A behind-the-scenes look at Beth Tfiloh’s comprehensive college guidance programs
Beth Tfiloh’s class of 2019 graduates were accepted to a wide range of post-high school educational options that offer the best opportunities for each individual student. Those schools spanned 64 colleges and universities — including an 88% acceptance rate at University of Maryland, College Park, double UMD’s national average acceptance rate of 44%.
The list includes universities across the US, such as Brandeis University, Northwestern University, Pratt Institute, Princeton University, Tulane University, University of Pennsylvania and Virginia Tech; Baltimore-area schools, including Goucher College, Towson University, and University of Baltimore; and universities and gap programs around the world. These schools all have one thing in common: they are the right fit for each student.
What’s the secret to Beth Tfiloh students finding the right post-high school option for them? It’s BT’s renowned college guidance department. Beth Tfiloh Director of College Guidance Mrs. Halaine Steinberg offers a behind-the-scenes look at BT’s multi-year college guidance program.
The Beth Tfiloh difference
At Beth Tfiloh, we provide a highly individualized program in which our four college counselors advise and support students and their families through every aspect of the college application process. This intensive process starts from the time our students are just beginning to think about college in junior year to the moment when we are sending their transcripts to their chosen colleges. Since each counselor has a limited number of students, they have ample availability to guide students through each stage of the process. We also advocate personally for every student at each college to which they apply. Advocacy is done through letters, phone conferences, and even visits to the college on the student’s behalf.
Preparing for the test
Beginning in their freshman year when standardized tests cover verbal, written, and math skills, our academic curriculum prepares our students to be comfortable and competent test takers. Students take the PSAT in their sophomore and junior years and they are also offered a free ACT practice test. Should a student need extra support, we are able to steer them to dependable outside resources.
Getting to know our students
Beth Tfiloh eleventh graders complete a questionnaire for their assigned college advisor before their initial meeting. The questionnaire helps students examine their own interests, talents, preferences, and goals. In addition, it opens a window into the student’s life, accomplishments, and character that we may not have seen in the school environment. Their questionnaire responses prompt conversations with the students and help us know them better, which ultimately leads to the most effective advising and successful advocacy possible. Through this process, we can help the student create a list of colleges that will be a good fit both academically and socially. We care about our students and want their next academic experience to be exciting, challenging, and comfortable.
Digital media’s role in college applications
Digital media has been a game changer. Digital communications give students the ability to learn a great deal about their top schools. We suggest they take a virtual tour and email the admissions reps to ask them thoughtful questions. From the college’s website, they can learn about the application process, various academic programs, study-abroad opportunities, student life, financial aid, and can even schedule a campus visit. At the end of the day, nothing replaces actually visiting the campus and walking around the grounds.
The most common mistakes
Probably the most common mistake we experience is when students believe or say that there is only one “perfect” college out there for them. There are so many options and opportunities available to them—we use our experience to help them define what it is they are looking for and where they can find it.
Advice to high school juniors
Relax. Don’t view this as a difficult and scary process. Recognize that there are many colleges at which you will thrive. Don’t get caught up in the chatter of where everyone else is applying. The key is to find the college that is a good fit for you. Research, get organized, make a timeline for yourself, and stick to it. Ask for help if you feel like you need it—there is a wealth of resources available. And breathe!
Learn more about Beth Tfiloh’s renowned college guidance program at the High School Open House on Thursday, November 14, 7 pm. Register online at www.bethtfiloh.com/fishbowl. You can also follow Beth Tfiloh on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news.