As a college-preparatory school, FSHA seeks to develop the talents and interests of its students so that they will succeed at their chosen college or university. We are dedicated to helping each student realize her individual educational goals, and work closely with her and her family throughout the process.
Advising & College Counseling: A Four Year Program
As a college-preparatory school, FSHA seeks to develop the talents and interests of its students so that they will succeed at their chosen college or university.
During freshman and sophomore years, the girls learn about the varying curriculum requirements of colleges and are counseled in their choice of studies by their assigned academic advisors. Each student is then assigned to a college counselor for her junior and senior years who guides her through the entire college application process. The Advising & College Counseling staff is dedicated to helping each student realize her individual educational goals, and works closely with her and her family throughout this four-year process.
Applying to college can be both fulfilling and exciting for you and your daughter, offering an opportunity to gain greater insight and clarity into her personal values, goals and decision-making style. We believe process of applying to, contacting and visiting colleges should be one of organization and creativity, resulting in a sense of true accomplishment.
The Advising & College Counseling Process
The following calendar outlines the services and opportunities provided by the College Counseling and Advising Department during this four year program.
Advisors play a critical role in preparing students for college by counseling them about classes, addressing academic and personal/social needs, while also helping students identify passions and enrichment opportunities. The advisors and college counselors seek to nurture students' academic and personal development during their high school years.
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Advising in the freshman year serves to help students become acquainted with the high school experience. Students are introduced to importance of self advocacy, being involved in extracurricular activities, developing strong study habits and advice on building teacher relationships. Advisors work with academic departments to appropriately place students in classes for the next academic year. Moreover, the advisor serves at the student’s advocate in issues related to academics as well as personal fortification. Through advising assemblies, students are also able to learn about topics including creating and maintaining healthy relationships, setting goals and reflecting on academic performance. Addressing these topics freshmen year will benefit them later as juniors and seniors.
During freshmen year, students will participate in the following:
Freshmen take the PSAT test (a pre-SAT)
Out-of-state college fair (students and parents are invited to attend)
Explore test seminar (distribution of test results and explanation)
Individual meetings for parents and students for 10th grade course scheduling and review of student progress
Introduction to Naviance/The Family Connection so students learn about this valuable resource used by the Advising & College Counseling office
During the sophomore year, advisors serve as a critical role in supporting students both academically and personally as they tackle a more rigorous academic load. Students at this age are more involved in their high experience, thus advisors focus student enrichment on time management, a continuum of study skills development and identifying potential leadership opportunities as they move to an upper grade level. Advisors encourage sophomores to continue in philanthropic activities which focus on fueling their passions and faith during their summer break and continue to provide college counseling by suggesting classes for the next year.
During sophomore year, students will participate in the following:
Take PSAT in October and full length practice ACT exam
Fall college tours available
Individual meetings for parents and students for 11th grade course scheduling and review of student progress
Students and parents are urged to attend the National College Fair in Pasadena
Advisors serve to help students solidify their extracurricular activities, build their resume and interpret test scores in preparation for their college application process. Students transition to their college counselors in the second semester to more fully embark on their college exploration and application journey. Advisors and college counselors encourage to discover their passions which can inform their college environment and major choose, thus allowing for a more personalized and intimate college selection journey. College counselors introduce students to exploration tools to help in their college search and applications including mentorship in writing their college essay.
During junior year, students will participate in the following:
Take PSAT test for the third time and second full length practice ACT exam
Juniors are invited to participate in the college representative visits on our campus.
College counselors visit religion classes for “Essay Writing” and “Building College List” Workshops
College Knowledge Night: Event for all junior families
Individual college guidance appointments are scheduled with college counselors following College Knowledge Night.
Spring Break East Coast College Tour
Spring semester ACT practice classes
Juniors take first SAT and/or ACT test and Subject Tests (if applicable).
Students and parents are urged to attend the National College Fair in Pasadena
Case Studies "Mock Admissions Event” partnered with St. Francis.
Junior Questionnaire is assigned
College Counseling Summer Workshops
College counselors serve as mentors to students who are not only choosing colleges, but helping students discover more about themselves and their own identity. Through a dynamic and very personalized service, college counselors provide students information regarding colleges, deadlines, strategies, financial aid and many more aspects. It is the goal of the college counselors to help students find their “best fit” college in which they will continue to grow personally, academically and spiritually.
During senior year, students will participate in the following:
Senior Parent Night
Another opportunity to retake SAT, ACT and/or Subject Tests
St. Francis College Fair
College representatives to visit school during fall season
College counselors meet with each student individually on a regular basis and prepare letters of recommendation for all seniors
All college applications submitted by Jan. 15 with guidance from college counselors
Assistance and direction in applying for financial aid and scholarships
Counseling on dealing with acceptances, denials and making appropriate college choices
Ready for the Next Step: College Counseling
Sara Collins ’16 is a senior in the midst of the college application process. While you might expect her to feel frazzled or stressed, Sara is neither. “I feel confident in the applications that I submitted for the early action pool because I spent a great amount of time working on the supplements and essays and coming up with unique responses,” says Sara. “The college counseling program really helped me get ready.” She isn’t alone. By the time our students reach senior year, they are well prepared for the college process. The Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS) agrees.
Evaluating and improving the college counseling process is an important component of Goal One of the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. A January 2015 audit by ACCIS applauded the work done to improve the program over the years and provided additional recommendations that have already been implemented. The audit found that a unique blend of personalized attention, knowledgeable and enthusiastic counselors, and a four-year tracking of test scores all make FSHA’s college counseling department top notch. “When I came on board four years ago, I wanted to develop a program that fit the needs of our students and the culture of FSHA,” says Candy Navarro, director of college counseling. “The report from ACCIS really validated the steps we have taken to revolutionize the program. It was great to hear from many different parties that we were meeting the needs of our students.”
“The college counseling program is extremely personalized to each student,” explains Candy. “We assign students tasks to complete before their next meeting. They like that we start early, give deadlines and break the entire application process down.”
In January of junior year, all students are assigned a college counselor. Besides multiple individual meetings throughout the year, college counselors go into the classrooms to facilitate essay-writing workshops. Students also have the opportunity to go on two college tours — an East Coast trip and a Northern California trip. In senior year, students meet with their college counselors as often as every two weeks, when college counselors work to manage deadlines and anxiety. “The college counseling program is extremely personalized to each student,” explains Candy. “We assign students tasks to complete before their next meeting. They like that we start early, give deadlines and break the entire application process down.”
International students in the boarding program also receive a significant amount of personalized attention. College counselors hold weekly meetings in the evenings in the boarding hall during the fall semester, when students can get advice on their applications and their specific forms. And while the girls are busy writing essays and filling out applications, the faculty is also hard at work. Candy holds college recommendation-writing workshops for faculty. “The workshops are quite beneficial, even for experienced letter writers,” says Sherrie Singer, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction. “Candy explains what the best letters entail—trends in the student’s academic life, character traits, work habits, personal anecdotes—and when to shed light on special aptitudes that the reader might not necessarily know.”
During their four years on the Hill, students use a college-counseling program called Naviance. Naviance stores all test scores and notes from academic advisors and college counselors over the four years of high school, helps students build their resumes and allows students to see which schools are viable options based on the students’ many academic and performance rankings. “Because they have access to all this information, students are very aware of where they stand in their class and in the college admissions process even before they get to junior year,” says Candy. When it comes time to decide on which colleges to apply to, expectations are realistic. Not one to rest on its laurels, the college counseling department is moving ahead with other initiatives. Next up? Programming for freshmen and sophomores and the development of a comprehensive strategy for presenting FSHA to colleges. “By expanding college programming to 9th and 10th grades, we are able to better prepare students for the college application process,” says Candy. “When the students come to us in 11th grade, they need to be a competitive applicant already. Early programming will get them there.”
The Class of 2017 is attending colleges and universities around the world, many of them highly selective. Of the 94 graduates, 23 will attend a four-year Catholic college, 70 will attend other four-year colleges and one will attend community college.
Recent College Choices
44% of graduates will attend highly selective colleges as defined by schools that admit 30% or less of the students who apply. These schools include:
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is an all girls' Catholic, Dominican, independent, college-preparatory day and boarding high school in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge. Overlooking Pasadena, FSHA educates girls from Los Angeles, Southern California and around the world for a life of faith, integrity and truth.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
440 St. Katherine Drive La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011 Phone: 626-685-8300