The national counselor-to-student ratio is 246 to 1. Even in the independent school world the ratio is 146 to 1. At Casady, the ratio is 35 to 1. Casady's College Counseling Program provides the “high touch” environment that ensures every student and parent receives the kind of individualized attention that helps them navigate the college process with confidence.
Casady's two full-time College Counselors are supported as professionals and specialists in college admission and are solely dedicated to guiding families through the process. They travel extensively to visit colleges and universities and are actively engaged in the leadership of national professional organizations and in the national dialogue around college admission practices, trends and philosophy. In keeping with Casady School's mission, our College Counselors challenge students to approach the wide index range of possibilities available to them with an open mind and to apply the tools of inquiry they have mastered to this exploration. At the same time, the College Counselors ask students to look to the self-knowledge they have gained from a Casady education to seek a set of potential college choices that represent a meaningful bridge from their present state of development and interests to their future goals and aspirations. The College Counseling Team accompanies the students through this process, from initial self-assessment, to creating and researching college lists, to the final decision of where they will spend their next four years. Best college fit is the goal of the College Counseling Program for each Casady student.
Students can only find real success if they are empowered and allowed to take the lead, while parents, teachers and counselors partner to support, advise and follow the students' responsible and active leadership of the college process, all with the ultimate aim to find the best college match.
Casady's College Counseling Program first engages students in the eighth grade year. The counselors provide an overview of our philosophy of “best college fit” and encourage students to think of “fit” in terms of their passions, learning style, preferences, ability to pay, and ability to gain admission. Counselors share this same set of “best fit” categories with parents during ninth grade College Night. In addition, the College Counseling Team discusses a short list of things both students and parents can do to seize the opportunities at Casady, while also making themselves competitive for college admissions. In the 10th grade, students and parents are invited for a two-hour program with Peter Van Buskirk, former Dean of Admission at Franklin and Marshall, and author of Winning the College Admission Game. Mr. Buskirk orients students and parents to the college landscape, introduces important college terms, and then facilitates a mock admission committee simulation that allows students and parents to more fully understand what goes on “behind the closed doors” in admission meetings.
Casady's College Counseling Program earnestly engages students with the January Junior College Night, as well as individual meetings that begin immediately after and extend through the end of senior year. The College Counseling Team believes that the middle of the 11th grade year is the best time to begin serious occupation with the college search process; at that point, students have the perspective to reflect meaningfully on themselves and on the college landscape and can begin to make choices and distinctions that will shape their application list -- always with an eye to an honest self-assessment and thoughtful, research-based, understanding of potential college “matches.” Casady students report a high rate of satisfaction with the process and with their college decisions, and the School culture celebrates each of those individual choices for the personal decision and meaningful step into the future that it represents.
The College Counselors encourage ninth and tenth grade students during the year to discuss their academic program and extracurricular activities, while initial standardized testing opportunities are offered in the ninth grade to familiarize students with that process. In the 10th grade year, students take the Princeton Review Assessment (PRA), a hybrid ACT-SAT test, which helps the college counselors identify the standardized test that “best fits” each student. Counselors then meet with students to map out a personalized testing plan to help students score optimally.
Casady's College Seminar is unlike anything students will find in the Oklahoma City area. Beginning in January of the 11th grade year, students meet in small groups with both College Counselors to fill out their 11th grade College Questionnaire, research colleges, draft college essays, interact with Method Test Prep (the “Cadillac of Test Prep”), and fill out the Common Application. In the summer, rising seniors are encouraged to attend Casady's college essay workshops, test prep seminar, and application bootcamp.
Casady believes strongly that those initial high school years are to be spent in discovery and cultivation of interests and community relationships, and that allowing students to focus on their school experiences in those years, without explicit preoccupation with the college process, will ultimately lead to the greatest success and most productive engagement with the process in the junior and senior years. With a wide range of programming offered throughout the year for students and parents, the College Counseling Office is a complete “one-stop shop” for preparing for and applying to colleges. Everything is informed by the Casady mission and based on a close knowledge of the Casady curriculum and community.
Casady and its programs are well-known in college admissions offices nationally, and our students are recognized as valuable contributors to classrooms and communities, well equipped to hit the ground running and make a difference in the colleges they attend. Casady's College Counseling Office annually hosts over 65 college admission representatives who visit in the fall/spring to meet with our 11th and 12th grade students. In addition, 11th grade students are offered the opportunity to attend national college fairs in Dallas that provide students the chance to interact with college admission representatives from over 500 colleges/universities.
Casady is proud of the diversity of our students' choices, and excited by their adventurous spirit. Casady young alumni currently attend 92 institutions of higher education in 34 states, Washington D.C., British Columbia, and the United Kingdom. The College Counseling Team looks forward to joining you as you seek the next destination on the journey you have begun at Casady School.