Preparing for College: Year-By-Year

8th Grade

Harrisburg Academy's personalized college counseling process begins during a student’s 8th grade year with a family conference to create an individualized four-year plan for their high school years.  As part of the 8th grade experience, Academy students participate in an overnight college trip to two schools.  The Academy’s college counselor meets with our 8th graders several times prior to this trip to begin familiarizing them with the college search process and the questions they should ask during a college visit.


9th & 10th Grade

Annual Upper School canoe tripDuring the 9th and 10th grade year, also known as the “transcript years,” students are expected to focus primarily on adjusting to the rigors of high school curriculum and maintaining a high level of academic achievement.  They will also identify and engage in extracurricular and co-curricular areas that interest them.  Participation in these activities, in addition to keeping accurate records of their involvement, will provide material for college resumes.


As freshmen, students take the ACT Aspire test and begin the process of collecting information about honors, awards, and outside coursework.  During 10th grade, students take the ACT Aspire a second time in addition to the PSAT and are required to attend the Spring College Fair with at least one parent/guardian.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in Academy-sponsored day trips to local colleges and universities.


11th Grade

Eleventh Grade college tripAll 11th grade students are expected to maintain high academic achievement and commitment to extra- and co-curricular activities throughout the academic year.  Juniors also have important college counseling responsibilities in the fall: all juniors must take the PSAT in October, attend meetings on-site with college representatives (as class schedules permit), and participate in a three-day, eight-college bus tour sponsored by the Academy.

During the winter, juniors and their parents/guardians attend the College Counseling Office’s College Information Night program, the first formal introduction to the college admissions process.  This event provides the tools for a successful one-on-one college planning meeting with the college counselor later in the spring.

During the spring semester, juniors are required to enroll in the Academy’s college prep class and attend the Spring College Fair with at least one parent/guardian.  Juniors must take the SAT and/or ACT this semester; students who are considering certain colleges are strongly encouraged take the SAT II subject tests at this time.


12th Grade

Academy Seniors prepare for collegeThe beginning of senior year continues right where junior year left off!  During the College Counseling Office’s required “welcome back” meeting, students receive their senior handbooks and confirm scheduled, twice-weekly meetings with the director of college counseling.  Most colleges require some indication of senior performance before they will render an admissions decision, and thus, students are reminded of the importance of maintaining high academic performance.  All seniors (rare exceptions may apply) will be required to take the ACT and/or SAT again. Students may also be required to sit for SAT II subject tests again. 

It is expected that students use the summer months prior to senior year for college research, narrowing their list of applications, writing essays, and visiting college campuses as they are able.  Students are expected to prepare for the additional workload as the college process moves forward in the fall.

And how does the director of college counseling assist our students throughout the process to ensure college search success?  She helps prepare all applications, essays, and supplemental materials, as well as registration for testing.  She also writes personal recommendations for all students, reviews all teacher recommendations, and oversees application submissions materials to colleges and universities.  Once all applications are submitted, she remains in close contact with all seniors and their parents/guardians in order to determine the best course of action as admission decisions begin to arrive.  She also assists each family in navigating the financial aid process, as needed.


The end result after five years of personalized college counseling?  One-hundred percent of Academy graduates go on to pursue higher education at domestic and international colleges and universities.  That’s right –– 100 percent! Even better, Academy graduates receive an average of $100,000 in college grants and scholarships.

Harrisburg's Only Independent School,
Serving Students Preschool - 12th Grade.

International Baccalaureate Logo

© 2019 Harrisburg Academy, All Rights Reserved
10 Erford Road | Wormleysburg, PA 17043
Tel: 717-763-7811 | Fax: 717-975-0894 | Contact Us