Please note that there are additional college policies and procedures located in the Curriculum Guide.
Introduction to College Guidance
In the increasingly competitive and unpredictable climate of college admissions, it is very important for students and parents to understand that, ultimately, students are evaluated primarily on their own academic records. The colleges measure students both on the rigor of the courses taken and the quality of the grades earned. Simply put, taking the most rigorous curriculum the student can handle and making the best grades that he or she can in those courses throughout high school will give the student the greatest number of college options in the senior year. The College Guidance Office and the college advisors stand ready to assist Darlington’s students and parents in any way possible throughout the college admissions process.
The aim of the College Guidance Program at Darlington is to assist every student in selecting and gaining admission to colleges well suited for him or her in terms of interests, ability and academic record. Under the direction of the Dean of College Guidance, the Associate Dean of College Guidance, and 15 college advisors, college counseling begins in the freshman and sophomore years, with general information provided in class meetings and through the advisory program.
Formal counseling begins in the junior year through a series of group sessions on the specifics of the college admission process. At that time, each student is reminded of the College Admission Guidebook prepared by Darlington’s college guidance staff to assist both student and parents in the admission process. This guidebook is available on Darlington's website. In the spring of the junior year, each student is assigned a college advisor who will replace the student’s regular faculty advisor and will serve through the senior year. The advisor will assist the student in preparing a list of appropriate colleges to consider. Students are trained in the use of the Naviance college guidance program, and the students and parents are given their passwords.
In the fall of the senior year, college advisors assist students in narrowing their college choices, completing applications, and obtaining the school recommendations that are required by colleges and universities. The student then turns in each application to the College Guidance Office, where, with the transcript, activities record, and recommendations, it is mailed to the college in one complete application packet. Students who apply online turn in printed confirmation of the application to generate the school's paperwork.
Students must take charge of the process; it is primarily their process – not the parents' or the school’s. The college advisors provide practical assistance, encourage students to be open-minded, to consider various types and locations of colleges; to aim high, seeking admission to the very best college fit possible, while remaining realistic about one’s chances of admission; to visit college campuses wherever possible as the most crucial step in the admission process; to take the initiative in all aspects of the process; to complete all applications themselves instead of relying on parents to do so; and above all, to meet all obligations and deadlines – both Darlington’s and the colleges’. Representatives from many colleges and universities visit Darlington each year. With proper permission, students may also take some time off from school to visit colleges.
Attendance at a good preparatory school alone does not guarantee college admission; rather, admission is based on how successfully students have used their secondary school experience. Major factors in candidate selection include a student’s overall secondary school record (by far the most important factor, including both grades earned and rigor of courses selected), SAT or ACT and SAT Subject Test scores (and TOEFL scores for international students), the school’s recommendation, intellectual interests and attainments, extracurricular participation, evidence of leadership, personal interview, character, personality, and conduct record.
Parents who wish to discuss their student’s college plans and options should contact the student's college advisor directly to set up an appointment for a college conference. To request a college conference with the Dean of College Guidance, please call 706-236-0438.