College Counseling

In keeping with Windward’s nurturing community, our College Counseling program aims to guide students and their families step-by-step through the complexities of the college process. Our college counselors steer students toward discovering college environments and learning communities best suited for individual talents and goals. Our goal is to create a culture that focuses not on a school’s ranking, but rather upon how each institution meets the individual needs of our graduates.

We encourage students to take ownership of the college search and application process; this includes conducting research by reading college guidebooks, exploring websites, visiting college campuses, and attending college information sessions both on the Windward campus and in the Los Angeles area.

While finding the appropriate college match for each student is our goal, we hope to build skills that will serve our students beyond their college years. At the Ninth and 10th Grade levels, Windward presents students with opportunities to explore their passions and develop their individual talents and interests, which will be an important factor in their college search process. In their Junior year, students arrange individual meetings with the college counselors to devise a testing plan and to receive direction in their college search. Senior year counseling involves specific guidance in navigating the application process.

Too often the message in college admissions seems to be that where a student matriculates is more important than any other factors in a teenager’s life. All of the pressure and hype can make families lose sight of what is essential at Windward School: maintaining a sense of balance and receiving a dynamic education. We aim to show students that college is a match to be made and not a prize to be won.

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  • What to Expect Each Year

    Freshman Year
    • Focus on academics and do as well as you can in all your courses. Take challenging, yet appropriate, coursework.
    • Learn time management and study skills.
    • Explore your extracurricular interests. Consider joining a club, sport, theatrical production, school publication, or community service project.
    • Continue to participate in activities and sports outside of the Windward community.
    • Take time to get to know your teachers and meet with them outside of class if you have questions or need assistance.

    Sophomore Year
    • Take the PSAT in October. This test was designed to measure how well you might perform on the SAT.
    • All 10th-Graders will be assigned a college counselor in the spring.
    • Learn to navigate the Naviance college counseling website. 
    • Take a "Do What You Are" personality assessment on Naviance to determine your strengths and interests, which will be important considerations when choosing a college.
    • Meet individually with your college counselor in the spring to select courses for 11th Grade.
    • Continue to develop solid relationships with your teachers.
    • Consult your teachers as to whether it is appropriate to take Subject Tests at the end of 10th Grade if you are in advanced language and math courses.
    • Check out the Windward Summer Opportunity Guide. Consider getting a job or internship, taking courses on a college campus, or engaging in community service. If you need ideas, talk to your college counselor, advisor, or teachers.

    Junior Year
    • Continue focusing on your classes—your Junior year grades are very important for the college admissions process.
    • Continue with your extracurricular activities.
    • Take the PSAT again in October. Results will arrive in December, at which time you may wish to consider seeking standardized test preparation to help improve your scores.
    • Attend the East Coast college trip in March.
    • Sign up for college visits on Naviance. Each Fall, more than 100 college representatives visit Windward during the school day. Most of these college representatives are responsible for reading Windward applications in the winter of the student's Senior year. With the teacher's permission and by signing up online, you can attend these hour-long college information sessions.
    • Complete your Student and Parent Questionnaires.
    • Take the SAT or ACT for the first time in the Spring of 11th Grade. Plan to take at least two Subject Tests before the end of the school year (if recommended).
    • Begin to research colleges and explore Naviance.
    • Meet individually with your college counselor in the Spring to begin discussing your college list.
    • Attend our annual Case Studies event in April. Windward School joins with Brentwood School, Crossroads, and Marlborough to present this workshop for 11th Grade students and parents. The workshop is an opportunity for you and your parents to learn more about the different components of the college application and the often-complicated admission process. Admissions officers from more than 40 colleges and universities join us for this program.
    • Continue to develop solid relationships with your teachers.
    • In May, ask teachers to write letters of recommendation.
    • Attend the college essay-writing workshop in June.
    • Be productive over the Summer! Check out the Windward Summer Opportunity Guide.
    • Begin working on the Common Application, University of California application, and supplements over Summer.

    Senior Year
    • Sign up to attend college visits on campus.
    • Narrow college lists down to eight to 10 schools.
    • Retake SAT, ACT, and Subject Tests, as necessary.
    • Meet with college counselors throughout the Fall to help with all aspects of the college application process.
    • Send test scores to colleges.
    • Continue to work hard in school since first trimester grades are reported to colleges. Complete and file applications and supplements before Winter Break.
    • Request college admission interviews.
    • Prepare portfolio/audition information.
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  • Grades 10-12 Parent Meetings

    Grade-Level Meetings
    Yearly parent meetings provide an opportunity for college counselors to lay the groundwork for the months ahead in terms of a college counseling timeline, standardized testing schedule, the use of the Naviance website, and other pertinent college application instructions and deadlines.

    Coffee with the Counselors
    Beginning in the Fall, college counselors also host several parent events during the school day featuring a variety of guest speakers, whose expertise ranges from standardized testing and college admissions to the application process itself.

    Parent/Student College Meetings
    Although a great deal of information is conveyed during our one-on-one meetings with students in both their Junior and Senior years, college counselors also meet individually with students and parents in the Spring of 11th Grade.

    Additional Parent Programs

    These include our highly successful annual Junior Case Study Workshop in April, which is a mock application review session and college fair, as well as a financial aid evening and biannual events for visual/performing art and STEAM in October.

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  • Grade 10-12 Student Meetings

    Grade-Level Meetings
    College counselors meet with Juniors during Junior Seminar throughout the year. Sophomores meet in January for an overview of standardized testing and how this correlates to PSAT results and test preparation.

    East Coast College Trip
    In March, the entire Junior class takes a week-long trip to visit colleges. We are offering three trips this year: Ann Arbor to D.C., Boston to D.C., and Charlotte to D.C.  The purpose is to experience a variety of colleges and universities—from small liberal arts colleges to major research universities—in rural, suburban, and urban settings.

    One-on-One Student Meetings
    Individual meetings with Sophomores take place in the Spring, when counselors meet one-on-one to review course options for 11th Grade. During the Spring of Junior year, students will meet one-on-one with their college counselor on three pre-scheduled occasions to discuss course selection and to devise a plan for their future.

    Other Programs for Juniors
    These include a Visual and Performing Arts night (odd years) and a STEAM night (even years) and our April Case Study Workshop and college fair. Windward also offers an optional college essay-writing workshop in June.

    The 12th Grade
    College counselors set aside formal and informal time to meet with students and to provide them with needed resources and advice. Students receive assistance with refining their college lists, completing their applications, writing and proofing college essays, the UC applications, and more. In all, Windward college counselors aim to not only lead students through the finer details of the college admissions process but also to help them make independent decisions and to understand the importance of finding the institution that is the best personal fit.
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Windward School Profile

Click here to download a copy of the Windward College School Profile.

Meet the Team

List of 5 members.

  • Mrs. Molly Branch 

    Dean of College Counseling
    (310) 391-7127
  • Jill Gully 

    Dean of College Counseling
    (424) 289-1052
  • Dr. Kevin Newman 

    Assistant Head of School, Director of Collegiate Division
    (424) 289-1023
  • Jill  Bush 

    Associate Director of Collegiate Division
    (424) 289-1045
  • Aaron Marquette 

    College Counseling Coordinator
    (213) 261-2072
Windward School is a 7-12, co-educational, independent day school in Los Angeles, California.