College Counseling at Ashley Hall is more than a student resource—it’s an area of significant emphasis woven into the school’s Upper School program. One of the three components of the Personal Awareness and Wellness Seminars (PAWS) program, college counseling focuses on identifying the best college or university fit for each student and ensuring the search and application process is carefully approached and not anxiety filled. “The pursuit of college acceptance is a very stressful time, especially for girls,” says Director of College Counseling, Amanda Murrell. “We begin working with our students and their families early in the Upper School so there is time to explore and vet different options.”

Beginning in 9th grade, students are encouraged to reflect upon themselves and their roles in their own school community. The next step is having the girls envision themselves in their next community, which, for a college preparatory school like Ashley Hall, is a college or university campus setting. A crucial aspect of the PAWS program—and why it supports college counseling so effectively—is the use of self-awareness skills instilled in those early years, making junior and senior girls more informed and thoughtful participants in the college search process. They have a clear understanding of who they are and where they would like to attend school—and how to juggle the pressures of getting there.