High School Curriculum — Advisory

The Oak Grove High School Advisory program provides support for the school’s mission – helping students learn to use their minds, their bodies and their hearts well.  Through advisor/advisee connections, advisory supports leadership and service; skillful communication; the exploration of fundamental questions; and academic growth through planning and support.

Researching Colleges and Universities

Applying to College

Common App: www.commonapp.org

University of California (UCs – 9 undergraduate campuses): http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply/apply-online/index.html

California State University (Cal State – 23 undergraduate campuses): http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/undergrad_apply.asp

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU): http://www.aiccu.edu/

Helpful Books

Fiske Guide to Colleges, by Edward Fiske

College That Change Lives: 40 Schools that Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, by Loren Pope

College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You, by Steven Antonoff

Overview of OGS College Advising Program

As a small school, we are limited in the amount of time and resources we can commit to the increasingly labor-intensive endeavor of the college discernment and application process, but out of our genuine care and concern for the students, we do offer a college advising program. The College Advisor coordinates the program, working closely with the 9th – 12th grade Advisors, the High School Registrar and the Head of School. We hold a parent meeting each fall dedicated to college topics, and Advisors integrate college topics into Advisory throughout the four years. Students and parents are able to make appointments with the College Advisor as needed, and emails and phone calls are also welcome. If you feel your student needs more SAT/ACT prep or college advice than we can offer, please feel free to seek help outside of the school. In addition, please bear in mind that no one here believes a student should judge their intelligence via test scores, whether they be high or low. We do not rank students at Oak Grove and we do not rank their post high school choices either, believing that all students and families should be considering the right fit for their individual student. We have never had an “honor roll” but attempt to honor all students who bring the best of themselves to their educational experience.

SAT Prep Program

9th & 10th graders receive some preparation as part of their regular English and Math programs. They take the PSAT in October for practice.

11th graders devote some of their Advisory time in the 1st semester to independent practice of the PSAT (which all juniors sit in October), and shift their focus to SAT prep thereafter. They are encouraged to take the SAT once in the spring. They have SAT practice throughout the year in their math class, in addition to the regular course content.

12th graders are encouraged to prep for SAT tests over the summer if they feel they can improve their test scores. Students devote some of their Advisory time to studying for the SAT or subject tests as needed.

All students are encouraged to do additional preparation outside of OGS if they feel they need it; options include working independently with a test-prep book, using the free resources on KhanAcademy.org and/or hiring a tutor.

College Advising

All students receive a copy each year of our four-year calendar for college planning. This gives tips about what to do each year, starting in ninth grade. Juniors and seniors also receive a copy of the college counseling handbook, which covers topics such as the senior year timetable, evaluating colleges, standardized testing, visiting colleges, application procedures, the college essay, letters of recommendation, financial aid, and more. Various college admissions reps visit Oak Grove each fall and spring during the school day, and all interested students are invited to attend those informational sessions.

College and post high school planning is a collaborative process – if you are a parent of an 11th or 12th grader be prepared for homework! It is also a wonderful opportunity for students to take ownership of their lives and their futures. We encourage students to take initiative and responsibility for this process. For an indication of the range of schools our seniors apply to, please see our High School Profile for a list of college acceptances.

9th & 10th graders are encouraged to discuss their goals, concerns, and feelings about college and post high school choices during Advisory. The College Advisor has many publications that can be perused. Students can also get information online. Students are encouraged to focus on their academic progress, participate in extracurricular activities and summer programs, and talk to older students and adults about their experiences.

11th graders meet in Advisory during the 2nd semester to discuss and develop college plans. They are encouraged to take the SAT and/or ACT once in the spring. Each January they spend a half-day with their Advisor researching colleges and preparing informal reports to share with one another. Juniors also spend some time in the spring working on drafts of college essays as part of the English 3 curriculum.

12th graders are assigned college planning homework over the summer which includes developing an initial list of colleges, writing draft essays, and visiting prospective colleges. All seniors meet in Advisory during the 1st semester to make final decisions for college plans and begin the application process. Students are assisted in refining their college essays as part of their English IV curriculum. Each October they spend a half-day together, along with their Advisor and the College Advisor, in a college counseling retreat that is focused on essays and applications.

Begin the application process. If you have any questions, we’re happy to assist you.