College Advising at PCS
Our mission for college advising at PCS is to partner with families to explore post-secondary educational options in which their students can continue to grow in their faith, develop their love for learning, and meet their academic and career goals. Students at PCS have a variety of interests and aptitudes, and we encourage families to pray and seek God’s guidance together for how He wants to develop these interests at PCS and beyond.
To that end, we offer a comprehensive program of services to shepherd families through the college admissions process from start to finish. As a result of this investment, which starts in 9th grade, many of our students complete their college applications before the beginning of their senior year and have more time to fully engage in the capstone of classical education—their Senior Thesis.
Here are some of the services that we offer in the college advising program at PCS.
Parent/Student Information Sessions
Beginning in 9th grade, our students and their parents are invited to annual information sessions where we discuss the timeline of the college application process.
We advise students and parents on how to explore options for colleges, narrow down their list of potential schools to visit, and ask the right questions during campus tours. We walk families through the process of building a “college resume” that will attract key schools and lay the groundwork for future scholarship opportunities. We help families determine which standardized tests are worth their investment and how best to help their student prepare. These information sessions are the initial framework for all other college advising at PCS.
Beginning junior year, our College Advisor meets individually with each student and their family to discuss the college search process and to develop a strategic path forward. They talk through the student’s test scores, high school course selection, career ideas, potential best-fit schools, college visits, and finances. Our College Advisor is available to meet one-on-one with students all through high school.
“The Providence Classical College Advising team has been an unbelievable blessing for me and my three PCS kids. I know other parents who have paid thousands and thousands of dollars for college admission consultants and have not received the quality guide we have in our College Advisor. Her wise counsel, incredible connections and ‘been-there-done-that’ experience is a perfect calming guide in what could be an overwhelming and stressful experience. I cannot overstate enough how much the college advising program at PCS has meant to me, my husband, Jack (Class of 2016), Ford (Class of 2020) and Kate (Class of 2022.) It's worth MY weight in gold!”Jana MuntsingerPCS Parent
College Representative Visits
Our Office of College Advising works with colleges and universities all over the country to bring representatives to our campus to meet with students and parents, to give an overview of their institutions, and to answer questions. For many of our students, this is their first exposure to schools outside of Texas and majors they may not even know exist. It is also an excellent “warm up” for families as they prepare to visit college campuses.
In addition, one of the highlights of our year is our Alumni Panel when we invite a group of PCS graduates from a variety of colleges and universities to speak to current students and families about their experiences and how classical Christian education at Providence prepared them for life after high school.
Test Administration and Preparation
Providence Classical School administers a number of standardized tests as part of our college advising program. All 9th-11th grade students take the PSAT 8/9 or PSAT on campus. We have found that giving students time during the school day to take these tests in a comfortable environment helps them to achieve their best scores. Students’ scores on the PSAT are integrated with Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/) to prepare them for future testing, including the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade, which qualifies students for National Merit scholarships.
In addition to using Khan Academy to prepare for the SAT, many of our students participate in our summer SAT Boot Camp, where we offer a deep dive into testing skills, give practice tests, and help students work on challenge areas. The SAT Boot Camp is an efficient and cost-effective way for students to receive personalized test prep assistance.
At PCS, it is our mission to train students using the classical method, therefore we do not offer AP courses as overseen by the College Board. However, we do administer any AP exam our students are prepared to take. We find that many of our students are well prepared to take these subject-area tests. Examples of AP exams administered in past years include: English Language & Comp, English Literature & Comp, Calculus AB, Chemistry, Physics, World History, United States History, US Government & Politics, and Latin. Our College Advisor will work with faculty to assist students as they determine which AP tests to take and how best to prepare.
Many high schoolers understandably find it a daunting task to consider what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Our Office of College Advising is here to help! Our Naviance career assessment program helps students understand how God uniquely wired them and how they might best use their gifts to His glory.
We also offer Shadow Days in which students can experience a potential career first-hand and ask questions of someone in their field of interest. This is a great way for students to narrow their options or to find new inspiration!
College Application Training & Assistance
Juniors taking Economics at PCS receive training in tasks associated with the college search process, including writing college essays, building a resume, and participating in interviews. By the end of their junior year, our students have the skills they need to fully navigate the college application process.
One of the highlights of the college advising program at PCS is our College Application Boot Camp. This two-week program in the summer before 12th grade gives students focused time to complete college applications and essays under the guidance of our College Advisor. At the end of the two weeks, participants are well on their way to completing multiple applications in an efficient and effective way.
Our College Advisor also assists students in obtaining academic and counselor recommendation letters. Because many of our Upper School faculty teach the same students in multiple grades, they develop individual relationships with each student and are able to write authentic, personal letters of recommendation that stand out to college admissions staff.
“The PCS College Advising program creates order from chaos by setting a clear schedule for both standardized testing and college search/application/acceptance, helping the student identify his academic strengths and weaknesses, focusing on areas for resume improvement, and narrowing the lengthy list of potential colleges to those which will provide a good fit academically, spiritually, and financially. PCS parents and students are blessed to have these resources available to them.”John DavidsonPCS Parent
Financial Aid and Scholarship Advising
Once the college acceptance letters begin rolling in, students and parents begin the process of figuring out how to pay for their school of choice. The College Advising Office helps families navigate the myriad of funding options, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and submit standout scholarship applications. For more information on how to complete the FAFSA, download our Comprehensive Guide to Filing Your FAFSA.
These are just a sampling of the personalized and strategic college search and application services offered to high school students at Providence Classical School. For more information, please contact College Advisor Tonya Post.
For a list of colleges and universities where PCS graduates have attended, please visit our college advising page.
Header image by Quinn Kampschroer from Pixabay