Heritage School juniors get college experience

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The Heritage School's junior class toured High Point University in North Carolina.

For three days in October, the junior class at The Heritage School in Newnan was not in high school. Instead, the class was in college.

The fifty-one members of the Class of 2015 took their annual class trip - this time as part of their college preparation process.

Each year starting in fifth grade, Heritage students take an interim class trip. These overnight trips support curriculum and build class. For the junior year interim trip, students visit six different colleges in North and South Carolina.

'The most important part of the college search is visiting as many campuses as possible so students can get a feel for the learning environment in which they'll be most successful,' said Brooke Martin, College Counselor and Upper School Dean of Teaching and Learning. 'For some, it's a liberal arts college, whereas for others it may be a large research university. Our hope is that the interim trip will jumpstart college visits with the student's own family.'

Over three days, Heritage students visited Wake Forest University, Wofford College, Appalachian State University, High Point University, Davidson College, and Furman University. Students toured each campus, getting a feel for both private and public settings as well as liberal arts and pre-professional curricular offerings.

At each stop, the current students met with a Heritage alumnus who currently attends that particular school. The trip culminated with each student completing a career inventory assessment to identify areas of interest to possibly pursue in college.

'The interim trip was a glimpse into college life and a fun and enlightening experience,' said Davis McCondichie, Class of 2015. 'I didn't realize I had so many options until this trip,' said Tristan Stoffle, Class of 2015. 'It was great to figure out what kind of school I wanted to go to after seeing the campuses.'

The junior interim trip is a major part of the highly individualized college counseling process at The Heritage School.

'As a college preparatory independent school, we start talking about the college process in the eighth grade so that students and parents can lay out a plan well in advance,' said Martin. 'The process becomes more involved in the 11th grade, when I meet with students regularly to hone their school options as well as build their skills for completing applications successfully.'

The junior year is also when Heritage students research scholarship opportunities, polish their résumés, and take the PSAT, ACT, and SAT. The Heritage Class of 2013's average combined 2012 SAT score was 1704, which is 252 points higher than Georgia public schools and 206 points higher than the national average. The Heritage average is also 44 points higher than member schools in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA).

The culmination of Heritage's intensive college preparation process is a 100 percent acceptance rate to college, which includes acceptances to schools across the country like Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, SCAD, and Yale.

In addition, the forty-three graduates of Heritage's Class of 2013 were accepted to 147 schools and awarded over $3 million in academic scholarships, not including HOPE. 'The hallmark of our college counseling process is the individual approach,' said J.P. Watson, Head of School.

'This is consistent with our approach to teaching and learning as we put each student in an environment that maximizes his or her potential. Test scores and success at the next level and in life are the natural byproducts of this approach.'



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