At GDS, our goal is for students to find the best college that’s the best fit. To achieve this goal, we offer a comprehensive college guidance program and a full range of support services which includes everything from preparing students for standardized college admissions tests and assisting students with registration for the SAT and/or ACT to offering college essay writing and financial aid workshops, preparing for college interviews, providing scholarship and financial planning assistance. College counselors are assigned to students in the sophomore year. Individual and family counseling formally begins in the junior year to discuss college priorities and preferences in order to frame the initial college list. The goal of the program is to facilitate the college selection process without preempting the central role of the student and the family in making these important decisions.
As might be expected, the results of preparing and presenting students with strong academic and extracurricular profiles are positive. In recent years the acceptance rate of GDS students has been significantly higher than national averages at most colleges. For example, GDS students applying to the nation’s most popular and selective institutions (Harvard, Yale, Duke, Princeton, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Middlebury, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn and Vanderbilt) achieved a 25% acceptance rate compared to the national rate of 11%.
Because of our reputation for producing strong graduates and our well-connected college counselors, we attract representatives from roughly 60 colleges and universities to campus each year. We also host seminars and panels focusing on a range of college-selection issues. We welcome prominent college admissions specialists and admissions officers from across the nation. We offer specialized information on topics such as college athletics, learning differences, interviewing, competitive merit scholarships, and organizing college visits.
Recent GDS graduates have received prestigious scholarships including the Morehead-Cain (UNC-Chapel Hill), the Benjamin N. Duke (Duke), the Jefferson Scholarship (UVA), the Belk (Davidson), the Charter Award (University of Georgia), the Robertson (UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke), the Gates Millennial, The Kenan Music Award (UNC-Chapel Hill), and the Cornelius Vanderbilt Award (Vanderbilt.) Typically 40-50% of the senior class receives scholarship offers. The most recent merit scholarship two year value totaled $6,307,369.
Upper School Profile 2016-17
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