Inspired experience based college preparatory education for creative and intellectually curious students
Early childhood through twelfth grade

College Counseling: Overview of College Admissions Process

College List

Waverly is a college preparatory school; our curriculum is specifically intended to prepare students for higher education. See the following link for a list of colleges and universities to which The Waverly School Class of 2016 was admitted. Class of 2016 Colleges and Universities

Freshman Year

Ninth grade is a period of transition and, for some students, stress. Waverly supports student adjustment to the demands of high school rather than focusing narrowly on the college admissions process.

Freshmen should:

  • Take classes that are appropriate for them and dedicate themselves to strengthening their academic skills and exploring their intellectual interests.
  • Read, read, and read.
  • Eat dinner with their parents/guardians on a regular basis.
  • Participate in activities that are engaging to them.

Sophomore Year

Sophomores should:

  • Take challenging classes that are of interest to them and do their best work in those classes.
  • Take the PSAT in October on campus.
  • Consider taking SAT II Subject Tests (in areas of strength and special interest) in May or June.
  • Students need to register for these tests by the end of March.
  • Read, read, and read.
  • Eat dinner with their parents/guardians on a regular basis.

Sophomores and their parents/guardians should:

  • Attend Tenth Grade College Night on campus.
  • Begin to explore college/university websites and the College Board’s website, in addition to browsing through college guides.
  • Begin visiting different types of colleges and universities in Southern California and elsewhere, if the family will already be traveling for other reasons.
  • Look at a variety of colleges and universities to help determine the type of school they want to attend (e.g., small, medium, large; rural, suburban, urban; in California or out of state; public or private).
  • Select summer activities that are of interest.
  • It is not necessary to attend expensive camps or travel abroad.

Junior Year

Juniors should:

  • Take challenging classes that are of interest to them and do their best work in those classes.
  • Take the PSAT in October on campus.
  • Register for and take SAT II Subject, SAT, and/or ACT tests in the spring of the junior year.
  • Read, read, and read.
  • Eat dinner with their parents/guardians on a regular basis.

Juniors will:

  • Meet with Waverly’s college counselor on a weekly basis during the spring semester Wellness class.
  • Complete and submit a questionnaire in the early spring and a self-evaluation in June to Waverly’s college counselor.

Juniors and their parents/guardians will:

  • Have individual meetings with Waverly’s college counselor during the spring semester.

Juniors and their parents/guardians should:

  • Continue to visit different types of colleges and universities in Southern California and elsewhere.
  • Many families find a specific “college trip” useful during the spring of or summer after the junior year.
  • Continue to explore college/university websites and the College Board’s website in addition to reading through college guides.
  • Attend Junior College Night on campus.
  • Select summer activities that are of interest.
  • It is not necessary to attend expensive camps or travel abroad.

Parents/Guardians should:

  • Complete and submit a questionnaire in early spring and a parent recommendation in June to Waverly’s college counselor.

In the summer between the junior and senior years, each student should write a solid draft of his/her college essay, narrow his/her college list, and begin work on the Common Application, if s/he will be applying to colleges using the Common Application.

Senior Year

Seniors confer with Waverly’s college counselor to narrow their list of colleges to a reasonable number in each of three categories: “reach” schools (colleges/universities that may be tougher for the student to gain admission to), “50/50” schools (colleges/universities that have often accepted students with similar profiles), and “safety” schools (colleges/universities that usually accept students with similar profiles). The list should only contain colleges/universities in which the student is genuinely interested.

Please note that “reach,” “50/50,” and “safety” are not pejorative terms and only have meaning relative to a specific student and college/university combination. A school may be a “50/50” for one student and a “safety” for another student.

Seniors may need to register for and take SAT I or SAT II tests in October.

With the help and support of parents/guardians, seniors should:

  • Pay close attention to and create a timeline for all colleges’ application deadlines, including deadlines for portfolio or audition submissions.
  • Pay close attention to any required additional essay questions and meet each school’s deadline for any extra requested information.
  • Ask one or two teachers of core academic subjects for letters of recommendation.
  • These requests should be accompanied by lists of deadlines and instructions for online submission.
  • Students should also be sure to follow up their requests with thank you notes to the teachers.
  • Turn in their SSR (Secondary School Report form) and their final college lists to Waverly by December 1.
  • Complete the PROFILE, FAFSA, and all other financial aid forms by each program’s deadline.
  • Winnow their options once college acceptances come in, making sure to visit campuses and classrooms if at all possible.
  • Remit deposits to their chosen schools after making their final decisions by May 1.
  • Continue to work hard on their high school studies.
  • All colleges/universities ask for spring semester grades and have been known to rescind their offers if senior grades fall.