College Counseling Grade by Grade

College Counseling at University School of Nashville begins minimally in ninth and tenth grades and intensifies second semester of the junior year. Throughout high school, students are guided to prepare for the college admission process largely by challenging themselves to learn as much as they can through academics and through extra-curricular interests, and not on what they believe will be impressive to colleges. As students develop and mature throughout high school, they prepare not only for the college selection process but also for success at college once they find a good match.

List of 4 items.

  • Eleventh Grade

    Juniors take the PSAT during their first semester to determine whether or not they qualify as a National Merit Semifinalist or a National Merit Commended Scholar and also to use the scores in initial college planning. During the second semester junior year, the step-by-step, formal college process begins. A College Workshop is provided for juniors every other week through English Classes. Topics include: Understanding College Entrance Testing and Planning a Personal Test Taking Schedule; Taking A Look At Myself (students write an autobiographical piece for college counselors and take the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator); Learning How to Do College Research; How to Visit and Interview; How to Approach Getting College Recommendations; How to Approach Applications, Specifically the College Essay; How Admissions Decisions are Made; How to Support your Family and Utilize the Support from Them; How to Pay for College; Being Ethical in the Process. The final two workshop sessions include having students become mock admissions committees in which they make decisions on fictional applicants and listening to a panel of seniors who have just completed the process give advice and answer questions.

    In addition to the bi-monthly classroom meetings, each junior is assigned a college counselor. Individual meetings begin in earnest the process of planning senior year courses, developing a broad, working list of colleges to research, and formulating long-term educational goals. Juniors are encouraged to own the process of researching colleges and finding good matches, but they are advised to accept responsibility for communicating regularly with their families, staying open to their guidance and suggestions. Juniors are also encouraged to begin to visit colleges of interest during spring break or in the summer. Through self-reflection and realization, effective research, visiting campuses, and staying in touch with college counselors, juniors eventually develop a number of college choices to consider.
  • Ninth Grade

    College counselors meet with ninth grade students to introduce themselves and to discuss the importance of staying focused on academic work and extra-curricular interests that will enrich their high school experiences. Students are encouraged to engage in integrating themselves fully into high school and invited to visit the college counselors if questions arise.
  • Tenth Grade

    College counselors meet with students to remind them to focus on class work that will prepare them for even greater academic challenges and develop critical thinking and writing skills. Tenth grade students take a practice PSAT test in October. Sophomores are also encouraged to explore new extra-curricular interests as well as delve more deeply into already established ones and prioritize according to time available as they make plans for the junior year. Visiting colleges sophomore year is not necessary. If time and interest allow, visits are fine, but the task is to identify types of colleges that are appealing and not to determine a college list.
  • Twelfth Grade


    Seniors return to USN in the fall of senior year with time to make mature final decisions about where they will apply. Throughout the semester seniors are engaged in meeting individually with college counselors to make final plans and prepare college applications. Seniors are encouraged to manage the process efficiently so that it does not overpower the senior year experience of working hard in challenging courses and participating deeply in genuine interests outside of the classroom. In April, seniors often make visits to colleges to which they have been offered admission in order to make their final choices. Counselors value the close relationships that develop with seniors and are available throughout the year to meet regularly with them.

University School of Nashville

2000 Edgehill Avenue   Nashville, TN 37212     615/321-8000     Contact Us