Approach

Parker students frequently choose colleges and universities that, like Parker, offer opportunities to take an active role in their education and contribute to an engaged intellectual community that fosters creativity, embraces diversity and aims to improve the world.

Our students thrive on the academic rigor of Parker’s small discussion-based courses, become solid community members and develop a love of learning. Parker inspires and challenges them to think critically, write effectively, analyze thoroughly, present convincingly, listen thoughtfully and strive for excellence. The Parker educational experience encourages each student to develop as a whole person before focusing on the college selection process. Because they embody traits that appeal to colleges, students successfully enroll in institutions of their choice, including the country’s most selective schools.

During junior year, we begin the college search and application process, collaborating with advisors, teachers, Grade Heads and college representatives to engage students in a detailed, developmentally appropriate program that continues through senior year and graduation. We equip them with the necessary tools and guide them in taking an active role in this process, just as they do with all aspects of their education. We remind students that the college selection process is a learning experience, and we help them take advantage of every teachable moment that emerges.

Beginning junior year the College Counseling Office provides:

  • Informational meetings for students and parents
  • Small group workshops for students during the school day on choosing a college, writing essays, presenting their extracurricular activities and sharpening interviewing techniques
  • Opportunities to meet at Parker with representatives from more than 110 colleges and universities; please see the list located under "downloads" on this page
  • An in-depth, Parker-specific “college counseling notebook” for juniors and their parents
  • Information, advice and counsel for students and families throughout all stages of the college selection process, from the initial search through the application and matriculation decisions
  • A primary college counselor for students’ individual questions, beginning with a family meeting during spring semester of junior year
  • Information on programs and policies at colleges and universities, obtained by the College Counseling staff as they visit campuses, attend national meetings and develop and maintain relationships with hundreds of colleges and universities
  • Mock admissions committee meeting in September, including a dozen deans and admissions representatives from colleges and universities, to engage seniors and their parents in understanding the process
  • Annual alumni college panel for juniors and seniors in January
  • Advice and assistance to seniors in developing and editing essays and extracurricular charts and assembling supplemental materials for admission and scholarship applications
  • Assistance with reviewing offers of admission, scholarships and financial aid packages, as well as other financial needs throughout the selection process
  • Guidance and information regarding testing and preparation for standardized tests
  • Information on fee waivers and subsidized test prep options for students on financial aid
  • Informational luncheon for students of color highlighting special collegiate programs, college fly-out programs for underrepresented populations and other opportunities (open to grades 9–12)
Where They Go

Our students seek colleges that uniquely suit their personal interests and passions. Our students retain their individuality, as well as strong and well-formed opinions, throughout the college selection process and as they move into the world. Each class varies, with students choosing colleges and universities based on their respective interests as well as financial considerations.
 
Parker graduates often choose to be near cities: Some are drawn to New York, where they attend Columbia, Barnard, New York University and The Eugene Lang New School. Others like Philadelphia, where they love the University of Pennsylvania and Haverford, in particular. Boston is popular for our graduates; there they enroll at Boston University, Tufts, Harvard, Northeastern and Brandeis. Atlanta appeals to some, with Emory leading the pack for our graduates. Some like the Washington DC area, where George Washington and American University are frequent selections, with Georgetown, Howard and University of Maryland occasional choices.

Parker graduates love college towns: The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is often in first place for most Parker graduates enrolled. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a favorite, but Bloomington holds a special place in the hearts of Indiana University fans. Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, is popular, as is the University of Colorado at Boulder. Parker graduates thrive in rural areas, too, as long as it is a destination of THEIR choosing!
Parker graduates are well-rounded and leave here with talents in a wide range of areas that they pursue at the next level.

  • Visual artists have most frequently chosen to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, Bard, Pratt, Cooper Union, Sarah Lawrence, School of Visual Arts, Parsons and Syracuse in New York; Cal Arts and California College for the Arts on the West Coast; Kansas City Art and Carnegie Mellon centrally located; and the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.
  • Musicians have often gone to places that have both conservatories as well as liberal arts programs, like Oberlin, the University of Miami, the University of Michigan, Cal Arts, Loyola of New Orleans and DePaul, as well as the more specialized programs offered at Juilliard and the Berklee School of Music.
  • Engineers go to Cornell University frequently, then Caltech and Harvey Mudd in California. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Embry Riddle attract students, and finally, in the Midwest, Rose-Hulman Institute, University of Illinois in Urbana, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Milwaukee School of Engineering.
  • Most popular schools among the theatre and film students are New York University, Vassar, Oberlin, Northwestern, the University of Southern California, UCLA and Pomona College.
  • Writers have, of course, gone everywhere. However, a notable group has headed to Brown, with a sampling enjoying the programs at Kenyon, the University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins and SUNY at Purchase.
  • Parker scientists are sprinkled more evenly among the colleges, but notable choices include The University of Chicago, Duke, Stanford, Columbia University and Reed College.
  • Naturally, our political scientists, historians, teachers, mathematicians, economists, philosophers, architects and more can be found at every college in the country and beyond.
Our graduates sometimes go to women’s colleges like Smith, Barnard, Scripps, Wellesley and Mt. Holyoke. Students also go where there is flexibility in the curriculum, continuing to take the lead in their education via destinations like Brown, Vassar, Smith, Grinnell, Hampshire and the Johnston Program at Redlands.

They sometimes attend historically black colleges like Howard, Spellman and Morehouse. They are awarded scholarships through and also go where there are POSSE programs and a commitment to diversity, like Pomona, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin, Denison, the University of Miami, Duke and Occidental.

Adventurous graduates have attended St. Andrews in Scotland, Oxford, University of Edinburgh, McGill and Queen’s University in Canada. Our graduates also love the outdoors and have a keen interest in environmental issues, leading them to the University of Vermont, Colorado College, the University of Denver, Lewis and Clark and Bennington College.

Parker graduates value the wonderful interaction and vibrant discussion they have experienced between teachers and students at Parker. So, they logically decide on places like Kenyon, Bard, Colorado College, Wesleyan, Vassar, Oberlin, Middlebury, Skidmore, Bates and Knox. And, to occasionally expand their horizon beyond the small school environment, consortiums are also of particular interest to our students. They frequently choose the Claremont Colleges, as well as the consortium involving Amherst, Mt. Holyoke and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Having been educated with a strong social consciousness and an interest in a democratic community, Parker students often look for colleges with that same commitment, such as American University, George Washington and Tulane. Some are drawn to an Honor Code, like those embodied at Duke and some of the Quaker schools like Haverford, Swarthmore and Earlham. Parker students are active and engaged. They are leaders. They like colleges and universities where they are able to continue to be involved in active citizenship, like Princeton, Haverford, DePaul and Columbia University.

They are accustomed to independent learning and frequently select schools that provide opportunities to do research, independent projects and community service travel like Brown, Duke and Stanford.

And nowhere is there a more committed and loyal alumni group than Parker graduates. They choose schools where students share that same sense of spirit and loyalty to the community, like the University of Michigan, Yale, Wisconsin, DePaul, Indiana University and the University of Pennsylvania, to name just a few.

Yes, Parker graduates go everywhere. And when they get there, they go everywhere as they contribute to improving their community and society.
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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.