College Counseling

The College Process

The College Process

Although freshmen, sophomore and junior students are not yet applying to colleges, these years should be used to assess academic interests, explore new subject areas, and begin to take tests (when appropriate) that will accompany college applications. During this time students should work closely with their academic advisors to plan a course of study that is appropriately challenging and diverse. Additionally, extracurricular activities like sports, debate, performing and visual arts, community service, publications, and student government provide other avenues for students to develop specific interests and skills that may eventually influence their college list. For seniors the information below will be of help in managing the process.

Click here for College Counseling Guidebook

List of 3 items.

  • Freshman Year

    • September Get your year off to a great start by keeping yourself organized, seeing teachers for extra help as soon as any problems arise, and by realizing that grades earned in the freshman year really do matter to colleges.
    • Try a new sport, join a new club or activity, look for community service opportunities, or volunteer to serve on a class committee.
    • October PSAT – Though they are just for practice, the Preliminary SAT is something to be taken seriously. Results can point to both areas of strength and to those that may need some attention.
    • February Students meet with their academic advisors to plan courses for next year. Teachers recommend students for honors sections based upon performance to date. Choose rigor whenever possible.
    • May Begin to study for final examinations early in the month. Review and correct all past tests and quizzes. Organize a “study group” and challenge each other with subject-specific trivia.
    • Summer Use the summer to hone your artistic, athletic, and leadership skills. Make reading for pleasure a part of your daily routine.
  • Sophomore Year

    • September Avoid the “Sophomore Slump” by getting off to a great start. Worry as much about getting good grades throughout the year as you do about getting your driver’s license.
    • October PSAT – The Preliminary SAT scores give a “snapshot” of a student’s tested ability, and can point to areas in English and mathematics where further review may be helpful.
    • February College Information Meeting for sophomores and parents – a brief program that previews the “road ahead” in the college search and selection process.
    • Students meet with their academic advisors to plan courses for next year. Schedules should include as much challenge as appropriate, and elective courses should be chosen from areas of interest. Speak with a college counselor if you have any questions about what to take.
    • May Attend the National College Fair at the Nashville Convention Center. This annual event brings many college and university admissions officers to town and provides an initial opportunity for students and families to gather information about a variety of schools. Check the MBA Calendar for the specific day and time.
    • Begin to study for final examinations early in the month. Go to extra help sessions as often as possible.
    • June Offered on the first Saturday in June the SAT I (reasoning test) & SAT II (subject tests) are key components of the college application process. Sophomores do not normally take the SAT I at this time, but some SAT II Subject Tests in areas like chemistry or foreign language (following the third year level) may be appropriate.
    • MBA and Harpeth Hall offer annual, joint college tours to various regions of the country. Not designed to identify “first choice” colleges, these trips provide an opportunity to see a range of differing types of colleges and universities. Details and reservation forms are sent in December.
    • Summer Summer is a great time to work, volunteer, or travel; these experiences can help students to learn about possible career paths, potential areas of study for college majors, or simply more about themselves. Visits to colleges can help to assess preferences for size, type, location, and culture.
  • Junior Year

    • October PSAT – Scores from this year serve to qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship Program, and are a good “snapshot” of what SAT scores may look like. The results can point to areas in math and English that may need review.
    • January SAT I & II – A good time for juniors to take the SAT I for the first time. College Information Meeting for juniors and parents is held. Individual meetings with college counselors begin.
    • February Presidents’ Day Holiday weekend is a good time to make other exploratory college visits.
    • All juniors are strongly encouraged to review their proposed senior schedules with one of the college counselors. The strength of a senior’s schedule can play a significant role in admissions decisions at competitive colleges and universities.
    • March Spring Break is a great time to gather more information about colleges and to visit campuses, but it is not a time for formal campus interviews. Arranging a mini-internship can provide great insight into potential college majors and career paths.
    • May SAT I & II – Take the SAT I again, or for the first time if you did not take it in January.
    • Advance Placement Examinations offered at school.
    • Attend the National College Fair again. Introduce yourself to admissions representatives of colleges and universities you may be considering.
    • Juniors are encouraged to finish the year as strongly as possible. Start reviewing for final exams early in the month. Cramming does not usually work.
    • June SAT I & II – Take appropriate SAT II Subject Tests.
    • Consider the MBA College Tours or make individual college visits (attend information sessions, take campus tours, and interview at schools where interviews are evaluative).
    • Summer Refine your college list and make sure that the schools to which you plan to apply include ones you’d definitely attend and at least two where your credentials are much stronger than most other applicants. Gather application materials or search college and university websites to assure that you know what you’ll need to do to apply in a timely fashion.
    • Begin some rough drafts on a couple of college application essays. It will be far easier to revise one later than it is to create one from scratch at the 11th hour before a deadline.

Montgomery Bell Academy

4001 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 298-5514