College and Postsecondary Counseling

College and postsecondary counselor Olivia Gell working at a desk with a student

College Counseling

Olivia Gell, IDEAL’s College and Postsecondary Counselor, works closely with students and their families through conferencing and teaching a year-long College Research and Exploration course. IDEAL’s College and Postsecondary Program partners with families to develop a student-centered, individualized plan that encourages the students to take ownership of the process and reflect on how they learn best. Throughout the process, Ms. Gell routinely shares information about college placement events at school and throughout New York City. 


Highlights of IDEAL’s College Preparation Program:

  • Weekly college preparation class for eleventh and twelfth-grade students including a personal statement writing workshop, interview preparation, and requesting letters of recommendation
  • SCOIR platform utilized as a research tool to learn about different types of colleges 
  • Four month SAT test preparation class with Empire Edge and the opportunity to take the SAT, PSAT, and PSAT 10 on IDEAL’s campus 
  • Annual trips to visit local colleges and universities
  • College information nights with college representatives, test preparation experts, and financial aid officers

What Happens When--An Overview
High School is a time to learn, grow, develop new interests, and make mistakes. Students should focus on exploring interests and being their best selves in and out of the classroom. While students do not apply to college until their senior year, the process begins in ninth grade and continues throughout their High School career. 

Important grade milestones and markers for college preparation: 

Ninth grade

  • Keep in mind that in eleventh-grade students who will be taking the SAT/ACT may be applying for testing accommodations. Evaluations will need to have been carried out within three years of testing

Tenth Grade

  • In tenth grade, students can take the PSAT10 in the spring or the Pre-ACT in the summer. Tenth graders should be engaged in several extracurricular activities over the course of the year and may consider applying to a summer program that enriches their extracurricular or academic interests. 

Eleventh Grade

  • By eleventh grade, students should be thoroughly engaged in the process, utilizing online resources to develop a list of schools, moving into leadership roles, begin completing the Common Application, and seek out internship or work opportunities.
  • Students will take the PSAT in October and will prepare throughout the year for the spring SAT or ACT
  • Students will request letters of recommendation from their teachers 
  • Visit college campuses during breaks and attend local fairs

Twelfth Grade

  • Ms. Gell will guide students through finalizing their college lists through one-on-one meetings and family conferences focused on the application and financial aid process so students can narrow their choices and begin to finalize their plans beyond IDEAL. 

Download Ms. Gell’s informative slide deck here.

See our College and Postsecondary Acceptance List here.