By: Juliette Grimm ‘18
Members of the Saint Andrew’s College Guidance Office packed their bags and traveled to over 50 college campuses this past summer. From the bucolic settings of Dartmouth and Middlebury to the urban hustle and bustle of GW and NYU, our college counselors explored many school environments while fostering relationships with admissions officers.
They visited “the potential places where our students are going to go to,” said Dr. Robert Bouressa, Director of College Guidance, in hopes of improving the name recognition and visibility of Saint Andrew’s School in the college admissions community.
Dr. Bouressa, who has worked at Saint Andrew’s for thirteen years, makes it his mission to visit at least ten schools every year, and he asks his four other colleagues to do the same in order to establish relationships with a wide range of schools across the country. This summer, he saw 16. Starting in Montreal, Dr. Bouressa made his way through the Northeast where he then led a group tour that originated in Boston.
Since he visits so many schools regularly- such as Brown, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania- Dr. Bouressa made sure to see a few for the first time. At Middlebury, he was “struck by the incredible beauty of the place and its tranquility.” He also enjoyed discovering the University of Vermont because of its location in Burlington, which he “absolutely loved.” On many of these campuses that he visited, Dr. Bouressa personally met with admissions.
When Dr. Bouressa meets with a college admissions representative, he gains an understanding of a school’s atmosphere and academics. He is also there “to advance the image and understanding of Saint Andrew’s and its students” as well as to explain “the strength of our academic program and how competitive our students are.”
Ms. Tammy Friedman, Associate Director of College Guidance at Saint Andrew’s, also visited colleges over the summer. She participated in the program “College Visits” as a chaperone and then took a trip on her own. Friedman found her fast-paced Northeast tour “an amazing way to check out schools” because “every detail was synchronized to the last minute.” Her excursion included stops at Boston University, Fordham, and Elon, which was her favorite.
Ms. Friedman, who has worked at Saint Andrew’s for 23 years but is relatively new to the College Guidance Office, said the trip revealed how important it is to physically experience a campus. “I think the campus really sets a tone for the heart of the school,” she stated.
Ms. Friedman advises seniors to look seriously at a college’s environment, considering its social life, academic life, and political nature. “You want to pick a school that’s the right fit for you,” she said.
Several Saint Andrew’s seniors joined a college tour this past summer to find that “right fit.” Tony Ianello participated in the program “College Visits,” chaperoned by Dr. Bouressa. Of the eleven schools he visited, Johns Hopkins and Columbia remain his favorites.
After his trip, he realized how important class size matters to him. “You get to see one or two differences that really make a school specific and unique,” he said.
For Caroline Walwyn, the difference that made Drexel unique is its Co-Op program, which allows students to launch their career early by having job experiences in college. She realized that she “[is] a student who wants to learn what they need to know for their job, rather than just a student who wants to learn for fun.”
As college acceptance becomes more competitive each year, Dr. Bouressa urges students to find schools that “they are likely to get into and fall in love with” as much as their dream schools.
“Shoot high, but make sure that you have all your bases covered,” he said. Of course, he reassures seniors that he and his staff are there “to help students achieve their lofty goals.”
List of Colleges Visited:
University of Maryland
FAU -Wilkes Honors College
University of Rochester
Johns Hopkins University
College of Charleston
University of South Carolina
Southern Methodist University
Texas Christian University
University of Texas – Austin
University of Central Florida
Wilkes Honors College