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College Counseling

The liberal arts foundation Madeira builds in the classroom, in combination with the experiential learning opportunities of the Co-Curriculum internship program, develops the intellectual and real-world skills needed for success in college and career. 

Our Philosophy and Goals 

At Madeira, we pride ourselves on launching women who change the world. This starts with a growing understanding of the world and what it needs alongside developing the talents and gifts each student brings to the important work ahead. The Madeira experience provides a foundation, and a thoughtful college process yields a positive outcome. College is not the defining end point, but the next step in the unfolding of a rich and meaningful life. 

The Madeira College Counseling program is closely aligned with the core skills and values that form the overall academic mission. College counselors work individually with students and families and offer class-specific programs spanning all grade levels. The intent is to encourage thoughtful introspection throughout students’ high school experiences to help empower them in all aspects of decision-making regarding their futures. 

The college counselors meet with each grade level every school year, and students at any grade level may request a meeting with their college counselor. Junior year marks the more active phase of the college process, and juniors and seniors are encouraged to have regular individual and family meetings with their college counselor. College counselors present to parents of every grade level through annual college counseling programming, announced in all-school and college counseling communications. 

The college process involves the complex interweaving of developmental growth and logistical considerations, as outlined for each grade level below. 


9th Grade

Developmental Considerations:

  • Engage in the fullness of your high school experience and explore new academic opportunities.
  • Create community and try new activities and roles
  • Identify strengths and apply academic skills in new ways
  • Learn how to use your advisor, teachers, and peers for support and inspiration.

Logistical Considerations:

  • Create a four-year academic plan to choose courses for this year and map a tentative future path.
  • College counselors meet with ninth grade students during their student life classes.
10th Grade

Developmental  Considerations:

  • Refine study skills and organizational habits to support success in all academic areas.
  • Join new clubs or activities to explore new areas.
  • Begin to think about how your strengths and interests might apply to future opportunities.
  • Consider the best use of summer to explore your interests.
  • Learn about career areas of interest and what different types of colleges have to offer.

Logistical Considerations:

  • Continue to hone the four-year plan, with an eye toward graduation requirements.
  • Take the PSAT for practice; learn about the future standardized testing timeline.
  • College counselors meet with sophomores as a class or in small groups several times during the year. Individual meetings as requested.
11th Grade

Developmental Considerations:

  • Delve into academic topics of interest while maintaining steady progress in all courses.
  • Find ways to demonstrate leadership as you present yourself in the community or in formal roles.
  • Build relationships with teachers, advisors, and college counselors who will provide specific support in the college process.
  • Balance your time and energy as you gain responsibility and independence in your academic, extracurricular, and social worlds.
  • ¬†Dive into college research with an open mind! Reflect upon your interests and priorities to choose which colleges to explore.
  • Consider college fit from three lenses: academic, social, and financial.

Logistical Considerations:

  • Attend college information sessions hosted at Madeira in the fall.
  • Take the PSAT again. With help from your college counselor, create a standardized testing plan.
  • Develop a research list of specific colleges then hone that list. Attend information sessions and tours, virtually or in person.
  • Attend essay workshop presented by College Counselors.
  • Follow the Madeira process for requesting academic letters of recommendations.
  • Complete summer work after junior year, including completing a questionnaire drafting essays.
  • College Counselors meet with students as a class and in small groups several times; individual meetings begin in November and continue throughout the year.
12th Grade

Developmental Considerations:

  • Pursue a challenging but manageable senior year schedule, reflecting your academic strengths and interests.
  • Stay grounded in a positive high school experience, even as your focus shifts to the future.
  • Combine self-reflection and effective college research to present yourself authentically in your college applications.
  • Ensure your college list will serve you well.
  • Ensure your college list is balanced, demonstrating a willingness to take risks and providing solid options.
  • After receiving college decisions, consider academic, social, and financial elements to determine which option is the best fit.
  • View graduation as commencement: the start of an exciting next step.

Logistical Considerations:

  • Working with your college counselor, finalize application plans (Early Decision, Early Action, Regular) and develop a realistic timeline for success on these applications.
  • Create a balanced application list of 8-10 schools that will serve you well.
  • Stay apprised of specific schools’ expectations for interviews, financial aid deadlines, and scholarship opportunities.
  • Work together as a family on financial aid applications, including the FAFSA and CSS Profile.
  • Complete the enrollment process at the college of your choosing, and/or consider a gap year experience.
  • College Counselors present application workshops in the fall, meet with the class frequently, and meet with individual students and families throughout the year.