A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

College Counseling

At Latin, we have found that students are happiest with their choice of college when they have spent time discovering their interests, exploring a variety of possibilities and taking responsibility for the course of their application process. College counseling is a four-year process at Latin. With a staff of four, the program is as individualized as the rest of our curriculum. Our counselors work with students to match their interests and strengths with the best-fit schools. Each student’s college search is an opportunity to learn about one’s own educational and social needs and to develop decision-making tools that will help shape future choices both in and out of the world of academia. Ideally, applying to college is the conclusion of a Latin career that involves engagement in the classroom, an impassioned approach to learning, and a commitment to the life of our school, community and the world beyond Chicago.

The staff of Latin’s College Counseling Office encourages students to be involved, reflective, and accountable for their choices. As the people who know their children best, parents also play an active role. We will work closely with each student and family to find a group of schools that best match (and build upon) the individual strengths, interests and achievements of an ever-evolving Latin student.

Latin students attend some of the most diverse and reputable institutions in the United States and abroad; they seek schools that are both far afield and locally situated, small liberal arts colleges and large universities. Latin students are successful in the college application process and apply to a broad spectrum of schools. Ultimately, their choices reflect diligence, the strength of their academic preparation and self-exploration that are the hallmark and natural culmination of their Latin education.

Latin measures its success by ensuring that each student is prepared with the academic and emotional skills needed to thrive in college and beyond.

Highlights of our process

  • Four on-site college counseling staff members
  • Grade 11 curriculum focused on school research process
  • Grade-level programming for all 4 years 
  • Financial planning meetings
  • Direct advocacy
  • Family counseling meetings
  • Informal coffees and Q&As with the counselors
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college matriculation
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students who have chosen to take a gap year in the past five years


of alumni would recommend latin to others*





College Counseling at Latin begins formally at the end of the first semester of junior year but is an informal process that builds upon strong academic and personal advising that takes place throughout students’ high school career. In the freshman and sophomore years, students are encouraged to get involved in school activities, athletics and clubs to hone their own academic interests and artistic talents. The best foundation for a successful college process is the same foundation for a successful high school experience. Students are encouraged to enroll in a variety of appropriate courses that expand their minds and challenge their sensibilities and to join organizations that test them as citizens, competitors and leaders.

Students will receive a variety of informal and formal testing advice at appropriate times throughout the first two years at Latin. In the fall of sophomore year, students will take the PSAT in order to familiarize all Latin students with the test format and to help students become aware of potential standardized-testing concerns.


Beginning in the spring semester, all students will meet in group seminar classes with a college counselor, discussing a variety of issues related to the college search process. These classes will continue in the fall of senior year, when the tone will switch from informative and exploratory to one that is more administrative where we collectively tackle the actual business of applying to students’ schools.

Throughout the spring these seminars address a variety of topics that include but are not limited to:

  • Taking a personal inventory of strengths and achievements - personal assessments
  • Researching colleges
  • Test planning and how tests are used by colleges
  • Mock admissions committee exercises
  • Coping with the public nature of the college process
  • Essay writing and interview skills

By the second half of the spring semester, juniors will meet individually with their college counselor in order to develop a relationship that eventually includes their parents in the conversation and planning. Latin’s college process is personal and individual, and counselors get to know each and every student. The staff is then prepared to offer tailored suggestions to students regarding their college choices, and professional and personal advocacy throughout the college application process.


College seminars return again in the fall of senior year, and each student and his or her counselor work closely to shape a list of colleges that is appropriate, competitively diverse and appealing to the student’s interests and needs. These classes take place in the first half of the semester and include such issues as:

  • Completing and disseminating testing profiles
  • Details and deadlines
  • How to submit applications
  • Self-advocacy, preparation and interviews
  • Essay writing
  • Timelines and the decision-making process at college

Latin counselors are the students’ advocates in the college process – they represent their interests to colleges, write lengthy letters of recommendation and ultimately offer wisdom and careful counsel to each member of the junior and senior classes. College counselors are available as advisers, editors, interview coaches and ambassadors to representatives from over one hundred college and universities. Latin’s college office provides information and guidance until each senior has made a decision to enroll in the school of his or her choice. It is our first priority to address the needs of each student, so the primary relationship is forged between each Latin student and the college counselors; however, we are also a resource for parents. Parents and guardians must know that they will be called upon to appropriately shepherd and support their children through the college process and should feel free to seek Latin’s counsel to help navigate the stressful and often confusing transition to college.


Alexandra Fields

Alexandra Fields

Titles: Associate Director of College Counseling
Elizabeth Pleshette

Elizabeth Pleshette

Titles: Director of College Counseling

Jennifer Taylor

Titles: Associate Director of College Counseling
Veronica Vela

Veronica Vela

Titles: College Counseling Assistant


Suggested Reading

Academic Explorations
  • The Early Admissions Game: Joining the Elite by Christopher Avery, Andrew Fairbanks, and Richard Zeckhauser
  • Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More by Derek Bok
  • Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities by William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, and Michael S. McPherson
  • The Shape of the River by William G. Bowen, Derek Bok, and Glenn C. Loury
  • How College Works by Daniel Chambliss
  • College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be by Andrew Delbanco
  • No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life by Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford
  • The Source of the River: The Social Origins of Freshman at America’s Selective Colleges and Universities by Douglas S. Massey
Academic Research Websites: Life and Learning on College Campuses

Blogs and Websites
Just for Fun
  • 100 Semesters by William Chase
  • The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen
  • CRAZY U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College by Andrew Ferguson
  • Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
  • The College Admissions Mystique by Bill Mayher
  • I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
Helpful Philosophical Guides
  • Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni
  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges by Loren Pope
  • Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College that is Right For You by Loren Pope
  • College Unranked: Ending the College Admissions Frenzy by Lloyd Thacker
Tell Alls
  • The Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead by David Callahan
  • The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges – and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates by Daniel Golden
  • The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton by Jerome Karabel
  • Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds by Richard J. Light
  • Beer and Circus: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education by Murray Sperber
  • The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg
Self-Help (mostly for parents)
  • Letting Go (Fifth Edition): A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger
  • I Just Want My Kids to be Happy: Why You Shouldn’t Say it, Why You Shouldn’t Think it by Aaron Cooper and Eric Keitel
  • I Am Going To College, Not You!: Surviving the College Search With Your Child by Jennifer Delahunty
  • A New Approach to Guiding Your Teen Through College Admissions and Beyond by Kenneth Ginsburg
  • Building Resilience in Children and Teens, Giving Kids Roots and Wings by Kenneth Ginsburg
  • The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting by Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt
  • How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims
  • The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel
  • The Blessing of a B Minus by Wendy Mogel
  • The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and Thrive During Their College Years by Anthony L. Rostain and B. Janet Hibbs