Meet Your Cohort Leader
Deanna Ducher serves Hillsdale Academy in rural south-central Michigan as the College Counselor and teaches American history and civics. She joined the staff of Hillsdale Academy in August 1999 and initiated the College Counseling office that year when the original K-8 school began phasing in grades 9-12. The Academy graduated five students in 2001, and this June will graduate a class of 23, bringing the total number of graduates to 326. These students have attended a wide variety of selective colleges, state universities, trade schools, U.S. military academies, private Christian and non-denominational colleges, community colleges, and have served in all US military branches, including the Space Force. Deanna is a first-generation college graduate, so personally and through the Academy, she learned and built all aspects of the college application process from the ground up. Before joining the Academy, Deanna served Hillsdale College for two and a half years as an admissions counselor, recruiting from her native suburban Detroit. That experience gave her excellent perspective when she moved to the other side of the desk, managing the college search process for high school students. Off campus, she spends time in amateur photography, orchestral viola playing, travel, cycling, reading, and podcast listening.
Meet Your Cohort Leader
Becky Priest is the College Counselor at The Cambridge School in suburban, hi-tech San Diego, where the last eight years she has seen the design and build-out of the college counseling program and the school’s first four graduating classes, with college acceptances that include some of the most highly selective in the country. She brings over two decades of college financial aid experience, having worked in the Financial Aid Office at Washington University in St. Louis, and in the San Diego area at college admissions firms and in private consulting. Becky was delighted to have received the blessing of collaboration and help from experienced counselors when transitioning to the high school side of the desk and loves opportunities to continue that collegiality, sharing the learned experiences of fellow counselors. She and her husband have one son in college (a member of Cambridge’s third class) and have provided leadership in their church in the areas of teaching, music, mentoring high school and college students, international student ministry, and missions. She is currently serving on the Classic Learning Test’s Board of Academic Advisors.
Small group of 8-10 participants to ensure relational depth and connection with colleagues from across the country.
Live, open office hours on Zoom with cohort leaders in between monthly virtual meetings and as needs arise.
Access to a “toolbox” via a shared folder of carefully curated tools, resources, and articles.
Practical & Purposeful
Experience a full-year cycle of the college advising process with the cohort leaders and fellow participants as your resource and sounding board. Nuts and bolts will help the newer counselor, and collaboration with peers will value-add development and nuance for experienced counselors.
Conversational & Social
Ongoing virtual connection after cohort ends plus social gatherings at SCL regional and national gatherings. Networking with other counselors richly expands our own capabilities and knowledge.
Scope & Format
- Ten monthly virtual meetings, each 60-90 minutes in length to include a presentation on a critical topic and open discussion time to share challenges, ideas, and best practices.
- Running March 2021 to January 2022 with a one-month break in October during the fall application season.
- One to two hours of strategic homework between meetings, such as articles, videos, and application of meeting topics.
- The importance of college counseling, defining job duties
- Developing a philosophy or mission statement
- The lens of classical, Christian education
- The 8 factors in holistic admission and the importance of each
- The 3 legs of college fit
- College and university landscape and curriculum
- 4-year advising sequences/plans
- College list building wisdom
- School-side documents
- Essays and Interviews
- Workshop plans and ideas
- Advising students – successes and pitfalls
- Advising parents
- Student etiquette
- Student and parent input
- Teacher letters – training, elements, expectations
- Elements of and expectations for the counselor LOR
- School Profile: Must-have elements, communicating classical education
- Transcript topics: grading scales, honors, dual enrollment
- Other registrar issues
- PSAT/NMSQT, PLAN, SAT, ACT, CLT – distinctives and differences
- Options for testing timelines; state testing requirements
- Rapidly changing national landscape
- Need-based aid – role of FAFSA and CSS Profile
- Gift aid – academic merit, talent, tuition discounts
- Cost factors over four years
- Local scholarships
- Campus visits
- High school visits
- College fairs
- Demonstrated interest
- Developing connections and relationships
Final session content will be determined based on needs of the cohort members.
College Advisor Cohort
Receive 25% monthly discount for the first year.
Receive 10% monthly discount if you are a teacher at an SCL Member School.
Option to Pay a monthly amount of $119.