Saint Louis Priory School’s mission to provide a Benedictine, Catholic, college preparatory education of the highest excellence directs all of our work each and every day. All three elements of that same mission should be understood in terms of how they contribute to helping our young men develop their full potential as children of God. When we consider the college preparatory program offered at Priory, it is equally important to understand the synergy that exists between the learning that our students and faculty engage in every day and the support and expertise of our college counseling team. The outstanding admissions decisions and college placements that we celebrate each year are truly the result of our students’ full participation in Priory’s program of study, our faculty’s ongoing commitment to grow in their practice as educators, and our college counselors’ dedication to providing our young men with the tools they need to both understand and navigate the college admissions process and ultimately decide on a school where they will be able to pursue their higher studies with success.
There are a myriad of services provided by our college counseling office that make this last point possible. Back in February, Barbara Sams, Beth Collier and I participated in a college tour in the greater Philadelphia area. In just two and a half days, we visited Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph’s University, Villanova University, and Haverford College. At each of these schools, we met with admissions professionals to discuss how their respective offices handle the admissions process as well as what they are looking for in potential applicants. At the same time, we were given the opportunity to elaborate on the elements of our own program that are truly exceptional and distinguish our students in the admissions process. Our counselors schedule numerous such visits each year to ensure that we remain current regarding relevant changes in the admissions landscape and that admissions officers understand how to read our students’ applications in the context of our school community and curricular requirements. These visits are just one example of the type of service that our counseling team has long provided Priory students and their families.
There have also been several, more recent developments in the college counseling office that demonstrate our ongoing commitment to helping our young men define and find the right “match” schools for their needs. Among these are the Form IV and Form VI trimester-long seminars. Sophomores begin to consider how their particular strengths and interests might influence their selected major of study, and Seniors meet in small groups to work through the logistics of the Common Application and to establish a framework for completing the application process (Form VI). The office has worked with the administration on reporting a weighted GPA on student transcripts, and to develop a school profile that more fully explains our curricular offerings and how the hallmarks of a Benedictine education prepare our young men for participating and engaging fully in the life of their school community. And, just this year, we coordinated a standardized test preparation option on campus during the school day for students in Form V.
All of this work would not be possible without an exceptional college counseling team. For the past thirteen years, Barbara Sams has worked on behalf of our students and their parents to guide the office in maintaining and developing a program that has enabled us to fulfill our school’s mission of helping our young men seek admission to appropriate distinguished colleges and universities. We recently learned that Mrs. Sams will be leaving Saint Louis Priory School after this school year, having accepted a position at another school beginning next fall. We are so very grateful for the dedication that she has demonstrated in working with our families, and we wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors. I am happy to announce that the administration has appointed Beth Collier to assume the role of Director of College Counseling beginning this summer. Mrs. Collier is known as a consummate professional by students, parents and faculty who have worked with her at Priory, and by colleagues in the college counseling community. For the past eight years, Mrs. Sams and Mrs. Collier have collaborated, together and with the administration, on nearly every aspect of the college counseling program. Mrs. Collier’s appointment as Director ensures that Priory will continue to provide the exemplary, high caliber programming that our families have valued tremendously over the years.
We’ll have more good news to report soon, once all college admissions decisions are released and we’re able to announce our list of accepting institutions. It’s always an exciting time of the year as we prepare to send our seniors off to the next stage of their journey, and we reflect fondly on the rich tapestry of our entire school community that worked together to ready these students for college and beyond.
Dr. Jared M. Rashford