College Counseling

The College Counseling Office staff works as a team to help all Shady Side Academy Senior School students reach their future goals. Our three full-time college counselors are dedicated to helping students to find "best fit" colleges and universities that will nurture their abilities and undiscovered talents, while allowing them to realize their career aspirations. Meet our college counseling team.

The process of one-on-one college advising begins in the winter of a student’s junior year, but the College Counseling Office offers a variety of programming and resources for Senior School students and parents. View a college counseling timeline.

Our graduates go on to pursue their passions at a wide array of colleges and universities around the world. See our four-year college matriculation list.

View our FAQ Videos for quick answers to the most frequently asked questions about the college process.

Latest College Counseling Office Reminders

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College Counseling Process

Our students find their "best fit" schools through a process of self-exploration, research and decision making.

Reflection and self-examination help our students identify their academic strengths, career interests and preferences for living and learning environments.

College research is so much more than any college ranking list. Learning about what really makes one college's program better than another's, what makes a small college different from a large university (or even other small colleges) helps students to bring this information into focus with what they know about themselves. This process allows them to create a list of schools that "best fit" them – maximizing the opportunity to find a community that will best meet their needs for the next four years.

Decision making is an important part of the process. Deciding where to apply and where to enroll from among admission offers are decisions the student and parent make together. Decisions based on sound research are easier to make and more meaningful in the long run.

College counselors serve as guides, resources and advocates for students in the college search and application process. Our counselors have a great deal of experience and are a great source of information, help and support. As important as the counselor's role is, it is also vital for each student to actively engage and openly communicate in the research and decision-making processes. Counselors are more effective resources and advocates when they know a student well and are kept informed of her/his decisions along the way.

Current students and parents may find detailed college counseling information and resources by logging in to the portal and visiting the College Counseling Class Pages for each grade.

"The communication from the College Counseling team has been flawless. They are steps ahead of potential questions and worries. Each student having one designated counselor is so helpful. The relationship that has formed between the counselor and my daughter is invaluable. At times when her father nor I could say the right thing to alleviate stress, her counselor was there to offer support and (most importantly) offer a plan to stay on track and remind her to breathe. With that said, the College Counseling office truly works as a team! Each counselor played a part in my daughter’s process at one point or another." – SSA Parent, Class of 2020.

College Counseling Blog Posts

Reflections on Varsity Blues: A College Counselor’s Perspective on Parenting Through the Admissions Process | September 2019

By the very fact that your kids attend Shady Side, they have many advantages as they apply to college. They have access to some of the very best resources and facilities, they have teams of adults and peers invested in their success. We are grateful to work with your children and to partner with you to ensure that this process is one of growth, reflection, and pride. Lauren Lieberman, Director of College Counseling, shares what she hopes you will hold at the center of your thoughts, feelings and conversations as you guide your students.

Discussing Financial Aid | April 2018

There can be some anxiety when discussing finances in regards to college. It’s a personal subject that is typically not discussed outside of the household. As college counselors, our primary goal is to support students and families through the complete process, and this includes financial aid. If parents predict that the sticker price of a college out of reach, they will want some guidance. Most families are happy to share their financial situation – it may be uncomfortable, but they know it is an essential part of the college process and want to remove any potential obstacles. Read more.

How Did Your Early Round Go? | Dec. 2016

College counselors across the country are asked this question nearly every December, as the Early Action/Early Decision results are released. As a college counselor for more than a decade in independent schools, I’m taken aback each winter by this question. What is it that people are really asking? My answer has always been, “Great,” to which people respond, “No really, how was your early round?” Read more.

Our Summer Vacation | Sept. 2016

While the pace of summer is certainly slower, our work on behalf of our students and our profession is lively and busy in these summer months. This is when we spend time visiting schools, developing our network, and getting the word out about all the wonderful things happening at Shady Side in a less formalized way, through conversations and fun! Read more.