A rewarding college experience begins with a thoughtful and deliberate high school education. Our philosophy and approach to college counseling is consistent with the School’s mission, which is to establish in our students a steadfast confidence in themselves and their abilities. Our expectation for keen self-reflection will inform students’ priorities and aspirations for future study.

Beginning in their junior year, the college counselors meet regularly with students and have individual conferences with families.  From these conversations, a student is guided to develop a personal application roadmap and college list. All practical planning for the college search and application process during the junior and senior year is coordinated through the college counseling office. Along with providing preliminary standardized test preparation in the sophomore year, junior year students are provided comprehensive year-long test preparation.The counselors serve as empathetic listeners, painstaking editors and fierce advocates for the students, while helping them to meet the goals they have set for themselves.

The overriding goal of the Grace college counseling program is that students experience the search and application process as empowering and exciting, while honoring the magnitude of such a significant decision and the importance of their active role in it.

Four Year Roadmap

List of 4 items.

  • Freshman Year

    The first year at Grace Church School presents myriad opportunities for students to develop their interests, both academic and extracurricular. Grace’s mission is to educate students who are independent, creative, self-aware and collaborative; consistent support from teachers, their dean, their advisor, and their coaches ensure all students have a fruitful and engaged start to their high school journey.

    At Grace we have built in time during the week for extracurricular pursuits, including Lab Day, Tutorial and Studio time. Students’ enthusiasm might grow into an independent project or inspiration to seek out an internship. We encourage students to find volunteer opportunities, dedicate themselves anew to long-standing commitments, and join (or found) a new club. Deep engagement, from an academic and an extracurricular standpoint, is very important during a student’s first year at Grace.
  • Sophomore Year

    During sophomore year, Grace Church School continues to support students in achieving their academic and extracurricular goals. Students are also provided, during second semester, test preparation classes, and families are invited to evening events with the College Office - including for financial aid advising, a review of standardized testing expectations, and a substantive conversation and review of school curriculum in preparation for of what to expect during the junior year.

    While sophomore year can be a good time to lay the groundwork on a few college-oriented fronts (including testing, financial aid and any possible athletic recruiting), we encourage students first and foremost to continue devoting energies to meeting and exceeding individual academic goals, and continuing to pursue and refine extracurricular interests. During the fourth quarter all sophomore students are provided thorough standardized test preparation in the form of a weekly class. Students are provided information to help make decisions about which tests, to be taken the following year, might best suit their individual strengths and goals. Parents are invited to an evening devoted exclusively to discussing standardized testing.
  • Junior Year

    During Junior Year, extensive individualized support is provided to students and families as the college application process begins outright. A year-long 
    Junior Seminar, a year-long thorough test preparation course, frequent individual meetings with the College office, and engaging evening events for parents are designed to help students and families make the most informed decisions possible throughout the college process.

    A cornerstone of the junior year is the Junior Seminar. The Junior Seminar provides students a holistic approach to beginning the college process in earnest. This year-long class, led by the College Office, provides the essential skills needed for completing the college application process, as well as life after Grace Church School. The course covers personal essay writing, college search support, interviewing skills, as well as academic counseling. Students develop a personal relationship with the college counselors that ensures the centrality of their decision-making in the process. Additionally, each student is provided extensive individualized counseling by the Director and Associate Director of the College Office.
  • Senior Year

    Senior year builds on the work and accomplishments of junior year. During Senior Year, students meet individually with the College Office in addition to the weekly College Seminar in the first semester which guides students through every detail of the college application process. Students complete applications, essays, and financial aid applications during this time and are provided extensive individual support by the College Office.

    The College Office also welcome college and university representatives who visit Grace Church School 
    every fall. Students who opt to pursue early action and early decision are provided support through these processes, and in the spring, the College Office assists students and families with matriculation decisions, which includes understanding financial aid awards. We celebrate not just college acceptances and decisions, but the culmination of our students’ hard work over the course of four years at Grace Church School.

College Office Antiracism Mission Statement

Our college counseling process at Grace Church School is student-centered. This is important as both a pedagogical process and a measure of equity. Applications to all schools to which students choose to apply are fully supported by our office. Students and families consult with us then choose what is best for them. We support those choices. 
We understand that the college process and its outcomes can be fraught. Knowing this, we work with students and families with care and empathy to navigate and assuage these challenges, all the while keeping the individual student safe and at the center of the process.
The safety and sanctity of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students, first generation students and students for whom aid is a factor in the application/admissions process continues to be and has been paramount, as it is for all other students.
There is a history of gatekeeping and harm done to children of color in college admission processes in this country, and likewise in predominantly white K-12 public and private institutions. We bear the weight of this history seriously in our engagements with students, with families, and with our peers in admissions. 

Annual Events

The Office of College Counseling hosts several events with professionals from colleges and universities. The events give parents and students a chance to hear directly from schools they are interested in, and provide information that help families throughout the admissions process.

Panel of College Administrators
Parent Coffees
Admission Rep Visits to GCS
College Fair at GCS
College Admissions Evening
Curriculum Nights

Meet the Staff

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Melanie White

    Melanie White 

    Director of College Counseling
    Teachers College, Columbia University - M.A.
    Sarah Lawrence College - B.A.
  • Photo of Christina Olivares

    Christina Olivares 

    Director of College Counseling; Director of Financial Aid Counseling
    Brooklyn College - M.F.A.
    Amherst College - B.A.
  • Photo of Jane Tran

    Jane Tran 

    Associate Director, College Counseling
    Wesleyan University - M.A.
    Bryn Mawr College - B.A.
  • Photo of Andie Goodman

    Andie Goodman 

    Assistant Director of College Counseling & Standardized Testing Coordinator
    Hunter College - M.S.Ed.
    U. of Virginia - B.S.Ed.
© 2022 Grace Church School
Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.