Boston University

Courtney Skerritt, The Hockaday School

Courtney Skerritt is committed to single sex education. She attended a women's college, an all-girls summer camp for ten years, and today is Associate Director of College Counseling at The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, the largest independent girls' school in the country. 

"There is something special about girls' schools that is hard to put into words, but when you walk across the campus you can see it and feel it. I see an inspiration in them. They've been given the okay to believe in whatever they want to believe in and from that comes an amazing confidence. It's not for every girl, not for every student," says Skerritt. "But what I hear from my students is how much they really appreciate the ability to focus on their academics. Our girls have an active social life and they're dedicated to their friendships but when they're here, they're here. "

Laura Stewart, Ensworth School

Laura Stewart, our March Counselor of the Month, had both a unique opportunity and challenge when she joined the college counseling program at Ensworth School, an independent college preparatory high school in Nashville, Tennessee. For 46 years -- since 1958 -- the school had served only elementary and middle school students. Then, in August, 2004, Ensworth added grades 9 through 12, opening the new 127-acre Devon Farm campus one month after Stewart joined the school as Assistant Director of College Counseling.

Over the next five years, Stewart rose to become Director of College Counseling -- in 2009, one year after Ensworth School graduated its first senior class. As a result, she has had the opportunity to participate in building a counseling program where there were no preconceived ideas. As Director, she has been able to establish policies and procedures that reflect a philosophy with her own creative stamp and then watch the program grow. "It's hard for me to imagine being anywhere else because I've been so fortunate to get to do what I want," says Stewart.

Jim Montague, Boston Latin School, and Helen Montague, Lincoln School

Jim Montague is Director of Guidance and Support Services at Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts, a public college preparatory school serving an urban, culturally and socioeconomically diverse student population in grades 7 to 12. Helen Montague is Director of College Counseling at Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island, an urban independent college preparatory school for girls from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. We are pleased to feature this husband and wife team as our counselors of the month for January in the new year of 2013. Twice the advice from a duo of counselors who approach our questions from the vantage points of two distinguished educational institutions.

Boston Latin is this country’s oldest school, founded in 1635, with 2,414 students among whom today more than 40 languages are represented. Latin admission is based on a secondary school exam and a strong academic record.  “We think of them as the best and brightest in the city of Boston,” says Jim Montague.

The College Road Trip

Many of you are heading out on your first college road trips. Here coauthor Christine VanDeVelde remembers her first college visits with her daughter:

A few years ago, my daughter and I ventured forth on a short tour.  We managed to walk the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville, Tennessee, in the middle of what they call a “dogwood winter” – the trees are blossoming as temperatures plummet. We then flew north to Chicago, just in time for an epic snowstorm that closed O’Hare for a day and a half. After trudging along the campus on the edge of Lake Michigan in ballet flats, we holed up in an Evanston hotel, bundled in our new Northwestern sweats watching Pay-per-View movies.

Boston University Joins the Gourmet Guide

If you're headed to the City on a Hill -- Boston, Massachusetts -- on your college road trip, we've now got you covered when it comes to where to dine -- North End Italian, Pad Thai, frozen yogurt at Fenway, and the oyster house where you can sit in President John F. Kennedy's old booth. Of course, it wouldn't be Boston without some great deli and we've got recommendations for that, too. (Full disclosure: the editor of this blog is a Boston University graduate and misses delicatessen. There is none to be found in northern California.) These recommendations come courtesy of Boston University's Admissions Office and they've been very generous with their inside knowledge.