Read Time 4 Minutes
When you visit The Altamont School website, one of the most impressive web pages about the prestigious independent school on Birmingham’s Southside is tucked away under the category “College Counseling.”
You can check out the link here: www.altamontschool.org/academics/college-counseling
On the site is a graphic listing over 100 different universities and colleges throughout the nation where Altamont students have been accepted since 2015.
It’s an impressive list. Go ahead and take a look for yourself:
Upcoming Open House
On Jan. 12, Altamont will be holding an Open House for prospective families. Information and registration can be found on their website: www.altamontschool.org/admissions/open-houses-and-shadow-days
As one of the region’s leading independent college preparatory schools, Altamont takes college counseling seriously. One hundred percent of the school’s graduates attend four-year institutions of higher education.
Begin in the 8th Grade
College counseling at Altamont is a journey with students and their families.
“It starts in the 8th grade,” explains Cameron Gaede, longtime director of College Counseling at the school. “We meet with parents and students, introducing ourselves so they know who we are and the type of services we offer. And we encourage students to explore some of the many extracurricular activities our school offers. We want them to pursue interests beyond just academics.”
If a student says she wants to be an engineer when she graduates, the college counselor looks at her schedule to make sure she’s taking the types of classes that engineering schools expect to see in a successful applicant.
And of course, a student’s interests and career paths may change multiple times while in high school. The college counselor is on call ready to help guide the student and family.
“There is a real level of attention and service to the individual student—that sets us apart,” added Gaede.
Gaede and Julie Beckwith, a fellow college counselor, are careful to emphasize that college isn’t just an end goal, but the next step on a student’s path to being a successful, compassionate adult.
“We strongly believe that there are many colleges where our students can receive a great education; the name of a school is not our primary focus,” Beckwith said. “We want to make sure our students land at a school that is well-suited to their particular interests and needs. We emphasize the importance of finding a college that fits our students academically and socially, and that fits our families financially.”
Also unique to Altamont is the annual school-sponsored tour of colleges during Project Week. Each year, the school takes dozens of 10th and 11th graders on a tour of colleges in different regions around the country. One year, they might visit universities in New England. The following year schools in and around Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Some years, they travel to places closer to home like Atlanta, Tennessee and North Carolina.
About 70-80 percent of Altamont graduates attend universities outside the state of Alabama. So the college trip is an opportunity for students to explore a wide range of schools and see what learning, and geographical, environment is right for them.
“We travel to different parts of the country so that our students see different types of schools, ranging from large state, public universities to small, private liberal arts colleges,” said Gaede.
Since Gaede has visited countless colleges over the past 13 years, she has a network of personal relationships with admissions staff throughout the country. This helps her guide students in the right direction.
College application support
Along with personal counseling, classroom work and college tours, Altamont prepares and supports its students through the college application process.
- Preparation for the ACT and SAT during a student’s 9th, 10th and 11th grade years
- Encouragement and support for extracurricular activities
- College Application workshops
- Scholarship and financial aid options
For the past ten years, Altamont has been a test site for the ACT. Taking standardized tests at the school seems to make the students more at ease.
Interested in learning more about Altamont School
The secret to Altamont’s success placing students at the more than 100 colleges nationwide?
Perhaps Cameron Gaede summed it up best.
“Julie and I have the best job in the school. We get to work with amazing kids and have super positive outcomes.”
Interested in enrolling your child at The Altamont School? Alternatively, do you know a family member, friend or neighbor who might like to attend?