College Counseling Retreat: Finding the Right Fit

Each year in November, Juniors spend a day off campus attending the annual College Counseling Retreat. This milestone marks the official beginning of their search for a best fit college or university. The day begins with an interactive glimpse into the selection process for a fictional Oak Knoll University. 

Nine students volunteer to pose as applicants and stand in a line holding a hidden GPA score. The moderator proceeds to call out a series of questions regarding character traits, community service performed, participation in extracurriculars, etc. Depending on the applicant’s high school resume, they are moved forward and backward in the line. At the end of the simulation, the three applicants closest to the moderator are admitted. The students then reveal their GPA illustrating that the GPA alone is not the sole consideration.

Students also take part in a mock application review; a college-themed trivia hour; and receive information on MaiaLearning, the individualized research tool students will use throughout this process. The college application and admissions process is an exciting time of self-exploration and looking ahead to the future. This retreat is the beginning of an informative and personalized process that will unfold over the next 18 months for these students, culminating with a final college choice. The College Counseling Office, led by Director of College Counseling Jennifer Wilson, will shepherd students through the process, giving them ample time to self-reflect, determine the qualities they are looking for in higher education, and otherwise cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s in the pursuit of a right college match.

In a group debriefing session after a recent retreat, students shared that they enjoyed the retreat, felt they had a firmer grasp on the overall college counseling process, and were less overwhelmed by the process.

In the competitive world of college admissions, Oak Knoll prepares students and families for entry into the finest colleges in the country, and the world. Oak Knoll helps students navigate in this environment while ensuring that the process remains student-centered and focused on each student’s development and needs. One hundred percent of Oak Knoll graduates enter four-year colleges or universities.


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