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Mission & Philosophy

Your Story

The best way students can prepare for the college process is to be engaged and involved in their high school experience. Through exploring opportunities and discovering passions, students come to understand themselves and what makes them unique. This kind of introspection leads to personal growth and a variety of college applications, acceptances and decisions.

Our Services

Our College Guidance team supports our students every step of the way, from the moment they start to think about college, through the college application process, to the decision-making process after college acceptances are received. The process of preparing for and selecting a college should be a rewarding journey of self-discovery, and we are excited to help our students plan successfully for this important step in their lives.

Service Learning, clubs, and global travel programs weave an educational tapestry in which students stretch themselves in positive and revealing ways. Graduates are prepared and eager to go on to college, to consider careers, to engage in the world.

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  • All-School Programming

    • Key Conversations centered on recommended reading
    • Financial Aid Forms & Formulas
    • Arts Portfolios in Admissions
    • Out-of-State College Night
    • NCAA Night & Panel Discussion
    • Summer Opportunities Fair
    • Standardized Testing Primer
    • College Admissions Officers Panel
    • Senior Panel at Parents Association Coffee

Services by Grade:

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  • 9th Grade

    • College Guidance counselors visit grade-level time in December, to make introductions and provide general suggestions for optimizing the upper school experience.
    • Counselors visit student advisories in the second-half of the 9th-grade year to hear from students and support the work advisors guide throughout the year. 
    • Counselors attend grade-level programming for students and parents hosted by the academic leadership team, where we provide a framework for thinking about college and how it relates to the upper school experience each student is creating. We also use this time to direct Pacific Ridge families to the grades 9-12 timeline and other college information offered in the school's family portal.
    • Parents and students are encouraged to attend all-school programming.
  • 10th Grade

    • Dedicated grade-level time throughout the year includes an introduction to Naviance, a comprehensive web-based college software tool; Naviance's learning style survey; a preview of the sophomore survey; and resume writing support.
    • Students take the practice college admissions exams, the PSAT in fall and a full-length practice ACT in winter.
    • 10th Graders and parents attend Sophomore College Night in January.
    • Each 10th grader completes a Sophomore Survey on Naviance to prepare for a first individual/family meeting with College Guidance, which the student schedules during the February-March timeframe.
    • At the family meeting we discuss each student's upper school experience so far - academic challenges and triumphs, extracurricular interests and involvements, the 10th-grade Seed Grant experience - and walk families through indicators on the PSAT/ACT score reports to preview an individualized testing timeline (including SAT Subject testing as a transcript may suggest).
    • Parents and students are encouraged to attend all-school programming.
  • 11th Grade

    • College Guidance works with students during monthly grade-level time from October through May.
    • Students take the PSAT/NMSQT and have another opportunity to take the practice ACT in November.
    • 11th graders and parents attend Junior College Night in November.
    • Students complete a Junior Survey in Naviance; parents complete their own questionnaire, and each junior schedules an individual/family meeting to take stock of upper school interests and involvements, Service Learning, Junior Project in-progress, and look ahead to senior course selection, the timing of standardized testing, and colleges particular to the student’s preferences and goals.
    • Juniors schedule ongoing meetings throughout the second-half of the school year to support personal college research and discuss emerging student/family priorities.
    • Essay Workshops are presented by College Guidance in Junior English classes, in collaboration with faculty.
    • Counselors provide input on subsequent essay drafts and continue to advise students/families planning visits to college campuses.
    • Coastline Case Studies brings 100+ college admission officers to San Diego every May to meet in small groups with juniors and parents. These representatives run a mock admissions committee, reading three or four applications to decide who is admitted, waitlisted, or denied. We dedicate grade-level time in April to preparing for this event, conducting a close overview of how students/parents should read and notate applications in preparation for the animated discussions in mock admissions committees.
    • Camp College Days in May, just before the Global Travel period, brings a dozen or so admission officers to campus to help students begin work on college applications. This workshop includes real-time creation of a Common Application account and a page-by-page review, so that rising seniors are organized heading into summer application work. Students draft short-answer essays, engage in a research exercise, conduct mock interviews and review essays with college reps.
    • Parents and students are encouraged to attend all-school programming.
  • 12th Grade

    • Seniors return to campus before classes begin for Camp College Days in August to refine the Common Application, prepare the UC application, review work to date and better understand interview policies, priority deadlines, application options, and next steps.
    • College Night for Parents of Seniors provides parents with an overview of key dates.
    • Senior Parent Coffee Series supports parents throughout the college process, providing a forum where we collaborate with Student Support Services to anticipate conversations at home and reinforce our partnership with each student and family. Each segment of this series is followed by an FAQ communication to senior parents.
    • Dedicated grade-level time throughout the fall supports the progress of seniors in the application process, reminding them of next steps, and providing workshops in scholarship search and application. Support is also provided to applicants with specific application needs, such as performing artists, visual artists and athletes.
    • Step-by-step UC/CSU Workshop offered in mid-October.
    • Transition to College Tailgate and Improv event gathers the Senior Class and parents prior to Commencement to celebrate and provide important resources for students/families looking ahead to college.