College Counseling

Welcome to Carrollwood Day School’s college counseling and admissions program!

CDS’s college counseling philosophy centers on a four-year developmental program that is designed to deconstruct and demystify what has become a complex process involving many moving pieces. We holistically invest in “slow dripping” information to parents and students as they begin their tenure in the upper school. Understanding the parameters and requirements of college admissions earlier rather than later in one’s secondary school experience can only benefit each CDS student’s success.

The first two developmental years (grades 9 and 10) focus on college counseling related issues and information. From curriculum choice/development to strategic extra-curricular engagement to visiting school to understanding the nomenclature of a wide variety of college and university settings, CDS’s college counseling staff will prepare students to understand each individual’s “in and out of school” achievement portfolio versus what is required to gain admission at a wide variety of colleges throughout the United States and abroad.

The second two developmental years (grades 11 and 12) focus on college admissions related issues and the application process. These two years will focus on college choice, college counseling classes, and evening seminars addressing the many aspects of what constitutes an excellent application to college, including but not limited to: college interview preparation, college essay development, standardized testing timeline and strategy, developing a resume of activities, letter of recommendation guidance, visiting colleges, dissecting college scholarship (Merit) potential, discussing strategic application programs (early decision/early action/ restricted early action), filling out applications, and making a final decision with thoughtful and reflective care.

Finally, our institutional position on the college admissions process centers on discovering the most competitive match/fit for each CDS student. As college students spend 90% of their time outside the classroom, it is imperative to not only seek a challenging and scholarly environment, but one that feels comfortable and manageable both inside and outside the classroom. 

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