STS Blog

Preparing for the High School Admissions Process
St. Thomas School


This is an especially exciting time for eighth graders as they complete the last leg of their STS journey. It can also be a stressful one as they navigate the high school application and decision process. High school options are abundant and each institution offers unique academic and extracurricular opportunities, social settings, and approaches to teaching. In addition, it is often the first time students play a role in making a 'big life' decision about their future.

The STS Student Outplacement Program helps demystify the often complicated high school selection and application process. Through an array of resources, guidance, and support, the program assists students in identifying their top choice schools, then prepares them for any testing, interviewing, and/or essay-writing required in the admissions process.

Planning for Success

During the initial phase of the Outplacement Program, students work with the school counselor to establish academic and personal goals, areas of interest, and to determine any key factors the student or family has for choosing a school (i.e. the school must offer transportation).

The counselor then utilizes this information to guide and inform future meetings with the student and their family to discuss their options – and help put together a customized plan based on each student's unique needs and goals.

During this time students are provided a resource notebook, composed of a variety of planning documents and helpful tips for the application process. For example, a comprehensive list of local and regional high schools – public, private, and Catholic – with open house dates, school fairs, admissions requirements, and deadlines is included. The notebook also offers guidelines for selecting a school, tips on what to consider during an admissions visit, and sample interview questions to help students prepare for in-person interviews.

Developing Valuable Life Skills

The benefits of the Outplacement Program extend far beyond the immediate high school selection and application process. Knowing how to prepare for an interview, and learning techniques that will help set your student's admissions interview apart are valuable life skills that will serve them throughout their academic and professional careers. The Outplacement Program guides students in what's appropriate (and what's not) during an interview, how to stay focused and composed during the conversation, and strategies for putting their best foot forward to make a good impression.

Additionally, the Program prepares students with test-taking strategies, content review and preparation for tests such as the SSAT or ISEE that are common among many private and public high schools. This type of training will help students in their academic journey as they take college or post-graduate placement tests such as the SAT, ACT, GMAT or LSAT.

Building a Support System

Finally, having a community of support is essential for students throughout their entire educational career, especially when transitioning from one school to another. Central to the Outplacement Program is ensuring that students have many resources and contacts to depend on, ranging from their homeroom teacher to administrators. Our team has our students' best interests in mind and is available for support at any time.

Choosing a high school can seem daunting, but with the right resources and support system, the process becomes much more manageable. If you would like more information about our Outplacement Program, please feel free to reach out to Middle School Director Alex Colledge or Admissions Director Emily Honig.