College Preparation begins in the 7th grade
Meet our College Counselor
Hannah VanDykeEmail Hannah VanDyke
Admissions representatives from colleges and universities come to Vanguard regularly for information sessions with all juniors and seniors. Vanguard has produced 49 National Merit Semifinalists in the past 17 years. Forty-one of them were selected as National Merit Finalists. One-hundred percent of Vanguard graduates attend a college or university, many of which are highly selective institutions such as Rice University, Stanford, New York University, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, Davidson College, Duke University, and the United States Naval Academy. The 30 members of the Class of 2021received more than $4 million in academic scholarship offers to colleges and universities around the nation, including Princeton and Yale. Henry Boehm, a 2015 graduate, received the prestigious Forty Acre’s Scholarship to University of Texas.Click here to read about this award.
The College ProcessAlthough freshmen, sophomore and junior students are not yet applying to colleges, these years should be used to assess academic interests, explore new subject areas, and begin to take tests (when appropriate) that will accompany college applications. During this time students should work closely with their academic advisor to plan a course of study that is appropriately challenging and diverse. Additionally, extracurricular activities like sports, debate, performing and visual arts, community service, publications, and student government provide other avenues for students to develop specific interests and skills that may eventually influence their college list. For seniors, the information below will be of help in managing the process.
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College Counseling Tools
- September Get your year off to a great start by keeping yourself organized, seeing teachers for extra help as soon as any problems arise, and by realizing that grades earned in the freshman year really do matter to colleges.
- Try a new sport, join a new club or activity, look for community service opportunities, or volunteer to serve on a class committee.
- October PSAT – Though they are just for practice, the Preliminary SAT is something to be taken seriously. Results can point to both areas of strength and to those that may need some attention.
- February Students meet with their academic advisors to plan courses for next year. Teachers recommend students for honors sections based upon performance to date. Choose rigor whenever possible.
- May Begin to study for final examinations early in the month. Review and correct all past tests and quizzes. Organize a “study group” and challenge each other with subject-specific trivia.
- Summer Use the summer to hone your artistic, athletic, and leadership skills. Make reading for pleasure a part of your daily routine.
- September Avoid the “Sophomore Slump” by getting off to a great start. Worry as much about getting good grades throughout the year as you do about getting your driver’s license.
- October PSAT – The Preliminary SAT scores give a “snapshot” of a student’s tested ability, and can point to areas in English and mathematics where further review may be helpful.
- February College Information Meeting for sophomores and parents – a brief program that previews the “road ahead” in the college search and selection process.
- Students meet with their academic advisors to plan courses for next year. Schedules should include as much challenge as appropriate, and elective courses should be chosen from areas of interest. Speak with a college counselor if you have any questions about what to take.
- May Attend College Fairs at Baylor
- Begin to study for final examinations early in the month. Go to extra help sessions as often as possible.
- June Offered on the first Saturday in June the SAT I (reasoning test) & SAT II (subject tests) are key components of the college application process. Sophomores do not normally take the SAT I at this time, but some SAT II Subject Tests in areas like chemistry or foreign language (following the third year level) may be appropriate.
- Summer Summer is a great time to work, volunteer, or travel; these experiences can help students to learn about possible career paths, potential areas of study for college majors, or simply more about themselves. Visits to colleges can help to assess preferences for size, type, location, and culture.
- October PSAT – Scores from this year serve to qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship Program, and are a good “snapshot” of what SAT scores may look like. The results can point to areas in math and English that may need review.
- January SAT I & II – A good time for juniors to take the SAT I for the first time. College Information Meeting for juniors and parents is held. Individual meetings with college counselors begin.
- February Presidents’ Day Holiday weekend is a good time to make other exploratory college visits.
- All juniors are strongly encouraged to review their proposed senior schedules with one of the college counselors. The strength of a senior’s schedule can play a significant role in admissions decisions at competitive colleges and universities.
- March Spring Break is a great time to gather more information about colleges and to visit campuses, but it is not a time for formal campus interviews. Arranging a mini-internship can provide great insight into potential college majors and career paths.
- May SAT I & II – Take the SAT I again, or for the first time if you did not take it in January.
- Advance Placement Examinations offered at school.
- Attend the National College Fair again. Introduce yourself to admissions representatives of colleges and universities you may be considering.
- Juniors are encouraged to finish the year as strongly as possible. Start reviewing for final exams early in the month. Cramming does not usually work.
- June SAT I & II – Take appropriate SAT II Subject Tests.
- Consider individual college visits (attend information sessions, take campus tours, and interview at schools where interviews are evaluative).
- Summer Refine your college list and make sure that the schools to which you plan to apply include ones you’d definitely attend and at least two where your credentials are much stronger than most other applicants. Gather application materials or search college and university websites to assure that you know what you’ll need to do to apply in a timely fashion.
- Begin some rough drafts on a couple of college application essays. It will be far easier to revise one later than it is to create one from scratch at the 11th hour before a deadline.
Our graduating seniors enroll in four-year colleges and universities.
The 2009-2021 classes of a combined 304 graduates have received over $51.9 million in academic scholarships.During the past five years, Vanguard alumni have been accepted into colleges and universities such as:
TEXASAbilene Christian University
East Texas Baptist University
Howard Payne University
Sam Houston State University
Southern Methodist University
St. Edward’s University
Texas A&M University
Texas Christian University
Texas Lutheran University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
University of Houston
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
University of North Texas
University of St. Thomas
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas at San Antonio
OUT OF STATEAllegheny College
Arizona State University
California Lutheran University
Case Western Reserve University
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Georgia Tech University
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University
Lewis and Clark College
Louisiana State University
Michigan State University
New York University
North Carolina State University
Ohio State University
OUT OF STATEOklahoma State University
Oral Roberts University
Ouachita Baptist University
Penn State University
Rhode Island School of Design
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Sewanee (University of the South)
St. Edwards University
Stony Brook University
United States Naval Academy
University of Alabama
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas
University of California Berkley
University of California Davis
University of California at San Diego
University of California at Santa Cruz
University of California Los Angeles
University of Central Florida
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Charleston
University of Chicago
University of Colorado
University of Denver
University of Iowa
University of Georgia
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Miami
University of Mississippi
University of Nebraska
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Dakota
University of Oklahoma
University of Richmond
University of Rochester
University of Southern California
University of Tulsa
University of Virginia
University of Washington
Virginia Tech University
Wake Forest University
Washington & Lee University
Washington State University
Washington University in St. Louis
West Virginia University