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 to come to Wheeler. For some students, 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 students, parents and faculty to guide (rather than direct) students in the process of finding a college which will further develop their 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.
Wheeler is among the first schools in the country to join the launch in March 2018 of the "Making Caring Common" project led by Harvard. The new national campaign aims to mobilize middle and high schools to prepare young people to be constructive community members and citizens who create a better world.
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. Two 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.
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
A graduate of Wheeler, Amy was appointed to the College Counseling Office in 1998 after two years as an Assistant Director of Admission at Wellesley College. Prior to the Admission Office, Amy was a higher education, healthcare and nonprofit consultant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouse Coopers). Amy is a 1993 graduate of Wellesley College from which she graduated Cum Laude and was inducted into the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. Amy received her Ed. M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1996 where she received the Charles H. Smith Scholarship. She has served on numerous committees for the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC), the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, the College Board and the ACT Regional Council. Amy was named Counselor of the Year by NEACAC in 2004 and is the mother of two current Wheeler students - Hannah ‘20 and William ‘24.
Co-Director College Counseling; Upper School History Teacher
David first joined the Wheeler faculty in 1994 and has served in many capacities including Dean of Students for fourteen years, Director of Academic Technology for nine years, Interim Head of Upper School, and Acting History Department Chair before joining the College Counseling team in 2008. Prior to coming to Wheeler, David was a member of the History Departments at the Dwight Englewood School, the Francis Parker School, and History Chair at the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. David graduated from Amherst College Magna Cum Laude in 1987 and earned an MA from the University of Chicago in 1992, where he was named both the Amherst Memorial Fellow and University Fellow in Political Science. David is the parent of Wheeler alumnus, Daniel ’14 and current student Max ’17.
Dana joined the Wheeler School faculty as a part time temporary admissions associate in 2003. Shortly thereafter Dana became the full time College Counseling Administrative Assistant. Dana also serves as the Advanced Placement (AP) and SAT Testing Coordinator for Wheeler School. Prior to coming to Wheeler School Dana worked in the health profession as an Occupational Therapist and Student Supervisor in Chicago area hospitals, home health and nursing homes. Dana has a BS in Sociology and Psychology and a BS in Occupational Therapy. Dana is the parent of a Wheeler student, class of 2019.
Links and descriptions of resources to support the college planning process
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The Wheeler School offers a vibrant and creative educational environment for students in grades nursery through 12th grade in the heart of College Hill. Unparalleled opportunity awaits each and every child.