There is nothing like a dream to create the future. -Victor Hugo
Through the years, the Future Counseling Program at Cascades Academy has grown and broadened in very thoughtful and intentional ways. From a traditional college counseling program, the faculty and staff at our school recognized that not only do we need to prepare our students for college, but we also need to prepare them for the other challenges they will face in their future.
The Future Counseling program is not a stand-alone program, but one that is integrated into our Upper School Program. Through a variety of courses, students are required to focus on critical thinking skills, collaborative and communication skills. In regular course work, electives, and expeditions, teachers challenge students to think creatively, find solutions to difficult problems as well as drive their own learning- all skills necessary for future success. The Future Counseling and Upper School Programs recognize the importance of the hands-on approach and the benefits of working in the community outside of our school and therefore require all students in their eleventh-grade year to complete a yearlong internship with a local organization or company and report on their experience in a paper and presentation at the end of the year. Finally, students are provided with both support and tools to work on personal social-emotional issues that arise through the curriculum presented in their Advisory periods.
The Cascades Academy Future Counseling Program recognizes that most of our students will wish to continue on to higher education and that the steps to achieve that goal can sometimes be daunting and stressful. Our belief, though, is that this is an exciting time for young people. It is so rare in our life that we are able to make huge decisions and changes that reflect and shape who we are. With thousands of colleges and universities within the United States and internationally, we also believe that the best approach is to understand students personally and holistically so that we are not searching for the best school in the land, but instead, we are helping the students select the right school for them.
The Future Counseling Program includes many different opportunities for students to familiarize themselves with the college admissions process and different schools from around the country. Below are some of the ways we help introduce our students to some options for their future following high school and guide them on this exciting journey:
- Individual counseling including colleges and/or gap year opportunities.
- Financial aid advising - FAFSA, CSS Profile, and scholarship opportunities.
- Teacher and counselor recommendations.
- Guidance through the college essay process including preparation, writing, and editing.
- Pacific Northwest Association of College Admissions Counseling College Fair visit
- Multi-day college tours.
- Weekly scheduled hour in the 12th-grade first trimester for college counseling with the college counselor.
- Intensive College Application Workshop offered for a week in the summer prior to 12th grade (open to the public).
- Available private summer meeting times with college counselor
- SAT/ACT Prep Course and additional assistance as needed.
- College and Career Counseling Night featuring a college fair and workshops guided by experts in the field (open to the public).
- 20+visits from colleges, universities, and post-graduate programs throughout the fall months.
The Cascades Academy Future Counseling Program's approach is to focus primarily on what is best for the individual student. To arrive at that answer, there needs to be a commitment to listening to students and parents as well as a clear evaluation of individual strengths, challenges, and interests. The Upper School and Future Counseling Programs are tightly intertwined with the goal of preparing our students not only to find happiness and face and overcome challenges in their future but also to be individuals prepared "for a diverse and changing world."