Secondary School Advising: Preparing Students for School after Carroll

Mary McNulty


On graduation day at Carroll, it is exhilarating to hear where each student will be attending school the following year. Each graduate glows with pride as they confidently embrace the next step in their journey. But as students and parents will tell you, a lot of work goes into creating that moment. Families express that it was made possible, in large part, by the efforts of Carroll’s Secondary School Advising team.

Over a year before that exhilarating graduation day, the Secondary School Advising (SSA) team begins the placement cycle that assists families in all aspects of finding the right fit for graduating Carroll students. Logistics and timeline are discussed early on so families have a solid understanding of how the placement process works.

At the beginning of a student’s final year at Carroll, Director of SSA Charlene Kmetz, along with her colleague Cece McNally, SSA Associate, meet with parents to hear what their dreams, hopes, and vision are for their child. Conversely, the SSA Team shares their perspective on the specifics of a student’s educational strengths, needs, and dyslexic advantage (superpower).This perspective is gained through hours of getting to know students via one-to-one meetings, classroom visits, and in-depth conversations with faculty. It is with this highly individualized approach that a partnership is born.

Through a series of events and activities designed for students and parents, the SSA Team guides families through the sometimes difficult, and often stressful, process. Open House meetings give families a sense of what schools have to offer, mock interviews provide students the opportunity to practice conveying with confidence their unique capabilities, and dedicated faculty offer essay assistance and thoughtful references.These are only a sampling of the ways in which families are supported.

The SSA team’s strong relationship with a myriad of independent schools plays a key role in the placement process. Charlene and Cece are keenly aware of what each school has to offer in terms of support and culture, and are therefore able to recommend schools that fit a student’s learning style, personality, and areas of interest. Because of the strong relationships that have been forged with a long list of independent schools, admission teams know a great deal about Carroll. Across the board these schools report that Carroll students are some of the most organized, resilient, and confident students who become exemplary citizens in their school community.

Charlene notes that she finds it incredibly gratifying to bear witness to the growth that takes place in students throughout their final year at Carroll. She and Cece conclude the cycle in the spring, celebrating with families on exciting placements and future plans.They then take a breath and ask themselves,”How can we do better?” It is this ongoing quest that makes the Secondary School Advising department so special and effective.

And with renewed energy, the next cycle begins.

Hear from Jennifer and Jason Morgan P'21 about how the Secondary School Advising team helped them to choose the best school for their daughter after her graduation from Carroll School.



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