U.S. College Counseling
The American Farm School U.S. College Counseling (CCO) office was established in 2011 as a free and individualized resource for Farm School students wishing to pursue undergraduate study in the U.S. upon completion of High School. The primary purpose of the CCO is to provide support and guidance to all students who have demonstrated a strong interest in studying in the U.S., as well as diligence and commitment to their studies.
The CCO supports students through the entire process, which includes: preparation, identifying colleges, completing competitive applications, and the enrollment process. The service includes, but is not limited to, defining fields of interest, identifying colleges/universities that meet their needs, and corresponding with those colleges/universities. Once students begin the application process, the CCO assists in clarification of requirements (standardized exams, forms, etc.), completing application materials and financial aid documents, reviewing essays, practicing admissions interviews, and finally, enrolling with an institution.
Upon entrance to the American Farm School, students who express interest in studying in the U. S. can join the Study USA program in 10th grade. They attend a Study USA class, which focuses on American culture, introduction to American educational expectations, explanation of the U.S. undergraduate application process, and building a strong CV. The course also diversifies and strengthens their English skills in areas such as critical reading, literary interpretation, speaking, active listening competency, self-reflection, and vocabulary.
The CCO hosts an average of 20 U.S. colleges and universities each year on the American Farm School campus, so that students become better acquainted with a variety of colleges, identify potential schools of interest, and can better understand what colleges look for in applicants, while our staff develops long-standing relationships between AFS and these institutions. CCO staff hold one-on-one meetings with Study USA students and parents, provides workshops (time management, study skills, essay writing, and interviewing) to better equip students with the skills necessary for college preparation, decision-making and the application process.
Universities our AFS graduates are presently attending include: Bates College, Berea College, Gannon University, Juniata College, McNeese State University, Middlebury College, Princeton University, Rhodes College, University of Richmond, Sewanee: The University of the South, Smith College, St. Lawrence University, University of Tampa, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
The College Counseling Office collaborates with AFS English Departments and the Library to provide support and resources to students who need extra training with skills that also benefit class work, including: time management, study skills, essay writing, presentation skills, etc.
The College Counseling Office assists students in the identification of and application to summer programs which are held on U.S. college campuses or private schools and focus on STEM, leadership, agriculture, and ESL instruction. Students attending these programs are immersed in American culture and improve their English skills, all while sampling the American educational system before deciding to attend an undergraduate institution for study. These summer programs enrich students’ academic profiles, exposing them to the rigor of college level courses and the expectations of U.S. college professors, while making meaningful connections with an international student body.
Over the past few years, over 100 AFS students have attended summer programs at the following institutions: Camp Rising Sun, Cushing Academy, Earlham College, McNeese State University, Northfield Mount Hermon, The Putney School, Smith College, St. Cloud State University, University of Michigan, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, participating in courses on academic writing, STEM research, public speaking, and much more. The AFS College Counseling Office also connects students to independent professionals in the STEM or agricultural sector for summer internship opportunities, such as the Open Source Ecology network.
The AFS College Counseling Office supports students in the application process to these summer opportunities. Prior to departure, students attend a culture awareness seminar familiarizing them with American lifestyle, appropriate study skills, and defining expectations.