invite college representatives to campus to discuss interview tips and application essay writing

Students take SAT Subject Tests and AP exams when appropriate

Host Senior Parent College Night on the second evening of school to preview their child’s senior year and learn even more about the college application process

Meet individually with every senior every week during the fall semester to review essays, applications and the student’s overall experience as a senior

Welcome over 125 college representatives to our campus over the course of 8 weeks in the fall

Help students submit applications

Remind parents of financial aid application deadlines

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