The journey through the college application process is a central part of the St. Paul’s School experience, and the College Advising Office supports students and parents through each important step, beginning as soon as they become part of our School community. 

The journey begins with introspection, as each student considers their strengths and needs and thinks about the type of environment in which they thrive. Students and advisers then actively collaborate to identify appropriate college choices, at which point the role of the College Advising Office becomes one of support, encouraging students as they put their best foot forward in their applications. Finally, when college acceptances are in hand, our advisers are here to listen and counsel as students make their decisions on what school to attend. Throughout the process, students gain in self-awareness and confidence, knowing they are prepared to thrive as future scholars, community members and leaders.

Our Mission

The SPS College Advising Office is committed to educating and supporting each student and family through the complexities of the college search and application process. Our individualized approach is rooted in the School’s mission, guiding principles, and prayer.

Throughout the college admission process, our chief concern is giving each student and their family tools to help find the right match: that institution best suited to offer academic and personal challenge appropriate to the student’s abilities and interests following graduation from St. Paul’s School. The College Office provides support at this pivotal point in our students’ lives when they are asserting their independence, defining their dreams for the future and preparing for the transition to college.

The College Advising Timeline

Third Form

This is the time to explore the SPS curriculum and co-curricular offerings and to discover areas of interest for you! Make the most of SPS and you will be well-prepared to embark on the college process. 

 In the spring, the College Advising Office hosts a webinar for Third and Fourth Form parents, which provides a preview of the College Advising process and an opportunity for Q&A. Students have access to bountiful resources regarding the college search through the College Advising page on Canvas, while parents can similarly access college planning calendars, research financial aid, and view recordings of past programs on the College Advising Resources page in the Parent Portal. SPS has a contract with SMARTTRACK to provide free advice on how to plan for funding a college education; parents are encouraged to attend the introductory group session and schedule individual meetings with a SMARTTRACK adviser.

Fourth Form

Fourth Form students continue to focus on the full SPS experience and begin to prepare and consider what criteria might shape their college search. 

Specific college advising programs and resources for Fourth Formers and parents include:

  • Family Weekend speaker on the college admissions landscape (October)

  • Small group college advising sessions (February, April, and June)

  • Register with SCOIR to conduct college research and a personal interest inventory

  • Register with Methodize online test prep and complete diagnostic test for ACT and SAT

  • College Advising Office webinar for Third and Fourth Form parents: A Preview of the Process

Fifth Form

The college advising process accelerates in the Fifth Form, as students are assigned a college adviser in December, begin the standardized testing process, and research a broad range of colleges. College advisers individualize the search process and provide recommendations based on each student’s strengths and interests. SAT and ACT tests are administered on campus throughout the academic year, and college advisers will work individually with each student to develop an appropriate testing plan. By June, students have developed a preliminary list of colleges in consultation with their college adviser. Parents are also welcomed into the process with individual meetings with their child’s college adviser, either in person or via teleconference.

The calendar for Fifth Form students and parents includes:

  • Fifth Form college advising meeting (September)

  • College Mini-Fairs (September-October)

  • Practice ACT or PSAT (October)

  • Family Weekend speaker on the college admissions landscape (October)

  • Initial SAT or ACT recommended (December)

  • College advisers assigned (December)

  • Fifth Form college advising meeting (December)

  • Individual college advising meetings begin (January; ongoing)

  • Athletic Recruiting Seminar (January)

  • Individual parent meetings with college adviser (ongoing)

  • Fifth Form College Kickoff Program for Parents, including Financial Aid Presentation (February)

  • College Admissions Panel (April)

  • Spring College Fair (April)

  • Arts portfolio workshop (May)

  • Advanced Placement exams, when appropriate (May)

  • Comprehensive mailing to parents, including preliminary list and contextual data (June)

Sixth Form

Sixth Form students are encouraged to complete a draft of their Common Application personal statement over the summer. Upon their return, the College Advising Office works with each student to discuss and finalize their early application plans, to review and provide feedback on their essays, and to assist in the completion of financial aid applications. SPS college advisers are experienced and knowledgeable about the shifting college admissions landscape, and they work with each student to ensure that their final college list is both balanced and reflects good-fit schools that match each student’s interests and academic profile.

The calendar for Sixth Form students and parents includes:

  • Sixth Form college advising group meeting (September)

  • Individual student meetings throughout the fall and winter

  • Individual parent meetings with college adviser (ongoing)

  • College Mini-Fairs and other college admissions visits (September, October)

  • Family Weekend speaker on the college admissions landscape (October)

  • College application workshop (October)

  • Early application deadline (ranging from October 15 to November 15)

  • Draft of final list, with interest ratings and college adviser notes, to parents (Thanksgiving break)

  • Final list due (December)

  • Early decision results (December)

  • Regular decision application deadline (ranging from January 1 to February 1)

  • Regular decision results (March, April)

  • Enrollment deposit deadline (May 1)

Tola Olorode

 “My college adviser, Mrs. Singletary, was the one who suggested I apply. Whether I had a question about … college applications, the Gates Scholarship, the interview process … she was always there to answer my questions and be a positive influence.”


Meet Gates Scholar Tola Olorode '22

One on One

Our college advisers develop rich, personal relationships with each student to guide them through the college application process over the course of their time at SPS.

College Fair
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