The RPS College Counseling Team is pleased to partner with students and families in one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life. Rutgers Prep counselors advise and assist students in identifying colleges that match their potential, and creating applications that showcase their strengths.
Beginning with educational programming for students and families in the 7th grade, our highly individualized approach encourages students to be thoughtfully engaged in the college search process as they make choices that fit their passions. We are dedicated to staying current with the latest trends in an ever-changing admissions landscape. We maintain close relationships with colleges; each year we travel across the country, networking with college and university admission officers and reminding them of all that our amazing RPS students can bring to their campuses. Last year, more than 130 college representatives met with both interested students and a member of our team here at Rutgers Prep!
100% of our graduates go on to attend four-year college, and their choices are reflective of their strong preparation. We believe that the college process is an opportunity for our students to identify their interests, define their goals, and shine.
Meet the Team
Welcome from the College Counseling Team at Rutgers Prep! We have the best jobs on campus, because we get to partner with students and their families at such an exciting point in their life.
We have more than 25 years experience in the field of selective higher education admissions, at such diverse institutions as The University of Pennsylvania, The College of New Jersey, Seton Hall University, and Stevens Institute of Technology.
We are proud to have been selected to present at both the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) annual conferences as well as at numerous NJ Association of College Counseling (NJACAC) and Association of College Counselors of Independent School Conferences (ACCIS) conferences.
Sherry M. Riggi
Co-Director of College Counseling
Mindfulness teacher, coordinator of professional workshops, mom of twins = master multi-tasker
"A++++ Thank you Ms. Riggi for your help and support these past two years. Ms. Riggi's first meetings with my son helped to dispel his anxiety and helped to create a plan on starting the search process. With Ms. Riggi's guidance, Michael was able to assess schools and be able to decide if the majors offered at each filled his needs and wants. The deeper he got into the process, the more excited and independent he became. Ms. Riggi was the perfect balance of encouraging and prompting without ever taking over the process. She expected my son to discover the right fit for himself, supported him throughout the application process and cheered along with him when he was accepted to his #1 choice!"
~Parent of a recent graduate
Co-Director of College Counseling
Twitter fan, rower, haiku aficionada
"Available," "approachable," and "creative" are the words I use to describe Ms. Krause. Available: last minute appointments, emails, and availability, even in the summer... Approachable: her sense of humor and caring personality created a comfort level... Creative: coming up with multiple scenarios for the process. And the final college selections were perfect fits; I could not be happier with how my children's college search journeys played out! My children were knowledgeable about their schools, well prepared by RPS, and ready to contribute to their new educational settings. Thank you, Ms. Krause, for your guidance with this very important life decision!
~Parent of recent graduates
Armchair historian, enjoys the outdoors and great novels
Rhiannon joined the RPS college counseling team in 2020 after seven years as a college counselor and a previous career in college admissions. Rhiannon's students have described her as empathetic, thoughtful, and thorough; she enjoys recognizing and creating moments of joy for all of her students along the journey to college. Here is what one family from Rhiannon's previous role shared about their experience working with her: "You’ve been such a great teacher to our children, and helped guide them with ease and always a smile (and many laughs!!) through the college entry process. You have made it all so much easier for us and our kids, and your support has always been amazing."
College Counseling Program Assistant
Making sure that nothing falls through the cracks since 1999.
She helps to coordinate college representative visits, processes applications for seniors, and handles transcript requests from alumni. Mrs. Irizarry is always there to provide a ready smile and supportive word.
Students and Parents will be invited to an evening where they will hear from an Upper School College Counselor and a panel of professionals from college admissions and student life. The focus of the panel will include areas students can be focusing on now to get the most out of middle school and prepare for high school as well as learn how course selection and extracurricular activities play a role in the college process.
9th & 10th Grade
Although Upper School students won't enter into the formal portion of our college counseling curriculum until their junior year, we know that students and families may have college-related questions well before that. Our counselors are uniquely qualified to offer advice and insight as well as address any questions that underclassmen and/or their parents may have. Prior to the all-class "college kickoff" meeting junior year, Upper School students and their parents who have questions about summer opportunities, future course selections, and/or strategic approaches to standardized testing are encouraged to reach out to Ms. Krause to schedule an appointment. In addition, college admissions planning events and programs will be announced throughout the school year.
Our pre-college counseling approach is to provide information while encouraging students to remain engaged and active in their high school experience. Participating in a new club, sport or community service opportunity are just a few examples of how students can develop new skills and grow as a leader within our community.
Juniors and their parent(s)/host parent(s) will receive invitations for programs to help them begin to plan and think about the college process. The OFFICIAL start to the process occurs with our College Kick-off Night in early February.
Beginning in mid-March of their junior year, all Rutgers Prep students are assigned to a section of Junior Seminar, a course which is specifically designed to support them as they engage with the college search process. The curriculum includes information that will help students get the most out of a college visit, design an impressive college résumé and learn the best way to choose teachers to approach about writing letters of recommendation in the fall. Students also receive their “point person” assignments in college counseling, develop preliminary college lists, and begin learning about the college search process. In general, this is a time for juniors to reflect on their goals, touch base with friends and family, and think about who they are and why they want to go to college.
- Speak with current seniors about their plans.
- Think about who you are and why you want to go to college.
- Take the PSAT.
- Receive results of the PSAT shortly before winter break.
January – March (includes College Kickoff in early February!)
- Students who are planning to take a February ACT should register online in January, while students who are planning to take the SAT in March should register online in February.
- Similarly, if planning to take the ACT in April, register online in March (registration for standardized tests tends to run about a month before the actual test date).
- Explore summer opportunities. See Ms. Krause and/or the RPS Pre-College Counseling resource board on Argonet for materials and suggestions.
- After completing student and parent questionnaires, schedule a meeting with your college counselor to discuss goals and to establish a draft list of colleges to investigate.
- Discuss senior schedule with your advisor and your college counselor. If at all possible, visit some colleges during Spring Break. Keep a journal of your impressions, ask questions, and take pictures.
- Students, meet your college counselor for a mock interview; this gives you practice, and offers your college counselor an opportunity to gather information for your recommendation letter.
- Attend Junior Seminar. Keep up with homework and ask good questions.
- Many students will sit for their first official standardized test(s) in the spring of their junior year. Make sure that you’ve discussed your testing strategy and plan with your counselor.
- If planning to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests in May, register in April. For a list of colleges that have moved away from standardized testing in their admissions process, see fairtest.org.
- Attend regional College Fairs
- If planning to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests in June, register online in May. If planning to take the ACT in June, register online in May.
- Advanced Placement Exams are in the first half of May; see the CollegeBoard’s AP website for details.
- Develop a list of colleges to visit during summer. Sign up online to request information. Set up visits and schedule interviews.
- Ask two teachers to sign the form which commits them to supporting your college applications by writing letters of recommendation.
- Both the SAT and the ACT are typically offered in June.
- If any of your courses have summer work associated with them, make a plan to do that work.
- Visit colleges if at all possible! Update journal, compare colleges, discuss your reactions and opinions with family, trusted friends, and your counselor.
- Narrow your list to about ten colleges. Be sure to include a range of selectivity.
- Plan to draft application essays. The Common App goes "live" over the summer; create an account and begin working on your first applications.
- Plan fall visits (campus interviews, events, tours) & your testing schedule, e.g. register in July if planning to take the late-August SAT, or register for a fall ACT.
- Sign up for email lists & campus visits if you have not already done so.
- Watch for announcements re: RPS summer essay workshops
Through the first semester of their senior year, students continue to meet in groups as their Senior Seminar course gives them scheduled opportunities to focus on essay writing, gather information on completing applications, and receive assistance in preparing for college interviews. Students also receive individual feedback on drafts of their essays and are encouraged to participate in a mock interview in anticipation of the college interviews to come.
In the spring of their senior year, students will meet for several seminars to address the issues related to leaving home and establishing independence as they begin a "new life" in college. Outside professionally trained speakers come to campus to address potential "pitfalls" that students will face in their residence halls and around campus.
- Sign up for email lists and & campus visits if you have not already done so.
- Attend the Senior Retreat (usually immediately prior to beginning of school) and Senior Seminar.
- Meet with college representatives who visit RPS. (A full list of scheduled visits will be accessible via your Naviance account.)
- Meet with your college counselor to finalize your college list.
- Begin writing application essays if you haven't already done so.
- There is typically no September SAT, but there is usually a September ACT exam. If you plan to take an SAT in October, register for it in September.
- Review transcript for accuracy; see Mrs. Irizarry to approve information or request additions or corrections.
- Confirm with the teachers you spoke with in May that they will write your recommendations; provide them with your first application deadline.
- If planning to take SAT's in November, register in October. (November is typically the last acceptable test date for ED/EA applications.)
- Begin to activate applications to colleges with rolling admissions.
- All applications with a college deadline of Oct 15 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff at the beginning of October.
- The ACT is typically offered in both September and October, whereas the SAT is only offered in October.
- All applications with a college deadline of November 1 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff — usually Mrs. Irizarry — no later than mid-October.
- If planning to take an SAT in November or December, register in October.
- All applications with a college deadline of November 15 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than November 1.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS Profile (if required) if planning to apply for financial aid. International students should check their colleges' websites for Certification of Finances forms applicable to them.
- Review your final list of colleges with your college counselor.
- SAT I and SAT Subject Tests are typically offered in November.
- Applications with a deadline of December 1 must be submitted to a member of the college counseling staff no later than November 15.
- Applications with a deadline of December 15 must be activated in the Upper School Office no later than December 1.
- Applications with a deadline anytime in January must similarly be activated with Mrs. Irizarry in early December; the very common January 1 application deadline usually falls during Rutgers Prep’s winter break, so some advance planning is required in order to not miss deadlines!
- Both the SAT and the ACT typically offer testing opportunities in December; students should check with their point person if they are considering sitting for a standardized test in December.
- We strongly encourage students to complete all applications before the winter break in order to avoid a conflict with exams in January.
- Applications with a deadline of February 1 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff approximately two weeks prior to that deadline. All remaining applications must also be activated at this time.
- If either your college counselor or an admissions officer is recommending additional testing, check with the CollegeBoard to see if there will be SAT/SAT Subject Test dates in January.
- REMINDER: Seniors' mid-year grades are sent by the College Counseling Office to all colleges to which each student has applied.
- Colleges will notify students of their decisions.
- When possible, students may want to visit schools where they've been accepted. Many colleges design programs specifically for admitted students.
- Make a final college choice. Inform only one college that you plan to attend. Send your regrets to the rest. In general, students should plan to notify colleges of their decision no later than May 1.
Colleges: Schedule a Visit
Admissions officers, please sign up for a RepVisits account, search for Rutgers Prep, and schedule your visit at a time that works for you!