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College Counseling at CSW

Hear from Class of 2023 graduates!

    • Students from the class of 2023 share their experience through the college counseling process.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about CSW’s College Counseling program. We hope that you will find the information here helpful and informative. 
Every spring, just prior to graduation, we ask a few seniors to reflect on their college counseling experience at CSW. Their comments and thoughts are compiled in the short film on this page. Additionally, on the sidebar to your left, you will find three more college counseling pages which detail CSW's college counseling process, offer a list of frequently asked questions, and introduce the college counseling team. On the right, you will find our Profile for Colleges and Universities, which includes our five-year matriculation data. 
At the heart of our program, we hold a genuine excitement and love for the college process and experience, and believe that finding the right match is paramount. College, after all, should be a truly wonderful and eye-opening experience. We aim to authentically know, support, and encourage our students in a highly personalized manner.
Class after class, we are so grateful to be able to work with CSW’s students and families at this wonderful time in their lives.

The Right School for You

It's all about finding the right match, so it's best to start right there.

As a counseling program, we are deeply committed to helping our students discover the school that best matches their skills, talents and interests. Additionally, we want students to find the collegiate culture and environment that fits them best. We hope that students will find a place that excites and inspires them on the next leg of their education journey. This transition is significant both for students and their families, and CSW has a dedicated team of college counselors who work with students and parents to help, encourage and support them in this process of self-discovery.

List of 3 items.

  • The Planning Process

    Informally, the college planning process begins the moment students enter CSW, with academic advisors and teachers working closely with families to help select courses that balance both academic rigor and the students; own unique interests. Students will reflect on their strengths, current skills, passions, as well as areas of support. They will be challenged to begin thinking about how they want to contribute to the communities that they are a part of and identify both academic and personal goals for the next few years.

    The advisor, student, and parent all work together to identify resources and steps that can help the student move in the right direction. Midway through sophomore year, all parents and guardians are invited to attend Mindful Academic Planning, which is co-sponsored by the Academic and College Counseling Offices. At this important program, the Director of College Counseling will lay out some important advice for the college search process, and the Academic Dean will provide guidance on course selection and other important academic topics.

    Students are matched with a College Counselor in December of their junior year. Throughout the winter and spring, juniors meet with their counselors at regular intervals to get to know them well, engage in self-discovery, explore college options, discuss standardized testing, and review the college application process. A wide selection of programs is offered to students and parents to help acclimate them to the college admission process in a contemporary context.
  • Our Graduates

    Nearly all our graduates pursue higher education at four-year colleges and universities or a four-year degree program at schools of art or music. A few students take a “gap year” between high school and college to travel, work, or volunteer, however, we encourage all seniors to apply to colleges while they are enrolled at CSW.

    CSW graduates are accepted and matriculate at an increasingly diverse and broad range of colleges and universities, and our college matriculation record reflects our commitment to helping our students find that best match.
  • Our Approach

    As counselors, we embrace a philosophy that allows students and parents a safe space to explore, reflect on, and embrace the college process with a sense of agency and excitement. We try to structure a process that is highly personalized as opposed to a “one size fits all” program. Our program is relationship-based, where, more than anything, we strive to know and work with students and parents in a way that is authentic, open, and available.

    Lastly, and most importantly, our approach to our program and the college search process absolutely reflects the school’s progressive, student-centered mission. We value fit for the student, mindfulness in the process, and quality of educational experience over rankings, raw selectivity and perceived prestige. We were one of the lead school’s on Harvard’s Making Caring Common Campaign.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 13 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. Do students at CSW take the PSAT?

    Yes. All juniors are invited to take the PSAT in the fall. Sophomores may take the exam if they wish, but it is not required of them; sophomores wishing to do so should contact the college counseling office in the month of September.
  • Q. Do college admission officers understand the Mod System?

    The unique advantages of CSW's Mod System and academic philosophy are very familiar to college admission officers. Each year, admission officers from nearly 75 colleges visit CSW to meet our students and learn more about our school. Our team of experienced college counselors works closely with students to help them present their CSW work and achievements throughout the admissions process, while also working to ensure that admission officers understand the course work completed—and skills acquired—by CSW students. Admission Offices are provided with a detailed profile of CSW to be used as a reference in the review process. In short, because our students gain the skills necessary to thrive in a rigorous college setting, as well as the skills to present themselves and their work, they are very successful in the college admission process.
  • Q. How are CSW students prepared for the academic demands of college?

    The Cambridge School of Weston’s progressive and intensive academic program challenges students to be inquisitive, innovative and pro-active learners. Classes at CSW emphasize substantive exchange and debate, preparing students for college-level seminars. Students are encouraged to think for themselves, ask difficult questions and go beyond obvious answers. They are expected to think critically and creatively, and to express themselves skillfully in both oral and written presentations.

    CSW’s Module System affords students the opportunity to explore subjects in-depth and to investigate connections between disciplines. Students are inspired to take intellectual and creative risks, and to pursue both artistic and academic studies with equal passion and discipline. CSW students are well-prepared for the level of rigor and engagement required at selective colleges and universities. Indeed, college admission officials report that CSW graduates show particular strengths in creativity, critical awareness, curiosity, initiative and resourcefulness. Outside of class, CSW graduates are also known for their activism, social awareness, openness and community involvement.
  • Q. How are traditional measurements of challenge and success like Advanced Placement courses and class rank viewed within CSW's unique program?

    The academic program at CSW provides dynamic and integrated learning experiences focused on helping students develop critical and creative thinking skills. This approach to learning is, we believe, the best training we can give our students to prepare for the challenges ahead. While CSW recognizes that standardized tests are one tool by which young people will be evaluated, we choose not to teach directly to these tests. We do not emphasize memorization or rote learning. Instead, we develop higher skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation that are critical to success in college and beyond. We have found that our curriculum allows students to study subjects in greater depth while acquiring the necessary knowledge to perform well on the exams. 
    At CSW, we do not rank our students or report GPA. Because of the individuality of each students' courses and schedules within the mod system and because our pedagogical practices emphasize excellence and intellectual and creative risk-taking, we believe that comparing students in this manner would be misleading. Instead, each student’s achievements are thoughtfully presented to colleges in a personalized manner.
  • Q. How are families assisted with the college admission process?

    Our team of college counselors partner with parents to support students throughout the college search and selection process. They provide information and guidance, and encourage frequent communication and meetings with individual families. Students are assigned a designated college counselor during the early winter of their junior year, and individual meetings begin accordingly.
  • Q. Does CSW offer assistance with the college financial aid application process?

    Relying on our experience and knowledge of current requirements and practices, the CSW College Counseling Office provides basic guidance in the area of financial aid. We also direct families toward outside resources that can help them plan for the costs of a college education. We also offer an on-campus College Financial Aid and Financing Workshop with the Director of Financial Aid from a college every May.
  • Q. How many students does each college counselor advise?

    We have two full time college counselors, and one part-time counselor who also teaches. Generally, counselors work with between 25 – 30 families per class. In addition, members of the arts faculty work with college counselors to advise students who plan to apply to degree programs in the arts. The International Student Advisor also provides support for international students who plan to remain in the United States for college.
  • Q. Do CSW graduates play college-level sports?

    Yes, some CSW graduates participate in all levels of collegiate athletics, and we actively support those students who aspire to do so. Our athletics program provides a challenge for competitive athletes while also remaining accessible for novice or recreational players. Though CSW is not an athletics-centered school, young athletes find that we provide the perfect balance of athletic and non-athletic opportunities for them.
  • Q. Do many CSW students go to Art School?

    Typically, between 5 and 10 percent of any graduating class will go to an institution specializing in the Visual or Performing Arts. Our faculty plays a pivotal role, in concert with our college counselors, in helping prepare students for auditions and portfolio reviews.
  • Q. Do many CSW students take a gap year?

    Although a vast majority of our students matriculate directly into four-year colleges and universities, sometimes students do want to take a year off to volunteer, work or travel. We advise families to go through the college admission process while they are still enrolled at CSW, and then request a matriculation deferral once they have selected an institution.
  • Q. Do the college counselors travel to colleges and engage in professional development?

    Yes. A key part of their role as college counselors is to understand trends in selective admission, view campuses, and meet with admission officers and deans. Typically, counselors attend the College Board, ACCIS (Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools), and NACAC (National Association of College Admission Counseling) Conferences every year. They also annually travel to more than 20 colleges all over America.
  • Q. Do college representatives visit CSW?

    Yes. Every fall, about 75 college representatives visit CSW during the school day to meet with our students and counselors.
  • Q. What special programs are offered as part of the College Counseling program?

    We host an array of programs throughout the process to help our families navigate and understand the admission and financial aid process. We offer a College Counseling Orientation for students in December, and a Junior Parent Night in January. We provide a program on College Financial Aid and Financing, as well as workshops on interviews, art portfolios, and college essay writing. Additionally, we offer several Common Application Clinics in August to assist Seniors with the process of completing the Common Application. In the fall, we offer a Senior Parent Night to make sure that our families are ready for the demands and timeline of the Senior fall.

Meet the Counselors

Sarah Morales
Director of College Counseling

Sarah comes to us with extensive and diverse experience in the worlds of higher education, secondary school college counseling and student services. Prior to coming to CSW, she has served as Senior Assistant Director of Admission at Suffolk University and served as an Admissions Counselor at Stonehill College. Sarah received her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Suffolk University and her Bachelor's Degree from Stonehill College. When not at school, Sarah can be found reading, cooking or traveling to explore new places. 
Randy Jose
Associate Director of College Counseling

Randy comes to CSW having spent seven years in higher education. His first role in higher ed came in 2013, when he worked as an admissions counselor for his alma mater, Stonehill College. In 2016, he went on to work for the undergraduate admissions office at Boston University as an assistant director.  During that time, he completed his M.Ed. in educational leadership & policy studies. Randy was also a member of the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling (NEACAC), serving in a variety of roles, including chair of the mentorship program. In his free time, you can find Randy learning a new pop dance routine, going for a run, or reading updates on new and emerging technology!
Benjamin Ibbetson
College Counselor/Language Teacher

Ben has been teaching Spanish at CSW for many years, and has been a member of the college counseling team since the fall of 2009. Ben has also coached three sports teams, served as the Model UN Faculty Advisor and as a Capstone Advisor, and has taught three history courses. Ben graduated from Macalester College in 1994 with a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies, and then went on to attend graduate school at the University of Connecticut. In his free time, he enjoys watching Jeopardy, spending time with his wife and two cats, exploring the outdoors, and traveling to France to visit his family. 

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.