Secondary School Advising
We believe that helping students and parents prepare for the next steps beyond Country Day is a significant aspect of our educational process. The Secondary School Advising Office works closely with our Upper School students to identify schools that will allow them to be both challenged and successful during their high school years. We assist students and their families in exploring the range of options available, taking into account specific programs and curricula, school cultures, geographic locations, specialized programs, the choice of public or independent, and whether they prefer boarding or day schools.
An Individualized Approach
The individual approach we take to secondary school advising is key to Country Day graduates going on to be productive, successful, and happy at their next schools. Through individual counseling sessions with both families and students, the Director and Assistant Director of Secondary School Advising gain a thorough knowledge of each student both in and outside of school.
The Country Day advising process allows students to expand their self-knowledge and gain greater awareness of their skills, interests, what they value, and what new areas they may want to explore in high school. The opportunity for students to take a “personal inventory” at this critical point in their development, just before entering high school, is one of the most important parts of the Country Day process. In addition, we believe that the close collaboration between the GCDS faculty and the Advising Office is critical to a successful process.
Our secondary school advising program offers:
- Individual consultations with families
- Ongoing one-on-one meetings and group seminars with students, including practice interviews
- Disciplined process that allows for the majority of time to be focused on the student
- On-site standardized test administration (SSAT)
- Identification of schools aligned with a student's interests and strengths
- Advocacy with receiving schools
Communicating the Strength of Country Day’s Program
The Advising Office communicates regularly with the receiving schools about the depth and breadth of the GCDS academic and extracurricular programs. We focus on conveying Country Day’s high academic standards and rigorous program offerings, including Harkness Learning, public speaking, and the emphasis on writing and self-advocacy skills, which give our students the best possible preparation for secondary school and college.
In addition, our communications with receiving schools emphasize the opportunities our ninth graders have for independence, responsibility, and leadership, which include:
- Mentor younger students as Peer Leaders
- Build leadership in character and ethics as members of the student Honor Board
- Organize events and programs as Class Representatives elected by their peers
- Represent GCDS as ambassadors for our Admissions Office
- Participate in Country Day’s extensive Community Service program as a volunteer for local non-profit organizations
- Produce the annual yearbook and literary publications (including world language magazine) as editors and contributors
- Perform as leads in the Upper School musical and serve as student directors and stage crew
- Expand global awareness as participants in the annual China trip and GCDS language immersion trips to Spain, France, or Italy
- Strengthen leadership and athletic ability as members and captains of our varsity teams
- Develop real-world skills (public speaking, effective teamwork, time-management, goal-setting) by collaborating in small groups on the Capstone Project, a student-centered, independent learning challenge
Secondary Schools Attended by GCDS Graduates
From the GCDS class of 2013, 25 percent of graduates attend public schools, 45 percent attend boarding schools, and 30 percent attend local days schools.
Greenwich Country Day’s secondary school advising process has lasting benefits. Greater self-awareness enables students to take full advantage of opportunities throughout high school and college. The application process, familiarity with interviewing, and test taking helps students approach the college application process and even job applications with greater confidence and skill. Returning students often share with us how the secondary school process at GCDS helped them gain life skills that were beneficial even in finding their first jobs out of college.