Reflections from the College Counseling Office

Each January the campus is abuzz as juniors join their parents in Gardiner Theater for the Junior College Day presentations. This is the day when the juniors step up and officially start the college process. The day, according to Slade Mead, Director of College Counseling, “Is both a sad and happy event. I say good bye to my senior buddies and start the process with the juniors. ” Slade was delighted by this year’s large turnout, as well as the 70 plus people watching on webcast. “We got off to a great start. The event was highlighted with a panel made up of three college admissions representatives, open to Q & A. This process can be somewhat daunting, but a year from now, the students will be in great shape.”

Having grown up on Salisbury School’s campus, with a father who ran the College Office there for 25 years, College Counseling has always been in Slade’s blood. In fact, he explains, “We used to go on family vacations via stops at Lafayette, Lehigh and Muhlenberg. I probably visited over 100 colleges before I reached 9th grade. I had one of the world’s greatest college T-shirt collections.”

Over the years his role in the office has evolved from running virtually everything himself to an expanded office and team of professionals whose aim is to work with our students in every aspect that will help them get into college.

Nic Bell came into the fold three years ago and has been a great addition to the office. “Nic is fantastic! He not only learns quickly, but his personal skills have been essential to both working with the students and establishing relationships with the college admission representatives,” Slade says.

Nic was first introduced to college counseling through his role as Varsity Lacrosse coach. In this role, he served as a liaison between inquiring college coaches and his players who are seeking a college lacrosse playing experience. In doing so, Nic says, “I was able to expand my college network, while gaining insight into ‘fit’ on both the college side and the student side.”

Together, Slade and Nic work to find a match that is mutually agreeable for the college, student and family. “Working in a boarding school environment allows us to see and appreciate each boy personally, as we teach them, coach them, and also see them in the dorm environment. This vantage point allows us to pair students with colleges that fit their needs most appropriately,” Nic says.

As for Slade’s goals for the program, “My goal is simple—by the time a student gets to his senior year most of his college options are pretty well defined, since his transcript is his most important rite of passage into the college world,” Slade says. “I aim to find excellent matches between the students and the schools.”

View the Junior College Day workshops via our webcast channel.