At SD, college counseling is about connecting hard work, dreams, and one's individual sense of purpose.
Character plays an important role in each San Domenico student’s education. The same is true of the college admission process. We seek to develop socially conscious individuals by emphasizing social justice and service learning opportunities through our core values: Study, Reflection, Service, and Community. These values are mindfully incorporated in our college counseling program, which begins in 9th grade and extends through graduation.
The college counselors actively serve as a resource for all San Domenico Upper School students, and empower them to drive their search and become better communicators and decision-makers in the college admission process. Self-advocacy is highly encouraged as students discern interests and abilities, set goals, and engage in purposeful research as they identify their options. Each step of the way, we encourage students to embrace their curiosity and actively seek academic and extracurricular challenges that will highlight their personal interests and ever developing sense of purpose.
Welcome to San Domenico Upper School!
In 9th grade students are encouraged to explore, take risks, challenge themselves, and take advantage of everything the San Domenico community has to offer. Students who embrace the San Domenico mission and actively involve themselves at school will naturally build the skills and acquire the tools to find the college or university that is the right fit for them. Take a deep breath and get involved at San Domenico!
Freshman parents and guardians are encouraged to attend our Academic & College Night in February, which will provide a brief introduction to the college process as it relates to course selection at San Domenico.
In addition to focusing on academic pursuits at San Domenico, sophomores should continue to explore and discover personal interests, both academic and extracurricular. Our goal is to ease students into the college process in a measured and mindful way. By staying in the “here and now” and furthering extracurricular engagement while cultivating opportunities for leadership, students will organically discover the academic and extracurricular interests that will later become relevant as college options are considered.
The first glimpse into the standardized testing process for college admissions will be through the administration of the PSAT in October. The sophomore PSAT is the first of two opportunities for students to take this practice SAT. The second PSAT will occur in October of Junior year, again. Sophomores interested in the ACT are welcome to take a practice test scheduled in spring of sophomore year. This is an optional test which is offered by Compass Test Prep at San Domenico.
The results from both practice tests provides a good benchmark for students as they consider whether to take the SAT or the ACT. We do not recommend that students begin test preparation - or sit for the SAT or ACT - in their sophomore year. Remember, the PSAT is inherently an opportunity to practice the SAT in a standardized setting. We encourage students to take advantage of these practice opportunities before taking an official SAT or ACT in spring of Junior year.
While we typically encourage juniors to begin visiting colleges and universities, interested sophomores may want to gain a better sense of different college environments before the start of junior year. Visiting a campus is a wonderful way to get a sense of the “who, what, where, and why” of a specific school and whether it is a good fit for you both academically and socially. For more information and suggestions about college visits, please see the College Visit section of the college counseling website.
Sophomore parents and guardians are encouraged to attend our Academic & College Night in February, which will provide a brief introduction to the college process as it relates to course selection at San Domenico.
PSAT: October 16, 2019
Academic & College Night: February 27, 2020
In junior year, the college counseling process assumes a more formal role. Students will start meeting with the college counseling team individually and in groups to begin navigating the search and selection process. As schedules allow, juniors will also have the opportunity to meet with visiting admissions representatives from colleges from around the United States and internationally. Along the way, students are encouraged to consider their unique story to ensure that their applications are honest reflections of their individuality.
Junior Parent College Night
This evening event in December provides an opportunity for parents and guardians to hear an overview of the college search and selection process from the college counselors at San Domenico.
In the spring of junior year, the college counseling office hosts group seminars to keep students on track and focused on their post-secondary planning process. Topics include the college research and list building process and various facets of college applications such as interviewing, essay writing and the financial aid and scholarship process.
Individual College Counselor Meetings
Integral to our program, our timely individual planning meetings with juniors and seniors provide an opportunity for students and counselors to get to know one another, identify personal goals, and develop a reflective college list and application plan.
Junior year is a great year to start visiting colleges and universities. Visiting a campus is a wonderful way to get a sense of the “who, what, where, and why” of a specific school and whether it is a good fit for specific students both academically and socially. For more information and suggestions about college visits, please see the College Visit section of the college counseling website.
Spring of junior year is typically when most San Domenico students sit for their first SAT or ACT testing date. You should create your own accounts with the SAT (College Board) and the ACT to register for your desired test date. San Domenico will also offer a School Day Testing option for the SAT and the ACT in the spring semester for interested students.
For more information on standardized testing, please see the Standardized Testing section of the college counseling website.
Senior year transitions students from actively researching colleges to actively applying to college or other post-secondary options such as a gap year. Through individual and group college application sessions, students engage in a thorough evaluation of their identified college interests as they relate to their abilities and challenges in their process. The result is a list of schools uniquely tailored to a student’s personality and interests. At this level of discovery, students come to ‘know themselves’, and develop decision-making skills that serve them well after high school.
Students do occasionally choose an alternative plan for after high school, and these outcomes are encouraged and supported as well. College counselors are always available to listen, suggest options, provide resources, and advocate for students throughout their high school journey.
Essay Writing Workshop
In August before the school year begins, the senior class will come together for a 2 day retreat focused on the college process, particularly crafting and polishing college essays and supplements. This is a time for students at all phases of the essay writing process to brainstorm, edit, and receive feedback from the college counselors and participating San Domenico faculty.
College Admission Representatives at SD
Throughout the fall semester, San Domenico hosts admission representatives from more than 80 colleges and universities across the United States and beyond. Interested students have the opportunity to meet with members of college admission staff to gain more information about individual colleges as class schedules allow.
Students may continue to sit for the SAT or ACT during the fall of senior year. Students must use the same account created with the SAT (College Board) and the ACT to register for all future tests! Additionally, San Domenico will also offer School Day Testing option for the SAT and the ACT in the fall for interested students.
For more information on standardized testing, please see the Standardized Testing section.
College Campus Visits
Seniors should continue to use the fall months to visit schools of interest to them. Come spring, students may also want to take advantage of the admitted student programming at the schools to which they’ve been admitted to help make that final decision by May 1. For more information on college visits, please see the College Visit section on the college counseling website.
- Standardized Testing
- Visiting Colleges
- College Admissions In The News
- Recent College/University Acceptances
Standardized testing is frequently utilized in the college admission process. The SAT and the ACT are accepted equally by colleges without preference. There are a number of colleges that have adopted test-optional policies, which means that testing is not necessarily a required part of the college admission process. The SD college counselors work with each student to create a testing schedule specific to their college interests and academic strengths as they move through high school. As college exploration unfolds, students are encouraged to research the specific standardized testing expectations of all colleges of interest.
Generally, we recommend that students sit for their first SAT or ACT in the spring of their junior year: SAT: March or May and ACT: April or June. Students frequently choose to test a second time in early fall of senior year. Once dates are selected, students should register early to ensure availability at a convenient testing location. Two well timed sittings for the SAT or ACT are recommended. Students are strongly advised to refrain from overtesting as frequency does not typically guarantee improvement in scores.
Testing Registration - San Domenico CEEB Code: 053205
Registration for the SAT and the ACT begins by creating an account on the testing website: SAT (The College Board) and the ACT. Keep track of the registration information as the same account should be used for each subsequent test taken for the SAT and the ACT, respectively. We strongly recommend that students plan ahead and register early to ensure a desired test center, which is offered on pre-scheduled Saturdays, typically at larger public and independent high schools in the Bay Area. When registering, include San Domenico’s CEEB code so that the College Office will receive a copy of each set of test scores.
San Domenico offers School Day testing for both the SAT and the ACT. This occurs for juniors in spring semester and for seniors in the fall semester. Registration occurs through our Registrar who communicates with families regularly to ensure interested students are registered.
A growing number of colleges in the United States are moving away from standardized testing requirements as a part of the application process. If standardized testing does not play to your strengths as a student, it may be worth considering applying to schools with test-optional policies. Some, but not all, colleges with test-optional policies may require applicants to submit supplemental materials (i.e. additional essays, a graded paper, etc.) if they choose to apply without testing.
SAT Subject Tests
There are a few colleges that require or recommend 2-3 SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT or ACT. Specific subjects depend upon the college, major of interest, or general admission policies. These are one hour tests offered across academic subjects. Students may take up to 3 tests on one test date though we recommend no more than 2 tests at one time. Depending on the student, we recommend taking relevant tests reflecting subjects of interest in June of the relevant school year while the information is still fresh. Subject testing typically occurs in junior year though students who are advanced in a particular subject may be prepared in freshman or sophomore years.
Students should register for these exams on using their SAT (College Board) account. This is not necessarily a must for all students - feel free to discuss these options with the college counseling team!
Sending Test Scores to Colleges
Test scores are typically sent to colleges when registering for the last test in the fall of senior year. This is to ensure that all necessary scores will be received in a timely manner, according to college deadlines. Juniors should not send scores to colleges when they register for tests.
Colleges requiring standardized testing as part of the admission process typically expect students to send their scores officially from their SAT (College Board) or ACT accounts, respectively. Recently, some colleges opted to allow students to submit their scores on their application (only) or request that their college counselor submit a copy of the student’s score report. We urge students to check this policy carefully on each college website. Many colleges still require official scores. The college counseling office cannot submit scores on your behalf unless explicitly approved by each college admission office.
Many college admission offices combine the highest score per section of the SAT or ACT, regardless of testing date to create a new combined (composite) score. The specific policy on superscoring ranges from college to collegel. It is important to check each college website or contact the admission office to inquire about their specific policy regarding superscoring standardized tests.
The SAT (College Board) and ACT each provide the option for students to choose to submit scores by specific test dates, rather than submit a cumulative report of scores. While the ACT allows students to submit scores by test date, the SAT (College Board) generally submits a cumulative report (all scores from all tests SAT and Subject Tests) that a student has taken.
Score Choice was created by the College Board to allow students the option to send scores by specific test date. Most colleges prefer that students submit their entire testing history (a cumulative report of scores). For colleges that superscore or require that all testing history be reported (including the University of California system), students should send all scores. For more information on Score Choice policies, Compass Education Group has a great online resource.
International Students - Demonstrating English Proficiency
Many colleges will require international applicants for whom English is not their language of origin to demonstrate a certain level of English proficiency through testing. Colleges typically require submission of either a TOEFL or IELTS score. Each college will have their own standards for English proficiency, so it is recommended that students check individual websites to confirm specific requirements. We recommend registering for these tests early to ensure you meet admissions deadlines.
Advanced Placement Testing
Students interested in colleges outside of the United States may be expected to submit Advanced Placement test scores in lieu of the SAT or ACT. This is entirely dependent upon the country and college of interest.
Fee Waivers for Standardized Testing
Fee Waivers are offered by the SAT (College Board) and ACT, respectively. Each has specific financial guidelines to determine whether a student may qualify for a fee waiver to register for standardized tests. Please see the college counselors for more information and to verify eligibility.
Testing Accommodations for Students with Diagnosed Learning Differences
Students with diagnosed learning or attention differences may be eligible to receive accommodations for standardized tests. There is a process of requesting accommodations through SAT (The College Board) and ACT, respectively. If interested in requesting accommodations, please contact our the Learning Resource Center at least 6 weeks in advance of the test.
For more information about testing accommodations, please visit our Learning Support page.
There are a variety of visit opportunities available depending on the specific college you are visiting - everything from traditional information sessions and tours to class visits, overnights, large-scale preview days, and programs focused on diversity and multicultural life or particular academic areas. There are also websites that provide virtual tours for students who are unable to visit campus before applying!
Campus Fly-In Programs
If college visits prove to be financially burdensome to you and your family, many colleges and universities offer fully or partially funded fly-in programs as an opportunity to visit campus. College Greenlight maintains a useful database of fly-in programs by region and by college. This requires careful planning as these programs require students to apply to participate.
College Visit Tips
Students - take the lead!
While the college process is family driven, students should take this opportunity to flex self-advocacy skills. As much as possible, the student should be the one signing up for visits and interacting with admissions reps both in person while on campus or remotely through email, and phone contact.
Particularly in the spring and fall, many college visit opportunities can fill up to capacity quickly as juniors and seniors from across the country (and beyond!) take advantage of these opportunities. Visit college websites for specific tour information.
Know where to check in.
Some colleges will check in tours in the admissions office directly while others use visitor centers that are not directly connected to the admission office. As many college campuses are large, knowing where to go (and park) before arrival on campus will save time and stress!
Talk to students!
Whether your tour guide or having lunch in the dining hall with a current student - chatting with current students in addition to the admissions staff is a great way to get the student perspective of the college experience at that particular school.
Ask meaningful questions.
If interested in a particular major, student organization, internship opportunities, etc - ask the admissions rep or students thoughtful questions. Prepare ahead of time - if questions can be answered by browsing the school’s website, consider any additional information that may be helpful.
Take time to record your impressions of each school during or immediately following your visit.
Some colleges offer students the opportunity to interview. They may be conducted by an admissions officer, current student, or alumni volunteer and can happen on and off campus and virtually by phone or Skype. Interviews most commonly occur during senior year when students have their college list more finalized, but are also sometimes offered to interested juniors. Check the college’s website to review specific interview policies.
Understand the Purpose of College Interviews
The primary goal of an interview is for colleges to gain a sense of the student as an individual apart from grades and test scores. Remember that this is a conversation not a job interview! Colleges that offer interviews may have information on their website about what to expect.
Some preparation can be helpful, particularly since interviewing can cause students to become nervous. Create a few questions about the college based on your interests. Avoid asking questions that are easily answered on the college website. This is a useful interview checklist from the College Board website. You may want to create your own version!
College Admissions In The News
Turning the Tide II: How Parents and High Schools Can Cultivate Ethical Character and Reduce Distress in The College Admissions Process - Making Caring Common Project, Harvard Graduate School (May, 2019)
College-Admissions Hysteria Is Not the Norm - The Atlantic (April, 2019)
How To Survive The College Admissions Madness - New York Times (March, 2015)
Why College Engagement Matters More Than Selectivity - Challenge Success (October, 2018)
Dear Therapist: I’m Worried the College-Admissions Process Is Rigged Against My Son - The Atlantic (February, 2019)
Reflections on a College Admission Scandal: A Teachable Moment - Challenge Success (March, 2019)
There’s More to College Than Getting Into College - The Atlantic (May, 2019)
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- Financing a College Education
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General Financial Aid Information
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- FAFSA in 7 Easy Steps
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Net Price Calculators
*a note about scholarship scams!
Specific by Type of College
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Students with Learning Differences
- K&W’s Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences (Book of Colleges with LD Programs)
- Challenge Success
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Thank you for your interest in visiting our students at San Domenico!
San Domenico School is located in San Anselmo in the midst of Marin County. It is about 35 minutes North of the Golden Gate Bridge. We are located at the end of Butterfield Road, about 2.5 miles from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. It may be helpful to know that as you travel down Butterfield Road, near our campus, you may lose cell phone service!
We schedule our college visits on SCOIR. Feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance scheduling a visit! College visits will be hosted during the fall semester (Monday through Friday). Visits are typically 40 minutes and will be primarily with seniors though juniors may attend as their schedule allows.
When you arrive, park in the large visitor lot on your left. Our Upper School Building is located at the top of the small hill on your left. The College Office is on the first floor immediately to the left. We have signs to assist you in finding us!