A student’s Windward experience culminates in the Collegiate Division, where we build off of the foundational work done in the Middle School and Prep Division. Academically, students apply the skills and learning habits they have honed in previous years to increasingly more challenging and rigorous course material. In addition, students in the Collegiate Division experience an increased amount of academic freedom, often enrolling in multiple electives and seeking out areas of academic, artistic, entrepreneurial, and athletic interest.
As we prepare students to leave Windward and move toward college and beyond, we strive to help them achieve and maintain balanced lives. Windward’s oldest students have more autonomy as they navigate their academics and other commitments, and they are treated as young adults. Collegiate students are encouraged to be problem solvers, to advocate for themselves with support from the division team, and to take intellectual risks as they explore the choices available to them. Outside of the classroom, Collegiate students take on new responsibilities and leadership roles in clubs, on teams, in student government and peer counseling/mentorship, and in the arts. The Seminar program provides students in the Collegiate Division with choice as they learn the life skills necessary for independence. The College Counseling team works with students and their families to ensure an understanding of each step of the college application and the importance of finding the right match in the college process.
All Windward Seniors enroll in an Honors Capstone course of their choosing, a requirement for graduation. While every Capstone course emphasizes skills important for future success, including research, writing, and collaboration, the content varies as widely as the students’ interests. As a final demonstration of their academic achievements, Windward Seniors present their Capstone work to their community in a live Colloquium event just days before graduation in May. As students leave the Collegiate Division, they do so prepared to live balanced lives and having practiced how to solve problems both as individuals and in groups.
We continue to bring our mission to life, seeking to inspire our students to be responsible, caring, well-informed, ethical, prepared, and well-balanced young adults. In addition, students in the Collegiate Division are encouraged to ensure that each member of our community feels a sense of belonging, building upon the diverse and varied experiences of their peers.
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.
- Meet the College Counselors
- Grades 11-12 Parent Meetings
- Grade 11-12 Student Meetings
- Resources & Links
- What to Expect Each Year
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.
College counselors meet with Juniors during Junior Seminar throughout the year.
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.
Common Application. This application can be used for over 750 colleges and universities, often with a supplement. Individual college supplements are accessible through the college's website or through the Common Application website.
Test Prep Presentation by Compass Prep
Financial Aid Resources
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FinAid - A comprehensive financial aid website including a financial aid calculator.
FastWeb - A free scholarship search service
For Under-Represented Students
Test Optional Colleges
Colleges That Change Lives
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.