Interview with High School College Guidance Counselor, Mary Freitas
How does the college application process in 2010 compare to ten years ago?
Thanks to online applications, today students tend to apply to many more schools than they did ten years ago. Selective colleges are receiving record numbers of applications and are therefore accepting a smaller percentage of their applicants.
How do SFWHS students fare in these challenging times?
Our students have done well even in these difficult times, because of the richness of their Waldorf high school experience. The transcript documents and details the excellent curriculum, especially the many fascinating (and impressive) main lesson block topics. Other experiences that help the students stand out include their senior projects, community service, work internships, outdoor and wilderness education, farming and forest ecology. Of course, the transcripts include grade point averages (GPAs) and scores from student achievement tests (SATs, ACTs), but our students’ applications show much more than simply their academic achievement.
What makes our seniors’ applications interesting to colleges and universities?
The richness of the curriculum yields the strong transcript, but more importantly, it also builds the personal depth and quality in a student that colleges and universities are searching for. Most of the more selective colleges have learned from their own past experiences that Waldorf graduates are unusually mature young adults, who move easily into leadership in the classroom and with university groups; this can help our students make the cut at those schools where most of the applicants have similarly impressive grades and ambitions.. The teacher recommendations also play a key role by sharing the faculty’s deep knowledge of the students, which offers more perspective from which the colleges can get a real sense of their individuality. We’ve had several colleges tell us that our teachers’ high quality writing skills stood out, which also speaks to the colleges about the quality of preparation that our students have experienced.
How does the high school curriculum support the students as they move toward completion of their high school years, and the submission of their applications?
After the autumn senior solos in Vallecitos Mountain Refuge, (www.vallecitos.org) the students return to the Transcendentalists main lesson block where they read beautifully crafted essays by, for example, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and Melville. This is a great example of the way that our curriculum builds to a culmination of personal and social reflection in senior year, and it leads them into the writing of their own college essays with depth and self-awareness.
In 2010, Davidson College selected Eleanor Stevens’ unusual essay on dirt as an example “showcasing the wit and power of the Davidson applicant pool” and placed a portion of it on their web site.
Where have our seniors been accepted?
Many types of schools are represented, from art schools to music schools to top liberal arts colleges and comprehensive universities. The Class of 2013 total merit scholarships awarded $1,935,480 from 71 colleges between twelve graduating seniors. To view a list of College Acceptances for 2013, click here.
To view a complete listing of college acceptances from 2005-2012, click here.