Sewickley Academy

Juniors: Find your foundation schools -- the ones where you can build a foundation for success in life!

Juniors, one of your tasks now and over the coming summer months is to begin to put together a list of colleges to which you may apply. Our Counselor of the Month Trevor Rusert of Pennsylvania's Sewickley Academy has some great advice about how to start:

Rather than start with the college where you have almost no chance for acceptance, let’s start by applying to 4-5 outstanding colleges where your chances for admission are strong (i.e., your GPA is above the average GPA of accepted students from your school, and your standardized test results are above or at the top of the average range).  We no longer call them “safety schools” because that tends to carry a negative connotation.  Just because one school is easier to gain admission to than another does not mean that you are sacrificing quality of education.  Therefore, we call these colleges “foundation schools”.  These are the schools where you can build a foundation for success in life.  Places where you can receive an outstanding education, and go on to launch a successful career.  The application process is kind of like building a house.  You don’t start by planning a rooftop swimming pool (that is probably not realistic), you start by building a strong foundation.

Find your foundation schools! This time next year, you'll be glad you did.


Trevor Rusert, Sewickley Academy

We want to tell you a story. A story that we think gets to the heart of who most high school college counselors are -- at least the ones every parent wishes for their son or daughter. This is a story about Trevor Rusert and a student named Amanda.

Amanda lives with her father, a single parent. Her family is working class and Amanda had a significant scholarship to attend Sewickley Academy in Pennsylvania where Rusert is Director of College Guidance. But her scholarship didn't cover everything, so Amanda worked 30 hours a week at McDonald's as shift manager -- 6 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then full shifts on the weekend -- to make up the difference. In the summertime, she worked with Sewickley's maintenance crew during the day and was back at McDonald's at night -- 70-plus hours a week.