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 (some courses supported by College Counseling Staff), 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 - once for a financial aid night and once for a substantive conversation in preparation 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 second semester, 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. The College Office also hosts two different evening events during the spring of sophomore year. Our Financial Aid event features a Director of Financial Aid providing an overview of the financial aid process, and our College Evening provides parents a substantive window into what is to be anticipated during each student’s junior year. During this event, we will look ahead at the landscape and timeline for the college search and application process.
  • Junior Year

    During Junior Year, extensive individualized support is provided to students and families as the college application process begins. A year-long holistic 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, financial aid advice and information, college campus visit planning, support with NCAA eligibility process, and support with portfolio development. Additionally, each student is provided extensive individualized counseling by the Director and Associate Director of the College Office.

    The College Counseling Office hosts the following events during junior year:
    • Spring College Fair hosted by GCS
    • Standardized Tests
    • Parent Coffee Events
    • Financial Aid Evening for Students and Parents
    • College Panel Discussion with college and university deans and admission representatives for parents and students
  • Senior Year

    During Senior Year, students meet individually with the College Office and take a year-long College Seminar. Attention is paid to detail as specific choices are made with each student.  We help students focus on what they want out of their college experience and help each student take appropriate steps to reach their goals as they move into their next stage of education.

    Senior year builds on the work and accomplishments of junior year.  All Senior students take a weekly College Seminar which guides students through every detail of the college application process. Students complete applications, essays, and scholarships during this time and are provided extensive individual support by the College Office. The College Office also continues to warmly welcome college and university representatives who visit Grace Church School. 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. 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.

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 3 members.

  • Melanie White 

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

    Associate Director of College Counseling; Director of Financial Aid Counseling
    Brooklyn College - M.F.A.
    Amherst College - B.A.
  • Jaliz Albanese 

    Assistant to the College Office
    Teachers College, Columbia University - M.A.
    Williams College - B.A.