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College Application Academy at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax

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The Counseling Department at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax recently hosted a College Application Academy for 50 rising seniors. During the week in early August, students gathered in the library to get a head start on different aspects of their college applications before the school year begins.

Each day featured multiple presenters, small group discussions and hands-on activities. Presenters included members of the Paul VI counseling team and college reps from Butler, The Catholic University of America, Mary Washington, Radford, the College of Charleston, Belmont Abbey and the University of Cincinnati.

Students learned about choosing a college, planning and preparing for campus visits, the Common Application, standardized tests, application essays, transcript requests, letters of recommendation, resumes, and interview skills. Students were able to discuss and ask questions of the college reps in small groups.

Students started working on application essays and inputting schools into Naviance, the college search tool used at Paul VI. They created their accounts on Common App and began completing their applications.

Students had the opportunity to be “on the other side of the admissions desk” when they participated in a mock application activity. They gathered in small groups and acted as an admissions panel, reviewing mock applications and coming to a consensus about who should be granted admission, waitlisted or denied.

On the last day, students had individual mock interview with one of the college reps.

Tina Roller, the school’s College and Career Counselor, organized the academy and was pleased with how it went.

“The College Application Academy gave students a good foundation and is a stepping stone for them to start the year with more knowledge,” Roller said. “They can tackle the college application process with more ease and less anxiety.”

“The expertise of the college reps added a lot of value,” said Roller. “We were so fortunate to have seven college reps volunteering their time throughout the week. Students appreciated the individual attention they received from the reps. Students appreciated hearing directly from the source. The students came early to get ready for the day and asked a lot of good questions.”

At the end of the academy, the students received a rosary to remind them that faith is part of the process and that choosing a college is a prayerful decision.

The College Application Academy kicked off what is always a busy counseling season at the school. About 120 college reps visit the school from September to November and the school hosts a college fair as well as several college nights throughout the year.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017