High School Counseling

The high school counseling process is an important element of the Grade 8 year and a culminating part of the Hamlin journey. At Hamlin, we want our students to develop a keen self-awareness of their strengths and areas of growth in all areas of their academic and personal development!

 

Working with our students and their families as they consider their next academic home is an important journey filled with discovery and invaluable self-reflection. As a team with almost 30 years of combined experience in education – in the classroom, admissions, and secondary school counseling – we are aware of both the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for you and your students. The high school admission process is a very personal one for each student and each family. As such, we are committed to knowing you and your child, as individuals and as community members, so that we may best support and advocate for you throughout this process. 

 

We will guide families by helping students with time management skills, providing valuable insights and perspectives about boarding and day schools, and giving personalized, one-on-one attention to students and their families throughout the entire process. We aim to emphasize the excitement of exploring high schools, the importance of self-reflection, and the joy of the final year together at Hamlin.

An Overview of the Process

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The counseling process begins in the spring semester of Grade 7 when students begin to meet in small groups to jump start the self-reflection piece of the high school process and parents attend individual meetings to speak about the ‘brass tacks’ of the process and to begin identifying schools that may be a great match for their daughters. During the early months of Grade 8, students begin to learn about individual high schools as they explore websites, visit open houses and classes at local schools during High School Visit Days, attend high school fairs, travel to boarding school campuses, and reach out to current high school students. Students also have the opportunity to meet with secondary school admissions officers who visit Hamlin’s campus for information sessions throughout the fall. They also spend time working on personal essays and interview skills, which are an important part of most applications.

 

The counseling team aims to support every student to, among other things, refine self-reflection skills, manage time, brainstorm essay topics, and prepare for interviews. Our work with students helps them develop skills in organization, self-advocacy, reflective thinking and writing, empathy, self-awareness and acceptance, decision making, and problem solving. These skills prepare Hamlin students to thrive long after they’ve left our halls.

 

Grade 8 students continue to be deeply engaged in life and leadership at Hamlin during the admission season; their commitment to academic work and extracurricular activities at school and beyond provides much of the qualitative information provided in the school and teacher recommendations. Application due dates vary by school, but most applications are due in mid-January. When schools send out decision letters in mid-March, families evaluate their options and decide which high school will be the best fit for their child.

 

Hamlin students attend a range of outstanding high schools, from local independent day schools, to public high schools, to boarding schools on both the west and east coasts. Just as every Hamlin student is unique, so too is her/their high school search. We work closely with each student and her/their family to reach an understanding about which types of high schools will be best suited for each individual’s personality, learning style, unique talents, current interests, and future aspirations. Then, we support each student to find the right-fit high school. As the Hamlin mission states, individuals graduating from Hamlin each June must be ready “to meet the challenges of their time.”

Meet Our High School Counseling Team

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Sumeet Bakshi

Director of Secondary School Counseling

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Stacy Metcalf P'20

Associate Director of High School Counseling

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As a culminating class project, Grade 8 students collaborate creatively on a scripted or devised performing arts production to perform for the Hamlin community in June before their graduation. This musical production offers students an opportunity to develop and share their skills in music, dance, acting, and visual design (with set, props, costumes, and lighting) while bonding together as a class. Students work on their performing arts project over the course of the spring semester. These annual Grade 8 musical productions are based on meaningful content aligned with Hamlin’s mission and Creed and have been a favorite school tradition.

 

Rise to the Challenge (RTC) is our Grade 7 capstone project that encourages students to think deeply about and explore solutions to the challenges of their time. As part of this project, they take service learning field trips throughout the year to volunteer and learn more about the issues facing our local community and our world, and work in small teams to identify, research, and propose solutions to a specific challenge that they are passionate about.

 

Grade 6 ends the school year with an interdisciplinary project focused on presentation skills, team building, and self-reflection, where students create a range of pieces to share their learnings and educate the community on social issues through research, presentations, and art. The project, typically called the Symposium, shifts its format and focus from year to year, but it will remain a multi-disciplinary research and performance project that builds on and extends the skills learned throughout the year, concluding with various performances on historical and current topics to deepen students’ understanding of the challenges in the world and encourage them to be agents of change, as they take action to improve their community.

 

The U.S. Magazine Research Exhibition is Grade 5’s project-based culminating venture, which demonstrates the depth and range of skills and knowledge students have acquired during the school year. Each student writes a unique article about some aspect of their group’s region of the United States, with a variety of focal points including the sciences, arts, history, economics, athletics, and more. By creating and publishing a magazine together, students integrate research, writing, collaborative teamwork, creative risk-taking, and academic skills. Finally, Grade 5 students proudly display their public speaking skills in the projects’ exhibition to the community.

 

 

 

 

The Jan Micha Influential Women in History Program is a way for Grade 4 students to learn about women who have made significant, positive, and often overlooked contributions that have changed the course of American herstory. Research, public speaking skills, and learning about different experiences through influential women’s stories are core principles of this project. Originally called the Famous American Women Program, it was renamed in 2015 to honor one of the program’s founders and beloved member of Hamlin’s faculty for over 30 years, Jan Micha.

 

 

View the Influential Women in History website our students put together!

In Social Studies, Grade 3 students spend the year focused on California: its people, its geography, and the events that have shaped it. Students study the state’s geography by looking at different regions and resources, as well as the often untold stories of California’s Indigenous People both past and present. They end the year by analyzing the movement of people throughout California and reading books about immigration.

 

Grade 2 students see a mini golf course through from ideation to completion. As part of this project, students work in teams to design a golf hole - they name it, make it challenging using angles, ramps, and obstacles, and even pick its par before creating a presentation for classmates using photos and videos about their design. They also visit local mini golf courses to practice their putting and learn more about the craft. Finally, students bring their visions to life and then invite parents and other grades to come try out their mini golf course! Through this project, students are able to get active while developing skills in math, robotics, creating and delivering presentations, and teamwork!

 

Grade 1 spends the year studying community and neighborhoods. Students ask themselves essential questions such as: What is my role as a community member? How can I help my community or neighborhood? What are my responsibilities as an individual and group member? What does safety within a community look, feel, and sound like? The study culminates with a hands-on project in which students build a model of the surrounding neighborhood, interview community members that contribute to the greater whole (i.e. librarians, mail person), and integrate the interviews directly onto the model using QR codes. Through this project, students learn about the physical aspects of neighborhoods, cardinal directions, community jobs, and developing interview skills.

 

Every spring, our Kindergarten classes begin their Emergent Units. The themes of these units are completely student driven, different between the classes, and vary every year. Themes are based on class discussions around interests and curiosities. Once the theme is determined, homeroom teachers get to work connecting with outside specialists and our in-house specialist teachers to integrate local and diverse activities and guest leaders to heighten the learning experience. The culminating project is then shared with the larger community through performances, public speaking, and interactive, hands on opportunities.

 

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