The college search process can be confusing and fraught with misinformation and misguidance. Prairie provides a full-time team of seasoned experts to make sure families are prepared.

By Maggie McDonough | Student Life, Top, Upper School

The admissions representative’s eyes widened as she turned to the map of where Prairie alumni have gone to college in just the last five years.  “Wow, they’re all over the place, from coast to coast!” she exclaimed.

Welcome to Prairie School.

In a state where most high schools average 90% in-state college enrollment, Prairie students do, indeed, explore and go to colleges “All over the place.”  Why and how does this happen?  Because Prairie pours significant resources into college counseling, a key piece of our student-centered, college preparatory mission.  Just as Prairie is dedicated to helping every student develop to their fullest potential while under our roof, so do we believe in helping each student explore the myriad college options available to them to find both personal and academic fit at great colleges near and far.

None of this happens by accident.  The college search and application process is circuitous, layered, confusing, and often fraught with misinformation and misguidance.  Students everywhere deserve better than that and Prairie provides a full-time team of seasoned college counseling experts for just this purpose.

Through individual relationships with every student and their parents, customized college searches and support, extensive on-campus programming, and an extensive network of relationships with colleges across the country, the college counseling team works to ensure that students and parents are informed and supported throughout the search and application process.  Our mission is not to herd students to a particular kind of school, but to help each of them find that all-important individual fit at colleges where they will thrive.

One of Prairie’s many perks is an ever-expanding menu of colleges visiting our campus to talk with students.  Each fall we welcome 80-100 admission officers from colleges of all sizes and locations, ranging from highly accessible schools to the most selective colleges in the country.  In addition to these individual visits, we host fall and spring college fairs where students and parents can talk with multiple institutions in a single afternoon.


Additional programming for students and parents includes:

  • Information meetings for parents of all four US grade levels
  • Expert-led Financial Aid seminars
  • Mock Admissions Case Studies program facilitated by veteran admission officers
  • Admission Deans Panel about how college admissions work
  • Expert panel for sophomores and juniors about exploring and communicating with colleges
  • Expert panel for juniors about all aspects of the search process
  • Freshman lunches and classes about building a four-year history, learning college lingo, and dispelling myths
  • Individualized work with each student through his or her own search and application process.

As Prairie founder Imogene Johnson says, our goal is to prepare students not to get into college, but through college to all manner of fulfilling pursuits that tap their individual talents, skills, and passions.  What more could anyone want for their kids?

To learn more about College Counseling, visit the department’s webpage