At Harrisburg Academy, one of our main goals is to match students with a college or university that is the best possible fit for their passions and interests. With college admissions becoming more competitive each year, we feel that it is important to introduce students to the college selection and application process in a developmentally appropriate way starting in Middle School. With this in mind, we are focusing the 8th grade overnight field trip to Washington D.C. on college visits – likely the first for most of these students. This year’s trip will take us to Georgetown University and the United States Naval Academy – representing just two of the myriad of great schools that our students can consider as they explore the college process in Upper School.
Prior to the trip, our 8th graders will have several meetings with Tim Pellett, director of college counseling, to learn about the different tiers of colleges and the criteria that account for these rankings. He will also instruct students on the types of questions that are important to ask during a college visit and the many different elements to consider when visiting a school. Finally, he will introduce them to the college counseling processes that will begin to take shape in their Upper School years.
In addition to college visits, this trip officially introduces 8th graders to Dr. Tom Banks, head of Upper School and IB coordinator, who serves as a chaperone and begins the process of learning about these students as incoming 9th graders. After returning from the college trip, Dr. Banks and Mr. Pellett will begin meeting with all 8th grade families individually, in order to introduce them to the Upper School and begin mapping out high school courses, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program option as juniors and seniors.
At the Academy, it’s not just about when you’ll get to college – we want our students to learn the how and why, so that the where is the best decision possible.