Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Weekly `College Prep' Seminar Offers Seniors Facts and Tactics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Weekly `College Prep' Seminar Offers Seniors Facts and Tactics

Article excerpt

Seniors at Whitfield School in Town and Country are becoming educated consumers about the college process in a weekly senior seminar class that could be called College 101.

In a recent session, 40 seniors were listening to Cynthia Alverson, director of college counseling. She asked, "Is anyone interested in KU?"

"Brown University is coming in October on the 19th," Alverson continued. "It's a big place; they have about 20,000 students."

One student asked, "If you apply now for early decision (an early-admission agreement in which a student withdraws applications to other colleges), when will you know if you're admitted?"

"You should know before the holidays or by late January," assured Alverson.

Scott Herr concedes that he is feeling "stressed. There's a lot to do. I worry about essays and getting everything in on time."

Kristy Dixon agrees. "I never realized how fast my senior year would come. It feels like it's all coming down at once."

Meghan Carmody is more worried about putting together a portfolio to impress admission officers at art and design schools in New York and Philadelphia. She also notes, "It's not just grades; they're also looking for a well-rounded person."

Whitfield matches students with colleges across the country. Most of last year's 31 graduates attend out-of-state schools such as Brigham Young, Clemson, DePauw, Howard, Stanford, Texas Christian and the University of Colorado.

Whitfield trains students that "they are consumers, not victims of this process," said Alverson, who is new at Whitfield and formerly worked in admissions at Washington University. "Students need to have assertive communication skills. If they fail to receive requested materials, they need to pick up the phone and call."

"What really helps shape their college list is visiting campuses," Alverson said. "We encourage students to take part in programs that allow them to go by themselves and spend the night. We want them to find out what kinds of kids go there and get a feeling for the campus, so they can figure out what they like."

Whitfield's senior seminar class recently visited Washington University. Visits also are planned to the University of Missouri at Columbia and to Westminster College in Fulton so students can experience campuses of different sizes. …

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