Head of School Blog

Guest Blog: Watching Eighth Graders Find their “Perfect Fit” Schools

Debbie Jacobus and Robyn Clanton
This post is submitted by Debbie Jacobus and Robyn Clanton, who provide support and guidance to students and parents involved in the high school admissions process.

Part of growing up is filled with increasingly complicated decisions, not the least of which is the decision of where to go to high school. After years of developing and planning our Middle School program, it gives us great joy to help our Eighth Grade students navigate their way through the high school admissions process. This can be a stressful and overwhelming time for young adults, who are already experiencing the hormonal shifts of adolescence, to go through an oftentimes rigorous application process for many schools. However, each year, we are impressed by the poise and maturity our students have shown through this entire process. It is no surprise that so many of the area’s top high schools have offered them admission!

There are many components to the high school placement process, from application essays to personal interviews. Starting in the spring of their Seventh Grade year, we work with students and families to determine their interests and identify potential schools. It is our privilege to walk through this process together with families and help guide our graduates to the best place for their high school experience. While the journey has many highs and lows, we have seen that in addition to finding their “perfect fit” school, each graduate emerges from the process stronger and wiser, with a greater sense of self.

We know first hand (from Debbie’s experience with her own two children) that that the high school application process provides parents the opportunity to learn something new and unique about our children and helps us see them as individuals, not just as “our kids.” We see this same transformation happen in the families of our graduates, as our students prepare to enter high school.

As part of the preparation for the high school admissions process, we often conduct mock interviews with our students to coach and prepare them for upcoming interviews. In these interviews, students are refreshingly candid in their answers, not afraid to reveal their true selves to the interviewer. Each and every one is poised, comfortable speaking with adults, and open to critique and guidance on how to handle such a conversation.

The decision of where to go after graduating from All Saints is one all families will face. While it would be our joy and pleasure to keep our students here, the truth is that, along with so many other settings in life, they must all graduate and find their place in a new community. That said, our graduates know that All Saints is a place where they are always welcome, with many of our graduates returning each year just to say “hello” or to attend a school event. We take great joy and pride in seeing our graduates navigate high school with relative ease and maturity. Although they attend a variety of competitive schools, we are thrilled to say that they are all thriving in these settings and are growing into adults who embody the All Saints mission, striving for personal excellence and caring for the world around them.

As we prepare to celebrate our third graduating class, we take this opportunity to recount the impressive list of acceptances for our graduates. (An * signifies where a graduate currently attends or plans to attend for the 2014-2015 school year.)

• The Browning School (New York)
• Calhoun School (New York)*
• Convent of the Sacred Heart (New York)*
• County Prep High School (New Jersey)
• Dwight-Englewood (New Jersey)
• Elisabeth Irwin High School/LREI (New York)*
• Friends Seminary (New York)
• Grace Church High School (New York)
• High Tech High School (New Jersey)*
• Hoboken Charter (New Jersey)
• Hudson Catholic (New Jersey)*
• Leman Manhattan Preparatory School (New York)*
• Loyola School (New York)*
• Marymount School (New York)
• The Nightingale-Bamford School (New York)
• NYC School of the Future (New York)
• St. Anthony High School (New Jersey)
• St. Dominic Academy (New Jersey)
• St. John’s College High School (Washington, DC)*
• St. Peter’s Preparatory School (New Jersey)*
• The Hudson School (New Jersey)*
• Xavier High School (New York)*
• York Prep (New York)

We congratulate all of our graduates on such an important accomplishment, and we look forward to next year, as we are certain we will add to this already impressive list of “perfect fit” schools.

Thoughts? Questions? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com