Academics
College Counseling

Frequently Asked Questions

The college admissions process can seem a bit stressful and complex for students and families, but it doesn't have to be. Our college counselors will help you navigate the process and answer your questions each step of the way. To start, here are the most frequently asked questions by our families about the college application process and college counseling program.

List of 13 frequently asked questions.

  • 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. Our curriculum may overlap with the AP curriculum in some classes, and many CSW students choose to take Advanced Placement tests. 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 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 a Certified Financial Planner 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. Do students at CSW take the PSAT?

    Yes. All juniors are required to take the PSAT in the fall. Sophomores may take the exam if they wish, but it is not required of them.
  • 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 world of selective admission and college financial aid. We offer a Junior Parent Night in January, during which a Dean from a most selective college is invited as a guest speaker. In May, we offer a program on College Financial Aid and Financing, as well as a workshop on College Essay Writing. 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. Additionally, we offer several Common Application Clinics to assist Seniors with the process of completing the Common Application.

College Counseling Office

List of 3 members.

  • Davin Bergquist 

    Director of College Counseling
    781-398-8351
    Syracuse University - B.S.
    Year Appointed: 2012
  • Sarah Morales 

    Associate Director of College Counseling
    Year Appointed: 2016
  • Ben Ibbetson 

    Spanish Teacher, College Counselor
    781-642-8675
    Macalester College - B.A.
    University of Connecticut - M.A.
    Year Appointed: 2000
The Cambridge School of Weston
45 Georgian Road, Weston, MA 02493 • P. 781-642-8600
The Cambridge School of Weston is a day and boarding independent school, located near Boston, for students in grades 9-12 and PG. We offer an innovative and rigorous academic program that fosters critical thought, hands-on experiential learning and deep academic inquiry. Students choose from more than 300 courses through our unique Mod System; no two student schedules are alike.